What's the Problem With Hit-Girl?

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What's the Problem With Hit-Girl?

An 11 year-old girl is 2010's most controversial movie hero.

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The problem with hit girl is that for some reason, children can't be violent. Especially girls. All little girls must be twee little angels, with hearts of gold.

Fuck that, children are just as fucked up as the rest of us. Perhaps more so in places.

I'm glad that Hit Girl exists, it's another taboo to be broken down, and that's nothing but a good thing. Rest assured, no sane 11 year old is going to go and kill someone because they saw Hit Girl do it, that's not how people work, the more taboos get broken, the more people can actually just accept the world as it is and stop deluding themselves.

I enjoyed seeing her kick the shit out of people, especially because those she did kill were horrible murderers themselves. Sure, it made me uncomfortable, but it's a bloody movie, and I'm glad I've gotten over it. It's nice to see empowered women in films, and it's nice to see empowered children (not just "save the children" moralising), like in Home Alone, but put them together, and somehow it offends? I have a suspicious feeling that if it was a little girl in Home Alone, someone would complain about it.

I have no respect when Roger Ebert marks down Kick Ass totally just because he's offended by one element of it.

Great article, though.

Very true. I didn't mind her existance at all

I hated that last scene where she beats up the typical school bullies though. Even though it went off-screen and you just heard punches, I thought "This isn't a 'ha! that'll teach 'em' moment, it's a 'holy crap, she hospitalised them!' moment". She didn't adorably take care of them, SHE'S AN ASSASSIN, she probably broke one in half and strangled the other with his own intestine

I though of Hit Girl as a live action version of Henrietta from Gunslinger Girl. Theyre both the same concept really

Furburt:
The problem with hit girl is that for some reason, children can't be violent.

I'm glad that Hit Girl exists, it's another taboo to be broken down

Is it a taboo worth breaking down though? I mean ideally noone would be violent, or at least not kids.
Kids are fucking annoying and really stupid, violent ones are even worse!

I have no problem that she's a girl being violent, just kids in general xD

Dexiro:

Is it a taboo worth breaking down though? I mean ideally noone would be violent, or at least not kids.
Kids are fucking annoying and really stupid, violent ones are even worse!

I have no problem that she's a girl being violent, just kids in general xD

As I said, it's not that kids will become violent by watching this film, it's not like that, it's more that only when society can see something that's obviously make believe, and not be offended by it, that art and media will truly be free. It's just another taboo to break down.

This attitude has existed since lead or sidekick female comic book characters began with Wonder Woman.
Funny story about her tho, if you look at the fist 50 issues of Wonder Woman she is a strong woman who can take care of herself, but i found it hilarious than all the people complaining about her lack of femininity and that she wasn't a traditional homemaker, missed that every book had Wonder woman being captured and placed in a BDSM pose by her captors
One of her weaknesses was if you TIED HER WRISTS TOGETHER she would loose all free will and would obey commands, and they were angry that she wasn't 'womanly'.

Furburt:
-snip-

Well, supposedly children suffer from mild sociopathy until their personality solidifies about 12 years old. So a ten-year old swearing and throwing knives should not be too far out of the way.

OT: I've never actually seen the film, but it looks good and vaguely reminds me of a violent Scary Movie.

Furburt:
Fuck that, children are just as fucked up as the rest of us. Perhaps more so in places.

Why don't more people get this?!
Seriously, has anyone been on Xbox Live recently, maybe visited 4 Chan?

Children seem about as innocent as Satan!

That's why the character of Hit Girl herself doesn't shock me, I'd probably just be grossed out by gore like the "ewww, blood" person I am.

Equality means that children, males and females are all the same, right?
Apparently we in the West stand for all this self-rightous equality... where is it right now?
Not that I think children should be running around with uzis trying to keep muggers from touching their mother's fine bodies or something, but children aren't completly helpess or stupid (though some are, but that goes for adults, too), I mean, they turn into full grown people pretty quickly.

I think you need to look at Hit Girl on a bare-bones story level, especially in respects to the comic.

