In 2009, Warner Bros. Animation released the feature-length animated movie, Green Lantern: First Flight. The movie – released under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies (DCUAOM) banner – acted as an origin story for Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, and explored his early adventures as part of the Green Lantern Corps.
Green Lantern: First Flight starred Christopher Meloni as Hal Jordan, alongside a voice cast that included Victor Garber, Tricia Helfer, Kurtwood Smith, Michael Madsen, John Larroquette, Juliet Landau, Rob Paulsen, and Larry Drake. The movie was released straight to video and was largely met with a positive reaction from critics.
I really liked this movie too and felt it offered the perfect introduction to the Green Lantern mythology. Alongside other movies in the DCUAOM collection, such as Wonder Woman, and Superman: Doomsday, it served up plenty of spectacle alongside an engaging story.
Today I plan to revisit Green Lantern, to discuss the movie while I give it a re-watch. It has been a little while since I last viewed the film, but I am confident it still stands up as a great, animated DC movie.
Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
1min – Straight into the story and test pilot, and on Earth, Hal Jordan is strapped into a flight simulator.
1min 30secs – Cut to a space ship crash landing in the desert.
2mins 45secs – Back at the test centre, and the flight simulator has been lifted up into the air, by a mysterious green energy force, and taken into the desert.
3mins 30secs – After landing in the desert, Hal Jordan steps out of the simulator where he meets an alien. The alien gives Jordan a green, glowing ring, which instantly kick starts Jordan’s transformation into the Green Lantern!
4mins 45secs – And cue the opening credits.
5mins – What I really like about this movie is the way it abbreviates Hal Jordan’s backstory into a five-minute sequence at the start of the story. No excessive scenes of dialogue to set up who he is and where he came from, just straight into things to confirm that A.) he is a pilot, and B.) he has been given a magic ring.
8mins 45secs – With Jordan now the bearer of a Green Lantern ring, various members of the Green Lantern Corps have arrived on Earth to speak to him, including Sinestro. Now even if you didn’t know that Sinestro was the villain of this movie, the name is a pretty big hint. He might as well be called Evil-o, or Secret Bad Guy-o.
9mins – Victor Garber is the actor behind Sinestro’s voice. Arrowverse fans will know Garber from his time playing Dr. Stein on DC shows The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
10mins – Keen to get Jordan up to scratch as the new Green Lantern, the Corps have whisked him away from Earth to test his abilities in space. This is the last time Earth will be featured in this movie, as the rest of the action takes place off world.
11mins – By the way, Christopher Meloni is great in the role of Hal Jordan. He is giving Jordan strength and confidence, instantly making him into an appealing hero. I am only 11 minutes into the film, barely anything has been said about his character, and yet I am sold on this guy! Most modern-day super hero movies take hours to get to this stage!
14mins 25secs – I should add, that although Jordan was turned into the Green Lantern at break-neck speed, the movie is still making sure to include all the information a newbie would need, in order to understand the GL mythology.
15mins – And for anyone reading this, who knows nothing about the Green Lantern Corps, they are effectively an intergalactic police force. Each member carries a ring which emits powerful green energy, that can be shaped into any form imaginable.
17mins – Now that Jordan has been inducted into the Corps, he and Sinestro are on a mission, investigating the death of Abin Sur. He was the alien that crash landed on Earth at the beginning of the movie.
18mins – Prior to arriving on Earth, Abin Sur was on an undercover mission in search of a ‘yellow element’ which poses a threat to the Corp. This led him to the path of the villainous, Kanjar Ro.
19mins – Sinestro is questioning a suspect, to help him track down Kanjar Ro. Sinestro has a very forceful approach to interrogation.
20mins – Tension mounts between Sinestro and Jordan, as they share different views on extracting information.
21mins – I haven’t mentioned the animation yet, but it has been consistently good since I first pressed play. This is a great-looking movie. So colourful.
