Green Lantern opens with a narrator telling us about a race of immortal ancients called the Guardians. The Guardians created an army of intergalactic superheroes known as the Green Lanterns, whose role is to keep the peace and protect the universe against evil. Each Green Lantern has a ring that gives its wearer superpowers and the ability to materialise anything that imagination can create. We also hear about an ancient evil called Parallax, which uses fear as its source of power. Parallax has escaped its imprisonment and is out to destroy the universe. The Green Lanterns might not be enough to stop it.
The Guardians send their greatest warrior Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) to confront Parallax. Abin Sur is mortally wounded and crashes his ship on Earth. Before dying, Abin Sur passes his ring on to Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), an arrogant, self-centred playboy who works as a test pilot. The ring transports Hal to the Green Lantern’s home world, where he’s trained as a Green Lantern by Sinestro (Mark Strong), head of the Green Lantern corp. Hal fails to meet Sinestro’s standards. He thinks he’s a failure and goes back to Earth.
Then Parallax threatens Earth. With the help of his close friend, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), Hal is forced to re-evaluate himself and take action.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Alien powers; superheroes
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Green Lantern contains intense comic book-style violence. There’s not much blood and gore, but there is some brutality and torture. For example:
- Parallax kills three aliens by sucking out their souls. There are images of what looks like alien skeletons being ripped from bodies and sucked into Parallax’s mouth. All that’s left are shrivelled corpses.
- Three men attack Hal in a parking lot. Two of them hold Hal’s arms while a third punches him in the stomach and knees him in the head. The three men then punch Hal many times in the face, head and body and throw him to the ground. Hal accidentally unleashes his superpowers and throws the three men through the air. One man crashes through a brick wall, while another crashes through a car windscreen.
- During a training session and fight between Hal and two aliens, a troll-like alien throws a large disc at Hal. This knocks Hal backwards a long way. The alien offers to help Hal up, but then punches Hal in the face and knocks him back down. Hal punches the alien in the groin. The alien throws Hal through a brick wall and also throws two large boulders at him. A second alien attacks Hal with various weapons, all created by mind power.
- In a flashback, a young boy watches his father’s jet catch fire and crash after take-off. The father gets out of the cockpit and doesn’t seem hurt. As the young boy runs towards his father, the plane explodes in a giant fireball. This instantly kills the father as the young boy looks on.
- A grotesquely disfigured man infected with an alien virus uses telekinetic powers to force a man to stab himself in the forehead with a hypodermic syringe. The man does this with such force that he knocks himself off his feet. The disfigured man also uses his powers to tie down another man on a table. Then he uses flame-throwers to engulf the table and the screaming man in flames. He throws a woman head first into a window with enough force to crack the window. Then he uses his powers to control two giant robot arms, which pick up two soldiers and slam them into each other. Other soldiers have their own tasers turned against them. Later in the movie, the same disfigured man uses his powers to suspend a woman in mid-air while a hypodermic syringe containing an alien virus floats millimetres from her throat.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:
- At first, Parallax has a face with yellow, evil-looking eyes and a mouth full of pointed fangs. During the movie, Parallax changes to look like a giant black smoke cloud with smoke tentacles for arms and an evil-looking skull with yellow glowing eyes, which come out of the centre of the cloud.
- The movie has all kinds of aliens. The alien Abin Sur has a human appearance but also has transparent red skin that shows the individual muscle fibres underneath. Another alien looks like a troll, while another looks a bit like a fish.
- After being hurt, Abin Sur has a large bloody wound with purple blood on his shoulder and chest and several small cuts to his face. He dies from his injuries, and a later scene shows his dead body on an autopsy table.
- A man examines a large wound in the chest of a dead alien. He sticks his finger and hand into the wound and gets covered with purple blood.
- In several scenes, a man who has been infected with an alien virus grabs hold of his head and screams in pain. His head, face and jaw mutate and become grotesquely swollen and misshapen.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
This movie has occasional low-level sexual references and innuendo. For example:
- A woman talks about a man disappointing women sexually.
- In a sexual innuendo, a man talks about having sex with a woman for the first time by referring to ‘flying planes together’. A woman tells him that he’d fly with anyone who’d get into a plane with him.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie shows some infrequent alcohol drinking, but it doesn’t show any drunkenness. For example, characters drink beer and champagne socially.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has occasional partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- A man and woman lie in bed. The man’s head rests on the woman’s bare shoulders. The man leaps out of bed wearing underpants.
- A woman wears a low-cut evening dress.
- A woman and man kiss.
Apple and LG are displayed or used in this movie. Merchandise associated with the movie, such as Green Lantern figurines, is also being marketed to children.
This movie contains some low-level coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Green Lantern is a science fiction superhero adventure based on the Green Lantern comic books. The movie is full of fast-paced action and special effects and is likely to appeal to adolescent children. But it’s worth noting that the movie does have several scenes likely to scare children and younger teenagers.
The main message from this movie is that we all have the ability to overcome fear. Admitting that you’re afraid is the first step.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include courage, self-sacrifice and empathy.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about issues such as the real-life consequences of some of the behaviour shown in the movie. For example, Hal sometimes acts in thoughtless, reckless and self-destructive ways, which endangers both life and property. But the movie doesn’t show what would happen to people in real life if they acted that way.