If you had told me even a half dozen years ago that there would be a live action Green Lantern film, I would not have believed you. Although rumours of another DC franchise had been swirling for some time, most notably in the form of a comedy starring Jack Black of all people as Hal Jordan, the whole thing seemed destined never to get off the ground.
Until it did.
Five plus months later of living in a world where Ryan Reynolds is the Green Lantern of Sector 2814, I can still scarcely believe that 2011 has been the year not only only of the Emerald Knight, but also a son of Odin, and a 1940s patriot, to say nothing of a prequel to a mutant movie and the third installment of the super car lifeform robot franchise. The inner 10 year old in me, who knew only the promise of the Empire Strikes Back and Superman II, is still in shock and awe.
He’s also in shock and awe at what these films bring to the toy shelves. Although somewhat heady times for comic book companies and the sale of individual issues (compared to today’s era of digital downloads and closing comic specialty stores), the early 1980s were not kind to those of us who longed for our favourite heroes to be translated to plastic. Speaking for myself, I was too young for the golden age of Mego’s Super Heroes, and would be too old for the silver age of Kenner’s Super Powers (DC) collection and Mattel’s Secret Wars (Marvel) line. The long march of the modern age of super hero figures, that began with ToyBiz’s Batman movie figures and early Marvel figures and now permeates the toy isles with the likes of Captain America and Thor, the DC Universe Collection and Retro-Action characters, and Marvel Universe, was a long, long way away.
It’s into this arena that Green Lantern and its license merchandise falls. And it’s not an insignificant question given the importance of licensed products to a film’s bottom line. But it’s surely not 1991 anymore. 20 years of steady progress in toy development has had an impact on the toys on the pegs, just as the tastes of toy collectors and aficionados have become refined. No longer is it enough to see simply a familiar costumed hero - that hero must be articulate and durable, peering out from the window of full colour, innovative packaging and at a friendly price point.
So how does Green Lantern stack up? That’s the subject of upcoming posts, as we look at both the Movie Masters and 4″ toy line in the week ahead.