I’ve watched Kick-Ass in the cinema right after it was released, and I was thoroughly entertained. I nearly titled this post “Nicholas Cage: B (Movie) and Proud of It” because the last movie of Cage’s that I enjoyed was also a self-aware B-movie, Ghost Rider.
Now, there’s a funny thing about descriptors, that is touched in Philosophy of Language; the part where the reason they had received the name no longer applies. For instance, you might have got the term of distance “foot” from a real person’s foot, but if after the measuring was done (12 inches, or 31 centimeters) the measurements had changed, you didn’t then change the “size” it refers to.
Likewise, Kick-Ass enjoys the highest production qualities, and good acting and directing. Yet it’s a B-movie, partly because it makes a conscious choice to be one. Well, I’m unsure that today any movie is a B-movie that is not aware of its status, and it’s always better to embrace it for its full potential than to succumb to it unintentionally.
The over-the-top action sequences, with the goofy music? They’d be horrible, if they weren’t intentional, and thus hilarious. The closest thing is a homage to horror B-movies in Spiderman 2, when Dr Octopus‘ surgery goes wrong. And yes, the reference I am making to Spiderman is completely intentional. The actor has a face-structure reminiscent of Toby McGuire, the actor who portrays Spiderman, and he even has a voice (at least in the films), very reminiscent of his.
You have scenes such as climbing on the wall, or jumping across a roof-top, lifted straight from Spiderman 1.
It’s a good movie, it’s an amusing movie. If it weren’t so obvious it weren’t taking itself seriously I might have not liked it half as much. Then again, at some point, trying to adhere to genre conventions, even if they are those of “Non-seriousness”, becomes a very serious and demanding business.
Not only genres that are types of stories have conventions, or tropes, but also genres that are mediums, such as films, anime, or sub-categories of movies defined by their production values, with which specific content had often been associated. Such as the classic horror b-movies, or other films the Mystery Theater 3000 had mocked; they had similar content, and similar production values, till the genre is as much the production values as the content.
Score: 8/10 amusing yet stylistic beheadings. An inversion, a satire because it’s really not (it follows all the steps) of stories like Spiderman. The parody comes from the wink at the audience.