Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kick Ass is not a comedy

Only a short post, because other factors have kept me from my rightful rest, but after watching Kick Ass this afternoon, I can safely say that it isn't a comedy.

It's funny in parts, yes.  A lot of what happens is absurd.  But at its heart, it is a cautionary tale about what can happen when we take silly things too seriously.  Or, as in the case that originally sees Dave become Kick Ass, when we don't take things seriously enough.

I've heard a lot of complaints that originally made me not want to see the movie, or even have anything to do with it.  Having seen it, I will gladly recommend it, if possibly only from the comfort of your own home.  The people around me guffawing at incidents that were obviously intended as ironic parody and, actually, not meant to be funny at all, made me more irritated than when people kept telling me Avatar was a good movie.

There are some moments where the director didn't know what he was doing.  Some moments have funny music to try to offset what's happening on screen.  I kind of wish he had just taken his message and said : "This is what it is.  Take it or leave it, but know that it's here." rather than dancing around some of the issues with strange camera angles and music reminiscent of Benny Hill.

Kick Ass was awful, but in so many realistic ways that I found it compelling.  I wanted to know what happened. I cared about these stupid characters with their flaws and ridiculous idealism and blind sociopathy.  I wanted them to have a happy ending.  The fact that it was somewhat cheapened by the impromptu laughtrack of those who had bought into the marketing and had come to see a comedy doesn't make it any less effective.

What Mindy's father did was wrong.  But he also loved her, more than himself.  This seems to be a recurring theme, now that the last generation has grown up, and is having children.  Comedies, especially, are moving into the realm of father-with-kids-goes-on-zany-adventures.  But Kick Ass is not about how her father ruined her life.  It's a warning, if anything, rather than an ovation.  It doesn't idolise his actions.  It idolises his love.  And before you start wondering, no, I'm not referring to any kind of abuse.  I'm trying to write without spoilers.

Kick Ass is about the varying degrees of standing up for yourself, and being brave enough, or committed enough, to stick to your morals.  It's wrapped up in a bubblegum-flavoured, candy-wrapper alfoil case of explosions and so-gory-they're-ridiculous  moments of torture, but it certainly doesn't glorify the actions of 'real-life' superheroes.  It shows them to be the vigilantes that they are, which is something I, personally, haven't experienced before.  It looks at the balancing going on, on both sides of the equation, and comes out with one answer:

People should help other people.

That's what it boils down to, and that's what made me like it.  One of the lines from the beginning really touched me, but forgive me if I quote it incorrectly:

"Superheroes only exist in comic books.  And that would be fine if bad guys only existed in comic books, too, but they don't."

As a tale of one boy's attempt to make the world a better place, I give it a definite thumbs up.  Go and see it, even if you're expecting a comedy.  I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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