Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just how Kick Ass will this latest comic book comedy be?

Superhero films in 2009 didn't have such a great time at the multiplex,with the lackluster reception given to Watchmen and X-Men:Origins:Wolverine but along with the highly anticipated sequel to Iron Man this May,the genre may be getting a real shot in the arm from the upcoming parody action flick,Kick-Ass.

Kick-Ass is based on a creator owned comic by Mark Millar and John Romita,Jr and tells the story of Dave Lizewski(Aaron Johnson),an average teenage boy who decides to become a masked vigilante despite having no extraordinary powers or dark motivation.

An internet video of his antics skyrockets him to fame and inspires other ordinary citizens to follow in his dubious footsteps. While all of this attention certainly gives Dave a much needed ego boost,things get ugly as the local crime syndicate decides to fight back against this wave of do-gooderism which may leave more than a few cuts and bruises for these heroes to heal up from:

Mixing humor into any genre known for it's straightforward approach to the material is risky business but when properly balanced,can produce a sharp new freshness into well worn out plot lines and standard cliches.

For example,Horror films enjoyed a nice revival from the Scream flicks(the first two,anyway-the third one was abysmal) but satirical over saturation from the likes of the Scary Movie franchise nearly clipped it's wings there.

Timing is a important factor to consider,one of the many reasons that 1999's Mystery Men wound up becoming a cult favorite rather than a big box office hit. Some of the jokes are hit and miss,but there's so much charming wackiness bouncing around that makes this movie hard to resist for some of us at least. Perhaps if it had come out a couple of years later,more audiences would've been willing to give these secondhand heroes a try:

Nothing can truly save a badly written script,however,especially one that combines three potentially unstable plot elements. My Super Ex-Girlfriend not only sloppily sandwiched together a superhero/secret identity story with a romantic comedy theme,it tossed in the meant to be funny fury of revenge twist that instead of making the humor snap,crackle and pop,only managed to turn the movie sour in a non flavorful way.

As much as I adore Uma Thurman,she has the worst luck when it comes to fantasy films,comic book based or not. While her villainous turn in Batman and Robin brought that caped clunker a bit of campy relief,Uma's unlucky in love super heroine came across as more of a menace to society,with the generic alter ego name of G-Girl to boot. It just goes to show that no matter how many top notch leading ladies or crisp comedians cast as supporting players(along with up to the minute F/X)you have on hand, a poorly thought out concept film will still stink up the place:

Either fittingly or ironically,one of the best humorous takes on the superhero genre was the animated feature The Incredibles. Blending in a sitcom style family with a snarky yet sweet look at how society loves both the rise and fall of those who chose to protect them,Pixar revived interest in superheroes for more than one generation and won over critics and audiences alike.

Despite all of it's success,an Incredibles sequel has not been made and I hope it stays that way. While some cinematic follow-ups raise the bar even higher than their original films did,most of them tend to crash and burn,dragging any more attempts at their chosen genre down with it. In this instance,it's better to leave The Incredibles as the perfect Pixar gem that it is rather than muck up the afterglow of the movie's goodness with a pitiful part two:

At this point,it's too soon to tell if Kick Ass will win,lose or draw at the box office(the film opens up April 16)but judging by the trailer,it does seem to have a firm grip on it's intended satirical targets.

Also,the down to earth,everyman empowerment vibe of the story may find a very receptive audience who appreciates that a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do,even if curtains for the bad guy in question are not the gently wafting lacy kind. Stay tuned,folks and let us hope for the best:

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