Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011, 84 minutes)
Plot: In the midst of a crisis, a new Lantern learns various tales of the Green Lantern Corps.
Source Material: This is an anthology drawn from a number of stories, which frustratingly I’m unable to track down exact information on. At least two of the segments draw from Alan Moore’s work, those focusing on Abin Sur and Mogo, with Mogo’s story being adapted by its illustrator, Dave Gibbons. What I can say is it taps into the spirit of the source far more than the previous film, which is isn’t connected to aside from reusing designs. It feels more like a Green Lantern epic, drawing on their lore.
Animation: Far bolder than First Flight. This is sort of a jam session for WB Animation with three directors on board, each doing two sections. The anthology format seems to have brought out the best in the teams with a nice mix of styles. It’s not that everything looks like it’s in a different universe as much as each segment stands out. There’s a lot to look at and a lot of variation. Action is great here.
Script: This is where the jam session metaphor really feels accurate. DC writers like Peter Tomasi (adapting his own origin of Kilowog story), Geoff Johns (adapting an Alan Moore story), and the aforementioned Gibbons work alongside screenwriters Alan Burnett, Marc Guggenheim (who has worked extensively in both comics and tv), and Michael Green. It’s like any anthology. Some segments are better than others with Kilowog and Abin Sur’s segments the best while Laira’s segment, which drips with despicable yellow peril, the worst. Overall the scripting is solid.
Voice work: Across the board very strong. Nathan Fillion debuts as Hal Jordan and while he’s more of a narrator, he’s great as usual in the role. Elisabeth Moss is solid as novice Arisia. Jason Isaacs returns to the DC animated fold as Sinestro and does his usual strong work, with the bonus of playing a heroic take on the role. I especially liked Arnold Vosloo as Abin Sur, giving the character weight he’s rarely had beyond a corpse.
Final verdict: Please don’t ever make me review an anthology ever again. But seriously, this is a pleasant sit. Like most anthology films, it never feels like you’re doing much more than sampling different elements of the concept. Unlike most anthologies, there is a nice cohesive feel to the work. Maybe it doesn’t build to something, but like the heroine, the viewer is taken on a nice journey through Green Lantern lore. It’s not the definitive GL movie we need but as a nice journey through the mythology, it’s quite good. 3/5.