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."