(I realize that Devin has already reviewed this film twice on the main site, but still felt compelled to give my view here in the blog section.)

             


            All over the blogosphere, reviewers
have been talking about the greatness of Kick-Ass. But I must confess, I
don’t really see it. Sure the homages to the superhero genre are great, but
when the elements of the film are stripped away the basic narrative becomes
confused. (And please don’t think of me as some old person that just doesn’t
understand.)

Now I will admit that I very much
enjoyed this film. There are many funny scenes and lines in this film and the
violence plays perfectly. It was an extremely entertaining film.

The parts of the film I draw issues
with, however, come mostly from the main character Dave/Kick Ass (Aaron
Johnson). It’s not the performance (it’s spot on), but it’s the character’s
story. I haven’t read the comic series, but his motivations are all
self-centered and seem to spawn from his urge of having something meaningful in
his life. He is a lonely and otherwise sad person that as he says, “just
exists”. So to create something that has meaning in his life, Dave decides to
take “delusions of grandeur” to the next level by trying to create himself as a
super hero.

Now interestingly, the contrasts to
the super hero genre in the script may be the most interesting parts. Dave
wants to become something that helps others (a super hero) in an attempt to
really only help himself. Also super heroes in comics tend to be lonely because
of their super hero status; for they have to be otherwise their enemies could
use their significant others for manipulation purposes. But for Dave’s purpose,
he’s already lonely and looking to garner something real that he can cling on
to and hold. He thus creates the alter ego Kick Ass. But it isn’t the
alter ego he wants to hold on too.

The story from here begins to shift
narratives. The main narrative is about Dave becoming something he is not to
fill a missing void in his life. However, it becomes the weaker part of the
story when the secondary narrative dealing with Big Daddy (Nic Cage) and Hit
Girl (Chloe Moretz) begins to progress the story giving a pathway for Dave’s
narrative to follow. There is no doubt in my mind that the scenes with Big
Daddy and Hit Girl are absolutely imperative to stimulate this movie and move
it along. Otherwise, we are stuck with a kid who has dressed up as a super
hero, become an internet phenom, and feels complete in his life as that faux
super hero.  The story is finished; Dave has reached where he wants to be,
in fact he could even get the girl without doing anything else and he doesn’t
really seem to have much of an urge to do anything else.  However, every
super hero story needs a moral to be learned.

The best thing about the narrative
of this story is that it speaks to not needing to be super to do the right
thing. In fact, the story is at its best when Dave recants a line about ‘No
power means no responsibility’ and he ends the scene with ‘that’s not true’
(I’m paraphrasing).  But the point is, that if everyone would take responsibility
we would all wield power to change the world. Instead far too often, we are the
guy in the window that just turns away. Though the unfortunate end is that by
not taking an action our demise becomes worthless. In this way, Dave finally
encapsulates what a true super hero is supposed to be, a figure who’s morals
are to be lived up too. This is obviously juxtaposed to the revenge motif that
dominates the last half of the film. Sadly by using guilt for Dave to come to
his moral conclusion, it is the selfishness theme that resonates, and not the
selfless theme.

I will join the masses in lauding
the awesomeness of Hit Girl. Ms. Moretz does a wonderful job at completely
stealing the film and becoming a true internet sensation. I was on the edge of
my seat waiting to hear or see what she would say/do next.

All in all, I think that this is a
fun movie to see, but is not one that has amazing depth to its narrative. Sure
there are many themes and elements that refer to present day issues concerning
most notably violence. But adding those into the film does not necessarily make
the film great as some fantastic commentary on social issues. It still must
rely on its narrative to give meaning to the film. A narrative that is as
confused as a generation is confused about its super heroes and their moral
obligations and beginnings. Hmm…maybe that’s the point….nah.


Rating: 6/10

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz,
Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong, Lyndsy Fonseca

 

Note: I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that feel I’m
completely wrong in my assessment and that I know nothing about film. I’m also
sure there are some that will try to prove me wrong in that super heroes aren’t
lonely as they all tend to have some romantic link.