Time for me to be the contrarian! Hooray! Everyone seems to lining up to love this movie: CHUD rates it a 10 out of 10 (yeah CHUD overreacting? Who would have guessed?), Spill thought it was better than sex, and I’ve seen more people use the lame joke that “Kick Ass does indeed…kick ass!” my head is red from facepalming so much. I suppose it was time. Most people accuse me of being generous to movies I guess I was due to be the buzz kill for a movie. Simply put, Kick Ass was a let down.
Now I’m not going in for this lame controversy that has sprung up about Hit Girl and some perceived exploitation or whatever. Ebert also gave a one star review about the movie having no morality. Again, I don’t give a shit. As long as the movie is funny, I don’t care. But that’s the problem; the movie isn’t funny.
Funny is being very subjective and when it comes to comedy it is doubly so. People love Carlos Mencia for gods sake. And no, I am not comparing people who love this movie to Carlos Mencia fans. I am just saying everyone has their own tastes and trying to tell someone what funny is is about as easy as explaining the rules to baseball. It is not as easy as it seems. But for people about to claim I’m being unfair or that I came in with a bad attitude I’m going to try to explain the best I can as to why this didn’t work for me.
To boil it down in simplest terms; this movie needed to be just about Hit Girl. No, I don’t feel her presence is a problem in fact quite the opposite. The movie is about 75% about Kick Ass and 25% about Hit Girl and it needs to be at least the other way around. I would frankly be happy with cutting all the footage with Kick Ass, burning it, and burying the ashes.
Kick Ass is a completely useless character. And before anyone jumps on me I will say I get it. I really do get it. The whole point is that Kick Ass is a completely useless superhero. He gets caught up in something way beyond his abilities. While he may set all the actions of the story in motion, he is a complete non-factor in anything after that point. And that is the problem. I don’t mind the writers making a statement about this character and superheroes in general, but they made the movie a dull mess by following him around for the majority of the movie. It is like if Desperado were told from Steve Buscemi’s point of view with El Mariachi in about 20 minutes of screen time to do the cool gun fights. The gun fight scenes would be cool yes, but I would be wondering why we were spending so much goddamn time on an irrelevant character.
The plot line with Kick Ass’s character tries to be to superheroes what Zombieland was to the zombie movie. It tries hard to be this hipster referential parody of comic books. While it does have some funny jokes like Kick Ass competing for friends on MySpace, the rest of the humor is remarkably lazy. We spend about as much time with Hit Girl as we do with Kick Ass’s romance with a girl at school. The running joke is that she thinks KA’s alter ego is gay. I was terribly disappointed by a movie that tries to be referential and mocking of the genre would pull out lowest common denominator humor. Look, gay people are funny *sarcastic laugh*. Get it? No? Yeah, I don’t either. I’m frankly surprised they didn’t go for toilet humor either.
Kick Ass is played by an actor who is seemingly a cross between Jesse Eisenberg and Screech from Saved By the Bell. He squeaks out a bland voice over about how he is not loved by anyone and all he wants is to be a superhero and this is too much for him and blah blah blah blah blah. This ultimate nerd gets unobtainable hot woman angle has been done so many times I was banging my head against the seat in front of me in sheer boredom. Even though I say KA is in over his head, it would be more dramatically relevant if he rose to meet the occasion. That would be…heroic. And while he gets a little nod his way, he is still frankly a p*ssy.
What everyone is going to be talking about and what this movie should have been all about is Hit Girl. You could have made an entire movie which is a revenge action movie with her in it. I almost consider it the comic book version of some juiced up remake of Leon: The Professional. Chloe Moretz was great as Hit Girl and Nic Cage was entertaining channeling some bizarre Adam West/Punisher superhero. Every one of her scenes were fun, action packed, and entertaining. Most of the clever bits of writing were in those scenes. Most of the really gripping and dramatically shocking moments were in her storyline. You cannot say the same thing for Kick Ass.
So I don’t want to give the impression I loathe this movie and damn all of you for loving it. There were times that I was really into this movie and enjoying myself. But then I had to trudge through the hour and a half snoozefest which was the main plot of the movie. I’m sure I can write a ton more but I just wanted to get my initial reactions down. This was a movie with a ton of potential but overall failed in execution.