Those of you who know me know what a superhero fanatic I am. In fact, before I went into ministry, I was on the fast track to having “superhero” as my profession of choice. Superheroes often bring out the best in all of us. They are, to me, one of the most evident ways in which we can see our culture aspire to be something better. They are the residue, if you will, of the imago dei. Green Lantern is no different.

I normally don’t write movie reviews, but I felt compelled to write this one since Green Lantern was released today and got a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For those of you who don’t know, that is not too good. In fact, the rating is “rotten” rather than “fresh.” In comparison, X-Men: First Class got 87% and Thor recieved 77%. Having just left the movie, all I could think was, “What did they see? It certainly wasn’t what I just saw.” As well, I am saddened because the low ratings will mean low ticket sales. Low ticket sales will make a sequel less likely. Sigh… Well, here is my attempt to throw my hat of influence in the ring and say as loudly as I can: Don’t listen to the critics!! Green Lantern ranks among the best superhero movies ever made. Here is how I would list my top five:

1. Superman the Movie (1978)

2. Batman: Dark Knight

3. Iron Man/Green Lantern

4. Spiderman

5. X-Men

What made this movie great?

Let me be blunt here. Ryan Reynolds did a fine job, but this will not be his breakout movie. In fact, his performance will probably be one of the least memorable parts of the movie. But Hal Jordan (the Green Lantern/Ryan Reynolds) is no Tony Stark. In other words, Ryan Reynolds is not supposed to be a bigger-than-life character. His story, while great, is not the compelling feature of the Green Lantern comic. Sure, he is the greatest Green Lantern to ever wear the ring (although John Stewart is close), but what makes Green Lantern epic is not any one member of the Lantern Corps, it is the Lantern Corps itself. And this movie downplays Jordan just enough for us to get what it is all about.

The Green Lantern Corps, to make it simple, is a force of intergalactic police. Only the greatest men/creatures are chosen to be a part of this Corps. They fight for goodness everywhere. Each wears a ring that is powered by “green.” Well, not really green, but what green represents: the will. The power of the will brings each member of the Corps almost unlimited power to fight against evil. Here is their motto:

In brightest day
In blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power
Green Lantern’s might

I just got chills writing that!

Green Lantern is a well-done movie which focuses on how Hal Jordan became a part of the Green Lantern Corps. Like all good movies, there is a bit of mystery to it, which is this: Why did the ring choose Hal Jordan, this seemingly messed-up pilot who disappoints everyone?

The villain of the story was more than I could have hoped for. In essence, it was fear personified. Well, there is more to it than that, but the story is one of our battle against our fear. The solution is not pride or power, but courage. A redeeming feature of the movie is one of courage. Courage, as all beings (even the great Guardians) have to learn from the timid Hal Jordan, is not the absence of fear, but being able to face these fears. As Christians, we understand that our position before the Lord has the implications of a fearless life (1 John 4:18). However, sanctification involves a continual overcoming of our fear.

Ultimately (spoiler alert), the primary villain of the Green Lantern Corps is Senestro. As far as characters go, he is the best character in the movie (especially for those of us who know he turns bad). He serves as an illustration for those of us who have good intentions, but use evil to accomplish the good. Evil cannot be entertained. As you will see if you stay to watch the scene after the credits, Senestro will learn the hard way.


Though the final scene where Hal Jordan overcomes his fear and recites the Lantern creed was more than up to par, I did feel as if many of the most important scenes were somewhat anti-climactic. The humor was not as good as that of the Marvel brand (DC rarely can compete with Marvel here). Those would be my biggest criticisms.

Is it good for kids?

Overall, yes. I would allow all of my kids, ages 4 to 12, to see it. I don’t remember any curse words at all (though I could have missed one or two). Sexuality is very minimal. Outside of one scene where Hal Jordan wakes up late for work and there is a girl in his bed (under the covers), there is no implication of sex at all.

Overall, Green Lantern is one of the best superhero movies ever made.  The story is so original and compelling that it would be hard to tell the story without it being good. I am no prophet, but I foresee kids for the next decade hanging up their capes and their web-slingers and putting on a ring reciting the creed.

Long live the Corps.

