Thursday, April 15, 2010


Two of the most frequent sites I check are Roger Ebert's and Ain't It Cool News. This morning I woke up and was treated to Ebert's one star review of "Kick-Ass," along with Harry Knowles' response to it. I won't be seeing the film until this weekend, though I think Knowles, who I've often enjoyed for his enthusiasm and lack of pretentiousness, has a difficult time refuting Ebert's assertion that "Kick-Ass" is morally repugnant. He argues that contemporary kids have different views of guns and violence and that "Kick-Ass" is really a satire on "the world of comics."

As one who's actually read the comic series, I'll note that what begins as a satire of comics transforms into a pretty standard issue gorefest pretty quick, something typical of creator/writer Mark Millar. But even if Knowles is right about children being different today (which I'm skeptical of), then so what? That doesn't change whether or not it's morally permissible to have a film that features a 12-year-old girl disemboweling grown men and presents this as slick entertainment. I've had my own doubts after watching the ads; is it really cool to make a film about a kid who butchers people without a serious consideration of moral consequences? Like I said, I haven't seen it yet, so I'll reserve judgment, but I wondered if I were "square," and felt a bit relieved to see that someone I respect felt the same way.

Over at my pal Christian Toto's site, there's a discussion on the comment section that has gained some serious traction. In the post, Christian brings up the issue of a critic who makes a point of antagonizing Republicans in his review to no noticeable purpose other than to antagonize, while in the comments section I lament the recent trend at Big Hollywood, a site I often enjoy, to constantly trash film criticism as a profession. JohnFNWayne of Threedonia appears to agree with me. Another fellow thinks I miss the point. It's worth reading, I think.


Christian Toto said...

I just can't take Knowles too seriously, review wise. Too many times he's embraced junk simply because he digs the genre.

And while I was able to digest and enjoy "Kick-Ass" despite the moral murkiness, I respect where Ebert is coming from in his review.

James said...

I guess I wouldn't say I take him seriously, but I do often admire his enthusiasm. He's pretty good at laying out his feelings plainly and in a way that's entertaining. His taste can often leave a lot to be desired, but I get where he's coming from.

I plan to check "Kick-Ass" out this weekend so I can weigh in without a disclaimer about not having actually seen it yet. As unappealing as I find the material the style looks pretty exhilarating.