Can't tell 'The Green Hornet' and 'The Green Lantern' apart? Here's your cheat sheet.

The Year of the Second-Tier Superhero is sure to be a confusing time for the average moviegoer. Sure, we’ve all heard of Batman and Spider-Man, but who’s Thor? What’s a Red Sonja? And, most vexing of all, what the heck is the difference between the Green Hornet, star of the eponymous movie opening today, and the Green Lantern, whose movie comes out in June?

Thankfully, EW is here to answer any and all of your semi-obscure superhero-related questions. Here’s a guide to telling the green guys apart:

ORIGINS

Green Hornet: The older of the two heroes. He first appeared in a radio serial called The Green Hornet in 1936, then went on to star in similarly named film serials, comic books, and a TV show from the ’60s co-starring Bruce Lee.

Green Lantern: Got his start in comics in 1940. He’s never headlined a movie or TV series until this year.


BACKSTORIES

Green Hornet: His true identity is Britt Reid, playboy newspaper publisher.

Green Lantern: The title of “Green Lantern” has been given to a whole series of characters in the comics — they’re all members of a brotherhood called the Green Lantern Corps — but in the upcoming movie, the man in question is Hal Jordan, a cocky test pilot for the U.S. Air Force.


SUPERPOWERS

Green Lantern: His abilities, like Superman’s, are extraterrestrial in nature. Hal Jordan becomes super after a dying alien gives him a magic ring, which grants him powers like flight and the ability to create solid objects using the ring’s energy. In order to “recharge” the ring, Lantern has to say a cheesy oath, which can be heard at the end of his movie’s trailer.

Green Hornet: He’s more of a Batman-type, since he doesn’t actually have superpowers. Hornet fights crime with a range of gadgets and a tricked-out car called the Black Beauty.


COSTUMES

Green Hornet wears an old-school black hat and coat, while Green Lantern rocks a verdant, super-tight bodysuit. (Is it any surprise that the former is played by Seth Rogen, while the latter is played by Ryan Reynolds?) Both also wear half-face masks that don’t really do much to conceal identity.


SIDEKICKS

Green Hornet: He fights alongside Kato (Jay Chou in the movie), his martial arts-expert valet. Fun fact: Kato was originally Japanese in the Green Hornet radio serial, but after Pearl Harbor, references to his Japanese heritage were cut from the show.

Green Lantern: He has no sidekick per se, though Lantern does get some help from Thaal Sinestro (Mark Strong), an alien with powers of his own.


LADY FRIENDS

Green Lantern: Loves Carol Ferris, the vice-president of an aircraft company. She’s played by a brunet Blake Lively in the film.

Green Hornet: Is sweet on his secretary, Lenore “Casey” Case, played by Cameron Diaz.
And there you have it: the non-geek’s guide to green superheroes. Nerds, now it’s your turn — are there any important defining features I missed?

Comments (21 total) Add your comment
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  • Mr. Holloway

    I love that in that IMDb link for “Red Sonja”, the poster says 2009.

    When a movie is delayed two years, that’s usually a good sign, right?

  • Mr. Holloway

    *already fixed. Great catch!

  • knockyourselfout

    Just a little note – the Hornet doesn’t wear a cape. And I think we’re all the better off for it.

  • wierdalexj

    Really?!? I’m sorry but if you can’t tell the difference between The Green Lantern and The Green Hornet don’t even bother watching the movies. This is stupid. Just pick up a comic book and figure it out!

  • Roon

    Let’s really confuse things and throw Green Arrow in to the mix too!

    • Kat

      Bah, he’s easy to pick out. “Looks like Robin Hood. Likes him a skanked-out blonde in fishnets. SHOOTS ARROWS.” :)

    • Sarita

      That’s just what I was thinking. Ha ha. We’re such nerds.

  • Stephen

    Green Hornet is a descendant of The Lone Ranger.

  • BlackIrish4094

    Green Lantern is not a 2nd tier superhero while Green Hornet is actually like a 6th tier hero.

  • Damon

    Ever since Geoff Johns hit that book Green Lantern has become A-List and it could be argued DC’s Trinity(Superman Batman and Wonder Woman)is now their Quadrinity(likely not a word but sounds cool)

    • TheRealEverton

      If you were to argue based on the comics then Superman and Wo dereoman would be 2nd tier (3rd for WW), Lantern has been huge with the whole Blackest Night thing, but the article is on about mass public recognition and Lantern does not have that. Despite being relatively unpopular comics Superman and Wonder Woman do. Example, when the X-Mdn movie came out 11 years ago the X-Men had been by far the biggest selling titles for years, but nobody knew who the were untill after the movie. Sad but true.

    • Bob

      Quadrinity is a word. And yes, it does sound cool.

    • diane

      As a non comic book nerd I promise you Green Lantern isn’t part of the trio. He’s with aquaman and the wonder twins-definately at least one tier down for those of us not paying attention

  • Hannah

    Mark Strong is Sinestro? I love him, but jeez. Play a guy who likes puppies (not to kill or eat!) and plays music (not evil music!) already.

    • TheRealEverton

      You know that’s a spoiler right?

      • Hannah

        His name is Sinestro.

  • KC

    this list would be a lot less confusing if you would consistently list the Green Hornet first and the Green Lantern second (or the other way around).

  • Dude Crush

    First of all, the difference is simple. Why is so hard for people to wrap their heads around two heroes (or countless more) with the same representative color? Secondly, GL beats out Hornet any day of the week. People just seem to be dumb enough to say “the black guy from the cartoons.”

  • captcorajus

    Ok, nerd facts coming.

    The ORIGINAL green lantern, or the “Earth-2″ green lantern’s ring was magical.

    The oath and the Guardians came later, when the book was revamped in the late 50s. Now the ring is “science powered” and its strength is dependent on the will of the wielder.

  • Big Bouzie

    Am I the only one who thinks the writer of this article is an ignorant idiot? Thor and Green Latern second Tier? Educate yourself before you look like a dumbass.

  • Confused

    This post is confusing. a) you didn’t say which actor played which role. is ryan the hornet or the lantern? b) you listed them as green hornet first EXCEPT in the superpowers category where you switched it. very confusing. c) it would have been easier to read and much more fun in a side by side viewing. where was the editor?! (ps – i still love the popwatch blog)

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