A Live-Action Adaptation of DC Comics' Green Lantern released in June 2011, intending to serve as an origin story for Hal Jordan, with Ryan Reynolds in the lead role.The Green Lanterns are an intergalactic peacekeeping force, whose members are given a ring that "turns thought into reality." The greatest danger to the corps is Parallax, who represents fear and the yellow energy. When respected Corps member Abin Sur is fatally injured he lands on Earth and a new Green Lantern is called to take his place, Hal Jordan.Hal is the first human chosen to be a Lantern, which earns him few friends and he struggles with a lot of personal issues regarding what is considered to be the "fearless" Green Lantern ideal. Contrasting him, a bitter, resentful childhood friend Hector Hammond is infected with a part of Parallax and causing him to gain unstable psychic powers and give in to his fears. As Parallax sets its sights on Earth, Hal is forced to harness the power of the ring and save his planet.The film was intended to launch the DC Comics cinematic universe, a direct counterpart to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and more specifically to Iron Man. However, it was received poorly at the box office and by critics, leaving any sequels in limbo. 2013's Man of Steel starring Superman is another shot at launching a shared DC movie-verse.
This movie contains examples of:
Adaptational Attractiveness: Amanda Waller, who in the comic books is an obese, stubbornly middle-aged woman and not a very nice one, is played by Angela Bassett. To the movie's credit, she is depicted as a respectable government agent and downplays Bassett's model-looks.
Artistic License - Astronomy: Tomar-Re claims that a sector is a thousand times larger than the stars you can see from Earth on the clearest night, which numbers around 5000 maximum. Given 3600 sectors, that adds up to 1.8 billion stars. The Milky Way alone consists of 400 billion stars.
Analogy Backfire: A more dramatic version, as Hal tries to comfort Carol when he was about to confront Parallax by comparing it to his dogfight at the beginning of the film. She replies incredulously, "Those were a couple of jets..." and Hal's subsequent pushing of the analogy that the jets were also "unbeatable" doesn't seem to help much.
Car Cushion: An extended one happens during the battle against Parallax. Though it's not a vertical fall, Hal being thrown back into the side of a truck, flying out as it turns over and crashing into an SUV, then finally stopping against another parked car, definitely qualifies as an example.
Catch and Return: In the climatic battle, Jordan lands a blow against Parallax by creating a catapult to catch one of the monster's energy blasts and fling it back into his face.
Chainsaw Good: In a duel with Sinestro during Hal's training, Hal makes a sword construct, Sinestro counters with dual wielded swords. Hal counters with a chainsaw. Sinestro counters with a chainmail net.
Chekhov's Gun: Quite a lot, mostly well placed. The robotic planes, Hal's father's sayings.
The Chosen One: Literally, and the ring choosing Hal is brought up quite often.
The Chosen Many: All of the Green Lanterns were in fact chosen by their rings.
Clark Kenting: Subverted, hilariously. When visiting Carol, Hal tries behaving a little more cocky, wears his mask and lowers his voice Batman-style. She is briefly overwhelmed but soon sees through it.
Carol: I've known you my whole life! I've seen you NAKED! You don't think I would recognize you because I can't see your cheekbones?!
Parallax. It has the same basic characteristics as the Fear Demon of the comics but it has its origin taken from other foes: The Guardian that was possessed is identified as being Krona in various supporting material for the film, his role as Abin-Sur's archenemy and Death by Origin Story is taken from Legion and/or Atrocitus; whilst the idea of a Guardian being possessed by Parallax was used with Ganthet in Green Lantern: Rebirth. He may also have parts of Appa Ali Apsa, a well-intentioned Guardian who ended up insane.
Hal Jordan himself has a few elements borrowed from fellow Lantern Kyle Rayner in this film. In the comics, Hal was much closer to the Green Lantern ideal, being 'a man without fear'. Like Kyle, though, the film's version of Hal finds that knowing fear and being able to overcome it is what gives him the strength to face Parallax. Though it is Hal in the comics that figures out how to turn that to their advantage. Kyle knowing fear was able to identify the threat but stayed on the run until meeting the other Lanterns who were fearless.
Hector Hammond is a merging of various comics versions of the character but his powers and deformity is tied in with being corrupted by Parallax and having a few related powers.
Cool Car: Hal makes one out of a helicopter and his powers.
Crucified Hero Shot: As Hal punches Parallax into the sun he had exerted all of his energy and passed out, drifting into the sun himself only to be rescued by the other Lanterns. He sprawls out slightly but it isn't a full on cross-shape.
Curbstomp Battle: In their training fight, Hal pulls off a couple good moves, but ultimately is absolutely no match for the far more skilled and experienced Sinestro.
