Train children in the right way,
and when old, they will not stray.
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks!
Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!” Matthew 18:6-7
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s films, even though they are violent tales (however, I was glad that his Glorious Basterds did not garner a Best Picture Oscar.) Director and co-screenwriter Matthew Vaughn’s film is very similar to those of Tarntino, but in this case I was repulsed because of his misuse of a child as the perpetrator of the violence.
The film’s premise seemed like a good one—a teenager with no extraordinary powers or skills attempts to live out his fantasy of becoming like one of the superheroes in his comic books. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) orders a green wetsuit, which he uses as his costume, dubbing himself Kick-Ass. His first attempt to rescue a citizen being attacked leads to his own ass being beaten and kicked, but he does not give up. Caught on video, he soon becomes the object of admiration of a great many people.
He also finds himself aided by two real superheroes, a father and daughter team Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), who are as highly trained, as he is not. Hit Girl is a preteen girl named Mindy, and her father, once a policeman wronged by a prominent gangster (Mark Strong), has trained her how to use her hands, feet, and a dagger to kill. In one sequence it takes but a minute for her to slice the throats of a room full of villains in a darkened world. Throughout the film she kills dozens of men without any qualm or affect to her own psyche.
There is more to this film, but given its embracement of violence as not just necessary at times, but as positively delightful in disposing of enemies, this is as much as I care to write about it. It is obvious that we have been set up for a sequel, with the son of the villain having himself donned a costume and mask. At least the older superheroes who resorted to physical violence did not kill their villains, or if they did, showed some evidence of reluctance and remorse.
1. What are the various mythologies of the origins of popular superheroes? Superman; Spiderman; the X-Men?
2. What reference to Spiderman did you hear in the film?
3. What do you think of this film’s depiction of a child gleefully slicing the throats of the bad guys? Is the excuse, “Oh lighten up, it’s just a movie based on a comic book” enough?
4. Do you think this use of a child with blood on her hands is an accepted part of our culture now? How might this be connected to the justification of torture by our CIA and military, or do you think this is going too far?