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Monday, April 19, 2010  

An Ass-Kicking Is in Order, All Right

At the theater closest to my home that was showing "Kick-Ass," the guy at the box office is this round, mustachioed fellow who looks like the "Gotta make the donuts" guy. One of the things I was most looking forward to when I went to a late-Thursday-night preview showing was telling this gentleman, "One for Kick Ass." When I got there, I was the only customer in the lobby. As I approached the counter, he asked me, "Are you here for Kick Butt?"

Goddammit!

The good news is that I was literally the only person seeing it there. It was kind of cool having the whole theater to myself, which is the first time that's ever happened. I felt a little bad for the projectionist, who I figured would have gotten to go home early if it hadn't been for me. I called Trash on my cell phone before the trailers. I was even planning to live-tweet the whole thing just because I could, but then I forgot. Which I guess is a good sign.

There was a surprising amount of stuff going on in this movie, which is good, because the part of Kick-Ass I liked least was Kick-Ass. Basically he's an annoying whiner whose only redeeming qualities are an underdeveloped sense of self-preservation and a tendency to get the shit kicked out of him a lot. He almost works better as a simple framing device, easing us into the dark meta-comic-book world where most of the good stuff happens. He gets one funny line in the whole thing, in voice-over near the end, and then he backs off of it right away anyway. He sucks. Moving on.

The much more interesting parts of this movie are…well, everything else. Much has been made of the potty-mouth on 11-year-old Hit Girl (and I'm sure without even looking that the Internet is already bristling with those creepy 18th birthday countdown clocks for her). But that didn't surprise me as much as how many people she kills with élan, joie de vivre, and lots of other things that have not only foreign names but also sharp edges. I mean, movies with kids who swear stopped being shocking to me at about the time I became one, but I haven't seen that many movies with children laying waste to an entire mob army almost single-handedly. That's definitely new.

But at least you can understand how she learned to Matrix her way through a phalanx of bad guys, which isn't necessarily true of her more verbal violence. Her dad talks like the bespectacled, cardigan-wearing nerd he is in daily life, and his secret identity, though dressed like the Christian Bale Batman, talks like the Adam West one.

Still, the origin story of her and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage, hopefully forgoing his Annual Crappy Movie [TM Glark] to make this) was way more interesting than Kick-Ass's. Compare: idiot in wetsuit confronts muggers, gets stabbed, bounces off speeding car; vs. richly painted comic-book panels that the camera sweeps around inside of, relating the operatic tragedy of an innocent family crushed and warped by a vengeful mob boss. But their purpose in a lot of the film seems to be show up to save Kick-Ass whenever he gets in trouble. Which parallels their narrative purpose, which is to show up to save Kick-Ass whenever it gets in trouble. As for the sequel that is hinted at in the end (rather presumptuously, if you ask me), I could do without any Kick-Ass at all, thank you very much. I might actually see Kick-Ass II: No Kick-Ass, with or without a supervillain played by McLovin.

When I left, there was nobody out in the lobby except a graying guy in a shirt and tie. "Man, that was a violent movie," he remarked. "Especially coming from a little kid like that." This, of course, was the projectionist. I agreed, and apologized for keeping him late. "We've got other movies going," he shrugged. Who knew theatre projectionists channel-surfed? So contrary to expectations, I went home from Kick-Ass having learned something.

posted by M. Giant 8:09 AM 2 comments

2 Comments:

The movie, I've been told, is a success for other reasons, too. John Rogers(TV and comics writer, responsible for such awesome things as Blue Beetle and Leverage) said it best in my Twitter feed: "Take the misogyny, racism, and nihilism out of a Mark Millar story, and you get a pretty good movie."

I can describe for you one of the most pathetic, foulest scenes ever in comics if you want, but not here. It has to do with the hero (who in the book does NOT get the girl), her cell-phone cam, and the a-hole who does get the girl.

[Word verification: "dodis." Okay, I will! Fughetaboutit!}

By Blogger Febrifuge, at April 19, 2010 at 11:02 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Anonymous doc Martens Boots, at May 4, 2010 at 12:39 AM  

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