Death Glare: During Sinestro's addressing the Corps on the situation with Parallax, he mentions Abin Sur's death, and specifically that he could never be replaced, prompting a few Lanterns in the crowd to give a few angry looks straight at Hal, his successor.
Disastrous Demonstration: Hal's scenario-breaking defeat of the drone planes subverts this, as Carol is able to salvage the company contract with some fast-talking arguments.
The Dragon: Hammond to Parallax. Something of an unusual example in that Parallax never meant to recruit Hammond and didn't seem to even know of him until near the end of the movie, when Hal links to Parallax psychically through Hammond. As well Hammond is clearly inferior in power to Parallax and other than bringing him to Earth Hammond didn't seem to be actively working for him.
Drama-Preserving Handicap: Surprisingly averted. While many storylines in the Green Lantern series, as well as most adaptations, have the Ring lose power and have to be recharged at some kind of pivotal moment, the only time Hal is out of power when he wants to use the ring is when he goes to show it off to his buddy, and it's got plenty of charge throughout the climax.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Kilowog revels in this: "Welcome to ringslinging 101, poozer. Or as I like to call it, 'the worst day of your worthless life."
Driven to Villainy: Hammond. All his acts of villainy would never had happened if it wasn't for Parallax infecting him & giving him the means to lash out at the world.
Drives Like Crazy: Hal was late to the test flight and was also trying to wrap a package, leaving him to almost hit an oncoming car in the other lane. Hal swerves back into place with the horns blaring from the other cars, muttering "Asshole."
Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Thoroughly averted (Oa is), as it was treated as pure coincidence that Abin Sur crashed on Earth and Hal is chosen as the next Green Lantern. Parallax taking an interest in Earth is also directly connected to a fragment of Parallax (from Sur's body) infecting Hammond and attracting the Eldritch Abomination.
Establishing Character Moment: Hal is first seen late to work, jumping out of bed with a woman in it, rushing to a test flight against two advanced AI fighters, which he defeats by some unorthodox strategy. Throughout the film he is shown rushing into a situation with no hesitation, which leaves his life rather chaotic and unorganized but the instant he saw an injured Abin Sur he takes off like a bullet to help with the same fearlessness. Notably this holds true in the extended cut, where a 10 year old Hal is shown rushing towards his father's downed jet while everyone else is running to safety.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The biggest reason for Parallax's downfall is because he was incapable of understanding what true courage is: He thought it meant the absolute absence of fear, it really meant not giving in to fear. Made especially apparent when Hal Jordan, despite having fear in him, managed to defeat Parallax and not allowing him to feed on his internal fear.
Evil Costume Switch: In the credits scene, Sinestro takes the yellow ring and puts it on, switching his Green Lantern uniform to a movie version of his Sinestro Corps uniform.
Evil Counterpart: The film heavily parallels Hal becoming a Green Lantern with Hammond being empowered by Parallax. Both Hal and Hammond are part of the same social circle and have several very similar psychological hangups, including daddy issues and chronic underachieving. This is quite a contrast to the comics, where the Hammond character was a fairly minor villain with no personal or thematic connection to Hal.
Evil Laugh: Hammond the more he becomes evil. Sinestro after putting on the yellow lantern ring.
Evil Mentor: Sinestro actually averts this, believe it or not. His "The Reason You Suck" Speech directed at Hal (i.e. the mentoring) was motivated by dissapointment in ring's choice rather than malice and otherwise helpful in informing him of the dangers of fear. He never performs a single evil act the whole movie and even congratulates Hal at the end. If there's a sequel, however, he will inevitably become the Big Bad.
Evil Plan: Paralllax's goal is to devour as many people and words as he can on his way to Oa so he can destroy it for revenge.
Fantastic Racism: Of a sort. Most members of the Corps are really disdainful of humanity, but it seems to be because they feel humans are immature and need some time to grow rather than believing humans are inherently inferior.
This looked like it might actually be averted, despite the fact that every adaptation of Green Lantern has Sinestro make a Face-Heel Turn and gain a yellow power ring. After Hal beats Parallax, Sinestro leads the group that saves him from burning up in the sun and gives a speech indicating he's come to respect Hal and see him as a worthy successor to his friend Abin Sur. Then he retrieves the yellow ring and puts it on anyway.
Sinestro's eyes appear quite yellow when dueling with Hal.
Gilligan Cut: Carol repeatedly turns down Hal's offer to dance. Guess what she winds up doing.
Good Is Not Nice: Most of the corps, with the exception of Tomar-Re, but especially Sinestro.
Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Invoked when Kilowog creates the pull of a sun behind Hal. And then shuts it off without warning. He even states a cruder version of the trope name, saying that "gravity's a bitch".
Gravity Sucks: Kilowog demonstrates to Hal Jordan, and Hal uses the Sun's gravity to defeat Parallax.
