Regulars here at The Word will probably remember this post from back in December 2008. The post was a quick one, just for a laugh. The real value is found in the comments. But brace yourself for a big read if you haven’t been there before. There’s 156 comments and we get our very own RLSH or Real Life Super Heroes commenting and having a pissing contest. It’s hilarious reading, so I urge you to check it out. But what does that have to do with a movie review of Kick-Ass? I’m glad you asked. Kick-Ass is a movie about real life superheroes, that a lot of Real Life SuperHeroes got upset about. Seriously, read the comments to the post I just mentioned. But really, any “real life” vigilante justice wielder getting upset about Kick-Ass is a bit like a real archeologist getting upset about the Indiana Jones movies, but I digress. The REAL real life superheroes don’t get into whining matches on the internet, so it’s all a bit moot.
I finally got around to seeing Kick-Ass just recently, and I’m really glad I did. The film is based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. It’s basically the story of Dave Lizewski. He’s your typical high school nobody and comic book fan who wonders, as we all do at some point, why some real people haven’t actually tried out the superhero thing. After all, Batman has no special powers, so all you really need to be a superhero is a fancy costume and a sense of justice, plus the balls to get out there and do something about it.
So that’s what Dave does, styling himself as the superhero Kick-Ass. Of course, everything goes about as wrong as it possibly can. Fortunately, he ends up bumping into Big Daddy and Hit Girl. This father and daughter double act really are real life superheroes and they help Dave out of some sticky situations. They get entangled with the mob and Red Mist, a new kind of superhero, that’s actually the head mobster’s son using Kick-Ass’s sensibilities against him. From here things get brilliantly hectic and out of control.
The film is excellent fun. It’s true comic book mayhem with a heavy dose of realism that makes for highly entertaining viewing. The filming itself is very slick and the soundtrack is awesome. It’s sharp, funny, poignant and hella violent. All that good stuff we love.
There was a lot of controversy around the time of its release related to the Hit-Girl character. Mainly because she’s a little girl (something like 11 years old) that says fuck and cunt and shoots bad guys in the head. But what’s wrong with that? She a little girl that’s been trained by her father to be a seriously bad-ass assassin superhero, ever since her father got out of prison. Her mother died at the hands of the mob and daddy is on a revenge trip, taking his little girl along for the ride. He shoots her while she’s wearing a bullet proof vest so she isn’t surprised when it happens for real, for fuck’s sake. And people are getting upset about the fact that she swears? Within the context of the movie, Hit-Girl is just about the best and most realised character there. She’s also brilliantly played by Chloë Grace Moretz. This girl is just awesome in the role.
When an uncensored preview clip of the film was shown before release, it was attacked by “family advocacy groups” for its violence and Hit-Girl’s line, “Okay you cunts, let’s see what you can do now!” delivered by Chloë Moretz, who was 11 at the time of filming. Australian Family Association spokesman John Morrissey claimed that “the language [was] offensive and the values inappropriate – without the saving grace of the bloodless victory of traditional superheroes”. Bloodless victory!? Has this fuckwit ever actually read a comic book? In response, Moretz said in an interview, “If I ever uttered one word that I said in Kick-Ass, I would be grounded for years! I’d be stuck in my room until I was 20! I would never in a million years say that. I’m an average, everyday girl.” What do you know – an eleven year old girl can seperate reality from the moving pictures. John Morrissey should grow the fuck up. Moretz couldn’t even say the name of the film outside of character, calling it “the film” in public and “Kick-Butt” at home. Brilliant acting skills and serious smarts. This kid will go far. (Incidentally, I wonder if there would have been so much controversy if the character had been a boy rather than a girl?)
The film juggles the levels of realism and comic book mayhem really well, leading to some truly shocking moments. Dave’s first outing as Kick-Ass springs to mind for its relentless realism, for example. If anything, this movie does more to educate people about real life from a “superhero” perspective than the actual comic books have ever done.
If you’re a fan of cinema and especially if you’re a fan of comic books and that style of cinema, you’ll love this film. If you’re a namby pamby wowser that gets upset when little girls shoot a mobster through the head at point blank range, it’s probably not the film for you. And did I mention that it’s very funny?
I was also pleased to see recently that Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall is in production for a 2012 release. More please!