On Kick-Ass (or Harry Vs. Roger)

Kick-Ass comes out today. It’s a movie about kids turned ruthless superheroes, which I’ve been looking forward to since December, when the good folks at AICN showed a a rough-cut at BNAT.

AICN = Ain’t It Cool News, the rambling movie news site that rises like Mothra out of the great city of Austin, TX.

BNAT = Butt Numb-a-thon, the annual, 24 hour movie extravaganza hosted by AICN in the great city of Austin, where they manage to pull off amazing early screenings like Return of the King with Peter Jackson in attendance and Passion of the Christ with Gibson.

This week, Roger Ebert came out with his review for the movie. He finds it to be morally reprehensible:

Shall I have feelings, or should I pretend to be cool? Will I seem hopelessly square if I find “Kick-Ass” morally reprehensible and will I appear to have missed the point? Let’s say you’re a big fan of the original comic book, and you think the movie does it justice. You know what? You inhabit a world I am so very not interested in. A movie camera makes a record of whatever is placed in front of it, and in this case, it shows deadly carnage dished out by an 11-year-old girl, after which an adult man brutally hammers her to within an inch of her life. Blood everywhere. Now tell me all about the context.

I understand where he’s coming from, and maybe I will have the same reaction after watching it. But Harry Knowles’ response to Ebert is pure AICN-style rambling goodness:

Roger states at the beginning of his review that he feels he’s going to hopeless square for his feelings about the morality of KICK ASS.

At a base level it is a film about taking a stand, to protect the innocent and uphold justice… in a pretty fascist as kicking manner. I am not upset at Roger for his point of view… I understand, it is a lot to take.

But I remind you that there was a time, when Martin Scorsese was under fire for having a 13 year old Jodie Foster play a whore in TAXI DRIVER – which is more or less about a man that in the end is a hero for taking violent action to protect that girl.

At that time there were critics that wanted to hang Marty. You were not one of them. I remember that time because as a 6 year old I can remember watching you and Gene defend Scorsese and you were my heroes.

I have to say it is a little sad to see you go the route you did in your KICK ASS review. And don’t worry, while I suppose you’ll never really just get KICK-ASS… You’re no square in my book. But you may be in danger of being a ‘grown up’.

Do read the whole thing; it’s write-ups like this that have made me come back to AICN for more than a decade. It’s written by people with a human voice; not people playing at being journalists.

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One thought on “On Kick-Ass (or Harry Vs. Roger)

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