April 9, 2010
The mood was elevated in the cinema house when I saw a pre-release of this movie the other night. People were at several times applauding the screen. I’m not sure, because I was heading out for the restrooms, but people might have been doing a standing ovation during the credits.
So what do I know, right? I got a similar reaction to District 9 which was a movie that people were overwhelmed with, despite the fact that it really had not one single new concept and no real impressive sign of originality to match what people had been saying. District 9 did for the sci-fi genre kind of what this movie, Kick-Ass, is trying to do with the superhero movie I think. District 9 was still a good film though. I don’t think Kick-Ass is a particularly good film. And I doubt people will hail it as a masterwork of originality.
The plot of the movie: Nerdy high school guy becomes famous superhero, fights street thugs, teams up with high tech gadget doctor (sic), takes on an evil empire, in this case a drug lord, they fight, get caught, fight, get caught. Big booms. Oh, and yeah he gets a girlfriend and all of that too. The movie is stylish and flashy and consistently self- apologetic, the beginning of the movie starts out with such a distance to the superhero genre that you almost believe you are watching a spoof. A kid wants to become a superhero, calls himself Kick-Ass and gets dressed up and starts walking the streets. As it is said in the movie, he should change his name to ”ass-kick” because that’s all he gets. Thus he joins the likes of Blankman and the Mystery Men. Kick-Ass, though, is the first superhero pastische that people seem to like.
Or so I thought halfway into the movie, before the forty minute mark or so when it gets all carried away in itself, leaves spoof land and invisibly attempts to raise it’s own stakes. Suddenly you are expected to care for these characters that have been presented as stereotypes. I mean, take it somewhat seriously. This is in particular strange; Nicholas Cage is being hysterically good as a daddy training him and his ten year old girl to become superheroes. Are they any good? Uh-huh. The kid is the movie’s real showstopper. This is the first ten year old you’ve seen that can cut a head open whilst emptying up humanity’s worst vocabulary along with the ammo of her automatic weapon. Cage is also all dressed up with. An. Adam West. Imp. Ression. That is. Quite amusing. In… Deed?
But there comes a time when the movie wants me to simply buy these characters emotionally and somewhat realistically. I buy them as jokes, as parodies, as an outrageous bloody comedy. But do I have to consider that this would be an actual kid and that this would be her actual dad? Am I suppose to believe this fairly far-fetched idea of a local superhero getting famous over the Internet? And why should I care? And if this plot is worth actually devoting your serious interest in, why does it start off like some kind of realistically laid out spoof? Kick- Ass begins with a world that makes a deal of how real it is, life’s dull and normal circumstances and how a self-made superhero gets stabbed in the guts. But it all ends up with dodging bullets and flying in jet-packs anyway. I did enjoy the first part of the movie, it was basically a very amusing take on the superhero genre which is getting pretty tiring by now anyhow. But the most ironic thing about Kick-Ass is that despite the visual costume, it turns out it really is just another superhero movie. It really offers zip to the genre. It wants more than anything else to be what it is making fun of. The plot is intended to be taken seriously, until it stops and makes fun of itself, then continues, then stops for a joke. It really does resemble a little kid dressed as a superhero, making the story up as he goes along.
Now I know what you are saying, isn’t this just simply a lot of fun? Oh, I’m using my brain again? This isn’t a thinking man’s superhero movie? I should just shut up and enjoy the violence? Well, I don’t know, that is something I cannot do. It’s been a long time since I was impressed solely by bright flashy things and a lot of blood and guts. I might be getting too old for this shit.