Heroic BSOD: Sinestro has a very subtle one when he tries and fails to contain Parallax with some of the finest Lanterns under his command. Mark Strong's facial expressions convey that Sinestro is freaking out when Parallax shatters the bonds of his Lantern's constructs
Heroic Resolve: Parallax makes the mistake of Evil Gloating when it thinks it has Hal on the ropes. Hearing it tell him it's going to destroy all he cares about along with the Oath is what gives Hal the true resolve to continue the fight and defeat Parallax alone.
Homage: The dog fight with the AI shares a lot of the elements of Top Gun: Hal does Maverick's quick-climb trick to duck behind pursuing fighters (it doesn't work this time), he freezes up mid-flight over memories of his father, and he ultimately loses the plane when it goes into a flat spin.
Humans Are Special: The official synopsis and the movie itself state that Hal's special as a Lantern since unlike all other Lanterns, he possesses humanity (though Viewers Are Geniuses/Captain Obvious bonus for the obvious reply of "Well yes, because they're all aliens"). The film posits that humanity's special trait is the ability to recognize one's own flaws and weaknesses, as exemplified by the phrase "I'm only human." In contrast, Hal accuses the Guardians of being "afraid to admit [they're] afraid."
Idiot Ball: Obviously Parallax, as he apparantly forgets the problems with size and stellar bodies, something taught on a GL recruit's FIRST DAY. This trope is the only possible excuse for that, except perhaps Unstoppable Rage.
I Lied: Hammond promises he'll let Carol go if Hal gives him the ring, and naturally tries to kill Hal as soon as he has it. Of course, Hal lied too - since the ring didn't choose Hammond, he can't use it, and it backfires on him.
Illuminati: Hinted at - the popularly held "all-seeing eye" logo can be seen on the hard drive containing Hammond's autopsy of Abin Sur. It's the symbol of the US Department of Extranormal Operations◊, likely being set-up for future DC-universe films.
Instant Expert: Hal Jordan demonstrates considerable skill with a Power Ring after minimal training. Although its is established that it downloaded all its knowledge into his head which presumably included the manual.
Ironic Echo: "I just want what's best for you." Kind of weakened in impact since it was repeated ironically only a few minutes after it was first said.
I Surrender, Suckers: Hal Jordan gives his ring to Hector Hammond in exchange for Carol Ferris' life. After playing around with the ring for a bit, this happens:
Hector: Hal, I Lied! (tries to blast him, but the blast stops inches from Hal's face)
Hal: I Lied, too. (sends the blast back at Hector)
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jordan himself, as well as Kilowog and several members of the Corps who don't exactly take kindly to an "Earthman" being granted a spot in their group. They all eventually get over it, of course.
Kaleidoscope Eyes: Hal's eye change from brown to very light blue whenever he has the mask on, when his ring signals danger and when he first learns the oath. Hammond has a version of this too, overlapping with Supernatural Gold Eyes.
This is actually one of the psychological hang-ups that Hector has with his dad. Hector is a mild-mannered bookworm who doesn't aspire to much despite his intelligence while he is drafted into a government project because of his dad's connections, implying that Senator Hammond wanted Hector to at least come somewhere close to his own field.
Logo Joke: Both the WB and DC logos are ring creations.
Marquee Alter Ego: Lampshaded by Carol, but also cleverly played with in such a way that it has an in-story justification. The mask is an extension of the ring's will-generated constructs, which means it appears only when the wearer feels the need to protect his identity and is not present otherwise, which means we also see Sinestro, Tomar-Re, and Kilowog without their masks.
Merchandise-Driven: That tiny throwaway bit where Hal activates his nephew's Hot Wheels loop-the-loop toy? Done so that Hal could replicate it with the ring for Rule of Cool, but also because of a merchandise tie-in with Hot Wheels.
Carol's callsign is "Sapphire" and she's got an eight-pointed star (the Star Sapphire symbol) on the side of her helmet. Probably also counts as Foreshadowing. An an article about her possibly becoming head of Ferris Aircraft has the headline "Rising Star".
Ferris Aircraft's big project is testing out the effectiveness of A.I. fighter jets, which Hal ruins by outmaneuvering and destroying the jets, despite being told they react faster and better than human pilots. In the comics, Hal continually performs the same song-and-dance against the Manhunter robots.
The beautiful fractal that Tomar-Re generates for Hal while training him to focus his will to use the ring is a 3D representation of the Mobius strip the Green Lanterns use as a form of greeting in the Silver Age comics.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Sinestro. More than one article about the movie has noted that with a name like that, he's obviously not going to stay a good guy. And that is without knowing the comics. Strangely, he's actually nicer than his comics counterpart, who was an arrogant control freak even before he left the Corps and put on the yellow ring.
