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a sense of joy and then a panic
a sense of joy and then a panic
kick ass 
04.21.10
leather
Well, that was weird.  Not too sure what to say because I'm not too sure what the movie was trying to say (if anything). 

The violence is there, in all its Kill Bill-esque gory glory.  People get microwaved, limbs get amputated, bazookas are fired.  None of it is particularly remarkable or horrific, even when it's being delivered by a 10-year-old girl.  I dunno, maybe anime ruined the big "shock" of this imagery for me.  In the beginning I was more squirming out of the discomfort that we basically have a heroic band of WASPs fighting (and beating up) lower-class minorities.

Then there's the sort of... satiric?... aspect of it.  I'm not sure it works because it's kind of lacking in the whole self-reflection thing.  In The Loop is good satire.  Complete, thorough, spare-no-one brutality.  Kick Ass is like... hey, I'm doing this superhero thing tongue-in-cheek, and by tongue-in-cheek I mean I take tropes of superhero movies and turn the dial up from 3 to 5, and then - get this - I don't push it to its logical conclusion.  Oh and, the 10-year-old girl and her revenge-obsessed father's "half" of the movie is pretty... not sarcastic. 

Then of course there's the white-male-dweeb perspective on the whole thing, because what movie is complete without this perspective?  (answer: movies I like).  Unfortunate when the most engaging character is the 10-year-old girl.  This is one reason I stick to mainstream action movies, see, even bucket-o-fail ones like Clash of the Titans.  I don't constantly feel like I'm getting shoved out of the tree house. 

There are some genuine moments in this movie, where it does seem to look back on itself and what "this all means."  Like when the titular hero looks at himself in the mirror and sees that he is utterly bloodied and battered.  Or even the first time he's beaten up.  In moments like that you do see a great, genuinely disturbing and dark movie lurking underneath.  But there's very little commitment to this vibe.  It's kind of like that obligatory moment of silence and then the quick rush back into whatever it was we were doing before.  Hey, since he got beaten up he's got iron plates to make him withstand pain!  Oh.  Well then.

I don't know.  If you liked Zombieland, you'll probably like this.  I am pretty much totally with Tim Brayton: "the most sickening part of the whole circus is the film's palpable desire to be seen as beyond the pale, just the right thing to shock the squares while all the cool hip kids get to assert their aesthetic superiority over the moralising blue-hairs... If Kick-Ass were genuinely outrageous, that would be something, at least; but by and large, it's just effing dull... It wants to be edgy and nasty and delightfully cruel, but that very certainty in its own cleverness forbids it from being anything else than so much clockwork."
Comments 
04.22.10 (UTC)
I don't get the claims that Kick-Ass is a satire or that it is trying to be some sort of statement.

It's a black comedy.
04.22.10 (UTC)
I don't think it's a satire either, but I've seen it described as such (by people who like it). As for a statement, I really just mean its "point."
04.22.10 (UTC)
He doesn't really support the claim that it's a satire though.

As far as the "point", well, that's a ship I sailed a while ago.
04.22.10 (UTC)
I think he's just defining satire as "poking fun at/exaggerating for comic effect other things of this type" or even "sarcasm/irony." Not a rigid definition for sure, but a common one.

Hmm... I guess I'd say most movies have points of some kind, at least in the sense of "this communicates something," even if it's just an emotional/physical reaction or some repeated theme.
04.22.10 (UTC)
Personally, I think there was some dilution from comic to film (although the source material is not w/o its problems). In the comics for example, everything's much bleaker: the guy doesn't get the girl (she even sends him photos of her blowjobbing her boyfriend), his father's life breaks down after he became a superhero, and Big Daddy is another perversion of the fan-gone-wrong (that he was avenging himself was just a cover story; in the comic, he's really a comic geek who wanted to give his daughter a "different childhood").
04.22.10 (UTC)
That sounds like the movie I wanted it to be.
04.22.10 (UTC)
I had the opposite reaction—I much preferred the movie. Left unstated—a big part of the "gotcha" in the blowjob scene is that the boyfriend is black, ("huur huur, black people have genitals!") we see Hit-Girl doing coke before a mission, etc.
04.22.10 (UTC)
Ah well, it's highly possible that I should just stay away from the story altogether.
04.22.10 (UTC)
Whoa, I was totally misled by the trailer if this is the film I'm thinking it is. From the trailer, I got the notion that this was about some ordinary kid who decides to just put on superhero duds and act like a superhero--even though he's just an ordinary kid. And then bunches of other kids start doing it too. Just sort of light and comedic

But what you describe sounds much more raw and full of actual message (but confused message) and heaviness.
04.22.10 (UTC)
Yeah, I mean, it is that - ordinary kid decides to put on superhero duds - and it does go about everything it does with a light touch. But on the other hand, one of the characters' motivations is avenging the suicide of his pregnant wife, and he is played fairly straight. I think Nick is right, and it's a black comedy. And there are some black comedies that I really like, but this one just didn't gel for me, I guess.

And to be fair, the parts that most intrigued me were the ones that were more "heavy."
04.22.10 (UTC)
Yeah, sounds like you went in looking for exactly the elements that I didn't even know the movie was supposed to have.
04.22.10 (UTC)
What do you mean?
04.22.10 (UTC)
Nothing significant--just that it sounds as if you were hoping for a darker (maybe richer?) experience, which was something I wouldn't have known, from the trailer, to expect from the movie. (I haven't seen the movie.) ---but you know, maybe I wasn't even watching the trailer that carefully.
04.22.10 (UTC)
Nah, I think the trailer communicated exactly what you got from it. I went expecting it to be sort of a cross between Kill Bill and Iron Man (or something) - tongue-in-cheek ultraviolence, self-deprecating humor. But about twenty minutes in when the kid gets beat up the first time, the cinematography suddenly becomes urgent and intense and you're in an ambulance and there's blood and it's dark, y'know? And I was like, oh cool! And see, movies really shouldn't give me moments like that, because then when the rest of the movie isn't like that I'm like, "oh, MAANNN."

I didn't hate this movie, though, I swear!
04.28.10 (UTC)
Just saw that Strange Horizons has a review: http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2010/04/kickass.shtml
04.28.10 (UTC)
Ha, yeah. I almost quoted him, but then found the other guy I agree with more. I think his point about the two movies within the movie jarring is dead-on.
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