Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kick-Ass (2010)

A whole new generation of pedophiles has their muse.

Controversy is, often times, a really good thing for a movie. It's especially good when your movie is a fairly low-profile adaptation of a comic book. It's hard to tell if the controversy helped Kick-Ass, but it certainly didn't hurt. The movie has some things going for it, but the one word I would use to describe it is forgettable.

Kick-Ass is the story of a high-school looser who decides that he should become a super hero. After failing miserably in his first outing, he manages to succeed, sort of, his second time out. A recording of his superhero antics makes him a huge web-sensation and a target for all sorts of unsavory people. At the same time, nearly legit father-daughter superhero team of Hit-Girl and Big Daddy seek revenge against an infamous mafia boss. All of this is an adaptation of a little known Marvel comic directed by relative unknown Matthew Vaughn. The movie stars a bunch of little known actors, and Nicolas Cage, but you'll recognize a quite a few faces even if you don't know their names. Amidst the, film managed generally positive reviews; with only about one out of ten critics calling the film despicable. It would be a little misguided to call the film a box-office success, but it is slowly but surely earning a cult-like following. I understand the cult interest in the movie, but I don't quite understand the praise it gets.

Kick-Ass has a solid premise, but I personally don't find the execution terribly compelling. The fact that this film has, basically, the same premise as The Watchmen doesn't really help it's case. I won't compare the two films, but I definitely have a preference for one of them. My problem with Kick-Ass is that I just didn't find it terribly interesting. There are certainly moments that stand out, like the first time you watch an 11 year old girl slay a room full of gangsters while spouting obscenity, but the rest of the movie is kind of boring. It's not boring in a nothing happens kind of way, the movie is plenty exciting, but it's boring in the ideas it presents. Both of the young leads and everyone else in the movie under the age of 20 is pretty solid, but the adult cast is surprisingly weak. Nicolas Cage is annoying as hell and the rest of the adults seem to play stereotypes rather than actual characters. I like the modern spin on the film, I love that the kid becomes a YouTube sensation, but it feels years behind thematically. We've seen superheros regret being superheros before and, even though this isn't a real superhero, it feels like old news.

I have a hard time writing much about Kick-Ass because it was just so underwhelming. Not every great premise leads to a great movie and Kick-Ass may be the poster child for this fact. In features some interesting twists on the superhero genre, but nothing that is entirely new. The fact that mainstream audiences didn't see Kick-Ass has allowed it to develop it's cult following. In this case, controversy didn't help Kick-Ass at the box-office, but it will help the movie persist in certain circles. At the very least, Kick-Ass can be a fun movie to watch if you aren't too offended by little girls being killing machines, or by the idea that a grown man can punch a little girl in the face, but I probably won't watch the movie again.



simoncolumb said...

I really enjoyed it! But then, I kinda think that the big-budget action films should be of this standard - and so often they are nowhere near as good.

Kick-Ass in comparison to other action movies or cash-cow comic-adaptations (Punisher, The Spirit, etc) is so much better and much more satisfying.


Alfindeol said...

I can't argue with you there. So much crap gets put out on a yearly basis, especially in the action genre, that something like Kick-Ass is a least well made and enjoyable. It's probably better than 90% of the movies that will be released in 2010.