Friday, April 16, 2010

All About Hit Girl

I used to be ashamed to like things like sci-fi movies and comic books and fantasy novels.  But geek is chic in 2010, and I'm so glad.

Last night I went to the late opening of KICK-ASS.  Most people who've heard of it don't really know much about it.  It's part satire, part comedy, part drama, and all awesome.  It's the story of a world where a normal kid named Dave buys a wet suit, tries to be a superhero, and gets his ass kicked.  The world is populated by other heroes.  Big Daddy and Hit Girl being two.

I read some of the comics and fell in love.  Like Kill Bill, Kick-Ass doesn't take its own violence seriously. Hit Girl is an eleven-year-old girl who uses language so foul my mom would walk out.  Big Daddy spends her childhood teaching her how to take a bullet to the chest and giving her knives and guns for her birthday.  There's a brilliant scene in which Hit Girl takes out an entire room of bad guys that plays like a video game.  That scene sums up what the writer is trying to say about violence.  It's not real.  The blood, the death, it's nothing kids haven't seen in "serious" hero movies or in video games.

Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass gives us a hero we can relate to.  His is a positive message that says:  if normal people stick their noses where they don't belong, they're likely to get killed, but sometimes you have to step up and be extraordinary.  Yeah, we're all laughing at his antics because as kids, most of us played at being a superhero at least once.  But Kick-Ass takes it a step further.

But the real stars are Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl and (and I shudder to say this) Nicholas Cage as Big Daddy.  I would go so far to say that this was Cage's best performance ever.  As a loving father who turns his girl into a crime-fighting sociopath, he was brilliant.  Chloe Moretz is going to be a star.  And it's really the relationship between Hit Girl and Big Daddy that becomes the core of the movie.

Now, there's a lot of controversy about the language and the violence--and I'm not saying that there isn't a TON of both--but it's meant to shock.  It's not gratuitous in the way a horror movie is.  It's there to make a point.  Sitting in the row in front of me last night was a guy who looked to be about 15.  He was there with his mother.  I wanted to high-five that woman.  Especially when I heard her laughing at all the right parts.

Did I actually review this movie?  I'm not sure, I'm at work and exhausted.  The movie rocked.  It fell short in the same way that most super-hero origin story movies do.  Too much background, not enough bad guy.  But if there's a number two, I'll be there on opening night again.


  1. I'll have to take your word for it, Shaun. I'm going to be one of the few objectors to this movie, I can see that already.

    I will say right up front that I haven't seen the movie. I've only seen a few clips here and there. So this is an incredibly uninformed opinion. But based upon what I have seen, the things that would bother me about it are too overwhelming for me to put out my hard earned dollars.

    First off, foul language on that level coming from a child that young bothers me. Don't get me wrong. I'm former military and I've heard just about every form of every cussword (in multiple languages even). But I guess a part of me actually likes the fact that children can be above that sort of thing, at least for a while. I try not to toss out profanity left and right, though I've been known to string together a few choice ones from time to time. I'm not 10 though.

    The other prominent thing that bothered me was the whole "shot to the chest" idea. I have no problem bending reality for a while in order to enjoy a movie, but this one breaks from reality completely. I've never been shot myself (thankfully), but I know what it will do physically to a person. The idea of a child taking that kind of hit and being able to walk away from it is just too much for me to swallow.

    Sorry for the rant. If you enjoyed it, that's cool. Unfortunately I doubt I will even watch it when it comes to cable.

  2. Eric - Hey! And that's cool too :) One of the reasons I loved this movie was that, like Kill Bill, it's violence is so divorced from reality. In Kill Bill, Uma slices off arms and legs and the appendages shoot blood twenty feet into the air. There's even a scene in Kick-Ass where the violence is played out like a video game.

    I have a different viewpoint on profanity. I understand where people are coming from--especially when it comes to children. My take though is that profanity is only bad because we make it so. I think that once we, as a society, stop giving weight to cuss words, they'll go away. If we can laugh at them and not take them seriously, then their power is diminished.

    I'm glad you've never been shot either! But, again, I understand where you're coming from. As a movie (and a great comic book) it takes the whole superhero genre and skewers it. It's meant to be ridiculous and silly. It deconstructs movies like The Dark Knight and Spiderman and forces you to see how silly THEY are too.

    But in the end, if you're not down for that sort of thing, then that's cool. I've sworn never to see Avatar.

    You know you're welcome to come by and rant any time :)

  3. I absolutely love reading blogs where two people can share a difference of opinion in a mature fashion.

    Eric and Shaun, you guys are awesome! E-hugs to both of you today.

    I'm not a fan of superhero movies, but I've found myself wanting to check this one out specifically because the girl that plays Hit Girl seems to radiate right off the screen in the ads they show on TV.

    Just from the few clips I've seen, I'd have to say I agree with you, Shaun, Chloe Moretz is going to be big.

  4. I saw a trailer for it the other day and thought it looked pretty funny. I wouldn't let my kids see it :) but I'll probably give it a shot :)

  5. I'm one of those people who tivos everything and skips over all the commercials so I've never heard about this movie but it certainly sounds interesting! Love the graphic!

  6. Shaun, you're too cool. I think I was in a mood when I wrote my comment, with acid dripping off my work-irrated claws. Anyway, I'm glad you didn't take it personally.

    And thanks Kat. You're also up there in the coolness world.


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