Saturday, April 17, 2010
I wanted Kick-Ass to be bad-ass
My first awareness of the existence of a movie called Kick-Ass was this poster you see to your right.
I came across it at the local multiplex, and was drawn in by its gravitational pull.
There was something so promising about it. Some dude in a green jumpsuit, who looks like he might be a younger version of Green Day's Billy Jo Armstrong, seems like he just emerged from a nasty brawl in which he was both the provider and the recipient of some serious ass-kicking.
The minimalism of this poster encouraged me to dream myself away into what this movie might be. With that cut on his face, and that vacant stare like he might be a little insane, the protagonist seemed like a real anti-hero, someone antisocial and unstable and possibly in the need of being institutionalized. He'd have to be somewhat likable, but likable in the way Christian Bale is likable in the Batman movies -- he's not completely there and is definitely a bit off. In fact, it was easy for me to imagine Kick-Ass as a superhero movie Christopher Nolan might make, with a total absence of laughs and warm fuzzies, and a surfeit of brutal truth. Plus, I liked the title for being just naughty enough to push the status quo.
O poster, why must you toy with me so?
I went a couple weeks before I saw the trailer, and the trailer corrected any misplaced hopes I may have had. It immediately became clear that the titular hero was some cheery teenager with wide eyes and plucky ambition, not some broken soul stumbling out of the night to bash someone's teeth in. Less than ten seconds into the trailer, my hopes were dashed. Next to appear was Christopher Mintz-Plasse from Superbad, who is dangerously close to becoming overexposed -- a strange thing to say about a guy who does not conform to anyone's idea of a matinee idol. He and his slacker jokes about being dangerous superheros just pushed the film even further into spasmodic nerd territory, away from the brooding vigilante territory I wanted. I was a bit intrigued by the idea of Chloe Grace Moretz as one of this ragtag pack of superheros, as the actress literally just turned 13 two months ago. But her presence also had the reverse effect of reminding me that this movie might be for kids, not for 36-year-olds.
I have since learned that it might be more bad-ass than I think. The movie got an R rating, after all, and both the violence and the language are supposed to be pretty hardcore. In fact, I understand that Moretz swears like a trucker throughout.
But that doesn't change the fact that this movie is in the action-comedy genre -- not something I was expecting from that poster. Maybe I should have recognized that from the admittedly whimsical title, plus the tagline "I can't fly but I can kick your ass." But I didn't. I've heard some people say it does for the superhero movie what Zombieland did for the zombie movie -- that is, be both a joyous example of the genre in question, while at the same time lovingly lampooning it. Still, I didn't want this movie to be starring a bunch of kids whose voices crack like the pimply teenager who rips ticket stubs on The Simpsons.
Since Kick-Ass won't fulfill my desire for a movie about an alienated loner who beats people up so he can feel something, maybe I'll go for a true comedy this weekend. After all, I still haven't seen Hot Tub Time Machine.