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I watched Kick-Ass with an appreciative crowd, but I'm not sure I can quite swallow with glee the notion of an 11-year-old assassin. Yes, yes, it's all fun and games, just a fantasy, just a comic book. My brain knows all that. The juxtaposition of bloodbath and baby doll is intended as comic absurdity. Normally, that sort of bent humor appeals to me. I'm just not sure what sort of person Kick-Ass makes me. There can be little doubt that audiences are made to root for a slaughtering schoolgirl as she plows through a Mafia phalanx with weapons blazing. Is that… funny? Surely the story's most violent chapters – seeking revenge for a meaningful death – aren't played for laughs
On the basis of supposed "realism," viewers are supposed to empathize with Kick-Ass. He is, after all, wounded in combat – as any mere mortal would be. His costume is only what he can buy on eBay. He is thus neither the unattainably invulnerable Clark Kent nor the unattainably wealthy Bruce Wayne. His creators pass him off as Everyman, as one of us.
So perhaps I'm reacting to the contradiction of extreme realism (represented by the title character) and extreme fantasy (represented by Hit Girl). The two characters don't seem to belong in the same universe. They are pulling the super-hero milieu in two different directions. At one end of the spectrum, the noble Kick-Ass defends strangers, eschews firearms, models the involvement of citizens in the lives of their neighbors. At the other end, Hit Girl and Big Daddy are secretive, vengeful, murdering, weapons-mongers; a militia of two vigilantes – one of whom has been robbed of childhood by her own father.
Yes, Kick-Ass is satisfying as an action extravaganza, a beer-and-cheap-pizza, don't-think-about-it-too-hard munitions dump. And I enjoyed it on that level. For a more convincing blend of comic and thoughtful reflection on the nature of heroism, however, you're better off watching Mystery Men.
Not usually a fan of these kinds of films but I actually loved it. Hilarious! Definitely worth a watch.
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