while i do like the occasional comic book/superhero movies, i’ve never really read one in my life. past a certain age(mentally or biologically), pictures just aren’t as necessary to me as text to convey ideas. there are infinite possibilities in the combinations of words to create and convey interesting ideas. and if i want visuals, there’s always movies. so panels of pictures with a handful of words never interested me. i’m not saying this as a good thing or bad thing, it’s just my preference. at the same time, i also don’t have the hangups most comic book readers have when their beloved is adapted into a movie that doesn’t live up to the original source, expectation, and complain about every little alterations.
with the long, meandering disclaimer out of the way, kick-ass is the least fun/most annoying visual experience i’ve had at the movies in a while. that may sound like hyperbole but trust me, as a student of bad movies, a nicolas cage fan, and a lover of action/comedy and all things satirical, it’s a pretty apt and honest description. it’s the worst kind of bad in that it certainly wasn’t good or at least entertaining, and it wasn’t bad enough to be campy(wicker man 2006). it’s just an ass-load of messy mediocrity.
knowing nothing other that what the trailer presented, one is led to think it’s a comical twisted view on the superhero genre: a parody/satire of superheroes in which ordinary citizens without superpowers become superheroes to bring justice to an unjust world while at the same time, delivering some ass kicking action scenes. i don’t know how faithful the finished film is comparing to the original
children’s picture book for teenagers, but the film itself is as confused as said teenagers.
the excruciating first half hour follows our title character being emo and michael cera as a comic book nerd who can’t get laid(is there any other kind of nerds in movies?). it’s about as interesting as emo spiderman in spid3rman³. in fact, it’s rather curious that the movie is named after him, since the film is only interesting when nicolas cage(who’s channeling adam west from the old batman tv series this time to hilarious effect)’s character big daddy and his daughter hit girl is on screen. the rest of the time we’re stuck with the useless boring kick-ass. the movie doesn’t seem too interested in exploring him as the protagonist. his supposed transformation (he can stand an extra amount of pain after his first crimefighting incident) is mentioned but doesn’t seem to matter, since after he gets kidnapped, he gets beat up and scream and cry like…his former emo cera self. that scene would have benefitted from a wicker man 2006 reference.
the script is neither edgy nor witty as it wants to be. kick-ass: the movie references a lot of other superhero movies. kick-ass the character directly quotes other superhero movies(“with no power, comes no responsibility. except, that wasn’t true.”) but that alone doesn’t make it witty or clever or funny. just look at all those superhero/disaster/epic/date movies or the later leslie neilson movies. simply referencing other movies does not a satire make. nor is it parody. airplane wasn’t funny because it referenced other disaster movies, but because it takes those movies and created its own movie based on those movies. consider the red mist character at the end of the movie: it’s almost an exact replica of one of the spiderman movies, without any comment, satire, or parody. it’s representative of the film as a whole: it doesn’t seem to know whether it’s a satire/parody or an actual superhero movie. in all seriousness and sincerity, mystery men has a higher success rate in this department than kick-ass: the movie. it’s a funnier and smarter movie that’s unfortunately ahead of the current superhero trend. interestingly, mystery men is also based on a comic book.
there are a lot of extreme reactions to kick-ass: the movie, but almost every netizen fanboy seems to praise the hit girl character. i can suspend any morals(unlike ebert) and accept the fact that a 13-year-old girl using the
seaward c-word, fighting and beating and get beaten by grown men in a comic book universe. hell, all the action scenes are actually well done in the movie (even though they always remind you of a better movie or a video game, or any tarantino movies). what’s creepy is a bunch of comic book nerds falling head over heels over a 13-year-old girl who in the course of the movie dons superhero and schoolgirl costumes cursing and shooting, usually with a purple wig, which seems to be a popular thing these days with the celibate nerds. this exchange in the movie probably happens more often than it was intended:
Todd: Yeah! I think I’m in love with her, dude.
Marty: She looks like she’s about 11 years old but…
Todd: I can wait! I solemnly vow to save myself for her.
Marty: I can see how that would be really difficult for you.
it’s the worst kind of nerd wish fulfillment fantasy pandering. maybe there’s a reason why tarantino used animation in that kill bill vol. 1 sequence.
other than the annoying boring kick-ass: the character, he also has two annoying nerdfriends(mostly clark duke). they are supposedly hip, witty and clever and funny, but not. there’s a girl where kick-ass: the character wants and he pretends to be gay to spend time with her. she, of course, does volunteer work as often happens in these kind of movies. the hot girl is actually nice and kind! this lead to a scene where he has to fight someone who’s been bothering her. while it did introduce hit girl and big daddy, i was reminiscing the christian slater/gary oldman scene in true romance. a way better movie. in fact, if they are so hip, why are they on myspace instead of
the social network facebook?
once again, nicolas cage, in his scenes with hit girl, almost though not quite able to, (since he’s more of a supporting character) save the movie. too bad the movie is called kick-ass. a more interesting movie would have been big daddy and hit girl. kick-ass: the movie never quite work as a superhero movie, a satire of superhero movie, a parody of superhero movie, or as an action comedy. what kind of movie would have the title character stay on the sideline while a 13-year-old girl do all the work? can they make a batman movie where robin do all the heavy lifting and batman show up at a crucial moment with some high tech toys to finish the fight? i know there are people who would argue that that’s the joke. i’m sorry to say, it’s not my kind of humor.
oh, and i’m not sorry, cause that’s not a joke to begin with.
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