Kick-Ass: Comic and Movie (Spoilers Abound)

This is the comic.

Halfway through the second issue of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s, I had firmly come to the conclusion that the title character, Dave Lizewski, was not a decent human being.  When you see the emotional and financial turmoil he puts his Dad through after his disastrous first outing as a superhero, every iota of sympathy you have for the character should be gone.  The reader’s sympathy lies not for Kick-Ass, but for the people around him. Try as he might, this kid can do nothing but make things worse. Regarding his out-of-costume life, you can either get your pants in a bundle about him being Millar’s critique of the common “comics public” OR you can take solace in the fact that you are nowhere near as pathetic as this kid. It’s easy to view Kick-Ass as another criticism of superhero culture, but is it possible that it’s just about an idiot kid getting the shit kicked out of him? Does Mark Millar really hate his reading public that much?  Have you read a Mark Millar comic?  The guy kind of hates everybody.  I also failed to see all of the racism people were complaining about.  Does Dave beat up/get beat up by a lot of ethnic stereotypes?  Yes.  Do well adjusted people who finish middle school join inner city gangs?  Not so much.  If he were calling them “nigger” while getting the shit kicked out of him, we’d have a different story on our hands, we’d have Wanted, which has some pretty racist characters, but that’s probably because it’s about a guy who’s supposed to be Marshall Mathers joining a fraternity of super-villains and murdering people for a living.

This is the movie poster.

The movie tries its best to make Dave a likable protagonist and takes a much more upbeat stance than the comic.  I feel like they missed the point of the comic in the process, but it’s not like they missed the point of From Hell, Ghost World or something.  I can accept that.  What I can’t accept is the movie’s treatment of the Dave/Katie relationship.  I mean, the jetpack was pretty damn foolish, but this is almost as bad.  Lying about being gay to get closer to the girl, yeah, that’s not morally reprehensible at all.  The scene where Dave spills his guts and comes clean with her on his sexuality and tight-wearing?  Even assuming there’s some superhero fetishism going on; we’re supposed to accept that she goes from attacking him to fucking him in the span of three minutes?  Most adults aren’t that forgiving, let alone teenage kids.  This is the point where it really just becomes a teenage boy’s power fantasy, as Dave gropes his way to sexual conquest.  I tried to roll with it, and I might have forgiven it if they didn’t have to include that goddamn jetpack.

Ugh.  I see no reason why that was at all necessary. It was dumb and excessive in all the wrong ways.  The movie has gotten pretty fuckin ridiculous at this point, but certainly not jetpack ridiculous.  Maybe if someone else had been flying it, but when a character defined by his incompetence flies in and saves the day with his brand-new jetpack and Gatling guns, we’ve officially surpassed fridge-nuking and are now in the valley of shark-jumping.

I could have used some more violence and gore.  The comic is one of the goriest things I’ve read in a long while.  All I’m asking for is somebody’s head getting chopped in half.  Is that too much to ask for?  Ah well, I’m really just nit-picking at this point.  However, despite their noticeable lack of guts, the fight scenes were still mostly comprehensible. I’ve got to congratulate Matthew Vaughan on letting the audience know what the hell was going on.  The acting was also good, and I’ve really got nothing to contribute to the amount of praise everybody’s heaping upon it. So sorry, no 19 paragraphs gushing about Chloe Grace Moritz.  Nicholas Cage was probably better anyway.  He’s not as mega as he’s been recently, but he was pretty funny.

Sorely lacking.

The more I think about it, the more I didn’t like the movie. It had some great moments, a few bits of truly spectacular filmmaking, but it also had one too many really fucking awful parts.  There were some parts that I really liked, I tried to appreciate it as its own thing, separate from the source material, but it all falls apart so horribly at the end, I can’t forgive it.  I probably will sometime in the future, but I’m in no rush.

(It wasn’t just me and the nerds either.  I distinctly heard someone else in the theater say the ending was stupid, so there.)

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