Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie review: The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet - radio program, TV show, comic book. I'm familiar with none of these. Most of what I know about the character, outside of the basics, comes from spoofs. Kato was spoofed in several Pink Panther movies. The Fat Albert gang would run home to watch "The Brown Hornet". So when the first trailer for "The Green Hornet" came out I really didn't have much room to lip off about how silly the hero was coming off. That didn't stop me from complaining about what a goof ball he was being, however. Then the second trailer came out and Seth Rogan didn't look nearly as retarded. Useless and just along for the ride with Kato: action hero, sure, but not as silly.

I can't find the first trailer, but this is more like what I saw from the second trailer.

Britt Reid (really? Britt? That's not a hero name.) is the trust fund baby of newspaper tycoon James Reid. When his dad died Britt got everything and had no idea what to do with any of it. His origin story is due more to him firing his entire staff in a drunken fit more than anything. Having done that led him to a bad cup of coffee. He had to find the guy who makes the awesome coffee. That'd be Kato: auto mechanic, inventor, karate expert, and coffee maker. They both hated James Reid. On a run to vandalize a statue they run into a gang of muggers and stop them. They decide to keep doing that and rid the city of the criminal element.

The question that must occur to you while watching the movie, partially because they ask the question in the movie, is just what Britt brings to the team. Kato makes the car and weapons. Kato fights. Kato drives. Kato makes the coffee. Lenore Case, the secretary, understands the criminal mind. Britt... well, besides being the funding, he rides along and parties mostly. Even he can't really explain what he does. I'll tell you. Besides the money and the newspaper, he's the face man. He's the one who decided to be heroes. He didn't know the next move, but he saw the opportunity to exploit the right people to figure out the next move. When they approach gangs he's the one who approaches them first. He's the guy who really wants to be the hero.

There's this scene at the beginning of the movie that I felt was under played. Young Brett is sent home from school. All the way home he played with his superhero action figure. He was sent home for fighting bullies that were picking on a girl. This wasn't the first time. He's not out of grade school and he's already picked his heroes and is emulating them. As punishment for fighting his father takes his action figure and snaps it's head off.

As I saw it, Britt stopped the hero stuff but lost his motivating force. Not just the hero stuff, that probably would have passed. But his dad basically told him to stop trying stuff, stop doing stuff, stop trying to be better, or I'll destroy what you love. So when the movie jumps forward to find Britt in the present he's just another worthless trust fund baby. No skills, no ambition, nothing but being a pudgy, overweight Paris Hilton. So when the father passes he loses his purpose in life of being a pain his ass. His last effort to piss off his dead father is where he realizes that there's nothing still keeping him from his development as a person. He goes back to where he was in the opening scene. He was never able to get past his superhero phase as a kid, so that has to play out in his adult life. Thus, the Green Hornet.

This isn't a great movie. This isn't "The Dark Knight" or "Spiderman" or "X-men". But it's not a bad superhero movie either. It's not "Fantastic 4" or "Catwoman" or "Spiderman 3". It's more like "Kick Ass" where the Kick Ass character starts as a well funded adult.

I'll probably get it on DVD, but by the time it comes out I could totally be over it.

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