Knowing that Big Daddy has chosen to sate his ego by wanting to fight against injustice, and his inability to trust anyone other than his daughter, he felt it necessary to train her to be able to defend herself. It's not as though with the people he was after all she'd need was a bottle of mace and a mobile phone, he wanted her to be relentless; a force to be reckoned with, and of course, a heir to his beliefs.

If you look at it, it's just a very alternative approach to parenting. Macabre, yes, but necessary. Big Daddy made a selfish choice, but it cost him, but at least he left his daughter with the necessary tools to survive.

On a side note, I was not a fan of the movie. A lot of the changes were completely unnecessary, and Hit-Girl didn't come across as well as she did in the comic. Also, where was Dave's relationship with his father? And how can a character who narrates the story be left so unexplored? Why turn around the origin of Red Mist? It's confusing overall because considering the length of the film, they could've fit the original story into this, instead they chose to make Dave an all around winner, and Big Daddy's actions just.

F*cking Hollywood...

Great article, Bob. I will admit that i only ever read parts of the book Kick-Ass (i say parts because i really do detest Rob Liefeld's art,) and from what i read of it, i wasn't to offended. If anything, i thought it was pretty awesome. I mean think about femal superheroes:

Wonder-Woman: she can kick ass, but shes still kind of just sex appeal. she is also an adult, which makes people believe she is less vulnerable than a child.

Cat-woman: see wonderwoman

Starfire/Raven/Mary Marvel/ any other female members of the Titans: i dont really have much to say about this, but they do kick ass, and they are vulnerable, but they aren't 11.

which brings me to hit-girl: she can kick ass, but in the eyes of many parents, shes everything that people see as what their children will turn into when exposed to violence.

Furburt:
The problem with hit girl is that for some reason, children can't be violent. Especially girls. All little girls must be twee little angels, with hearts of gold.

Fuck that, children are just as fucked up as the rest of us. Perhaps more so in places.

I'm glad that Hit Girl exists, it's another taboo to be broken down, and that's nothing but a good thing. Rest assured, no sane 11 year old is going to go and kill someone because they saw Hit Girl do it, that's not how people work, the more taboos get broken, the more people can actually just accept the world as it is and stop deluding themselves.

I enjoyed seeing her kick the shit out of people, especially because those she did kill were horrible murderers themselves. Sure, it made me uncomfortable, but it's a bloody movie, and I'm glad I've gotten over it. It's nice to see empowered women in films, and it's nice to see empowered children (not just "save the children" moralising), like in Home Alone, but put them together, and somehow it offends? I have a suspicious feeling that if it was a little girl in Home Alone, someone would complain about it.

I have no respect when Roger Ebert marks down Kick Ass totally just because he's offended by one element of it.

Great article, though.

True, most people get's more sane as they grow up. And if you ask me i would say that almost all children are fucked up.

If parents bring their children to see this and their daughter wants to be hit girl, they ony have them selves to blaim for bringing them to a movie with a swear word in the title.

To much information!! *brain explodes from all the text that I read through for some strange reason*. As a fan of anime anyone can be anything so I am not shocked at much. I find it funny how contradictory the American public is......

For the people who have an issue with her age; what is the age where it becomes okay to kill people?

There likely are a lot of parallels to anime characters when it comes to Hit Girl but we may end up seeing a more PG 13 version of her from western sources in a few years if the Avatar: The Last Airbender movies pan out (not that I'm hopeful of that) in the form of Azula. She shares a lot of the unexpected levels of violence with Hit Girl albeit without blood and cursing. Still a young, sociopathic female who is more than willing and even eager to use violence as the first option though.

And holy crap, I had forgotten about Baby's Day Out but I loved that movie when I was younger. The slapstick comedy in it was incredibly well executed and likely amplified due to it being caused primarily by a toddler. I'm tempted to watch that again now but it likely wouldn't hold up quite as well as nostalgia is making it seem.

