About a year and a half ago, I saw a production still for Kick-ass. It was an action pose of a very young girl wielding a machete as big as she was. Awesome, I thought, America is finally attacking their own version of the ridiculous Japanese action films featuring school girls with crazy powers mowing bloody row after bloody row of bad guys wearing eye patches and black suits. Parents killed, a weaker younger sister to protect, an exiled ex-master as mentor, you know the story. Japan’s has cranked out a truckload of these frenetic samey kinds of movies, all enjoyable, all as trashy as R-rated hentai. A little more research and I found out it was based on a run of comics, so then my expectation turned to the notion of a big American version of an indie comic, like Scott Pilgrim or the hopefully upcoming Preacher. God, I love Preacher the comic and now I’m convinced there’s no way they can’t not fuck that comic. But I’ll see it so Garth Ennis gets some dough. Anyways…
So I saw Kick-ass last weekend. I didn’t dislike it. I didn’t not like it. I’d certainly recommend it to many people, but I’m a victim of my own expectations. I was expecting a different movie. Maybe that’s why on Netflix streaming, I watch so many blind movies, watching films without knowing anything about them. Zero expectations. My expectations are usually greater than what most movies deliver. However, the one exception is horror movies, I expect so many tropes and just accept them, just focusing on the cool, weird stuff.
And Kick-ass had so many comic book tropes. Granted they were all told well, but instead of feeling like an homage to a comic book movie, Kick-ass felt like a roulette wheel of comic book movie plots. The main character lived on Peter Parker’s street and had Peter Parker’s plot line with a slight twist on Peter Parker’s love life. It even ended with a Green Goblin sequel set-up. It did it well, no complaints, but I kept waiting for a subversion of the genre the tone kept suggesting. Even in the Batman plots with the eleven year old girl, if you read enough comics, you saw the twist coming.
But I did love the Batman stuff. Little girls kicking ass is like zombies in a mall, you can’t screw it up. And Nick Cage doing Adam West was awesome and hinted at how the movie could have went balls-out fanboy and been an unqualified success. I hope the the sequel, if there is one, is all Hit Girl all the time, she was fun and badass and campy in every scene. The other part of the movie, with the exception of some of the bad guy stuff, felt like the Superbad kids bought some capes and hit the town.
It was zippily paced and overall very light, but I guess in the end the bad guy was my own expectations.
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