Posted January 29, 2011 by William Dunmyer in Uncategorized

Green Hornet: This Year’s “Kick-Ass”

Just when the comic-book genre desperately needed freshening up, we got “Kick-Ass” in 2010 (which was on my Top 10 list for the year). Now in early 2011, we get “The Green Hornet.” That’s one helluva one-two punch, succeeding in revitalizing the genre.

Well, these films have the potential to revitalize the genre. If no one goes to see them, their power of course will only be latent. “Kick-Ass” was bizarrely ignored, and now “Green Hornet” is showing signs of being similarly overlooked. Could it be that this pick-me-up for the genre came too late? Audiences have already tired of any film reminiscent of comic books? This would be a grim prospect indeed. For those rare individuals who still care about this genre, do yourself a favor and see “Green Hornet” before it’s gone. It is witty, unpredictable, and a royal good time. It could use a little cutting in the second half, which is disappointing. But this is a small weakness.

Seth Rogen, who co-wrote the screenplay, appears to be the creative force behind the movie. He plays the lead character, a spoiled, super-rich overgrown boy doing nothing with his life. He and one of his servants (a brilliant Jay Chou speaking in a thick Chinese accent) dream up the Green Hornet persona as a sort of frat-house lark. But they end up taking it quite seriously, setting their sights on the mob leader causing the city to become a cesspool of corruption and murder.

Christoph Waltz, in his first American film since winning the Oscar for “Inglourious Basterds,” is hilarious as the mob kingpin. Once again Waltz comes close to stealing a movie in which he has a supporting role. Cameron Diaz doesn’t have much to do as the researcher helping the Hornet plan his next moves, but she adds to the fun. It’s nice to see a female character in this genre be more than a love interest.

Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) directs with astonishing vigor and humor. With “Green Hornet,” he shows that he has the skills to helm major popcorn movies and pepper them with a million 21st-century accents. Gondry could become a leaner, funnier Christopher Nolan. I wait with bated breath to see what he directs next.

William Dunmyer

William Dunmyer is a lifelong cinephile who fell in love with movies at about the age of 5. He lives in New York City.