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(film review) Essentially two very different stories in one
Kick Ass starts out with a fun attempt to deconstruct the superhero genre, by showing what might happen if a real person, Don Quixote style tried to mimic their favorite fictional heroes and fight crime in the real world. The results are mixed. Dave Lizewski gets his ass kicked, but does get popularity for what he's doing when a video of him taking on a group of thugs goes viral. Sort of like the real-life Phoenix Jones, except in a harsher setting.

It's fun seeing Dave try to live his double life as an unpopular teen, and a masked vigilante trying his best to answer his fans and fight crime. His endless enthusiasm and unwillingness to give up is great to watch. I would have loved for the story to continue along these lines.

Then, when one of Kick-Ass's attempts to teach a gang a lesson goes horribly wrong, Big Daddy and Hit Girl come in and save him. They promptly steal the show and make it about them, as they are competent while Kick-Ass is not, and they also are interesting characters in their own right. The story soon shifts gears and not only follows them, but essentially changes its genre and mood.

From this point on, the story is no longer a Deconstruction, nor is it a Reconstruction, as Reconstruction, by definition, involves recognizing the criticisms of a Deconstruction and responding to them with a more convincing version. But that's not what we get here; we instead get superheroes played mostly straight. They might not have powers along the lines of Superman, but they are still superhuman when it comes to fighting abilities, athleticism and reflexes.

And the story itself changes focus: although there are a few twists, it soon becomes mostly "kill the bad guys and win". While fun to watch as well, it's a very different story than the one we started with, and I just don't find it as much fun.

Sadly, this is the fate of something that tries to be two very different things. One story will inevitably be considered better than the other. My brother, for example, didn't care for the movie until Big Daddy and Hit Girl came in, saying that Kick-Ass himself was too much of a "scrub". And there are also those who loved the movie the whole way through. For what it's worth, though, it's essentially two different experiences.
Not even the first part was realistic. When kick-ass got stabbed, he should have died of blood loss.
comment #7042 KoreanDrunkHobo 25th Mar 11
I agree with your review, really, and was nonplussed at the people who loved it. Not that there's anything wrong with people liking something I don't, but most of the times I can at least understand what people liked about it, while in this movie... I didn't.

It's not a reconstruction, because it doesn't do anything to reconstruct the super-hero genre. Either the kick-ass world is a realistic world, one where super-heroism is not something healthy or even effective, in which case Hit-girl and Big Daddy are horrible psychopaths (and she was also turned a child soldier by her own father, think about that in a real-world context). Or this is a fantasy world, similar to those where action heroes can gun thousands of baddies without having to deal with any legal consequences or even paperwork.

I'm ok with pre-puberscent girls kicking ass, I'm ok with a guy shooting a villain out of the room with a bazooka, I'm fine with all that cartoony one-man-army nonsense because, let's admit, it's fun. But the first part of the movie acts to its detriment, setting the scene for a 'realistic' world, relatively speaking, and not bothering to explain or transition between the gritty and dark first half with the cartoony, wish-fulfillment action-fest of the second half.

To express it in a yahtzee-like metaphor, it's as if you spliced together the first half of Gone With The Wind and the second half of a lesbian porn movie. Neither are bad in and of itself, but one doesn't agree with the other and if you wanted to see the rest of the story then too bad, all you're getting is hot women having sex.

Although I guess if you liked lesbian sex, and wasn't too worried about the story then this edit could be considered an improvement...

Alright, I found out why people enjoyed this movie after all.

comment #14078 MaximillionMiles 30th Apr 12
I think to "get it" you have to divorce yourself from trying to pidgeon hole this movie into one specific trope or genre. It involves many different themes that all cover one main character... and it is NOT Kick-Ass.

As I saw it, I found the whole movie to be about Hit Girl and how her life is changed into the thing that she is becoming under the tutelage of her obsessed "father". It is told from the perspective of Dave for the most part, but the movie doesn't really focus on Dave or Kick-Ass. It is a story of revenge for Big Daddy and how he uses his own "daughter" to effect that revenge.

That being said, you do not have to like the way it was told, but try to see it for the greater whole as well. It is not a self contained story. There is a fairly clear "next part" to this saga and hopefully the box office returns on Kick-Ass 2 will warrant the third part to be told as it is going to be needed to wrap up this interesting, if not typical tale of a young girl, her friend in green tights, and the life they are leading.
comment #20955 casualobserver 1st Sep 13
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