I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey. Let’s go back in time to the 1980s. It was a time of neon and pop music, of big hair and big egos, of memorable if lamentable fashion choices, when MTV still actually had something to do with music, and kids came home from school to watch cartoons all afternoon. I’ve already commented upon many such shows, and now here’s another. In the harmful tradition of gendered marketing, this is about a show to sell dolls that was aimed squarely at little girls who worshiped Madonna (the singer) and dressed like Cyndi Lauper – Jem.
Narrator – Here’s what you need to know as backstory. Sure, this might have been interesting to show, but we have no time for that. Green Lanterns are space cops who use alien rings and willpower to fight evil. Parallax is a force of fear who was imprisoned a long time ago by the awesome Abin Sur on a lost world and surely it will never be released ever.
[[cue the next scene where Parallax is accidentally released by a bunch of hapless aliens who crashed landed on the lost world; too bad the Corps didn’t put up some kind of sign or missile defense system or even a fence to prevent that sort of thing from happening]]
Hal Jordan – There is no purpose to this scene except to establish that I am a stud, and also that I am a self-centered douche-bag.
Carol Ferris – Don’t blow this test today, Hal.
Hal – Whatever.
[[Hal and Carol take two F-35s out to fight two unmanned experimental aircraft]]
Carol – Highball, remember what I said about not blowing this.
Hal – Whatever, Star Sapphire, which is a call-sign that will mean exactly nothing to anyone not familiar with Hal Jordan’s comic book history.
[[Hal sacrifices Carol to try to take out the drone planes, then deliberately breaks the rules by pushing them (and his own plane) beyond their mechanical capabilities and on top of that starts to have a mental breakdown as he plummets back to Earth]]
Hal – In no way is this a scene ripped almost directly from Hot Shots.
[[Hal manages to not die]]
Carol – What the hell was that all about?
Hal – I had to win.
Carol – Argh! No!! This isn’t a game, this is a test! A test of the capabilities of our new aircraft. By breaking the rules and pushing the aircraft beyond their capabilities, you invalidated the data! You risked the prototypes, and you crashed your own jet, and you did it in front of our Air Force client! We’re going to have to lay people off because of you!
Hal – Wow, those are actual extremely salient points but I’m totally going to ignore that because I am a jerk. Also, I will insult you by saying you’re betraying your pilot roots by actually partaking in a meaningful way in your father’s business.
Carol – You’re grounded!
Hal’s Nephew’s Birthday Party:
Hal’s Brother – You jackass! The accident is all over the news! You could have called us to let us know you weren’t dead instead of leaving my son, your nephew, crying in his bedroom!
Hal – Wow, that is a really relevant point that does not say good things about my character, but I’m going to ignore you because you’re just being a nagging sibling.
Hal’s Brother – I’ll pull out the “why are you trying to be like our dad” cliché.
Hal – Whatever. I’ll go talk to the kid.
Kid – Uncle Hal! You’re not dead!
Hal – No, and look at this gift I got for you, which I thought so much about I wrapped it in newspaper in the car on the way to work this morning.
Kid – Gee…thanks… So, anyway, aren’t you ever afraid you’ll die?
Hal – Of course not. It’s my job not to be afraid.
The Final Frontier (Space):
Abin Sur – So, how are things going?
Sinestro – Awful. This Parallax thing is killing everything. I’m going to ask the Guardians for more help.
Abin Sur – Good luck with that.
Parallax – Hey! You! [[attacks Abin Sur]]
Abin Sur – Damn!
[[Parallax mortally wounds Abin Sur and destroys his ship, leaving him hurtling towards Earth in an escape pod; after crashing he sends the ring off to find someone worthy which for whatever reason turns out to be Hal]]
Hal – AAAAHHH! Some terrible green energy force grabbed me and transported me to the coast! Oh, there’s a thing in the water! I’ll go make sure no one’s dead! [[sees Abin Sur]] Okay, so it’s a purple alien. Okay, he still needs to be saved. [[pulls Abin Sur out of the ship]]
Abin Sur – You’ll need the lantern from the ship.
Hal – What? Listen, just stay with me here, alien person, who is bleeding purple… Okay, Hal, focus, dude is bleeding…staunch bleeding…
Abin Sur – It’s too late for me. The ring chose you as a Green Lantern. Take the lantern in the ship and say the oath.
Hal – Lantern? Oath? What? Please don’t die on me before you give me relevant plot information.
Abin Sur – Sorry. [[dies]]
Hal – Damn it!
[[Hal buries Abin Sur, fetches the lantern battery (not that he knows what this is at all) calls his vaguely ethnic best friend for a ride, and gets the hell out of there while the government agents finally get to the ship only five hours after it crashed]]
Hector Hammond – Okay, your method of bringing me here wasn’t nice, but this is awesome! I get to dissect an alien body! This is the culmination of my nerdy dreams!
