When I saw The Green Hornet for the first time in theaters in 2011, I came out of the film hating it. I just watched it for a second time on Netflix and I did not hate it near as much as I did the first time. Mind you, it is not a good movie, but the flaws did not seem to bother me as much this time as it did then.
I can’t stop to think of why that is. It is not that the movie is different from the time I saw it back in 2011. Perhaps I like Seth Rogen more now than I did then. He typically falls into the category of comedic actor that is too loud and whose characters are all basically the same. In my head, I compare Rogen to comedic actors such as Kevin Hart, Adam Sandler, Zach Galifianakis etc. That style just seems to wear on me. Throw in the drug humor and most movies with Rogen in it, I consider iffy.
Still, he has done some better work over the last few years, featuring some films that I have dug. Long Shot, Steve Jobs, The Disaster Artist are a few of the projects that may have helped me see Seth Rogen in a different light. He is funny too, when he stays in line and keeps control.
So with a solid character, Seth Rogen’s The Green Hornet was less offensive as I found it then. He was still too loud and the story beats were sadly predictable, but I found this more acceptable than before.
Part of that was Kato (Jay Chou), who is played to perfection here. I am sure that I mentioned in a previous review all those years ago that Kato was the standout of the film. He was this again. I have always been a sidekick fan (I actually preferred Robin to Batman growing up) and I loved the contradiction between Kato and Britt Reid (Set Rogen). Kato appeared to be great at everything while Britt was a loser wasting his life away in senseless partying.
However, when Britt’s father (Tom Wilkinson) dies, leaving his media empire to his son, Britt takes his father’s legacy in a diverging path.
The whole Green Hornet is pretending to be a bad guy to do good is an iconic part of the character and is done reasonably well here. I did like how the film touched upon how Britt felt guilt over the response to the Hornet’s activity by the criminal underworld. I would have liked more character development like that.
The whole Kato and Britt break up over Lenore (Cameron Diaz) was tired and dull, as was the physical fight between the two of them. The third act was a gigantic mess with silly and improbable situations. I kept wondering if there was any injuries or deaths from the bystanders here or was the car chases and gun fights just conveniently missing them.
There were some funny bits in the film too. The time when Britt accidentally shoots himself with the Hornet gas and he is out for a week and a half was quite clever.
I go back and forth with Christoph Waltz as the villain Chudnofsky. On one hand, I did not find him to be a strong villain, but that could be why he was as he was. His own self image led to his grab of power and his subsequent mental instability. When pushed by someone he could not control in the Green Hornet, Chudnofsky responded by diving deeper into his insecurities to become “Bloodnofsky” and start donning more of a super villain type facade with red attire and themed actions. The movie does not go into this enough, but I think there is a fascinating concept at work here.
The Green Hornet has a lot of problems and is considered a failure, despite making a modest amount of money worldwide. I did not hate it near as much as I once did, but it is a film that could sting you.