Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kick Ass - The Characters

So as I've said, the characters in this film are pretty well-defined, and all add a certain element to the superhero story telling. Obviously with such a large foray of characters, they can only do so much, but they do well with the time they allotted themselves.

-Dave (Kick Ass)

So Dave is a well-developed normal kid. He's got a certain amount of nerdiness alongside an overwhelming amount of normal, every day kid, which is all perfect for a protagonist. He's an approachable character where, yeah, certain things in his life are not the greatest (i.e. mom died) but there's nothing spectacular about them. She had a brain aneurysm. So, as a protagonist with all these approachable qualities, he asks a question we all wonder, "why hasn't anyone seriously tried to be a superhero, after all these comics?" So now we get to answer that question through this film, through this character, who is very much like a normal guy, with this one exception: he goes through with it. As the plot develops, Dave gets somewhat lost in the mix of characters like Big Daddy and Hit Girl, even Red Mist does a little overshadowing of his own, but we maintain this basic premise throughout most, but not entirely all, of the film. The point of the film is often to show how he's just a kid, and he's not cut out for this at all. He eventually things get real and he backs out, but gets pulled in one final time and series of horrible things are happening. Here he reaches a character arc, realizes that even though he isn't designed for this, he has to step up. And for the most part, he's still a kid in a costume. There are three parts that abandon this theme and approach. One: the girl would not take him. She would say "fuck off, you asshole," and he would get beaten thoroughly until he finally jumped back out her window. From what I learned when expressing this brief abandonment of character realism and theme, I was informed it was closer to my version in the comics, but for Hollywood film there needs to be a happy love story. I sigh and admit that Hollywood is probably right, even though I wish more people would be impressed and love the idea that she would say no, because it makes more sense and sticks with the shocking realism. I digress, this is more for tone and plot, but the end is where we abandon his character and the theme more so. Two: Jetpack Machine Gun. Sorry, he does this way too well and smoothly, without getting shot, loosing direction, almost falling, or anything. The nerd becomes "the man" by truly becoming a super hero. The only way to truly be a hero is to be "the man" and suddenly become good at fighting/shooting/killing/violence. It's ironic because we go back to him being a bit of a goof when he has a "final showdown" with Red Mist, maintaining this theme we had just abandoned. But one more time, after Red Mist goes down, Three: He grabs a bazooka and shoots it at Frank D'Amico and sends him flying out the building and exploding. How can he suddenly use a bazooka? How'd he get that kind of accuracy and strength? And then Hit Girl grabs a hold of him and they fly off into the sunset together. I also would have much preferred Hit Girl killing D'Amico herself, as that would have made more sense, but I guess you want the "protagonist" we started with to take out the antagonist. I still think people loved Hit Girl enough and it would have made more sense that this scene could have been even more emotional.

-Mindy (Hit Girl)

Mindy is about twelve to fourteen years old. She's pure feminist awesomeness. She's really young, is the point. Despite her age and physical disadvantage therein, she is the best super hero in this film, for several reasons: her motives are pure, she is extremely skilled, and she saves the day. This is feminist glory. As a character we only get to know her little by little, but we understand that she loves violence, weapons, and all sorts of things based on what her ex-cop father has taught her. Still, she's a child in the sense that she doesn't question right from wrong in this, and her father has taught her through his own drawn comics, making it still more of a "game" or childish concept. By the end she has to take charge herself, and she does it, and she does well. Of course, at one point she gets herself pinned down, and Kick Ass comes in, and then at the end in the final battle, she faces the main villain, but Kick Ass has to come in at the nick of time to save her. The first one was okay because there were a lot of men and a lot of guns and weaponry. As far as Kick Ass needing to help with D'Amico, well, that's kind of a shame, at least in the sense that he had to do something other than distract or be a tool to be beat upon. Any way, she still has to light some fire under Kick Ass' pants at the end, and she doesn't mince words. She's a strong woman at thirteen, which is both awesome and kind of sad about her childhood.

-Damon (Big Daddy)

I'm going to call this guy Nicholas Cage. He has an interesting back story, and his motivation, whilst simple, is elaborate and genius. He was framed by D'Amico getting his wife killed among other things, and he was put in jail for several years. When he was released he got his daughter from his cop friend, and bunkered down hidden with guns, weapons, and really well-drawn comics of his own. He used these things to train his daughter into Hit Girl, and he dresses himself up similarly to Batman and calls himself "Big Daddy." Driven by revenge, we understand and can to some degree sympathize with him, but we also see that he has, through his cop friend, lost sight of what's important: his daughter, her childhood, and her life (as he continuously puts it at stake). But we understand his plight and wish for him to succeed, despite his shortcomings. I'll leave the rest of him for plot, but I'd like to say, "he who seeks revenge digs two graves."

-Chris (Red Mist)

Chris is a standard kid with a father complex. He toes a line that is very helpful to us as viewers because we don't really see him as a villain, even when he offers to help his father and pretends to be a super hero himself (Red Mist). Eventually, he does use Kick Ass to find Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Of course this is where things take a real turn, and in a way, Chris reacts as the audience would. He's horrified by what his father plans to do, also doesn't wish any harm on Kick Ass, especially, knowing he really had nothing to do with the problems his father faced. Still, trying to be his father's protege, he helps him. He also finds himself trapped with him by the end, and ultimately, it makes sense that he would face Kick Ass. Both of these characters are ultimately frauds. Appearing and dressing and even acting like superheroes, but they aren't really, in any ability or true bravery. Chris is left at the end, forgotten by all but the audience. He remains as the next villain, much like Harry Osborne replaces his father. He's like Dave, only in a situation that lends itself to be on the other side of that line between good and evil.

-Frank D'Amico

This man is complete villain. There's little to him other than that he's a drug trafficker, a child killer (shoots a random fellow in the back thinking he's Kick Ass), a martial artist, and soulless. The man beats the shit out of a twelve-year-old girl for crying out loud! All these things aside, we get to know and understand his frustration with the superhero movement, and we know why he does what he does, within the constructs of his completely evil personality and job.

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