Amanda Waller – Just get on with it, already. Also, do not mess with me.
[[The dissection of Abin Sur goes great except for a bit of yellow energy from the wound that appears to infect Hector; he is confused but doesn’t feel unwell so he doesn’t think anything is wrong]]
Sinestro – This Parallax thing is awful. Tell me what it is!
Sinestro – Oh, come on, you do this every time. We can’t fight it if we don’t know what it is.
Sinestro – Fine, can I at least take a squad of the best Lanterns and go kill this thing?
Guardians – Yes.
Hal – This scene is in no way a rip-off from Peter Parker’s training montage in Spider-man. Nope, nope, not at all. But at least I figured out the oath. Still don’t know what this ring does.
Carol – Hey, Hal, do you want to go out or something? I’m worried about you because you freaked out and nearly died today.
Hal – Wait, why? So far I haven’t really been shown to have any redeeming characteristics.
Carol – Because obviously we a dating history and I’m still hung up on you, even though there is no good reason. Really, it’s just lazy writing.
Hal – So this means I have a chance to win you back! Awesome!
Carol – What? No! Damn lazy writing.
Hal – Yes! Let’s dance. [[they do]]
Carol – Of course, this is the point where I am obliged to bring up your many issues with relationships and responsibility and your death wish.
Hal – Damn you and your keen insight! [[stomps out of the bar and is accosted by three men]]
Angry Guy – You cost us our jobs! [[they beat Hal up and then laugh at him]] He’s not so tough.
Hal – Dude! There are three of you! See how well you do in a fight when the odds are three to one!
Angry Guy – Whatever, loser.
Hal – Despite the fact this is a stupid idea, I’m going to continue to fight you, but I’ll fight dirty. [[Unintentionally smacks them with a green fist from the ring; the guy who just got knocked through the brick wall ought to be dead by the way]] Whoa! What was that?
[[the ring then envelops him in green energy and shoots him through space in a scene that is no way reminiscent of Galaxy Quest and lands him on Oa; after he’s tortured or something for no good reason, he dons his uniform and struts his stuff]]
Hal – Is that a mask?
Tomar-Re – Yes, human, if you’re quite finished preening.
Hal – Are you sure that’s a mask? This thing looks terrible! I know this movie has a ton of special effects, but why a special effect mask? Seriously, why?
Tomar-Re – You got me. I look great, so this is all your problem. Anyway, take it off. You only need it to hide your identity and you don’t need to do that here.
Hal – Please tell me where here is, fish guy.
Tomar-Re – *sigh* I’ll give you the tour. Then you start your training.
Hal – Deal!
[[much love is lavished on the special effects as Tomar-Re tries to explain to Hal that willpower is the source of the power of the Green Lanterns]]
Hal – This doesn’t seem so bad.
Kilowog – Wait until you get a load of me!
Hal – Oh, this is going to hurt! [[it does]]
Sinestro – This is the replacement for the great Abin Sur? A weak human who can’t even master the basics of wielding a ring? Worthless. Pathetic. And fearful. Fear is opposed to willpower. If you fear, you will lose.
Hal – I’ve only been here for twenty minutes! What the hell do you want from me?!
Sinestro – That is actually a good point, which I’m totally going to ignore so I can continue to be a dick. [[leaves]]
Hal – That was really hurtful! And even though I haven’t become awesome in only twenty minutes, I’m just going to quit!
Tomar-Re – The ring chose you for a reason. I’m sure you can do the job.
Hal – Whatever! [[leaves]]
Kilowog – Do you ever think it might be time to re-evaluate our recruitment policies?
Senator (or some variety of politician) Hammond’s Office:
Hector – Hey, Dad, what’s going on? I have important work to do and a teaching job and I’ve been feeling really weird lately.
Senator Hammond – Son, you’ve done so well with the important work, if you know what I mean.
Hector – Dad? You mean you got me the awesome job? Why did you do that?
Senator Hammond – Because I’m your dad and I’m looking out for you. See?
Hector – But that means you think I can’t get cool top-secret jobs on my own.
Senator Hammond – Um, yeah, and?
Hector – *glowers* I’m leaving now.
[[In the meantime, Sinistro’s attack on Parallax goes disastrously wrong and he’s the only one who survives the assault]]
Hal – So how did I even get an invitation to this thing after I screwed up the test so badly?
Carol – Well, it turns out, due to lazy writing, that everything regarding the test turned out just fine anyway, so even though you screwed up something awful, you are getting neither punished and in fact possibly rewarded.
Hal – Sweet!
Hector – I hate that Hal Jordan guy. Always hitting on the woman I obsess over. And also, I feel really awful.
Senator Hammond – Well, it’s been fun, but now I’m going to make a flashy exit on the taxpayer dime!
