In a world of superheroes, be as selfless like Green Lantern John Stewart whose origin story Green Lantern – Beware my power tells the viewers all there is to know about his struggle before and after wearing the Green Lantern ring. Not only does this origin story introduce this new ‘guy’ to the audience but also helps the viewers understand why there was a need to choose a new wearer at all.
In this film, we see Marine Corps Veteran John Stewart mysteriously inheriting a Green Lantern Power Ring, which drags him into an interplanetary war. As a military man who has just completed an overseas tour where he got injured, Stewart barely had control of his emotions. However, after being selected to join the intergalactic peacekeeping force, the Green Lantern Corps, he has a mission in life – to save the universe.
The audience will find out why John Stewart got the ‘green ring’ when it already had a wearer named Hal Jordan who was part of the Justice League and saved the world on numerous occasions. It was after an encounter with the same Justice League, John Stewart teams up with Green Arrow who believes that something must be wrong with the former wearer who was also his best friend, and decides to investigate.
While they tried to uncover the truth, the pair of ‘Greens’ find themselves amidst a war between planet Rann and Thanagar, and here is where Hawkgirl makes her entry. While they were still trying to learn the Thanagarian’s motive, the trio encounter the ‘previously assumed dead’ Adam Strange, the local Rann hero. Together, they try to save the universe by joining hands and defeating a common enemy who had nothing to lose but everything to gain by firing a doomsday weapon that would wipe out one of the planets involved in the war, from existence.
Directed by Jeff Wamester, who was also behind the Justice Society: World War II (2021), this direct-to-video animated film has all the ingredients of a high-budget Hollywood flick. There is suspense, followed by deceit and a shocking twist at the end that will shake the audience hard. The action sequences are well-choreographed and the same can be said of the plotline which involves as many as four good guys, with each one getting the importance they deserve.
As for the voiceovers, the star of the TV series Leverage and Leverage: Redemption Aldis Hodge lends his voice to John Stewart and is absolutely brilliant because of his transformation from a guy who doesn’t want the ring to the guy who doesn’t want to lose it. The film gave his fans a sneak peek into his entry into the superhero world, and they would now be more than anxious to see him fight Black Adam in the DC live-action flick as Hawkman. Further voices which join the intergalactic war have Jimmi Simpson as Green Arrow, Jamie Gray Hyder as Hawkgirl, Brian Bloom as Adam Strange, and Rick D. Wasserman as Sinestro.
Despite having more pluses than minuses, the film has its share of flaws, and the biggest one is bringing too many backstories in one film, which doesn’t help the cause of Adam Strange, and Hawkgirl who deserve an origin film of their own. Some of the fans who have been following the Justice League Animated Series for two decades were also stumped since here, Hawkgirl and John Stewart are total strangers when in fact in the animated series, they are a couple.
Released a few months back, the film has its share of sloppy writing which is visible in the script, because the writers somehow assumed that everyone watching the film would know all there is to know about DC Characters. Yes, Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow are known to all but even a minor league fan of the DC Comics like me had no clue who the third person at the Clock Tower was, and it wasn’t until the credits rolled that I found it was Vixen.
Whenever there is a Green Lantern, there is Sinestro but in this version, the iconic villain knew less about the ring he used to wear and Green Arrow had somehow more knowledge about it, including the oath! Add to that the overstuffed story and powerful villains being relegated to the role worthy of a minion, and the film will pose more questions than answers. The similarity between two of the characters who were on John’s side would also confuse some viewers who aren’t well-versed with DC characters, and while it could have been rectified before the film’s release, it wasn’t, for some ‘strange’ reason.
We all know that John Stewart was one of DC’s first African American superheroes, but racism isn’t tackled very intelligently here. The reference to the colour yellow and John’s answer to it doesn’t seem as if the writers gave the script a second reading because had they done that, Green Lantern – Beware my power would have ended up as a classic. Instead, it came out as a one-time watch which doesn’t add any value to the DC Universe except giving Green Lantern his very own feature-length film. -Ends