Reading over plenty of top 10/20/25 best film lists of 2010 it's been hard to disagree with some of the selections that have commonly made those lists. Some gain a thumbs up, the majority gain a nod of approval or even a wink of agreement whilst others get a shrug of acceptance. However the only film that that raises my left eyebrow in a similar fashion to that of a quietly frustrated Carlo Ancelotti before lowering my right eyebrow to pour scorn in a manner akin to Werner Herzog witnessing a Care Bear picnic is Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass.
The comedian Stewart Lee once stressed that the key to successful comedy was to maintain a consistent point of view. It is precisely this that undermines the adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jnr's graphic novel. The pseudo-reality of the Kick-Ass world which works so successfully in the graphic novel genre fails to translate onto the screen. With the first act spent convincing the audience that superhero fantasies are strangled by the reality of consequences and physics - aptly demonstrated by a colourfully suited wannabe falling to his death. It seems odd that the denouement of the film contains a rocket launcher, jet pack with machine gun and a kill count to rival Total Recall. It was hard not to think of the henchman death scene of Austin Powers whenever an extra took a bullet or lost an arm as the reality of the fictional world began to ignore the foundations on which it was built.
The script aims for edgy and tries too hard. The geekish/laddish mates who churp in with "bantah!" at opportune moments particularly making me want to dip my balls in blamanche and have gerbils nibble it off. The Daily Mail hysteria surrounding Hit-Girl and her use of the C word probably did more for this film than any positive review. It gave it credibility and a buzz amongst the target audience that can only come with a Mail "stay away" campaign. Sadly what film critics of a certain generation and particularly right wing papers failed to understand that a young girl saying the C word isn't remotely shocking to our generation but a misjudged attempt at being so.
When the posters were plastered onto buses and the media hype was beginning to build - it seemed obvious that the film was going to receive generous praise. Why? The film was independently financed with the wealthy and influential players of the British media no doubt with a finger in the pie. Add into that the popularity of Matthew Vaughn (a British boy dun gud) and Mrs Jonathan Ross co-writing the script it seems understandable that it got a better press on this side of the Atlantic.
Underneath the hype and tween girls with filthy mouths it was a less than ordinary film that frustrated when overstepping the self proclaimed boundaries and convictions.