Kick-Ass (2010)

“Come on, be honest with yourself. Would you do anything differently? We see someone in trouble and we wish we can help. But we don’t.”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloë Grace Moretz

Kick-Ass is based on a comic by the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The film is a black comedy coming of age film that tries to make the audience question their belief of what defines a superhero.

The film is heavy with comparisons to typical super hero films. The film begins by killing off a typical ‘super hero’ character – wears a cap, jumps off a building, metaphorically killing off the image of a superhero. The superhero clichés are covered, Kick-ass (Aaron Johnson) does not have dead parents, killed in circumstances that may lead to vengeance, superpowers or insane finances to pay for sci-fi technology. Kick-ass has his costume mocked and he is stabbed and almost dies in his first fight. The film aims to make the audience feel like they could themselves be a super hero, that a super hero could be your average person too.

Be honest with yourself. At some point in our lives, we all wanted to be a super hero.

This comparison continues through the character of Hit-girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), she is an eleven year old girl. If an eleven year old can be super hero, so can everyone else.

Hit-girl creates an uncomfortable comparison with other women in super hero films. She is a young child however is fighting and killing fully grown men. Banana Splits by the Dickies plays in the background, a rather happy song, while everyone is getting murdered. She calls her father Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and blows a kiss as she leaves the room. This makes us question why women are shown in such a sexual manner in super hero films. She uses explicit language throughout the film, contrasting again with her age and makes the audience extremely uncomfortable.

Hit-girl and Big Daddy continue to push our comfort with violence. Before we learn who the villains are we watch as he shoots Hit-girl so she can learn what being shot feels like. The audience is left wondering is this actually what is required for an average person to become a super hero? The audience’s feelings about Hit-girl are reflected through the character of Marcus (Omari Hardwick), Big-Daddy’s old police partner, when he asks Big Daddy:

This how you brainwashed Mindy?

And again when he tells Big Daddy:

This is no life for Mindy, you know. You owe that kid a childhood.

There is a fight scene near the end of the film where Hit-girl fights the mob while there is a strobe light on is cinematically beautiful. It is fantastic to watch. There is a lot of comic relief to remove the reality from the death and gore that occurs throughout all these scenes which are brought around through Kick-ass and his friends awkwardness and hormone-driven actions.

Unfortunately, Kick-ass and his friends do fulfil the stereotypical awkward nerd character that are so abundant in teenage, coming of age films. We all felt awkward and uncomfortable during our teenage years and that is why we continue to associate with these characters, but I continue to hope that eventually we might see something new.

There are little cues that remind the audience they are watching a film that was based on a comic book. These include comic book like boxed text such as meanwhile, sometime earlier and six month earlier.

The film is targeted at teenage boys, full of stereotypical teenage characters and tries really hard to be the anti-super hero, super hero film. Unfortunately, it tries too hard and the scenes with Hit-girl do sit really uncomfortably for a comedy. It is better than your average super hero film, if that says something, and will hit the spot if that is what you are craving on your Friday night.

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