Neutral Female: Hal tells Carol to stay out of his fight with Parallax and she quickly agrees. When he gets in trouble, however, she turns on a jet and fires it's missles at the monster. Then she grabs Hal's ring and throws it to him.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thanks to Hal going out of his way to shoot down the A.I. fighter jets, Ferris Aircraft looks like it'll lose the government contract they were looking to get with the display and a lot of people are going to lose their jobs. Thankfully, Carol's able to turn it around; she pointed out that Hal broke the rules to do so and the engineers were able to fix the jets' flaw. Of course, Hal pointed out the same thing immediately after the simulation exercise, but didn't get any credit.
Non-Uniform Uniform: All the Green Lantern's have a similar look to their uniforms, but they all have slight variations. In the case on Tomar Re, his suit has a sort of fish-scale texture to it. Sinestro has a more militaristic appearance while Hal's has a pattern resembling human muscle tissue. It is hinted at least twice that this is because the "uniform" consists of the ring giving you transparent green skin; the texture looks different based on your skin and muscle textures.
Offstage Villainy: We see Parallax eat the souls of a few aliens and Green Lanterns directly, but he completely devoured four planets before coming to Earth.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted! Tom immediately sees through it at Green Lantern's big entrance at the party (though he was already in on the ring from the dying alien), whilst Carol realizes it's Hal once she gets a chance to actually look at his face. Lampshaded in what is probably the most hilarious scene in the movie:
I've seen you naked, you think I wouldn't recognize you because I can't see your cheekbones?!
Recut: The Blu Ray exclusive "Extended Cut" - It restores the full version of Martin Jordan's death between the revival of Parallax & the attack on Abin Sur, but nothing else.
Red Shirt: The three aliens at the beginning who open the lid on Parallax's can; and the squad of Lanterns that Sinestro later leads in an ill-fated attempt to stop Parallax from taking any more worlds. Did you really think anything good was going to happen to them?
Sinestro leads an elite squad to confront Parallax and assess the power of their adversary. At least four of them die rather swiftly and none of them appear to be a comic-established Lantern (unlike some in the big crowd scene during Sinestro's speech to the Corp). Sinestro is the only one we see return from the encounter.
That Poor Car: When Hal punches three guys at once (first time he uses the ring) it causes all the alarms in the parking lot to go off.
Touch Telepathy: The movie has Hector Hammond infected with a strain of Parallax and gradually gain psychic powers. He starts reading minds naturally but learns he can tap into deeper memories via direct contact.
Trailers Always Lie: The trailers paint the other Corps members as having a more prominent role than they actually do.
Trailers Always Spoil: Trailers have shown Parallax draining Hector Hammond's body of energy, leaving behind a crispy corpse. In one of the clips released before the film, some fans recognized a Chekhov's Gun when Kilowog explained to Hal the dangers of flying in space, including the gravity of the Sun. In the trailers, Hal appears in front of the Sun.
Tron Lines: Most of the variations of the GL uniform have streaks of energy running around them, but it is most notable on Hal. When he starts exerting more power/will you can see the energy flowing around his body and through the ring.
The Unfavorite: Hector seems to resent Hal for generally being more successful than him, and it presents itself as his father greets Hal with more warmth and praise than ever given to him.
The Extended Cut shows that Hector's relationship with his father was like this as a child.
Remember those three guys Hal injured (and possibly killed if you consider the guy who got smashed through a brick wall) in the parking lot? He sure doesn't.
An early scene has Hal's attending his nephew's birthday and talking with his extended-extended family for a time. While it builds a bit of Hal's character (and subtly sets up a Chekhov's Gun) they don't show up again. As evidenced by the DVD/Blu Ray release, more scenes were shot with them, as one Deleted Scene features Hal flying in to save his nephew from Parallax.
What the Hell, Hero?: After reporting that Abin Sur's final message to him was simply "It's Parallax." to the Guardians, only for the Guardians to respond that they are assessing the situation; Sinestro angrily points that whilst the Guardians "assess", innocent lives will be lost.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Hal gives one to the Guardians and Sinestro once he realizes why claiming you are fearless is self-defeating.
You Are Not Alone: When Jordan, forced to battle Parallax alone, defeats the entity and threatens to fall into the sun himself after losing consciousness, Sinestro, Kilowog and Tomar-Re arrive to rescue him and take him back to Oa.
You Have Failed Me: Parallax kills Hammond for failing to kill Hal - he even says the line word for word.
You Shall Not Pass: Basically what Hal is saying once he recites the Green Lantern Oath while fighting Parallax. Doubles as Survival Mantra. Also inverted; his goal is to lead Paralax away from Earth instead of stopping him from reaching it.