23mins 45secs – And now for some important character development for Sinestro, who is explaining to Jordan that he wants to give the GL Corps a shake-up and create some order across the galaxy. Can anyone say ‘would-be dictator’?
29mins – The Guardians (the head of the Green Lantern Corps) are reprimanding Sinestro for his interrogation methods. They believe his methods are too severe. Of course, they are correct, but they probably should do more than just give him a bit of a telling off. Maybe stop him from being one of your top-ranking members?!
30mins – On a side point, there is an ethical debate to be had here about the abuse of power, in terms of Sinestro abusing his position, and the Guardians turning a blind eye. The film sadly doesn’t delve into this conversation, but if this had been developed into a big screen movie (rather than a straight-to-video title), I expect this is where the story would have been fleshed out.
38mins – The Lanterns have a lead on Kanjar Ro, believing he is the reason that Abin Sur crashed on Earth.
42mins – Jordan has caught up with Kanjar Ro…. but so has Sinestro.
42mins 40secs – And Sinestro has just killed Kanjar Ro.
44mins 30secs – Jordan has been set up to take the fall for Ro’s death, leaving Sinestro to carry on being evil in the shadows. Marvellous.
52mins – For those wondering about this movie’s age rating, Green Lantern: First Flight is a PG-13 in the US and a certificate 12 in the UK. This is due to multiple death scenes in the film, including the death of Boodikka – a Green Lantern who was secretly working with Sinestro. More Lanterns will die before the film is over.
54mins – And speaking of Boodikka… thanks to her treachery, Sinestro is able to continue his search for the ‘yellow element’.
55mins 30secs – Sinestro has found what he is looking for. Say goodbye to regular Sinestro, and say hello to the Yellow Lantern.
59mins 30secs – In his new guise, Sinestro has returned to the Green Lantern home world of Oa to take on the Guardians and the Corps. By the way, one of these Guardians, Ranakar, is voiced by Malachi Throne. Fans of the 1966 Batman TV series will be familiar with Malachi Throne, as he played the role of False Face on the show.
1hr – Green Lantern: First Flight marked Throne’s final acting performance before his death in 2013.
1hr 5mins – Back to the film, and with Sinestro proving to be a deadly force, the Green Lantern Corps all but defeated, and Oa on the brink of destruction, it is up to Hal Jordan to save the day. How will he do this? By absorbing as much Green Lantern energy as possible!
1hr 8mins – Hal has absorbed so much energy, that he is glowing green and looking almost god like. I love it! He is also kicking Sinestro’s ass.
1hr 12mins – Sinestro is defeated! Hurrah! Oa will need major repairs, and the Green Lantern Corp is going to need a lot of new members (and one big ass funeral service), but all is right again.
1h 14mins – And as the film draws to a close, there’s just time to squeeze in the Green Lanterns’ all-important mantra:
“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!”
The writers of this movie – Alan Burnett and Michael Allen – had to get the mantra into the film somewhere, and it does seem to fit here rather snuggly.
I made it clear at the beginning of this post that I think Green Lantern: First Flight is a great movie and after this latest watch-through, I maintain my opinion. Not only does this film showcase Hal Jordan at his finest, and tick off multiple elements of GL mythology, it is also packed full of action and fantastic animation.
This is a film that fans old and new can get real enjoyment from, and if this film had of existed back when I was a youngster, I would have watched it on loop. I would have also become a huge Green Lantern fan off the back of it.
Warner Bros. Animation has made some superb animated DC movies over the years, and for my money, Green Lantern: First Flight stands up there with some of the best. If your only experience with Green Lantern is the poor live-action movie from 2011, aka the one with Ryan Reynolds, then you need to give First Flight a good 75 minutes of your time as this is a GL movie done right, which deserves more recognition, and wider audience awareness.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Green Lantern: First Flight on I’ll Get Drive-Thru. For more DC-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below, where you will find posts about Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.