Monday, April 19, 2010

TEFB REVIEW: Kick-Ass? Yes it was. (Jay's thoughts)

Firstly, I am both ashamed and amused that I am finally posting a review on here for the first time since the blog has existed for over 2 months now (I think.) I will have to make up for that lost time and I will start with Matthew Vaugh's new film Kick-Ass.

Mark has already detailed the story below so instead of bombarding readers with information they have already read I will dive right into my thoughts on the film. I first must mention that going into the movie the only knowledge I has of it is what I saw in the theatrical trailer. Having avoided the red band trailer and other reviews of the film I went into the theater with a limited knowledge of what Kick-Ass would be about. Did it live up to it's controversial title?


Kick-Ass is a very different film than what is shown in the theatrical trailer. It is far more violent, far more intelligent, and far more controversial. So controversial it led critic Roger Ebert to write a scathing review of the film calling it "morally reprehensible." Yes, the 11-year old character Hit-Girl uses a certain "c" word that can be used as a raunchy synonym for a certain part of the female body. Yes this 11-year old (really 13-year old actress Chloe Moretz) spends a decent amount of screen time hacking away limbs of her enemies. But how is this, age aside, any different from what movies like "Kill Bill" and "Sin City" have been doing in recent years? Violence sells and this movie brings it to you by the gallon. But with a tongue firmly planted in a cheek.

Often times the violence in this film is simply to draw a audible reaction from the audience. It's dark humor is very similar to an Edgar Wright film and is mixed with the violence of a Tarantino flick. It's edgy, it's crude, and it's also hilarious. It doesn't try to be a serious superhero film like "The Dark Knight" nor does it try to be a parody like "Disaster Movie." It just is what it is. It's Kick-Ass.

The first few minutes the younger audience might smell some BS. As good as the film is overall it definitely has the feeling of an older person trying to write the life of a teenager. The writer characterizes today's youth as Myspacers who love to talk to their best friends on Skype. Though I applaud them for trying to work in the only buzzwords they know, I must say the portrayal is very stereotypical. Once you get past that you can fully immerse yourself in what Kick-Ass has to offer. Never a dull or slow moment, this flick hammers you with non-stop action but also allows time to develop it's three-dimensional characters: A 16-year-old boy who thinks he has what it takes to be a superhero in New York City, an 11-year old girl and her father trying to bring down a crime boss, and the return of McLovin' who provides one of his best performances as a high school student stuck between the world of a superhero and a supervillian.

Juan wrote earlier that he needs his films to have meaning. Although I respect his opinion, I don't feel the same about a lot of the films I watch (my years in film school may have amplified this feeling.) This is not a morality tale nor does it pretend to be one. And for those looking for meaning should probably steer clear. However if you are looking for fun, edgy, and slightly absurd entertainment then this one is one you will want to check out.

Just make sure the theater is full and the popcorn is hot.


  1. Agree with your review for the most part, Jay, except that I think there's more meaning in Kick-Ass than the filmmakers want to admit. Matthew Vaughn says he made the film strictly to entertain, which is fine and dandy. However, the film definitely dives deeper than just surface spectacle.

    If Vaughn had simply wanted pure flashing lights and nothing more he would have cut out all the character work, which Kick-Ass has in spades. There are lessons to be learned and meaning to be gained in the story of Kick Ass. Kick Ass himself even states one out-right. Towards the end of the film, after his actions cause a catyclismic event to happen to another character, he states the following: "With no power comes no responsibility. But that's not true." That one line sums up what I believe to be the entire message of Kick-Ass. I may be simplifying it, but that's meaningful as hell in the context of the film.

  2. Oh, I felt the film DID have meaning, I was just stating that I didn't need for the film to have any deep meaning for me to really enjoy it.