Famous movie reviewer Roger Ebert does not see any value in the new comic book inspired movie Kick-Ass.
**Warning: Contains light spoilers for Kick-Ass**
The Kick-Ass movie, released in theatres today and based on the comic book of the same name, did not sit well with Roger Ebert, as is evident by his rating of one star. True to the comic, the movie features an extreme level of violence, which Ebert doesn’t understand the context or purpose for.
Kick-Ass is a unique tale of normal people that try to become superheroes, but it casts this somewhat foolish intention in a more realistic light (in the beginning, anyway). The story’s main character, a high school student named Dave, suits up to become Kick-Ass perfectly well, but usually only ends up in the hospital after trying to stop crime. After meeting father and daughter superheroes Big Daddy and Hit Girl, a duo that reduces the criminal population with their own methods of extreme violence, the story’s meat begins and things get more complicated for Dave.
In his recent review, Ebert calls Kick-Ass “morally reprehensible,” primarily due to violence committed by the very young Hit Girl. “A movie camera makes a record of whatever is placed in front of it, and in this case, it shows deadly carnage dished out by an 11-year-old girl, after which an adult man brutally hammers her to within an inch of her life. Blood everywhere. Now tell me all about the context,” he writes.
“At the end, when the villain deliciously anticipates blowing a bullet hole in the child’s head, he is prevented only because her friend, in the nick of time, shoots him with bazooka shell at 10-foot range and blows him through a skyscraper window and across several city blocks of sky in a projectile of blood, flame and smoke. As I often read on the Internet: Hahahahaha.” Ebert thinks that if there’s a world where the Kick-Ass movie faithfully represents the comic book, that’s a world he is “so very not interested in.”
Ebert also trashes the meager regard for human life Kick-Ass appears to exhibit. “This movie regards human beings like video-game targets. Kill one, and you score. They’re dead, you win. When kids in the age range of this movie’s home video audience are shooting one another every day in America, that kind of stops being funny.”
As can be viewed in the Kick-Ass trailer, the movie is quite over-the-top, and despite its seemingly realistic intentions at first, becomes more of a superhero fantasy when Hit Girl is introduced. It’s completely absurd to think that an 11-year-old could brutally take out a dozen armed gangsters with ease and not be affected mentally. If anything, Kick-Ass is just like any other superhero tale but with a more brutal real-world tone.
Ebert says: “I know, I know. This is a satire. But a satire of what?” I’m wondering the same thing, even though I loved the Kick-Ass comic and assume I would love the movie as well. Should we be enjoying the violence dished out by Hit Girl? What is it about this violence that has an appeal? The Escapist’s Movie Bob calls Kick-Ass fun despite its juvenile intentions, so Ebert might not be in the movie’s target audience as he says, but a little piece of me still wonders why extreme violence perpetrated by pre-teens is entertaining to us.