Monday, 26 October 2015

Film Review - Hero's Journey - Kick Ass

Kick Ass

Kick Ass is a 2010 hero movie directed by Matthew Vaughn and featuring Aaron Johnson and Chloe Grace-Moretz. It is based on the comic book series "Kick Ass" and follows the journey of the teenage superhero "Kick Ass". 

The hero Kick Ass' real name is Dave Lizewski and in the beginning he lives in what can only be described as a pretty menial reality; his days consist of drifting through school where he is ignored by both peers and teachers alike. The only happy aspect of his life is his interest in comics and his two like-minded friends who hang out with him in a comic shop. During the course of this his mother dies of a brain aneurysm and although Dave expects change it does not occur.

At one point he asks why no real life superheroes exist, a question that prompts a response from his friend; "they'd get the shite beaten out of them in like 30 seconds". Not long after both he and his friends are robbed by a gang, this event serves as the inspiration and Dave buys himself a costume, acquires two batons as weapons and sets off  to dish out justice. His first encounter however ends disastorously with Dave being struck down during a hit and run incident and subsequently being hospitalised. 

This incident grants him media attention and while in hospital the doctors implant metal plates into his body, this grants him increased durability and pain endurance. This could be seen as Dave acquiring some form of "super power" albeit one that is neither supernatural or fantastical. Dave's life is changed from now on, instead of being normal "Dave" he is transformed both physically and figuratively. Kick Ass continues his activities and in doing so comes into conflict with crime boss Frank D'Amico.  

Frank D'Amico's wants Kick Ass dead but instead of hiring a hitman or ordering his assasination it is D'Amico's son who proposes that he lures out Kick Ass by posing as a vigilante. Thus, Red Mist is born though secretly he has ulterior motives about Kick Ass. Red Mist strikes up a facade alliance with Kick Ass but soon tries to kill him and in the climax of the film Frank D'Amico is killed and Red Mist is defeated by Kick Ass.

 Figure 2 - Red Mist

Red Mist's backstory is different from Kick Ass, whereas Kick Ass is a normal person (or normal by society's standard), Red Mist is the son of a crime boss and sees himself as a super-villain. Red Mist lacks the physical abilities of Kick Ass but makes up for it in wealth (he is bankrolled by his father) and associates (his father's henchmen). Red Mist's real name is Chris and in the beginning of the film he is lonely on account of being sealed off from society by his father who wants to protect him from any rival gangs, he is little better than Dave in terms of social status and clout and desperately wants to be respected by his father.

The backgrounds for both characters has some of the makings of a typical superhero or supervillain; some incident occurs in their life that inspires them to do good. For Kick Ass the loss of his mother and the robbery serve as the event whereas for Red Mist the desire to be noticed by his father and gain respect. Another aspect is that while their alter egos are superheroes their real identities are meaningless members of society. The transformation of both characters occurs at different points in the film as Dave becomes Kick Ass after being robbed and thus desires to be a hero. Arguably Red Mist's transformation occurs at the end of the film when he swears revenge on Kick Ass and adopts a new evil identity, this is the point of no return. Conversely however when Chris adopts his false superhero identity that could be seen as his transformation. 

Illustration List
Figure 1 - Matthew Vaughn, 2010, 3250457-kick-ass-2-2013-images.jpg [ONLINE] 

Figure 2 - Matthew Vaugh, 2010, 500px-Red_Mist.jpg [ONLINE] 

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