Sinestro as a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Art by Alan Davis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If the Green Lantern sequel was looking for ideas to surpass its predecessor, then perhaps a movie like Training Day could serve as inspiration to not only make it more interesting, but more poignant and resonating as well. Denzel Washington earned an Oscar for his role in the film which was well received from critics and viewers alike. It also did not rely on heavy CGI or special effects to tell a genuinely fascinating story.
Training Day is a gritty cop drama where the suave and experienced cop Alonzo Harris (“Sinestro”) mentors new narcotics recruit Jake Hoyt (“Hal Jordan”). The movie features young and idealistic rookie cop, Jake (Ethan Hawke), assigned to spend 24 hours with veteran detective Alonzo (Denzel Washington) whose optimism has been quashed by crime and corruption. Alonzo is a Los Angeles cop whose questionable methodologies blur the line between right and wrong and thinks his ethics are right. As a result, the morally ambiguous Alonzo’s ethics lead to him deal out his own form of justice and profit in the process.
He [Alonzo Harris] sees himself as a Machiavellian prince of the city, serving the cause of greater justice; his impressive arrest record and his decorations speak for themselves, and if the weak are sometimes sacrificed to the strong in the process, that’s the way of the world.
Alonzo’s view of the world is essentially that his variety of evil is necessary to protect dewy-eyed civilians like you and me from worse varieties.(Andrew O'Hehir: Salon)
The above quotes echo Sinestro’s views in that he regards his ideals to be of a greater good for all citizens who fall under the jurisdiction of the Green Lantern Corps. Unlike Alonzo, Sinestro is not corrupt but his ideals do see him wanting to serve out justice in a way that would not be approved by the guardians. Ultimately, Sinestro thinks his way is the right way and that of the guardian’s is outdated. Although Sinestro’s methods are somewhat dubious, he is of the belief that the end justifies the means.
Before the 24-hour training period is complete, Hoyt is asked to consume narcotics and alcohol (while on duty), take part in illegal drug raids and commit murder. Unfortunately for Hoyt, he becomes a pawn to be used by the corrupt Alonzo who initially seems keen to allow Hoyt to become part of his crew.
Training Day does go along familiar lines with a good cop turned bad. Like Alonzo, Sinestro was once good at heart and keen to make a difference but has come to question the ideals which he has sworn an oath to uphold. Alonzo quickly learned that the legal ramifications hinder his ability to perform his duties as a cop and that in order to get the job done he has to often break the very law he is authorized to enforce. He also learns that bending the rules gives him a sense of power.
The formula used for Training Day could work for a Green Lantern sequel: Sinestro is ordered by the guardians to mentor rookie Hal who is instructed to accompany Sinestro on a “training day” where the guardians expect Hal to learn from Sinestro’s wisdom. It is during this time that Hal is the first Green Lantern to bear witness to Sinestro’s idea of justice. Sinestro is almost smug in his confidence and although he does garner the respect of the citizens and criminals it is more out of fear than admiration. The guardians remain unaware as to how exactly Sinestro always manages to achieve his objectives but they do hold him in him in high esteem because he gets the job done. Hal goes along for the ride observing Sinestro both in admiration and in shock and it becomes apparent to him that Sinestro’s ideals have deviated from that of the guardians and he begins to question his mentor’s process of handing out justice.