A Double Review of Kick-Ass and Defendor
Is It Possible For Superheros To Exist In Real Life? Should Ordinary People Become Superheros?
In the past 2 weeks I have watched 2 movies that touch on a subject dear to my hart, as I'm sure it to all of yours. Like the hero and title character of Mark Miller and John Ramita jr.'s Kick-Ass I have often dreamed about what it might be like to actually be a superhero. Hell I'd bet money that's why most of us read comic books. It allows us to live the fantasy through someone else, leaving us to dream of what might be. But, perhaps that is all it should ever be, a dream. A fantasy.
In Kick-Ass geeky fanboy high schooler Dave Lizewski decides he's had enough. Had enough of watching others get beaten, robbed, and mugged. Had enough of the boring everyday life of most teenagers. Had enough of JUST daydreaming about being someone strong enough to do something useful. So he gets himself a costume and becomes Kick-Ass! Dave has no combat training what so ever, and is not the smartest kid in school, he spends his first few weeks "patrolling" and trying to jump across rooftops. In his first real attempt at crime fighting he gets himself stabbed and hit by a car. In my opinion Dave/Kick-Ass is really only meant to be the person we as the viewer relate to but the real superheros of the movie are Hit Girl and Big Daddy played masterfully by Nick Cage and newcomer Chloe Moretz. From the first second you see her impaling some thug Moretz steals the show. There have been a lot of comment about Cage's Big Daddy "Adam West" type voice but I thought it really lightened up a character that would have other wise been a little to hard hitting to be believed as a superhero. I have to admit his death scene almost brought me to tears. Christopher Mintz-Plasse delivers a surprising performance as Chris D'Amico/Red Mist, son of mob boss Frank D'Amico, who badly craves his fathers attention. In his attempt to get it he becomes the true villain of the film by becoming Kick-Ass' arch nemesis. For the most part is is your basic comedic actioner that really stays true to the idea of superheros in the real world. No one has any super powers to speak off and the character do come off as people you might actually know, yet their attempts are not unsuccessful. My only real problems came towards the end(witch is the only times the movie differs from the comic I might add) when Kick-Ass and Hit Girl storm the D'Amico penthouse for the final brawl. I have a feeling I don't even need to mention the "gatling gun". Over all it was a fun ride, one I am planing to take again and would recommend to those who haven't yet.
In Defendor Woody Harrelson stars as Arthur Poppington, a mentally challenged man(with what we never find out)who wants to make the world a better place, and tries to do so as Defendor. That's with an OR not an ER, he gets very upset if you don't get that right. we first see Mr. Poppington in prison orange and the first half of the movie is told in flashback as he tells his story to psychologist Sandra Oh. His mission is to stop "Captain Industry", as his grandfather tells him he is responsible his drug addict mothers death. Trying to stop what he believes to be a raping he "saves" crackhead Kat Dennings(the future Mrs. Johan)from her crocked cop dealer Sgt. Chuck Doony play by Elias Koteas in his best role in my opinion since Casey Jones in the first Ninja Turtles movie. After picking Harrelson's character off the ground, in hopes of seducing him for cash to get her next fix, Dennings gos home with him only to find he has the mind of child and knows nothing of sex. Even though she lies to him, telling him she knows who and where "Captain Industry" is and steals from Harrelson to be able to get high, Dennings ends up genuinely caring for Poppinton and kind of becomes his care taker. Dennings character(also named Kat) tells Poppington that Captain Industry is the local big wig crime boss, mostly so she can try and get his stash, but in doing so pits Defendor against a real villain bigger then the normal street thugs he can take down with his grandfathers WWII trench club. Harrelson, who I have always felt to be one of the excellent character actors of his generation serves up one of the best performances of his carer seamlessly switching between the mentally challenged Poppington and the almost competent Defendor. You do feel that when he paints on his mask(yes paints)he really does become another person all together. Dennings brings in a more mature role then I have ever seen her in, and even though she is a lying thieving drug addict she really brings a lot of hart to the film. Even though it's billed as more of a comedy, and it is comedic at many times, I personally would list this as a drama the likes of Rainman, and yes I would even be so bold to say I would hold Harrelsons performance next to Hoffman any day of the year. If this movie doesn't give you hope in your fellow man, I don't know what will.
Now to what I really want to talk about, what both these movies represent; is it really possible for ordinary people like ourselves to be "superheros"? Well, putting it like that, yes. I think the more important question would be is it a wise choice of lifestyle? I think if a person was fully aware of what it was he/she were getting themselves into, and was prepared for such things as being shot at and stabbed I think it would be one of the dumbest things a person could do. But it is, to me at any rate, the idea of a person putting the good of his fellow man before his own self being. Being willing to risk that shot to the head in an attempt to save a hostage in a bank robbery or even just getting hit by a car to save a child from a drunk or just inattentive driver. For me it is this bravery or stupidity as some might call it that I think is missing in the world. Maybe not some fanboy in a wet suite or even an idiot that thinks bullets will bounce off his chest but from us, you and me. We don't need some silly costume(although it would be a confidence booster) or a cool nickname or powers or even fancy gadgets, there are so many things ordinary everyday people can do to help make the world a better place for all of us. But we don't. I don't, I'm sure most if none of you do anything on the level of what might be called the work of a "superhero". I'm not talking about taking down the mob or even some local big time drug dealer just the type of little things that might help the next person you pass on the streets. Maybe someday the world won't need help, but how will it get there when it doesn't get help when it does need it?
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