When is a superhero movie not a superhero movie? When it's The Green Hornet, of course.
I'm a huge fan of the comic book genre and I'm not sure how closely this big screen version of The Green Hornet adheres to the original 1930's pulp radio hero and subsequent masked TV vigilante, but there's really no worthy or heartfelt origin story here, just a spoiled Hollywood rich kid who inherits his father's publishing empire, along with a car mechanic that makes great coffee, but is also a martial arts expert and super genius.
Yes, 'Kato' (played by Jay Chou) is elevated beyond the role of mere sidekick and pretty much outshines the titular hero (think last year's Kick-Ass, where Hit-Girl stole the show). He's more handsome, looks sharper in a suit, has the kung-fu moves and is an incredible inventor and mechanic.
Seth Rogen's 'Britt Reid' is a hero doesn't have many redeeming qualities (at least initially). He has severe daddy issues, he doesn't particularly respect the police, injury to innocent bystanders or random property damage for that matter.
He's not even very skilled, has no fighting prowess or superpowers and has to be given a gas-gun to protect him from the street thugs because of these inadequacies. He's a bit of a sorry hero to be honest.
There's really no real reason for Kato and Britt to be friends and it seems a little forced the once orphaned Shanghai street kid would strike up a relationship with the spoiled millionaire.
Having said all that, once you can accept this is in no way trying to honour the classic radio hero, or follow stereotypical superhero origin formats, you can start to enjoy the movie for what it is - great fun.
There are great lines and Seth Rogen and Jay Chou have a great chemistry, the funny man and the ultimate butt-kicking straight man.
Cameron Diaz is merely there as the intelligent blonde window-dressing and really doesn't get that much to do, whilst Christoph Waltz, fresh off his Oscar win is a delight as the crime lord of L.A., which he plays with humour but not too hammy.
I'm not sure the 'Breaking the law to protect it' really rings true as motivation for this hero, but by the end of the film as you can imagine his character is slightly redeemed, but he still doesn't come across as your typically noble hero.
I give The Green Hornet four **** stars and there's some pretty preposterous stuff here, but it's a fun, action-packed way to start the year.
I love my hero's a tad more honest and heroic, so roll on Thor, Captain America and Green Lantern this summer...