Monday, April 26, 2010

The Dark Knight? Not Exactly...

A lot of good movies are comics first...

Geez, it took me forever to finally get around to seeing the latest caped crusader flick. Except here, the star of the show's namesake doesn't wear a cape, apparently taking a page from Edna Mode's notebook. It's a tough one to narrow down, and looking at the taglines at, it was hard to narrow down there too: action, comedy, crime, drama, thriller...

It's a fun movie, it doesn't take itself too seriously, yet there are moments that are very serious. For the most part it is tongue-in-cheek while paying some seriously subtle homages to long-standing comic heroes; Spider-Man, Batman, and the like. The one-liners are delivered with effectual timing and feeling, and the overall dialogue as a whole was spot-on. Typing this, in hindsight, the dialogue was incredibly well done and ends up being very believable.

This world doesn't have "real" superheroes with actual super powers, but it does have those who are willing to don a mask and do their part. Along with the main character we have a small handful of others doing their part, and the youngest of the bunch, Hit-Girl really steals the show. This pint-sized powerhouse slices and dices her way through witty banter that would make a sailor blush, and action sequences that would make John Woo proud.

And in the "never thought I'd say this" department, Nicolas Cage does an excellent job as Big Daddy, the ex-cop turned crime fighter with an arsenal to make Frank Castle jealous. As a civilian, Cage plays a regular, albeit quirky father, but in the mask, Cage goes into total Adam West mode, and it's not shtick, he dons the mantle seriously.

I've gone on about the characters, but really, that's what the movie is about. That sounds obvious, but it's not the special effects, or the fight scenes (which rock), but it's the people in and out of costume that you get invested in. The story has some predictable moments, but at the same time it also some pretty surprising ones. It has a harsh grit to it, one I would compare to something like Sin City actually. It's in this unabashed brutality, for lack of a better word, that the humor, story, characters, and dialogue are juxtaposed against.

Just like all of those tags on IMDB, I can't really give one reason to see this movie. There are several reasons to go see it. If you think from the trailers and ad spots it's just a funny movie about high school kids being supers, it's not. It's also not a completely dark world like the current Gotham incarnations. It is, however, a superhero flick worth seeing.


  1. Yeah I totally wanted to see this too until did some browsing online at the various trailers. The eleven year old saying words like %#@! and *!@# really shocked me. Since I'm a daddy myself with a young kid, I don't know... I would open a can of KICK ASS on him if I ever heard those words coming out of his cape crusader mouth.

    I was bummed too... looks like a fun movie. Alas, with great power comes great responsibility...

    Or something like that.

  2. Yeah, the trailers were mild, she had a serious mouth on her. Also, as you can guess, there's lots of fisticuffs in the film and she takes as good as she gets, which is kind of painful to watch, especially as a parent.

    It is a fun movie, but just take note, it's not the goofy high school kids playing superhero kind of comedy. It has some funny moments, but it's as serious as the Dark Knight, if not more-so at times.

  3. I saw some clips of it that were released on the net. The cursing from the little girl didn't bother me. It's just words. What bothered me was the scene they released of Nic Cage shooting at his own little girl. As a parent, it really bugged me. Sort of like watching a dad punching his daughter in the stomach so she can learn to take it - that kind of thing.

    I know that that scene is supposed to bug me. So I don't know how to feel about this movie.

  4. There's definitely an underlying 'Sin City' type "icky" vibe about it, but it's not done just for shock's sake, there's more going on than that.

    My wife did not enjoy the film whatsoever, for a number of reasons, including what we've talked about already.

    Overall, the film does strike enough of a fine balance to elevate it to watch-worthy status. I wouldn't steer you guys wrong. ;)

  5. I've read a lot of critics that found the hit-girl character out of line. That might be a concept that can be done in a comic but is too risky for the big screen.

  6. "Critics" said the same thing of Natalie Portman's character when Leon was in the theaters, but now that movie is regarded by most (myself included) as two thumbs up.

    One of the reasons I've never listened to critics is because they seem to impose their own ideals of what's proper or not based on their personal beliefs, then apply their moral imperative to someone else's work. Hit-Girl would be out of line at the Thanksgiving table, yes, but in the world of Kick-Ass, not so much.

    How many people bemoaned that ten-year old Leonidas in 300 got bloodied and beat time and time again while training to be a Spartan? No one because they knew 300 was a violent movie. Same thing with Kick-Ass, know what you're getting into up front, take it all in context and go from there.

  7. I would like to know why your wife didn't like it, however. Was it mainly the ultra-violence, or the kids doing stuff that was bad? Was it a few things specifically or a bunch of things all together?

  8. Well you know my wife pretty well WG, she's all right with superhero genre stuff, and tolerates my penchant for geeky movies (she loved the new Star Trek)...but I don't think this one was for her.

    I just texted her about why she didn't like it and her reply was, "Violent, and he shot his kid." She saw the whole scene, including the dialogue afterwards, she got it, but she still didn't like it, you know?

  9. Oh no... we've entered into the "how far is too far" debate and give me props,


    No doubt Portmans character was the inspiration for this and to this day a little girl becoming, helping and sub-contracting herself out to be a hit man is bothersome. It's weird though. A little girl fighting doesn't bother me but a foul mouth little girl does?

    I really think and believe that their are lines that just should not be crossed and I think this is one of em. Don't believe me?


    Done weeping like a girl in the corner yet?

    It's been like twenty years and that movie still makes me want to throw up. Movies like that make me say "Come on, really? You had to put that in there? Damn... you suck Mr movie producer, director, screen writer guy."

    What I find most offensive is they used that 11 year old for shock value and a lot of uneasy, uncomfortable laughs. If you kept her character dark and brooding yet took the language away then you have the impact of a little girl caught up in the seedy underworld of crime fighting without pissing all the parents off. The swearing is unneeded and seems to distract from the storytelling or even having people fill seats to hear and see the story in the first place. Even Nick Cage himself went on record stating he felt uneasy about what they were getting this little girl to do.

    Really? Would you kiss your mother with this movie?

    Just how far is too far yo?

  10. Curse you 25mmW! Haha...

    Yeah, the Crying Game was pretty hardcore, kind of like Leaving Las Vegas, there's movies that I just won't see a second time. It doesn't make them bad per se, quite the contrary, they do their job really well if they can elicit such a personal and emotional response from me.

    Mind you, as a comic book fan, I stand by this latest book-to-film translation. It's kind of a 'see it to believe it' situation, which I always thought was a lame stance anyway. But really, out of context, elements of the movie seem even more over the top than when taken in as a whole.

  11. That's why I'm bummed out bro... I wanted to see this something awful.

    Stoopid Hit Girl and her naughty mouth.

    I'll just wait for it to air on syndication. Then the execs will wash her mouth out with a bar of bleeps.

    Oh btw... I have a board game post up man and I though of you the whole time I put it up. Your going to be jealous.

  12. How long until Stan and Kyle are talking about what they learned today from Hit-Girl.