I was actually wondering what Bob's thoughts on the reviews of Ebert and other critics were. Interesting to read. I still haven't fully formed my opinion about Hit Girl (other than that I though she was awesome), but I agree with Bob that she's a character that resists a comfortable middle ground. There's something very right and very wrong with her.

One thing that I am sure of is my wife's reaction. When we were leaving the theater she told me that every girl should be made to watch Kick Ass so they can see a genuinely strong young female character. My wife is also awesome.

Hit-Girl is nothing new. Evil young girls have exsisted for ages already, and you see them in multiple movies/games/anime/manga/books. Fun? I guess. Revolutionary or "finally breaking the taboo"? Nah.

Very nice article, Bob!
I think the taboo exists primarily because we want to delude ourselves into thinking that children aren't capable of violence, although that is clearly false. How many times have you seen a child step on insects for fun, or torture small animals for the same reason? Face it, humans are animals, and pretty damn violent animals at that (wars, etc). We are able to function, because we band together in society. We attempt to suppress our violent tendencies, but they still exist. The character of Hit Girl is just an extreme vision of what we truly are (from what I can gather, I haven't had a chance to see the movie yet).

Anyway, if some kid imitates her behavior, there is something seriously wrong with that child and its parents. Blame stupid people, not movies/media/games/books/playdough.

I think people are too stuck in contemporary times.

Yes, she is young. But, it did add an intresting layer, and something new.

After all don't see a 11 year old kicking backside everyday

Just want to drop a note here to tell you that your work is quickly becoming must see for me. You are basically the only movie reviewer who has anything near to my perspective on the subject, and your intermission articles I think are an important and thought provoking parallel to your video reviews. Please, keep up the good work!

I don't usually find my self getting creeped out that much but the scenes with Hit girl accompanied by the cutesy music kinda made me cringe a lil. Don't get me wrong I thought they were awesome, however I still can see why people would have issues with it. Speaking of violent lil girls, I wonder if they will include the scene where an eight year old arya stark slices a mans throat in the upcoming game of thrones series?

Answer: There is none. She's fun to watch. Period.

See Mark Twain for a discussion of finding deeper meanings in things.

I think that part of the reason why this movie gets flamed by so many is because it breaks the "Invincible Child Rule." We see this rule most of the time in video games and it tend to fall true in movies.

Some example of this are movies such as Spy Kids, Home Alone, Three Ninjas (lol yeah any one remember that series of movies?), and pretty much most movies in general that have kids as the main plot characters. Kid in these movies are all ways trying to do the "right thing" and no matter what the situation they are in usual all ways come out with out a scratch.

Another problem with this movies, at least in my neck of the woods, is that the movie was badly marketed. Like I said in my post for the Kick-ass review, all the TV advertisements made this movie look like another goofy Kid's Action film. If you were like me and never heard of the comic, then you would have probably expect something totally different walking into the film, and been very surprised to see it rated R.

I think the real problem is that she's 11 and gets the shit beat out of her at parts.

somewhere I read in a faux news type site that she's also a bad role model for other 11 year olds, but seriously, if you allow a minor to watch kick-ass, then an 11 year old assassin being a role model for your little Susie is the least of your problems.

WHy is it so important to break down taboos, as someone rejoiced above. If lived the rest of my life and never saw represented an 11 year old girl go through and do what happened in Kick Ass, I would not care in the slightest. If representing children committing and having committed on them, bloody violence is a taboo, then I can I fully understand why, and it is at the botton of a very very long list of taboos worth abolishing - ones beneficial to society.

That said, I am not offended by the character, and nor am I against it, but I don't see how anyone could rally behind it as if it is something that our society needed. "It's about time we had 11 year olds committing extreme violence!" What about the real ones in 3rd World countries that blow eachother way on a regular basis?

Again. Not against Hit Girl, but don't get the rejoicing in her either. It is an interesting and confronting idea. I leave it at that.

It's probably worth mentioning, you can get the comic series as a single volume now. After reading the article, I think I'm going to grab the comic and check that out before I see the movie. It sounds like the adjustments may have given the film a little less depth.

