MOVIE: GREEN LANTERN – Becoming Fearless

by Randall Allen Dunn

New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions, when we determine to actually make changes that we’ve wanted to make for a long time. The problem is that, if we really wanted to do it all along, starting a new year won’t help us to finally get it done. It’s up to us to do it, to make whatever plans are necessary to achieve it, and to move aside any barriers that prevent us from completing it.

What stops us from achieving our goals is fear. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, even the fear of real loss if we don’t succeed.

In the film, “Green Lantern”, pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) sees his life flash before his eyes when he cn’t recover after stalling his own plane. He finally ejects, escaping the fate of his own father, a pilot who died in an aircraft explosion. Examination of the plane wreckage shows nothing wrong with the equipment, but Hal refuses to acknowledge that he panicked. Let alone own up to his own irresponsible behavior that led to the crash in the first place.

Later on, things get worse when a glowing green energy bubble surrounds him and transports him to a pier, where he discovers a disable alien spaceship. Inside it, he finds a wounded alien, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), who tells Hal he has been “chosen” by “the ring”, which Hal must now insert into a green lantern and “say the oath”. But Abin Sur passes before he can clarify any of this.

But “the oath” comes to Hal in his apartment, as the lantern’s energy communicates to him. He is soon transported again, this time into deep space, to a place called Oa, where an army of aliens from different planets all wear green uniforms that resemble Hal’s new lantern. They explain that they are the Green Lantern Corps, protecting the entire universe under the leadership of the Guardians. Charged by their individual lanterns, their rings create energy, forming whatever shapes their minds can imagine. The Guardians have determined that an individual’s will is the greatest force in the universe, and this force fuels the rings. However, will power can be weakened by another great power: fear. So a Green Lantern must be fearless.

Hal quickly determines that he’s not qualified for the job.

During training, he fails miserably. Later in a battle on Earth, he fails to stop telekinetic villain Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) from killing own father, Senator Hammond (Tim Robbins). Despite all of his efforts, Hal continues to disappoint others … and himself.

His ex-girlfriend, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), knows how unreliable Hal can be. But she also sees that he has something in him that no one else has, reminding Hal that the ring chose him for a reason. Hal insists that the ring made a mistake. “The one thing that a Green Lantern is supposed to be is fearless,” he tells her. “‘Fearless’ is the job description. That isn’t me.”

She encourages him that the cure for his fear is simple: courage. “The ring didn’t see that you were fearless. It saw that you had the ability to overcome fear.”

When Parallax, an alien mass that feeds on fear, threatens to consume all living things, the Guardians decide to sacrifice Earth while take time they prepare a defense. A defense which involves forging a ring powered by fear, rather than will, to fight fear with more fear.

Hal returns to Oa and advises against the dangerous plan, and insists on protecting his planet. “I know you’re afraid,” he tells them.

“You dare accuse the Guardians of feeling fear?” they demand.

Hal tells them he knows they’re afraid, because he’s experienced it himself, his entire life. But he tells them they can’t give in to fear, because once they cross over that line, fear will overpower them. Instead, they must continue to fight it with their will.

Unable to gain their help, Hal prepares to defend Earth himself. Sinestro (Mark Strong), a Green Lantern who has made his doubts about Hal clear, tells him he will die in his attempt. But Hal insists that he will die trying.

As he battles Parallax, the monster recognizes Hal’s strong will and attempts to break it. He warns Hal that he will fail, that his planet will be destroyed, and that everyone he loves will suffer, all because he was afraid.

But as the beast tries to frighten him, Hal recites his oath:

“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 light!”

He finds new strength and power to fight back, his ring’s green energy forcing the monster back into deep space, where he soon finds a way to destroy it.

Having disposed of the monster and saved the galaxy, Hal takes up his mantle as the new Green Lantern, with the confidence that he will succeed in each of his new challenges.

Whatever we intend to accomplish in life, we will face obstacles. They usually seem insurmountable, until we honestly search for a way to push through them. Until we choose to not give up.

We’re all afraid we’ll fail, or look foolish, or suffer harm. Courage is the choice to act in spite of fear, not because we feel no fear. Don’t give up on your goals, and don’t give in to fear. You can accomplish much more than you might think, if you trust that it’s possible.

Happy New Year!

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