[[The tiny helicopter takes off and Hector telekinetically damages it, causing it to spin wildly out of control; Hal takes time to run off to the side and change but luckily for him no one is hurt despite the flailing helicopter; he manages to save the helicopter and Carol with some very unnecessarily complicated and downright silly special effects then flies off]]
Vaguely Ethnic Best Friend – I saw that on the news! That was so cool!
Hal – I know, right!
Vaguely Ethnic Best Friend – You’re a superhero! That’s really awful, actually, but we’ll go with it. Lazy writing says you get the girl now.
Hal – Cool!
Hal – Hey, lady I don’t know in any way, how are you doing? Also, how’s my Batman voice?
Carol – Hal, what am I, stupid? And what the hell is with that god-awful mask?
Hal – How did you know it was me?
Carol – Again, what am I, stupid? So what’s going on?
Hal – I’m a space cop, except I kind of quit. But I’m still cool, right?
Carol – You always quit everything.
Hal – I do? Except for our relationship failing, which is probably reasonable since I’m a selfish jerk, I don’t think anything thus far has established me as a quitter. Am I reckless or am I irresponsible?
Carol – You know, it’s not really clear. Anyway, you should re-thinking quitting this space cop thing. [[leaves]]
Waller – Hector, you need help.
Hector – Why do you say that? I feel great.
Waller – Um, because you’ve turned into a mutated freak. We think you were infected by a second alien life form.
Senator Hammond – Don’t worry, son, we’ll get you back to normal.
Hector – I’m actually fine with this, thanks.
[[proceeds to nearly kill everyone in the lab and incidentally has a montage that does more character building for Amanda Waller than the whole movie thus far for Hal Jordan; then Hal bursts in for some reason to try to stop Hector; it does not work; he saves Waller but not Senator Hammond although he does find out that Parallax is now heading towards Earth because that’s where Abin Sur died]]
Sinestro – Everyone died! What the hell is going on?
Sinestro – Damn it, you have to answer these questions or the world will be destroyed!
Guardian 1 – Once, we tried to harness fear as we did willpower, but found out fear is uncontrollable, which should have been kind of obvious. We locked up the power, but one of the guardians tried to control fear anyway, and became the thing called Parallax.
Sinestro – Then we need to fight fear with fear! Create a ring and I will use it to fight this thing!
Hal – Wait, no, that’s a terrible idea! I want to save my planet!
Sinestro – You suck. Why should we care?
Hal – Try this rousing speech on for size! “In brightest day and blackest night, cantaloupe, watermelon, yadda yadda, a superstitious and cowardly lot, with Liberty and justice for all.”
Sinestro – That wasn’t rousing, and I’m not even sure what you were going on about.
Hal – I had some point about being only human, but whatever. Don’t use the fear ring, and I’m going to save my world.
Hal – Hector, we need to talk. [[sees an unconscious, floating Carol]] Hey, let her go!
Hector – Nope. I’ve pretty much gone crazy from being infected by this Parallax thing, which is totally going to kill you.
Hal – Here, take the ring. Do anything you want, but let her go.
Hector – Oooo, pretty. But I think I’m totally going to kill you. [[attempts to do so with a blast of green energy but it stops before Hal is hit]]
Hal – Yeah, about that… [[blasts the energy back at Hector]] It’s still my ring. [[catches Carol before she falls to her death]]
Parallax – You idiot! You didn’t kill the Green Lantern so I’m totally going to kill you. Is anyone who’s supposed to be a hero going to stop me? No. Alright then. [[totally kills Hector and leaves him a desiccated skeleton]]
Hal – I need that ring. [[attempts to get the ring but is grabbed by Parallax]]
Parallax – Now I kill you!
Carol – Oh, hell no! [[activates the missile systems on the drone aircraft to blow up Parallax which fortunately doesn’t kill Hal; as some bad-ass bonus, she tosses Hal his ring]]
Hal – Let’s do this thing!
[[Instead Parallax just kills a whole bunch of people before Hal gets his act together and lures Parallax away from the planet]]
Hal – This thing just won’t die! Wait, I remember a thing I learned from my twenty minutes of training. I’ll lure him into the sun’s gravitational field! [[this works]] Oh, but gravity is very strong and I am tired… [[Sinestro, Tomar-Re, and Kilowog save him before he dies]]
Sinestro – I guess you’re not so terrible after all. Actually, Abin Sur was kind of an egotistical jerkface too.
Hal – Thanks?
Hal – So, I un-quit and saved the planet. Pretty cool, right?
Carol – Yes, but I’m going to worry about you because the lazy writing has us kind of back together.
Hal – Don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll all work out and there will be no problems whatsoever. Yep, everything will be awesome.
[[Sinestro takes the yellow fear ring, although it doesn’t make any sense why because Hal just showed that willpower is stronger than fear by defeating Parallax; I mean, this is just as confusing as the secret ending of Amazing Spider-man; but whatever; there has to be a hook for a sequel somewhere]]