You’d have to be a total Green Lantern nerd to like this movie.

I liked this movie.

I love Green Lantern. And, more specifically, I love the Green Lantern Corps. What separates GL from other superhero books is the idea of the Green Lantern as an interstellar police force, with thousands of members patrolling different sectors of space. It’s why I loved GL as a kid, when the Corps was at its height (there was even a quarterly book dedicated to short stories highlighting different members). It’s why I fell out of the character in the ’90s, when the Corps was destroyed and DC tried to make the character “more unique” by having Kyle Rayner be the ONLY Lantern. And it’s why I was won back in a big way by Geoff John’s Rebirth, which not only brought back the Corps, but established a new tone for the book that was even more dependent on the mythology of the Corps, turning the title into a big, epic space opera.

So, not surprisingly, I dug this latest entry in the DC Universe line of animated films. Emerald Knights is essentially an anthology film, like Gotham Knight (though not as lame as that one was). In the connecting “main” story, the Corps are preparing for a battle against Krona and the shadow demons. Lantern rookie Arisia is nervous about what will be her first battle, and so her trainer Hal Jordan spends the time telling her different historical tales of the Corps, including the story of the first ever Green Lantern.

Like any anthology film, the tales are a somewhat mixed bag, but only one actually bored me – the story involving Hal’s predecessor, Abin Sur. It’s not a bad story in theory, but what’s frustrating is that is essentially a tease of the awesome Sinestro Corps War storyline, which I doubt the DCU line will tackle anytime soon. The other stories are all quite good, though, with my favorite being the one about former princess and new Lantern Laira having to return to her home planet to do battle with her own family. Meanwhile, the wrap-around story is OK, and fans will enjoy having Hal around as a presence (especially since, unlike the live-action movie, they actually got it right and cast Nathan Fillion here). The final battle pays off a couple of the stories in a nice way, even if Arisia’s final heroic moment is fairly predictable.

I don’t really get why they didn’t just make this an official sequel to Green Lantern: First Flight, the Hal Jordan origin film DCU put out in 2009 (this could have been easily fixed by simply not having Sinestro still be a member of the Corps here). Still, those two films together should serve as a nice introduction to the character and the ideas of the Corps for those unfamiliar with Green Lantern – it seems rather obvious that this one was timed to release right before the live-action film so that audiences would at least be somewhat aware of the idea of the Corps. Emerald Knights isn’t quite as engaging as First Flight, simply as a result of being an anthology film instead of a full, complete story. But still, this is yet another enjoyable DCU film, especially if you’re particularly nerdy about Green Lantern.

Oh, and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper does a voice, so it’s got that going for it.

 

 

This review was originally posted at Trevor Likes Movies on June 16th, 2011.

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