Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kick Ass Just Might

There's a new movie coming out pretty soon titled Kick-Ass. The premise, to my understanding, is that a teen-ager decides that there ought to be actual superheroes. Which is pretty common - I think a lot of teenagers (boys, anyway. I have no experience being a teen-aged girl. They were strange and frightening creatures to me and still are in many ways) dream of going out and fighting crime and winning the adulation of a grateful nation. The difference is that in this movie the kid goes an does it. He becomes Kick-ass, a masked vigilante fighting crime. This in turn inspires others to do the same. In particular, it inspires Nicholas Cage's character to become the Batman-esque Big Daddy, along with his 12-year-old daughter as the hyper-violent Hit Girl. The whole thing appears to be an action-comedy with over-the-top violence (mostly from Big Daddy and Hit Girl, at least from what they've shown in the many many (many) trailers) and the comic antics of the relatively harmless teen vigilante Kick-Ass as he tries to be a hero, beat some bad guys, get a date with a girl (who thinks he's gay) and generally deal with all the crap that most teens would prefer to escape by putting on a costume and going out to fight crime.

So, to recap, we've got:
Hapless teen vigilante - check
A 12-year-old girl cussing like a sailor and killing bad guys - check
Nicholas Cage, destroyer of films - check

Actually, I'm not sure that Cage destroys films. I don't even think he's a bad actor - I like him as an actor. It's just that so many of his films lately have sucked that you kind of wonder after a while if it mustn't somehow be his fault. But anyway, those elements there, for me, add up to a craptacular movie that I had had no interest in seeing.

Now, I've said before that I'm as like to be swayed by strong marketing as the next guy. I can be fooled. They almost got me with Repo Men, which I was very very excited to see until other people actually started seeing it and came back to report that it was, "Ehh, okay I guess." It had a hell of a marketing campaign though!

And so does Kick-ass. One potentially key difference is that I always wanted to see Repo Men because it always looked cool. Kick-ass actually turned me off at first, but has since grown on me as I've seen more about it. The comedy aspects (some of which do seem come from the awkwardly mature Hit Girl character - a full-on assassin in a kid's purple-haired body) are starting to appeal to me and the fight scenes look terrific (if deliberately over-the-top). And, after all, I was one of those teen boys who'd have loved to go out and fight crime. Until the first time I got a really big welt, at which point I'd have been out of there.

There's another potentially key difference, though. The site takes an amalgamation of movie reviews by critics and assigns a score to each review, then tallies them all up to give a movie a score that ranges from rotten to fresh. It's not a perfect barometer of a movie's quality or success, but it's one indicator you can use to judge whether a film is worth your time or not. Repo Men currently has a score of 23%, which is thoroughly Rotten. To my recollection, the score has been in that vicinity since before the movie was released and hasn't changed much. Kick-Ass, on the other hand, currently sits above 75%, with a rating of "Fresh." That's actually a pretty impressive score on that site, in my experience. Even a lot of movies I've really liked didn't get scores that high.For reference, Daybreakers, which I did not like but which it seems most other people did like, got a 67%. Percy Jackson, which I liked but lots of fans of the novels did not, got a 50%. So take it for whatever you think it's worth, but a 77% based on pre-release screenings is not bad. And the trailers aren't bad. And the posters and other marketing glitz aren't bad. All of which is making me think that I might have to see this movie at some point.

Meanwhile, I'm almost literally drooling over Iron Man 2. I don't think I've ever so fervently hoped that a movie will live up to its hype as I do with this film. It's due out in less than a month and I just can't wait to go see it. So there you go - two upcoming movies that I'm excited about. Anything you're dying to see? Leave a comment!

Update: if you're interested in this sort of thing, Roger Ebert absolutely hated it. I suspect he's somewhat missing the point that this movie has violence for violence's sake, but not having seen it it's hard to be sure. Anyway, there you go.

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