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NOT A FAN of Kick Ass


I don’t frequently write about my thoughts on films anymore. Ever since I graduated from High School and left the old Denebola newspaper behind; I’ve found that people don’t particularly care for film reviews outside of my interconnected group of friends. In rare occasions, I find that a certain film bedazzles me to such a degree that I feel compelled to notify the world about it. I get a rush of adrenaline as I assault my keyboard to convey the message of what a magnificent delight of a motion picture I just saw was. However, today I have no intention of subjecting myself to creating a borderline mind-controlled recommendation piece filled to the brink with embellishments of flawless filmmaking. Instead I bear the bad news: I saw Kick Ass, and it fucking sucked.

It should be said that I hold no prejudice against comic book films. I saw Iron Man 2 earlier today and enjoyed it quite a bit; I also found myself entertained during all three Spiderman movies, Superman Returns, V For Vendetta and all of the X-Men movies (keep in mind all of those movies I hold to different degrees of watchability). So trust me when I say that it has nothing to do with some misplaced sense of superiority over the genre.

That being said, let’s summarize Kick Ass in one paragraph. Nonchalant teenage male entails the pointlessness of his existence as the audience eagerly anticipates what a colorful character he won’t turn out to be. Aforementioned male decides he should become a super hero “because no one else has.” Upon ordering a makeshift costume he starts fighting crime and gets stabbed in the stomach, followed by an incident of hit-and-run. His extensive operation destroys his nerve tendons making it easier for him to withstand pain. Well balls, this is going to be longer than a paragraph.

Un-phased by his near-death experience he attempts crime-fighting again and due to a cell phone video and YouTube: becomes a national phenomena. During said video one of the assaulters asks what is wrong with the teenage male, his response being “three guys lay into one, everyone stands and watches, and you want to know what’s wrong with me?” Implying any good person would step in. Keep this little tid bit in mind.

After reaching pop culture icon Kick Ass is introduced to Hit Girl and Big Daddy after he proves his crime-fighting ways to be less than incompetent and the duo saves his butt. From here the film decides to tell the background story of Hit Girl and Big Daddy, this background reveals motivation, personal strife, a vendetta with an antagonist, a goal, interesting characters, and the audience wonders how it will end. Instead of further exploring that we’re brought back to Kick Ass’ uninspired plotline. Blah blah blah, McLovin shows up and cries about his dad being a mob boss, Nicolas Cage dies, whatever.

Despite that summary taking two paragraphs longer than I wanted to I reached the point in the story where I started loathing Kick Ass, and the thought of people enjoying Kick Ass. The entire story and reasoning for all of the conflict in the film is because a teenager “thought it would be cool.” Are you kidding me? The film seems very aware of its “not a super hero, super hero story” format but pointing out flaws with the script or writing doesn’t mean it’s ok.

When conflicts arise in films, the audience is supposed to be engaged with what’s going on. In simplistic movie making there should be a protagonist, a character who the audience connects with and “roots” for (as cheesey as that sounds). There should also be an antagonist, these are usually characters directly connected to the main character and serve as the opposing interest point in something like a superhero story. Protagonists are also typically the connecting factor between what the audience is introduced to for the going-ons of the movie.

Kick Ass does not follow this at all. The main character is completely detached from the conflict, and if it wasn’t for the movie being written by Hollywood the character would’ve up an quit half way through. Midway through the film he gets the (very) attractive brunette he was dreaming of at the beginning of the story, and has no drive or motivation to continue crime fighting, why exactly is the movie centered on him?

Meanwhile Big Daddy and Hit Girl have a very strong emotional attachment to everything in the story. Both characters have pellucid motivations and reasons for their actions, and they’re also both far more interesting than Kick Ass could ever be. Just think about the introductions of all three characters. Kick Ass drones out a monologue in reference to his inconsequential creation and lacking personality traits that could possibly distinguish him from a cardboard cutout of himself. On the other hand, Big Daddy’s first actions are shooting a little girl in the chest for her own good, and Hit Girl requesting a butterfly knife for her birthday.

Gee, which character do you think is more interesting? The clichéd self-aware boring weirdo? Or the unconventional duo of an eccentric daughter and idiosyncratic father?

Yet we’re forced to stick with a bland and disinterested “main” character who’d prefer jerking off to tribal women in Africa rather than maintain his audience’s attention. Even the little glimpse of development we see thirty minutes into the movie is shattered. The tid bit I hoped you’d all remember? About how any good person would stick up for someone else? Well after that he never willingly fights crime again until forced to near the end of the movie. Oh so it looks like he’s just as much of a self-centered scumbag as the rest of the world he apparently looks down upon.

So what am I saying? If you liked Kick Ass you’re empty and selfish. It’s a story about a boring nobody trying to impress some girl so he can get into her pants. This barely has anything to do with superheroes just walking around and “being awesome.” I hate to sound like everyone’s parent, but what the hell!? This is what kids these days are in to? I understand in the comic there are a few big differences such as Big Daddy and Hit Girl having no motivations, and Kick Ass not getting the girl in the end… but that doesn’t sound any better.

I’ve always been a strong believer that if the entertainment I’m watching doesn’t have a “point” even within its own fictional universe, than why would I bother wasting time and viewing it? Kick Ass falls into that category. I’ve only been unable to complete two movies in my life: Napoleon Dynamite, and Bully. I didn’t walk out of Kick Ass, but I wanted to for almost every minute of the last half hour. Never before have I had so much indifference to how events would wrap up.

That’s my piece. Reading this over, I got way less “thesaurusy” as the review went on. But you know what? Learn some words today folks, subscribe to dictionary’s word of the day. Today’s word is afterclap. Alright I'll be back when I have something meaningful to say about video games instead of this bullshit.
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About DinosaurPizzaone of us since 10:04 PM on 11.15.2009

My name is Artie Augustyn... and I'm an alcoholic. No I'm not, but I feel inclined to say that joke when given the opportunity no matter how predictable it has become. I started playing video games in 1997 when my parents bought me a Nintendo 64 and pleading for one for years. I was given Super Mario 64 and Goldeneye 64 on Christmas, and a year later on my Birthday I got Ocarina of the Time. I eventually moved up to a GameCube based on the brand recognition. I was soon persuaded into the world of Sony after playing Dynasty Warriors and Vice City at a friends house, and now I stand before you with an Xbox360, Playstation 3, Wii and PC.

For the most part many people have considered me a "late gamer." I never owned a NES, SNES, Sega Console, or Atari and I get a lot of flak for that. I've begun an initiative recently to go back and play older games that people hold to high praise and you can follow that on my podcast which I'm sure I'll mention a thousand times in this blog.

In terms of my views on gaming, I'd like to think that gaming will one day achieve a level of professionalism and seriousness such as movies or books. I think there are a few reasons that this goal has been kept back. Many gamers don't take the notion seriously, in addition to many leading voices not knowing what they're talking about, and in general everyone's disbelief that it's possible for games to be something more than what they already are. Although, I found Destructoid's views to make the most sense out of what I've seen so far, so I made an account on that sole reason.

I think that covers everything.
Xbox LIVE:TheBrodeo


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