Early rumors pegged Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet as a lame campfest in the vein of Frank Miller’s woebegone adaptation of The Spirit. Sony Picture’s decision to delay the film’s release until January 2011 seemed to only confirm that it was a disaster in the making – one that would feature unnecessary post-production 3D as well.

A second theatrical preview for the Seth Rogen-starring comic book flick has been released and it does a better job of selling the movie as a competent mix of action and comedy than the first Green Hornet trailer did.

Here is the official Green Hornet synopsis, in case you’d forgotten:

Britt Reid (Rogen) is the son of LA’s most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene – until his father mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father’s more industrious and inventive employees, Kato, they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. But in order to do this, they decide to become criminals themselves — protecting the law by breaking it, Britt becomes the vigilante The Green Hornet as he and Kato hit the streets.

The Green Hornet has been doing unexpectedly well at early test screenings and there have even been rumblings that Sony Chief Amy Pascal has even begun to talk seriously about a sequel. But does the latest trailer for the Green Hornet indicate that this is a successful franchise in the making? Watch it below and find out:

Rogen co-wrote the Green Hornet screenplay with his Superbad partner, Evan Goldberg, but the Knocked Up star has always seemed like an odd choice for the role of a playboy-turned-masked-vigilante – largely because his most recognizable screen persona is that of a scruffy, unfit slackster.

One thing the second Green Hornet trailer does well is play up the noticeably thinner Rogen’s lack of physical prowess for laughs and make the fight scenes with Kato (Jay Chou) look all that more hyper-stylized – as they should be. There’s a glimpse of a “Kato-vision” sequence here that justifiably looks to benefit from the 3D effect as well.

It also helps that more of the jokes (especially the gas gun gag) are actually funny this time around and that the film’s tone seems to shift from serious to tongue-in-cheek without ever going too far in either direction.

The Green Hornet arrives in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theater in the U.S. on January 14th, 2011.

Source: Sony Pictures (via Yahoo! Movies)