Thursday, May 13, 2010

8. Kick Ass

Kick Ass. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. 117 min. Marv Films. 2010.

Plot Summary

Dave Lizewski is a comic book nerd and average in every way that a high school teenager can be average. His muscles are nonexistent, and aside from hanging out with his only two friends, he spends the majority of his time alone on the internet. Tired of being average, and tired of the unfair way that innocent and decent people are treated at the mercy of thugs and criminals, Dave decides to make a difference. By putting on a green scuba diving outfit and ski mask, Dave becomes his super hero alter ego Kick Ass. Kick ass becomes an internet sensation when a group of teenagers film him trying to stop a gang from jumping a man outside of a convenience store. Kick ass becomes an internet and news sensation and this makes him the target of crime bosses throughout the city, and also those looking to overthrow those same bosses. Kick ass becomes mixed up the comic book world that he only used to read about, and he discovers that being a super hero is more painful than he could have possibly imagined.

Critical Evaluation
Why hasn't there ever been a real superhero? With all the comic books, and movies, and fans of Batman, why hasn't somebody put on a mask and cape with the intentions of fighting crime? Truer words have never been spoken. This idea is explored in the film adaptation of the cult comic book smash Kick Ass by Mark Millar. Kick Ass follows the heroic pursuits of an average high school student named Dave Lizewski. Dave isn't a jock, or the funny guy, he's just a skinny kid who's tired of seeing the world abused by criminals and low lifes. After Dave is robbed by neighborhood thugs, he decides to become a super hero, only problem is Dave doesn't have any super powers. The lack of super powers never stopped Batman, and soon Dave constructs a costume, starts training with baton weapons, and sets out to start his double life as the hero kick Ass. Kick Ass' first encounter with real criminals happens outside of a convenience store when a group of men team up to jump a guy. Teenage onlookers watch in shock as Kick Ass proceeds to fight the gang of criminals even though he is repeatedly pummeled. The teen onlookers video tape the event, put the video online, and over night the news of a real super hero spreads like wildfire, and the Kick Ass legacy is born.

At first the fame is great, but Kick Ass soon discovers that with great power comes great responsibility. Local crime bosses want him dead, and real heroes Big Daddy and Hit Girl want him on their side. Kick Ass is in over his head, and the film's humor is evoked in each awkward moment. A great unexpected twist comes when Kick Ass receives a kind of super power when he is jumped, stabbed, and hit by a car. After receiving hundreds of pins and plates, his body becomes stronger, and now he has the advantage of extensive nerve damage, making his body numb to all pain. Kick Ass can now literally get his ass kicked and not feel a thing. This comes in handy when he gets involved in the affairs of crime boss Frank D'Amico, and his son turned super hero Red Mist.

Director Matthew Vaughn details the exploits of Kick Ass in a sensationalized violent romp of blood, batons, and heavy fire arms. For fans of violent action films that aren't afraid to turn the camera, Kick Ass delivers in a way that will have the film on repeat in dorm rooms and high school hangouts across America. The characters are hilarious, the script is well written, and the film does a wonderful job of paying homage to comic book culture. The excessive violence and foul language will be a turn off for many viewers, especially because some of the most offensive scenes involve the very young Hit Girl. Hit girl uses guns and knives like any other girl her age might play with dolls. She kills and curses without mercy, while shocking and delighting audiences simultaneously. This film is not suitable for teens under the age of seventeen because of the R rating given by the Motion Picture Association of America. This rating will not be a deterrent for teen fans of action, comedy, and superhero films. Kick Ass has the potential of becoming the next Super Bad.

Reader's Annotation
Dave Lizewski flies under the radar at his high school. He isn't a jock, or the funny guy, but that all changes when Dave decides to become a superhero.

Director Information
Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn is an English producer and director best known for producing popular Guy Ritchie films Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Vaughn started his career as a director's assistant and worked his way through the ranks until he began working as a producer.

Vaughn's directorial debut would not come until 2004 with his work on the film Layer Cake. The success of Layer Cake helped Vaughn get the job for his next film X-Men: The Last Stand. The success of this super hero film made Vaughn a hot director for the super hero genre, leading to his role as director on the film Kick Ass. Vaughn is scheduled to direct the films X-Men first class, and Kick Ass 2, which are currently in pre-production.

superhero, action, comedy

Curriculum Ties

Book Talking Ideas
Do you think it's possible for a super hero to exist today?
What are some of the challenges that a real super hero would face?

Challenge Issues
violence, language, nudity

Challenge defense ideas:
1. Make sure you are familiar with your library collection and the film in question.
2. Be familiar with your library collection policy.
3. If possible, speak with the person challenging the material and make sure they feel comfortable. Ask the customer what they disliked or disapproved of in the resource. If they still insist on challenging the material give them instructions on how to file a formal complaint.
4. Research professional reviews that speak to the material's merit, and get input from teen readers on why they found the book important.

Reason For Selection
I wanted to include a film that was currently in theaters for the assignment as a means to see what films were being marketed for teen audiences. When I went to the movies Kick Ass seemed to fit the bill. The main character Kick Ass is a high school teen who decides to become a superhero. This sounded like something that I would have wanted to watch as a teen, and upon finding a seat, I found that I was surrounded by other teens as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment