Superhero comedies tend not to work. There have been far too many of them and they just do not work. First off, superheroes are inherently ridiculous on their own. The only way they work is to give in and just let them happen and not spend too much time asking questions. The life of a superhero is impossible. Batman would have to have more money than anyone else on earth to actually be able to have all of the gadgets he has. If you were to get bitten by a radioactive spider, you would get radiation poisoning and probably die as all of your hair fell out.
So, the idea of making fun of something that is inherently silly to begin with just doesn’t work. Then there is the problem that trying to make superheroes “realistic” means delving into the insanity that would be inherent inside someone who had decided to live a life like that. It takes a true mental defect to want to put on a silly costume, run around a big city, and try to beat up bad guys.
The movie Kick Ass is supposed to be a comedy. The plot is very simple. A nerdy guy who loves comic books wonders why no one has ever actually attempted to put on a costume and be a superhero. He has no skills. He cannot fight. He is not particularly strong. He doesn’t have an amazing superhuman brain that allows him to strategically plan out his battles. He only has a green diving suit with a hood, some sticks he straps to his back, and a ridiculous desire to try being a superhero. He calls himself the titular Kick Ass and then sets out trying to defend what’s right.
Well, he is not very successful. In fact, all Kick Ass really does is get the snot beaten out of him repeatedly. His first attempt he ends up punched repeatedly, then stabbed, and then run over by a car. Even before that, his first attempted heroic act is to try and find a lost cat.
Soon he runs into two people who are very serious about trying to be superheroes. The man is Big Daddy and he looks a LOT like Batman. He has a plucky and vicious little girl sidekick who calls herself Hit-Girl. They are unbelievably violent. They use knives and guns and explosions and they leave huge swathes of dead bodies behind them as they try to take down Gangland Kingpin Frank D’Amico.
This is where the next thing comes in that made me wince and feel very strange about this movie. The female superhero, Hit-Girl, is obviously very young. This is probably in keeping with the time-honored tradition of superheroes having teenage (or younger) sidekicks. Let us not forget that, in the comics, Robin is a very young man. However, there might be a reason why whenever Robin has been portrayed in television or film he is always played by an actor who is obviously an adult.
Hit-Girl is disturbing. She jumps over rooftops and she murders scores of adult men in her wake. Yes, these are very bad men, but she kills them all brutally and violently. She has been raised by her father who takes her out to empty lots and shoots her in the chest with bullets so she can see how the bullet proof vest works. She wants butterfly knives for her birthday. This is a seriously messed up little girl.
Then we have to watch as Hit-Girl is brutally beaten at one point. This is just after she has leaped and rolled and jumped her way down a hallway crowded with gangsters, killing each of them in spectacular ways. As D’Amico beats the snot out of her and then points a gun at her head, well, it just made me squirm.
Kick-Ass, as a movie, is just that way. There are moments of humor, but is Hit-Girl supposed to be funny? Watching the young actress who plays her is good because she is very good. The scenes where she takes down all of those gangsters is amazingly choreographed. It really does get your blood pumping and made me cry out in surprise a few times. However, it made me feel really bad about myself afterward and made me want to take a long hot shower.
So, I have a hard time recommending this movie or even declaring absolutely that I enjoyed it. I enjoyed parts of it. Much of it made me cringe. Large parts of it made me very uncomfortable. Very little of it actually made me laugh. I cared about the characters, but I wanted them all to stop before they got hurt…again!