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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?