A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated film is a bit darker than most superhero cartoons. The villain, Sinestro, uses violence to intimidate people, tortures suspects, and isn’t above murdering his allies if they no longer fit into his plans. This casual brutality and menace makes him seem a shade more evil and more intense than most bad guys as he plots to rule the universe. There’s some minor swearing and even a scene that seems to involve an alien drug, so the film is probably a bit too much for younger viewers.
What's the story?
A mysterious spacecraft crashes on Earth bearing a mortally-wounded alien, whose final act is to pass on a very special ring to fighter pilot Hal Jordan (voiced by Christopher Meloni). To Jordan’s amazement, he discovers that the ring marks him as a member of the Green Lantern Corps, an ancient, intergalactic police force that was created by the Guardians of the Universe. Jordan soon meets some of his new comrades, including Sinestro (Victor Garber), a red-skinned Lantern with a mean streak and a secret agenda.
Is it any good?
GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT is an entertaining superhero yarn that manages to combine both the necessary secret-origin tale with a surprisingly complex story. Hal Jordan, the newest Green Lantern and the first Earthman ever recruited to the Corps, is fun to watch as he quickly figures out how to use his ring and learns his way around the galaxy. A key part of the story is Jordan’s gradual realization that his new partner Sinestro is plotting to overthrow the Guardians and install himself as ruler of the universe.
Sinestro is what sets this film apart from the standard superhero flick. Yes, he seeks ultimate power, but his motivations are more nuanced than the average super-villain; he thinks the Guardians have gone soft, and the universe needs a firmer hand that only he can provide. But as Jordan observes, Sinestro’s budding megalomania manifests itself while on the job as a Lantern, when he is eager to abuse his authority to wring information from a reluctant witness or even torture a suspect. The unusually dark Sinestro makes the film richer and more mature, and but is too much for younger kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about authority. The Green Lantern Corps report to the Guardians of the Universe, benevolent beings who try to maintain peace throughout the cosmos. The villain, Sinestro, believes they have gone soft, and that the only way to ensure harmony is for him to seize power. Do you think that an all-powerful ruler could be a good leader? Could this be an effective form of government, or do you think too much power would inevitably corrupt such a supreme leader?
Discuss animated violence. So many cartoons feature exaggerated fight scenes that destroy buildings but leave the participants unscratched. This film features torture, intimidation through violence, and even a cold-blooded murder. Do you think these scenes make the story more interesting, or less appealing to viewers? Does the violence make the movie comparable to a gritty live-action film? Does animation do justice to this style of violent storytelling?
- On DVD or streaming: July 28, 2009
- Cast: Christopher Meloni, Michael Madsen, Victor Garber
- Director: Lauren Montgomery
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 77 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of sci-fi action violence.
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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