Green Lantern: Beware My Power review

Traditionally, the best Warner Bros. Animation films have been the ones that made minor tweaks to popular comic storylines.

Green Lantern: Beware My Power screenwriters John Semper and Ernie Altbacker (Batman Hush) ignore the well-established blueprint and simply try and cram in as many Green Lantern films into one movie as possible.

Not surprisingly, it results in a cluttered, and clunky project that needed a way less is more approach.

Maybe the biggest frustration is the obvious notion that WBA could have crafted four or five great movies out of the works of Geoff Johns, Ron Marz, Peter Tomasi, Dave Gibbons and Dan Jurgens.

Instead, Beware My Power haphazardly tosses in elements from Emerald Twilight, Sinestro Corps War, The Rann/Thanagarian War and Zero Hour.

That’s too much for a film that’s also trying to introduce new and very much reluctant John Stewart (Aldis Hodge, Black Adam) to the Green Lantern Corps.

Initially the film is encouraging. Stewart is still adjusting to civilian life after serving time in the Army fighting in Afghanistan. A hero dealing with PTSD is engaging. Learning he’s replaced the presumed dead legendary Lantern Hal Jordan (Nolan North) is another surprise, but that’s what happens when a Guardian crash lands and tells John he’s the Corps’ last chance.

Hal’s Justice League allies Vixen (Keesha Sharp), Martian Manhunter (Ike Amadi) and especially Hal’s best friend Green Arrow (Jimmi Simpson) aren’t willing to take this stranger at his word.

Green Arrow and John try to discover what happened to the Guardians and the true cause of a heated war between the Rann and Thanagarian races. Their investigation leads them to teaming with Hawkgirl (Jamie Grey Hyder) and Adam Strange (Brian Bloom).

The film really could have just focused on this mystery, had a big final fight and it would have been fine. John’s banter with Green Arrow works and the rivalry with Hawkgirl and Strange feels authentically like two warriors from opposite sides of a war forced to team up.

It’s at this point where the script takes a wrecking ball to the well-developed foundation and overloads the film with major storylines that are needlessly rushed through to check off the Green Lantern greatest hits checklist.

Sinestro (Rick D. Wasserman) is here of course, but there’s also some surprising villains in supporting roles.

Director Jeff Wamester has a curious approach to violence. In the war flashbacks, John’s sniper shots can’t show any blood or gunshot wounds yet the film is full of bloody bodies to a point of excess.

The animation style is similar to Superman: Man of Tomorrow, which kicked off the somewhat connected post-New 52 shared animated universe. Wamester did make sure John’s power wasn’t simply displayed as laser beams. He actually creates constructs while on the offensive and defensive.

Pacing is also weird. Most action films don’t have the big boss character killed before their underlings.

Hodge has such a smooth cadence and delivery that maybe he should have been tabbed to play John Stewart in live action films instead of Hawkman.

Despite a promising start Beware My Power proved major disservice to Green Lantern fans who have had to patiently wait for another solo GL film after 15 Batman standalone films.

The argument will always be that Batman films do better, but the quality and approach is noticeably different.

Beware My Power would be like one Batman movie covering Knightfall, Knight’s Quest, Knight’s End, Cataclysm and No Man’s Land in one shot.

It’s impossible to tell a good story in that manner no matter how stellar the source material.

Hopefully the light isn’t dimmed on future animated Green Lantern movies, but the well of quality stories left was nearly snuffed out in one film.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Home Animation

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