Kick-Ass: Disappointment Wears a Wetsuit

Late last night while the little boy and girls were laying their lice ridden heads down on their dirty blood soaked pillows I was sitting down in a theater with a group of friends, including fellow “writer” Louie, we were preparing to see one of my most anticipated films of 2010, Kick-Ass. It was a good night with friends, there was laughter, mockery, and apparently love was also had. I saw the Scott Pilgrim trailer on a big screen, the 16th time I have seen it, and it was great. Also I may have ignored a crippled kid, for that i am sorry, and I am very glad despite me being an asshole, he made it.

Well the movie starts and 2 hours later all I can really feel is, in the parlance of our times, “meh”. It’s not necessarily  a bad movie it’s just not very good, it’s a perfectly mediocre flick. Now the hype on this flick from Ain’t It Cool News, Empire, and a few others, was insane. Heralding it as the ultimate deconstruction of superhero films, it would make all future comic book movies redundant because Kick Ass is so god damned brutal, plus it would be the most fun you’ll have in a theater this spring. None of those things are true.

The deconstruction of superhero movies is bullshit because the Kick-Ass storyline is Spider-man with no science and more violence, it’s not a deconstruction of Spider-man it’s a slave to that storyline, guy likes girl, guy becomes superhero, guy impresses girl, guy gets girl. Then the Hit Girl, Big Daddy stuff is just The Punisher, it’s the best part but it’s not all that original, you know what I’m gonna take a guess and say Kick-Ass is going to be the highest grossing Punisher movie ever.

I liked this movie more than Kick-Ass

Okay before I go any further I want to say that I’m really good about not falling for hype, ever since Soul Caliber 2 on Gamecube didn’t live up to the pre-release hype I’ve challenged the hype but the Kick Ass hype  such that even if I took the hype down 80% Kick Ass was still going to be unbelievably great.

Don't trust the hype

Kick Ass isn’t all bad though, there are certainly numerous parts that made me happy. Almost everything with Hit_Girl and all the parts with Hit-Girl and Big Daddy out of costume being a family were great. The hallway fight is great fun and who doesn’t like an 11-year-old flipping off walls shooting dudes. Mark Strong was also great, I’ve liked Mark Strong since Stardust (also directed by Matthew Vaughn) and his performance as Frank D’Amico in Kick Ass was menacing, violent and funny, this movie definitely makes me excited for the Robin Hood and Green Lantern movies where Strong is playing The Sheriff of Nottingham and Sinestro respectively. He also looks like a John Romita Jr. drawing which was kind of cool.

Speaking of Romita Jr. art Kick-Ass has possibly the ugliest animated sequence I’ve ever seen. The secret origin of big Daddy and Hit Girl is told through a comic book that we are given the horrible privelige of watching in motion, it’s awkward, unattractive, and really unneccessary, why they didn’t just give us straight Romita art is anyone’s guess because that would have been way cooler than to have crappy CG.

Let’s talk about Nic Cage. He’s in this, he plays Big Daddy. Whenever he is out of costume and interacting with his daughter it’s entertaining and really touching, Cage does a good job of showing that he loves his daughter more than anything. Then the mask comes on and he starts talking stupid and it’s annoying which sucks because I love Nic Cage, he’s been one of my favorite actors since I saw Raising Arizona when I was eight, so to see him get a role that is so cool and to have him fuck up is kind of upsetting.

Here’s the thing, I like to think about movies and the more I think about Kick-Ass the more I’m disappointed by it. It had so much potential and instead of making a continually great flick, Vaughn blew his load in two or three really cool bits, and then left us with uninteresting drama, unbelievable relationships, and an underused Christopher Mintz-Plasse who’s Red Mist character could have been great. Oh well it ends with a set up for a sequel and maybe that will be as good as people seem to think this one is.

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