Thursday, June 09, 2011

In Brightest Day...

Green Lantern rocks. I've known this since I was 6 years old. He has been my favorite super hero since childhood and in a week's time, I will finally get to see his live-action adventures on the big screen. The little kid inside my adult body is practically bursting at the seams at the excitement of it all. All little boys who read comic books grow up picking a favorite super hero that they imagine they could be like. Some pick Superman for obvious reasons; he's the most powerful and the most popular amongst the general public. But while Superman is right up there, he's an alien so it's hard for a kid to identify with him completely (or at least, for this kid). Batman is cool, but he's just a crazy rich guy in a suit with cool gadgets. Batman has no real super powers, so while I admire his Bat car, Bat copter, and all the rest, he's not the one I would choose to trade places with. Most of the others like Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the Flash were born out of crazy science experiments gone haywire. And while the resulting powers they got were awesome and all, having to subject yourself to the untamed forces of nature seems a bit extreme just to be able to run fast or climb walls. The X-Men were all born with their powers, and the last time I checked I wasn't born a mutant, so they're out.

But Green Lantern was different. For those who don't know, Green Lantern is actually test pilot Hal Jordan, a brash, cocky flyboy who spends his time in the clouds trying out the latest and greatest jet planes for Ferris Aircraft. One day while he was in a flight simulator, a green beam of energy came out of nowhere, grabbed hold of him and flew him across the desert to the wreckage of a crashed spaceship. Inside, a dying alien named Abin Sur told Hal that he had been chosen to become the new Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814. With his dying breath, Abin Sur gave Hal a power ring that would give the wearer almost unlimited powers. Hal placed the ring on his finger and suddenly he became Green Lantern! Whatever he could imagine in his mind, Hal could now create with his ring. And he could fly, too. How cool is that? Soon, Hal discovered that he was one of many Green Lanterns across the galaxy, all chosen to protect a specific sector of space from all manner of evil villains. They made up the Green Lantern Corps, a veritable space police force. They each possessed an identical power ring limited only by the willpower of the wearer (and the color yellow, which is kind of a silly weakness, I know, but hey, all super heroes have to have at least one, right?). And how did they all get chosen to be a Green Lantern? Were they all the best and the brightest from their respective planets? Nope. Were they physically and mentally the best of the best? Nope again. There is only one requirement to be a Green Lantern. Deep down, they must possess the ability to overcome fear. That's it. That's all it takes to become one of the most powerful super heroes in the universe. Just don't get scared and you've go what it takes. Well, to the 6 year-old who first discovered Green Lantern inside the pages of a DC Comic, that's all it took. I was hooked. To me, Green Lantern was the one guy with super powers I had a shot at becoming. All it would take was overcoming my greatest fears and I was in. What kid couldn't identify with that? So, from that point on, I considered myself a member of the GL Corps In Training. I just had to work hard at overcoming my fear of the dark and the monsters under the bed and broccoli, and then one day Abin Sur would show up at my doorstep, hand me a power ring, and I would be off flying around the galaxy fighting off my arch-nemesis Sinestro while romancing the beautiful (and deadly) Star Sapphire (in reality, Hal Jordan's girlfriend and boss, Carol Ferris), and saving the universe from evil-doers like Darkseid, Krona, and Hector Hammond. What more could a kid want?

As I grew older, my passions turned from saving the universe to movie making, and I always thought in the back of my mind that if I ever got the chance to helm a $200 million super hero blockbuster that Green Lantern would be the one I would to make. And truth be told, I am a little disappointed they didn't ask me to do it. But whatever. The fact that it even got made is miracle enough to me, and from what I've seen it actually looks frighteningly close to the source material. I hope it doesn't suck. But the best part is I get to take my 6 year-old nephew, Ben, to see it next week (on my birthday no less). I can only imagine what kind of super hero he wants to grow up to be, but whichever one he chooses, it'll be awesome to share the exploits of my favorite one on the silver screen with him. And for a short time, there will be two 6 year-olds in that theatre watching Hal Jordan save the earth. In 3D no less. And when Ryan Reynolds says the Green Lantern oath, I'll be saying it right along with him from memory, a memory I've held on to for over 3 decades:

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight,
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power,

Of course, my biggest fear is that the movie will suck. But if Hal Jordan can overcome his fears, I'm sure I can overcome that one. And if it does suck, well, that'll just make for another blog post.

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