Funnyman Seth Rogen’s 2011 superhero comedy The Green Hornet is meant to be a different approach to the popular superhero movie format compared to more serious vigilante stories like Batman and the Avengers. Rogen, of Superbad and Pineapple Express comedy fame, both co-produced and starred in this film, with the assistance of longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg (Da Ali G Show, Knocked Up) as co-writer. The director isn’t quite who you would expect for a superhero movie either: Michel Gondry, known for such whimsical favorites as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep.
Right off the bat, the strange mix of genre, director, writers and star create different expectations for this superhero flick.
The story of the superhero Green Hornet originated as a radio show before it moved to comic books, television and movies, around just as long as Batman and even longer than other fan favorites like X-men. The eponymous hero is rich boy Britt Reid, played by Rogen in this movie, an elite newspaper publisher who inherits the Daily Sentinal from his estranged father and becomes a crime fighter alongside his late dad’s multi-talented auto-mechanic and martial artist Kato, played in this movie by the Taiwanese actor Jay Chou. Their ensuing antics together lead them to upset the mob leader Chudnofsky (played by Christoph Waltz from Inglorious Basterds). In a nutshell, there’s the plot — a more silly version of Batman, essentially.
The Length of The Green Hornet Movie – Problem or Advantage?
When it comes to editing, The Green Hornet is a bit too long for a superhero movie at 118 minutes, and it isn’t a random & suitable length for people that usually stream over the internet to watch free movies online. There is notably a lot of filler that doesn’t exactly add to the overall plot and characterization. Viewers could have gone without the filler for a better viewing experience, since the length is pushing it for a comedy and even an action flick. Considering Rogen isn’t exactly pulling off the most smooth and stylish action sequences, we don’t really need well over an hour and a half of them. Cameron Diaz is also in the movie as well, but her character is all but useless and thus her scenes are an unfortunate waste of time.
The dynamics between Rogen and Chou work well and together — they’re a humorous buddy/buddy duo. The pair are a relief, compared to the more serious and smug superheroes topping the box office these days, and the bromantic quality of their relationship is honestly the best thing about this film. They are charming. They drink together, banter together, come up with bad ideas together, and it’s fun. Their juvenile behavior and the bro humor matches the likes found in Superbad, but of course that’s exactly what you expect from a relaxed, comedic superhero movie starring Seth Rogen. He’s immature and amazed by everything, far more incompetent than his capable sidekick, and this adds to the overall amusing quality of the storyline. After all, he’s not really being noble — just looking for an adrenaline rush — and so is the viewer.
The whimsy you might expect from a film directed by Gondry is lacking here, perhaps lost in his desire
to make a hit superhero movie with big special effects. His perfectionism and vision does still look gorgeous for what it is, not causing the viewers disappointment in the visuals of the action sequences, even if it’s mostly Kato pulling off the action and Rogen pulling off the slapstick. There is nothing particularly unique going on with the visuals however, which one would assume Gondry would have brought to the film. This is certainly a disappointment and causes one to wonder why Gondry didn’t feel he could do more here.
The Characters Should Have Been More Exposed!
This movie doesn’t ever extend beyond the realm of a simple, fun movie. There’s nothing profound or different going on here, and the combination of talents doesn’t produce a movie that lives up to its full potential. However, it’s still fun and different from other superhero flicks, which is enough to recommend it. This film is especially good if you’re looking for a less-than-serious take on the superhero craze that’s been taking the big screen by storm. Also, if you’re a fan of Rogen’s shtick in general, he’s not doing anything all that different here.