Kids swear their heads off, reminds me of Frankston

Featuring

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as David Lizewski/Kick-Ass
Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist
Lyndsy Fonseca as Katie Deauxma
Nicholas Cage as Damon Macready/Big Daddy
Mark Strong as Frank D’Amico
with Clark Duke and Evan Peters as Marty and Todd

I realise I’m a bit late to watch this movie, but with the imminent arrival of Kick Ass 2 in Australia, I figured that it would be a good idea to see what the original is about before watching the sequel. Boy was I surprised. Mind you, I never really paid any attention to Kick Ass when it first came out and only vaguely remember some controversy surrounding foul language and kids in the film. I mean, given some of the colourful language in use in select suburbs in Melbourne from kids far younger than those in the movie, watching Kick Ass feels like a walk in the park. It’s also much safer!

For starters, I don’t really get the controversy about foul language. Admittedly, it felt a bit strange watching Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl uttering the c-word at the tender age of thirteen before making quick work of some New York gangsters’ limbs and heads. But as it is, the actress herself would have been informed what she was saying and, being a professional, would be able to understand the difference between acting and reality. She’s hardly become a Lindsay Lohan in the intervening years. We all knew what the swear words in English were in primary school and it takes only a small amount of self control and maturity (which we mostly had, even in primary school) not to say those kinds of words out loud. Really, if parents are honestly that worried about their children’s vocabulary, they wouldn’t let them watch this movie. The ratings system is there as guidance for this exact reason.

The thing about Kick Ass and its comic book origins, depicting the vigilante justice of a teenager sick of being mugged by local thugs is that it is deliberately over the top. It is gratuitous. It is awkward teenage hormones. But it is also hilarious, fun and in some ways, endearing. It’s based on a comic book, so if people do want to take the movie too seriously, well, there’s not much I can write to dissuade them of that. There’s nowhere near as much swearing as what I thought there would be, and the level of violence depicted is no more than other movies, even that in The Matrix or Star Wars. So, really I don’t think that much, if any of the controversy that surrounds this movie is justified.

The other side of the coin is that because our superheroes are actually normal human beings, they’re quite vulnerable and their family and loved ones even more so. There are no superpowers here, only grit, determination, martial arts ability and sometimes, body armour. It’s a little like Batman, but he has some pretty nifty toys and an even more useful bank account. I mean, Dave, our unlikely hero gets stabbed in the gut and run over by a car in his first outing which means an extended stay in hospital. This shows just how easily you can get yourself into serious trouble and goes a long way to explaining why there aren’t any real vigilantes about.

So the question of whether the movie is any good comes into play here. I thought that it was a great fantasy adventure movie that is far more realistic in depicting the danger and vulnerability involved in crime fighting than any other in the superhero/vigilante genre. That it’s based on the comic book and stays reasonably close to its origins is also a good thing and though some parts of the film do differ from the comics, it was done well. Kick Ass is a fun movie and as long as you’re not too easily offended, it is also pretty funny. If you haven’t seen it yet, go do it – even if you’re uncomfortable with the strong profanities.

Rating

Humourous and original, if a little gory. Still, it’s good black comedy.

Should I watch it?

Yes, because superheroes should be more vulnerable than they normally are. It’s a bit rude though, so don’t take kids along.

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