Hit-Girl is the reason my wife wants to see this film.

Virgil:
It's probably worth mentioning, you can get the comic series as a single volume now. After reading the article, I think I'm going to grab the comic and check that out before I see the movie. It sounds like the adjustments may have given the film a little less depth.

Thinking I need to get the collection myself since I only read some of them and it was a while back and I've made at least one mistake in a previous post on the subject.

Nice attempt at a defense but the core facts are this:

11 year old "school girl" with uniform .. + Fetish-style comic book outfit = Pedo gold

(this movie will do well in the box office regardless)

I will give him credit for making a character like this. Japan has been doing it for YEARS in their animation! And now America is trying to cash in on it.

I will give you credit with trying to apply it to other movies. But NONE of them had young female characters dressed provactively like this. From my understanding, the words she uses and language put her in the role of playing an adult, not a kid crime fighter. At this point, when you allow a kid to play an adult, you are condoning this behavior, and any thoughts or ideas an adult viewing this might bring to a character such as this.

All I am saying is that, it's kinda wrong no matter what sugar you try to put on it. But America will eat it up just fine.

I wasn't offended by Hit-Girl as much as I was embarrassed, she's a poorly written character in a very stupid movie. the whole deal comes off as trying too hard.

Therumancer:
Thinking I need to get the collection myself since I only read some of them.

The article inspired me to pick it up. Of course, I like comics, and Millar's Ultimates, so it wasn't exactly twisting my arm to convince me ;)

Admitting the fact that kids are just as messed up as everyone else makes people uncomfortable since they think it automatically means it's their fault as parents.

On an unrelated note, that painting, is it a real Rockwell or a photoshopped one? I'm just curious.

Sephiwind:
I think that part of the reason why this movie gets flamed by so many is because it breaks the "Invincible Child Rule." We see this rule most of the time in video games and it tend to fall true in movies.

Some example of this are movies such as Spy Kids, Home Alone, Three Ninjas (lol yeah any one remember that series of movies?), and pretty much most movies in general that have kids as the main plot characters. Kid in these movies are all ways trying to do the "right thing" and no matter what the situation they are in usual all ways come out with out a scratch.

Another problem with this movies, at least in my neck of the woods, is that the movie was badly marketed. Like I said in my post for the Kick-ass review, all the TV advertisements made this movie look like another goofy Kid's Action film. If you were like me and never heard of the comic, then you would have probably expect something totally different walking into the film, and been very surprised to see it rated R.

I think you're very right about both of your points. I had never thought of the invincible child rule, but it's very true. I watched Home Alone 2 again for the first time in years and was surprised at the violence the main boy inflicted on the two bad guys. It was almost painful to watch, almost.

I fell for the marketing as well. I was expecting a group of rag-tag superheroes fighting small time heroes then banding together for the "Big Boss." Through their quirks they become successful and show that other people can do it too etc etc.

I wasn't even quite sure what to think when Hit Girl went to that apartment and brutally slaughtered everyone in that room. I think if the marketing was a tad more clear it would have been more accepted.

I only had a problem once in the movie, and that was when Hit Girl was being beaten up. I dunno I can't watch kids being hurt so that made me uncomfortable. But not uncomfortable enough to taint the rest of a decent movie.

EDIT: Y'know though, O-ren from Kill Bill was eleven when she first brutally murdered someone. How is Hit Girl different?

(insert textbook tirade on the evils of censorship and how dare anyone be offended by anything, ever)

Also pretty much what UberNoodle said. Though, an interesting thing is that really, 90% of the entertainment value from a character like this is because of the way they defy genre conventions. If children committing violence were completely normalized, wouldn't Hit Girl be far less fun? The "taboo" (more like "thing which is frowned upon", but I'll go with it) is the only thing keeping interest.

Going to chime in on the bad marketing too. The title gives away that naughty language will ensue, and I caught a glimpse of a shotgun. But the first time I read about the movie, the extreme gore was a surprise.

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