07 November 2011

30 Oct - "You can't use the front door now"

Kick-Ass (2010)
dir. Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, 2007)

Randall Batinkoff (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992)
Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, 1991)
Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995)
Clark Duke (Superbad, 2007)
Craig Ferguson (Saving Grace, 2000)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell, 2001)
Dexter Fletcher (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, 1998)
Tamer Hassan (Eastern Promises, 2007)
Aaron Johnson (Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, 2008)
Corey Johnson (Saving Private Ryan, 1998)
Adrian Martinez (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, 2007)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Role Models, 2008)
Chloƫ Grace Moretz (Bolt (voice), 2008)
Evan Peters (Sleepover, 2004)
Kenneth Simmons (My Super Ex-Girlfriend, 2006)
Mark Strong (Robin Hood, 2010)

This was a fun and entertaining movie, I'm surprised that it wasn't more popular. At least as popular as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which I haven't seen yet, but I hear about it all the time and I've only heard this movie in passing coversation like once, I think. The best part is that, in the sense that it's an origin story, this movie is only slightly more plausible than something like Batman or Spiderman. They don't have superpowers, but by virtue of getting the shit kicked out of him, the portagonist has metal-reinforced bones and damaged nerve endings that...allow him to take a beating with slightly more fortitude than the average bear. By the end we see the critical balance reestablished, with the creation of a more powerful force of good we also see a concurrent rise in the force of evil. Like all of our other favorite supervillains, we see the polarizing forces of good and evil repelling, even with resistance, each other like magnets.

It wouldn't surprise me if the screenwriter had referenced Joseph Campbell. Nobody really wants to become that which is overtly and inherently despicable, and yet these characters arise from the ethos and by forces out of their hands are ostracized into dark and lonely places. I'm getting too philosophical now. My point is that this movie fits an archetype, but it's a good archetype.

Nicolas Cage is in it, and he's a polarizing actor, but I've defended him before and I'll do it again because I like Nicolas Cage and I think I get what he does. It's a role that's well suited to him.

I perused a few reviews of this movies, and while overall I think it recieved a positive reaction, several negative reviews focused on how appalling it was to watch Hit-Girl, played by an 11-year old actress, behave with so much callous violence, and profanity, and also recieve a vicious beating from a grown man. On the other hand, I'm certain that they would not be so alarmed if the character was an 11 year old boy.

This review by Prairie Miller cites Kick-Ass as a shocking display of child exploitation. Part of this character has to do with shock value, I'm sure, and also the slightly comedic incongrutiy that Hit-Girl is a much tougher cookie than the older and masculine Kick-Ass. But more importantly I this this is the only female superhero character I've ever seen that does NOT represent exploitation. Even though she unleashes a lot of bloodshed, she's happy, she's healthy, she has an odd, but loving parent, she's strong and not sexualized - can we say that of any other heroine? Certainly not Elektra, definitely not Catwoman. Praire Miller says that depicting children being beaten in fictional scenarios is unacceptable and potentially disturbing to children in violent homes. But violence happens in the world, and this character isn't victimized, she is an agent of her own storyline. She accepts violence with dignity and retaliates from a postion of strength. That's awesome, not just for children, but even grown up children like me.

I know it's supposed to be a funny movie, and so it was, but I just wanted to talk about it this way instead.

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