What did you think of the movie?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    21 replies to "Movie Review: Green Lantern"

    • Doug

      Thanks for the review, Michael. I did not know that rotten tomatoes gave it such a dismal rating. I am to see it tomorrow and the previews have been promising (to me). I’m glad you were enthusiastic about it. I appreciate the comments.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      My wife and I went to see X-Men First Class last week and thought it was terrific.

      If you saw both and thought Green Lantern was even better than X-Men First Class, then I gotta see Green Lantern!

      P.S. I thought the actor playing the young Charles Xavier was the best rendition of a Charles Xavier character I have ever seen in the X-men movies. He was that good.

    • Rick

      Hope you will review Captain America when it comes out.

    • Derick Harper

      Just the fact you would list “Superman: The Movie” in the top 5, much less #1, makes me doubt your word that this movie is any good. That movie stunk! And I so want “Green Lantern” to be good.

    • Bill Trip

      I would put the Dark Knight at number one ahead of Superman the movie.

    • Dallas

      I saw it last night. I would rate it in the top two superhero movies ever made.The message of courage is one that is much needed today

    • […] rest is here: Movie Review: Green Lantern | Parchment and Pen Tags: fast, often-bring, profession, superhero-fanatic, the-fast « […]

    • Ed Kratz

      Superman must be ranked #1 because of its iconic status and because it is the first in a genre of Superhero movies. It set the bar and inspired the legacy which we enjoy today. I am not saying that were it made today it would enjoy such a ranking, only that for its time (1978) it was amazing.

    • J. Paul

      I was only somewhat impressed by the previews and planned to wait for it on DVD, that is until I read your review which aroused excitement. It went far above my expectations. The plot was great, especially the fear vs. will (courage) aspect.

      I did take my two older boys (8 and 10), thinking they could handle it. Unfortunately, it was too intense for them and they were scared. My oldest son has mild autism and he had his head down and covered his ears through most of it. I was able to have some good discussion with them about not allowing fear to keep us from doing the right thing: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7).

      I was disappointed to hear 12 swear words and the use of God and Jesus as an exclamation 3 times. I’m sorry Michael, it might have been because of my kids, but they just seemed over-the-top. There were also at least three sexual innuendos that were very uncomfortable.

    • debi


    • jim

      How can Dark Knight not be #1.
      I liked Thor and will see X-men tomorrow.
      Green lantern was always a favorite of mine growing up so will probably see that as well. I tend to agree with Paul on the sexual thing, is it really necessary or could the movie stand alone. As far as bad language , just walk the streets and schools or work place it’s REAL life.
      I guess I never was a home schooler and figure one’s faith should be protection enough without being over protective. Here in Canada , popcorn/drink/admission on Tuesday’s is $10.00 …….

    • Romel

      Green Lantern ditched the Thomist tradition in this movie. In rooting his source of power in the conatus, Green Lantern sided with the Franciscan nominalists William of Occam and John Duns Scotus….Of course radical orthodox theologians blame the ills of the world on the Franciscan nominalists, and also claim (falsely in my view) that the Protestant Reformation, at least, via Calvin, continued this heresy of the arbitrary will…

    • ruben

      I’m surprised that Spiderman 2 is not in your list..

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      In brightest day
      In blackest night
      No evil shall escape my sight
      Let those who worship evil’s might
      Beware my power
      Green Lantern’s might

      “I just got chills writing that!

      I foresee kids for the next decade hanging up their capes and their web-slingers and putting on a ring reciting the creed.”

      Cool! That would mean kids would judge/discern/recognize/define what is evil and who is committing evil.

      Love those who fight EvilDoers.

    • jim

      Romel, Huh!! In the green light there must exist free will, it’s the odous dark of calivism that lurks on man’s outer consciousness. . … and you to have a choice to go or not to go…..(LOL)

    • Truth Unites... and Divides


      The Green Light represents Biblical Calvinism!


    • Ed Kratz



    • EricW

      To 3D or not 3D?

      Is Green Lantern worth the extra $3 or so to see it in 3D?

    • Michelle

      My oh my………I watched green lantern tonight after reading the review on this site. After the demonic beginning, the numerous cuss words that use my Lord and Saviors name, I was ashamed I even let this in my house. Is it any wonder that christians are not shocked at sin anymore.We are to be a holy people, and to be innocent of the things of this world. You may want to be more careful what you endorse, at least be honest.

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