Green Lantern Is My Homeboy

Derek Ouellette —  June 20, 2011

My brother-in-law introduced Green Lantern to me in my early tweens. Before that I hadn’t really been in the comic book scene much (though I loved to watch Saturday morning superhero cartoons).

I fell in love with the character of Green Lantern, first Hal Jordan and then – perhaps more so – Kyle Ryner. I loved a superhero who’s only limitation was his own imagination because I had an extraordinary imagination myself. As a young child I loved to play alone. I didn’t like it when other kids tried to play with me because they seldom kept to my imaginary script.

I also loved GL’s emotional and relational struggles. His relationships and emotional battles were far more complex than Lois and Clark, and like me GL often struggled with insecurity and low self-esteem. He’s been given great power but feels that his past as a professional screw-up disqualifies him of the honour of being a GL. As a Christian I often reflect on my own shortcomings, both past and present, and when I do I often feel that I should be disqualified from the honour of being “endowed with power from on high” and created “in the divine image”.

Yet at the very moment when the issues at stake insurmountably outweigh whatever introverted-emotional struggles GL might be facing, it is then that he forgets about himself and raises to the call of self-sacrifice for the sake of others. Like when I struggle with depression and worry about those things the Bible tells me not to worry about, and then I discover that someone is in need – a loved one passes away, a child has been abused, a friend is going through a divorce, a relative has lost his home – that I am reminded that it is not all about me. It is at those moments that I instinctively forget about myself and all of my struggles and the insecurities I may face on a daily bases for the sake of others.

It is fascinating to note that Green Lantern’s greatest external enemy is not so much a person, but a colour: yellow. Yellow is the colour of fear. Green is the colour of will. When a Green Lantern fears, he loses his will and thus his power. Whether fear is harnessed by the entity known as Parallax or by the former GL known as Sinestro in the form of a yellow ring, Green Lantern must overcome fear if he is to defeat this great enemy. Of this I am reminded that I have been made “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) through him who loved me and that “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

GL is my homeboy because I can relate with him on so many levels. But of course there are notable places of divergence. Green Lantern gets his power from his own will, but my power comes from on high. He has been chosen because his power ring sees something within him that he does not see. I have been chosen by the grace of God, and not because of anything within me. He overcomes his struggles by discovering that he is worthy. I overcome my struggles by surrendering to the fact that I am not.

A Few Movie Thoughts ~ Spoiler Alert

When I watched the Matrix Trilogy and saw some of the great scenes of Neo flying through the air my first reaction was, wow! I think they could do a Green Lantern movie now and make it look really cool. I liked the Superman movie that came out a few years back. I enjoyed the new Batman movies with Christian Bale. But when I heard that they were making a Green Lantern movie, I found my Geeked-out niche!

As my friends on Facebook could testify to, I doctored up a few pictures to make myself look like GL, I have consistently posted GL trailers and I even purchased a Green Lantern replica power ring for $42.56.

You’ll not find it surprising then to discover that I went to go see it opening night, and yes, I walked away with a half-grin on my face. I felt like Reynolds did a fantastic job of capturing the character of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. From his audacious reprimand of the Guardians to his creative use of the power ring (recall his rescue of a helicopter by creating a racing car, catching the chopper in the cockpit and creating a racetrack to guide it to safety), to the hilarious balcony scene (he’s not nearly as smooth at pulling off the secret identity thing as Superman) I think Reynolds nailed it, as did Mark Strong (Sinestro). If the sequel ever sees the light of day I think pitting these two against each other will make the movie infinitely better than the first (barring improved CGI and a better script which, frankly, probably won’t be hard to do now that the introductory essentials have been explained).

I wasn’t a fan of Hector Hammond as the main villain, and for my part I think they could have kept the Parallax storyline without him and it would have been better. I felt the storyline moved a little bit too quickly and was painfully disappointed with the CGI at certain places. But I do want to see a second one. They certainly set it up for a sequel (in fact, Warner Bros. commissioned a team to write the script for the sequel a year ago) and I believe they could do better. I want to see them try.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Craig L. Adams

    I hated the movie, but I love the character of Green Lantern. Our whole family hated the move, and there are 3 GL fans in the group. We wanted it to be soooooo much better than it was. And, it could have been.

    • Derek Ouellette

      I hear ya Craig… it could have been much better. As a fellow fan of GL, I just hope they don’t give up on it.

  • cherry

    This movie is a classic example of why i don’t listen to the “critics” because if i did there would be a lot of good movies i never would have watched like this one. Keep in mind it’s a comic book movie it needs to be kept in that genre & that being said i really liked it. My concern going into it was ryan reynolds trying to be to funny & the movie being too campy but it was the exact opposite. It has humor but not to much and the villians were crazy cool! Was the best comic movie yet this summer