Now, I need to lay some guidelines as to how I review movies, I will strive to uphold myself to these on all of the reviews I make:
1. A movie has to be consistent within it's message. I may not approve with what it has to say but if it makes sense within the story's intent and the character's arcs, I am happy with it.
2. Movies always mean something. They always communicate something and always have an intent. Even the people that say that their project doesn't mean anything are, in my opinion, incorrect or lying. You can never not make a meaning or a judgement on anything. What I believe to be good or bad, right or wrong and my values set will always color the way I review movies.
3. A movie needs to create and maintain the illusion of the world it is creating. If at any point an element of the movie pulls me out of the experience I am having while watching it, someone didn't do their job right. I tend to not like movies that do that. Consistent audio/visual elements are paramount.
That's all I got to say on guidelines, on to the review and why I didn't like this movie.
There are two things that influenced my opinion on the film. I will start with the most obvious to me but maybe the least obvious reason why a person wouldn't like this movie: I don't believe it's message is good or in integrity with it's own logic. Kick-Ass presents a world where violent, cold-hearted, inhumane criminals run the show. They are wealthy, powerful and ruthless and no one has the guts to stand up to them. No one except 16 year old Dave Lizewski who believes things can be different, who believes in a world where people help each other and where regular citizens stand up together to fight against the oppressors. A noble ideal for sure but herein lies Kick-Ass' biggest flaw. The way Dave, who decides to become the crime fighting costumed avenger Kick-Ass, and the rest of the "heroes" (an 11 year old out of reality girl called Hit Girl and her revenge fueled father Big Daddy) stand up to the bad guys is as bloody, ruthless and inhumane as the people they complain about.
Now, I am not a prude. I have watched my share of violent movies in the past. It takes a lot to shock me and honestly there was nothing in this movie that made me feel uncomfortable or repulsed, quite the contrary. It made me bored and numb. There's an inherent flaw with the violence vs violence model... if you use violence to defeat violence you become part of the same group of offenders and, what's even worse, violence not only persists, but it increases. Just take a look down south to my country, Mexico, and you will get all the proof you need to justify this principle. The police-drug lords-mexican army triangle of bloodshed has garnered my country the title of one of the most violent countries in the world. Ciudad Juarez is the most violent city in the world. Despite the amount of money, resources, strategies, counterintelligence, weapons and force that the government has spent, the criminals just one-up them in a blink. And the cycle of violence continues and nothing changes. Only the body count.
In my opinion, this movie promotes a world where our most valuable principle, humanity, is annihilated by the actions our so called "heroes" partake in. The movie starts off with a wonderful idea, a very honorable concept: rising against the violent oppressors and taking a stand. Kick-Ass completely demolishes it's original premise after the first 25minutes of it's running time. After that it became a spectacle of blood, severed limbs, flashing lights and disconnection. I don't know what's scarier: that this type of content is made available to so many people or the jeers and cheers I heard from people in the theater as 11 year old Hit Girl curses, slices, dices and blows people's brains off. Not necessarily in that order. Strike one.
The second thing I disliked about the movie is the way it dealt with it's main character, Dave. I was intrigued and interested by his story arc. I was in. Director Matthew Vaughn decides to harshly change gears and protagonists and focus on Hit Girl and Big Daddy 30 minutes into the movie. Dave (or Kick-Ass in super hero mode) is demoted to wimpy, unclear, vague territory and we are then asked to care about a duo of sociopathic murderers with no grasp on how the real world works. My emotional anchor was gone. Strike two.
Remember, Kick-Ass takes place in the real world, our world. The demented duo appear to operate in a super-hero world. Their martial arts feats are so unrealistic that you will be wondering if indeed these people are not Super Skrulls shapeshisted into regular humans. Again, inconsistent message and set of rules. A big no, no in my book.
Another thing: the movie looks cheap. Strike three, you are out.
By this point, you know where I stand. This is who I am and these are the things I look for in the movies I watch. Is it too much to ask for a movie with a consistent, interesting and hopefully ethical message? I don't think so.
Feel free to comment and check our live review this Thursday April 22nd at 11pm EST on "The Everything Film Show" (www.blogtalkradio.com/theeverythingfilmshow). It will be one heck of a discussion. Cya at the movies!