I have a confession to make: I have no desire to see Kick-Ass. None.
If I’d gone to junior high in the aftermath of Columbine, I would have been locked up. No joke. I buzz-cut my hair, wore a black trenchcoat every day, and wrote violent short stories in bad imitation of Hunter S. Thompson where I used a bazooka to blow up the school.
So I think I get where Kick-Ass is coming from. And it’s safe to say that if I were still that same 13-year-old misfit, I would be camping out in front of a theater right now, waiting for the movie to open.
But somewhere along the line, I stopped wanting to see a little girl disembowel people with a samurai sword. I think Roger Ebert says it best in his review of the movie: “Shall I have feelings, or should I pretend to be cool?” (This is the same Roger Ebert who raved about xXx, by the way.)
I love Matthew Vaughn’s direction, loved his previous films Layer Cake and Stardust, and have little to no problem seeing grown-ups onscreen tortured, shot, beaten and blown up. I loved Mark Millar’s runs on The Authority and The Ultimates, and was even with him on Wanted, until probably issue four.
But Kick-Ass? Maybe it’s because I’m a father now, and I’ve grown just as compromised and old and hypocritical as a dad in a bad sitcom. But I don’t think so. Sad to say, I just don’t respect the effort very much. It’s a cop-out to claim you’re just following the rules of the real world — by showing mind-blowing violence — and then jump back when people protest and say, “Whoa. Just a joke, folks.” As if to say, “We think it’s realistic and gritty to show a dad shooting his daughter in the chest at point-blank range — unless, of course, you’re offended. In that case, we were only kidding.”
In other words, the whole point of the movie is to deny the very reason the filmmakers claim they made it in the first place. I have more respect for Romero and the Troma team, who at least admit they’re going for the gross-out.
My inner 13-year-old is kicking and screaming as I type this, fighting me every step of the way. He’s calling me a traitor and a hypocrite and many other things that I try not to say out loud any more.
I can see his point. Maybe he’s right, and Kick-Ass would be a great, fun movie. The one thing I’ve learned since being 13 is that I’m wrong. A lot. It’s how I go on learning.
But the little bastard is still going to have to wait to catch it on HBO, and then, only if nothing else is on the TiVo.