There's a reason I'm excited about this summer more than I have been about the last few waves of superhero movies.

It feels to me like we're about to turn a corner, like the studios have all done the basic real-world origin story and supervillain story about as much as they can do it.  More than they reasonably should have done it, actually.  And it's time for the genre to either evolve or evaporate, so they're finally making the jump to the outrageous.

This summer, we're going to Asgard for the first time.

This summer, the Red Skull's chasing the Cosmic Cube around World War II.

And this summer, the Green Lantern Corps will gather on Oa.

I didn't think we'd ever get to the cosmic space opera comic books.  It seemed to me like the decision-makers were all guys like Tom Rothman, guys who made decisions on franchises like "X-Men" based on personal feelings about things like giant robots, decisions that were also financial as much as creative, decisions that kept superhero films earthbound and somewhat contained.

Looking at that photo of Mark Strong as Sinestro, though, I have to say this about "Green Lantern":  they're going for it.  They aren't shying away from anything.  He's perfect.  He's a bright red John Waters.  What else can anyone ask for from Sinestro?

The thing is, the background of that picture makes me as happy as the foreground, with the implication that they're in some alien environment.  This is what I want from a "Green Lantern" movie.  Giant space opera.  I want adventures out there in the Universe somewhere with alien races.  "Star Wars" with power rings.  That's the freedom the series gives you, and it is amazing how much it looks like they've embraced it.

The real question isn't whether Warner Bros. has the balls to make a real "Green Lantern" movie… not anymore.  Now it's whether or not the public is really ready to make that jump.  When Hal Jordan leaves Earth, will the audience go with him?

Man, I hope so.  Anything that pushes genre filmmaking towards the fantastic is a welcome development in my book.  If we could take a decade or two off from using the terms "gritty" or "realistic" regarding fantasy, it would be a delight.

The image here originally appeared on this European site, and has since been reproduced pretty much everywhere in the span of about three hours.  Viva la Internet.

"Green Lantern" opens in theaters everywhere 2011.