Tag Archives: kilowog

Green lantern and complex shapes; willpower is a muscle

20 Jun

Well then, I saw the Green Lantern movie. No, this isn’t going to be a review (there’s enough of those out there), but there was one thing about the movie, and premise, that got me thinking. So, although there might be some things about the movie in this post (*Cough* Kilowogs voice was ridiculously wrong *C-Cough*) I’ll only be using it to relate to my point.

The basic premise, if you don’t know it, is that the Green Lanterns get their power and strength from willpower. Simple enough. The more willpower a Lantern has, the better equipped they are to become a good one. The ring holds the power, and the reserve of energy, but it’s the wearers willpower that really makes the difference and makes it possible for the energy to be used (just in case you saw the film, heard an innocent enough line and were thinking “If the energy is a collection of all the willpower in the universe, why doesn’t it just give the wearer incredible power regardless of their character?! I CALL SHENANIGANS!!”).

Not to ruin the film too much for you, but there’s a training scene where the hero of the piece gets put through his paces…for a minute or two. Now, if you’ll allow me tostep off course for a minute, I’d just like to say that this was incredible disappointing. If you’re a fan of the comics you’ll know that Kilowog, the trainer of Green Lanterns, has a habit of putting new recruits through their paces like dogs of war.

In the film, Kilowog tussles with Hal for a minute or two,  steps aside for someone else to have a go then drifts off on a cloud to presumably look for the rabbit farm he was told the guardians placed on OA especially for him, like some sort of monstrously disciplined Lenny from ‘of Mice and men’.

But anyway; as disapointing as that scene was, it was a throaway scene just afterwards that got my attention. Hals guide to the world of green genes

“…and here comes your host tonight:TOMAR RE, ladies and gentlemen, tomar re!”  (…sorry, that music just totally goes with him as an intergalactic game show host…)

is showing him how to make shapes with the ring. Standing there looking like a cross between a chicken and a fish (…which, is…actually pretty well done and accurate to the comics as far as I know. I wasn’t trying to be insulting with that description), he’s casually fooling around with a construct ripped from the mind of M.C. Escher himself then twisted by a thousand car wrecks.

Fair enough; this guy has the experience. He can conjur up all manner of shapes and constructions because he’s been at the job for years (and, importantly, he’s got the imagination…that’s a Green Lantern thing I’m not even going to get into), spending countless hours and missions honing his willpower into a finely tuned weapon.

Astonishingly though, he then pushes the hero to do the same. (…Say whatnow?!) He tells Hal jordan to create the exact same shape that he had been just messing around with and, believe it or not, he does it with a completely straight face; like it’s nothing in the world. Does he do it?…like fuck he does. This is my main disappointment with the training sequence (And I do love me a good training sequence); this point is completely passed over. It’s like “Oh, hey; you got a ring?! good times…good times. Now do this. and this. Why can’t you do it?! do it I said!!! FAILURE! you’re a FAILURE! *tsh GOSH this will never work out for you…” *

*(you could argue that Hal has enough willpower already, seeing as he flies military aircraft using the power of steelballs, and should therefore be able to do anything he wants with the ring; but his willpower is only in one, very specific, area…Someone who has the willpower to run ten miles might not have the willpower to stand still for two hours.)

My long winded point about all this, is that Willpower is a muscle. It needs to be exercised, strenghtened and refined. Start with basic shapes, get them down as tight as possible, then you can move onto the three dimensional spiral tornadoes gyrating in alternate directions based on the proximity to and direction of beautiful women.

If you’ve had experience balancing out two opposing things with willpower, you’ll know what I’m talking about. A few years ago I was trying to start a healthy new activity in my life while trying to give something bad up at the same time. It didn’t work out so well. There were times where I would get super pumped about the activity, so much so that I’d push it hard, and then come home only to fall straight back into the bad habit I was trying to drop.

The reason? I had used a hefty chunk of my willpower in pushing myself to do something positive. So much so, that when I returned home tired but happy with myself, I had no willpower left to keep the wolves from the door.

Trying to go the full whack from the start set me back a lot. Time after time I would put too much willpower into either starting the good or ending the bad, and I’d end up tipping the balancing scales too far one way or the other. It took me a long time to be comfortable enough with myself to say “Hold on, just hold on a minute. Keep some in reserve for later; you know you’re gonna need it”.

I’d love to tell you to go hell for leather in everything you do, I really would. But let’s be honest here; in the real world there’s a million and one things vying for your attention. If you focus on using all your willpower on one thing and one thing only, you’re gonna be left running on empty when something else comes around. Start with the basic shapes; refine them, exercise them and strengthen them, but keep some in reserve for when you need it. After that, when you’ve got a good feeling you’re ready; start dishing out the willpower in bigger doses in different directions.