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Kick-Ass and the Hit-Girl debacle


Kick-Ass and the Hit-Girl debacle

Kick-Ass and the Hit-Girl debacle 11

Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl in last weekend’s Kick-Ass

In my review for Kick-Ass, I only mentioned Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl briefly, though her role is getting the movie the most press. Roger Ebert called the film “morally reprehensible” and Kenneth Turan writes, “[Hit-Girl’s] language is so astonishingly crude that it has taken people’s attention away from all the killing she does, which is mind-boggling as well.” Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman mentions that Hit-Girl’s sadism isn’t much different from Bruce Willis’s in the Die Hard movies, and yet it is.

Because Hit-Girl is a little girl, played by an actress who was eleven years old when she filmed the movie. The movie is very, very R-rated, so I’m not concerned with her status as a role model for other little girls (though thirteen-year-old Julia Rhodes would’ve loved her). What does concern me is the critical heat it’s taking because a little girl does most of the hardcore killing.

Kick-Ass and the Hit-Girl debacle 12

In Mark Millar’s graphic novel, Hit-Girl is hardcore. Did it translate well to the film?

Hit-Girl is drawing fire because she’s multifaceted, and all her parts don’t seem to add up correctly. She’s a little blond girl who talks about Bratz dolls, makes hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, and should be attending fifth grade. She also calls men “c**ts” (this is the bit that really irks a lot of critics, while many of them seem to be ignoring all the, you know, killing she does), opens her storyline by getting shot in the chest, and wields swords and firearms with the best of the boys. She does need to be rescued at the end of the film, but sometimes we all do. For the most part, this little girl holds her own.

Would critics be as upset if Hit-Girl were Hit-Boy? I doubt it. Girls are supposed to be sugar, spice, and everything nice. Bratz and Barbies and Easy-Bake Ovens. Boys, on the other hand? Well, we all know they’re playing first-person-shooter games and fantasizing about gunplay before they’re five, right? My mother protested too much Barbie play and encouraged my sister and me to be as independent as possible, and I can appreciate a girl who knows what she wants and gets it. I still spent parts of the movie chuckling uncomfortably with widened eyes, but I have love for a girl who outperforms the boys. Even with all the blood and cussing (which, as Gleiberman points out, is par for the course with male protagonists), Hit-Girl is a feminist character.

Kick-Ass and the Hit-Girl debacle 13

A purple wig and leather suit: Hit-Girl in uniform.

My friends and I (who are, I assure you, well above the requisite age of seventeen) got ID’d at the theater door, and yet the row behind us at Kick-Ass was full of teenage boys. During a scene where Hit-Girl goes on a rampage, slicing, dicing, and shooting up a room full of goons, one of the boys blurted, “MARRY ME!” That was maybe the most disturbing part of the movie for me, even if it was a joke. It’s not surprising, considering the sexualization of badass female characters–Angelina Jolie understands this trope better than anyone, and Zoe Saldana is working her way there. But this one is eleven years old.

Vaughn doesn’t really fetishize Hit-Girl (I was more uncomfortable with Dakota Fanning’s exploitative sexy scenes in The Runaways), but it unnerved me to hear commentary from boys obviously a lot older than the character. When I saw Transformers 2: The Fallen, my teenage male row-mate sported an obvious erection and moaned audibly when sexy face queen Megan Fox appeared onscreen, but at least Fox is of legal age. (That wasn’t the only offensive thing about Transformers 2, but that’s a whole other story.) So on the one hand, I appreciate Hit-Girl’s character because of her independence and basic feminism. On the other hand, she is still a child.

Kick-Ass and the Hit-Girl debacle 14

Nicholas Cage with Moretz, as Damon and Mindy Macready (Big Daddy and Hit-Girl), bonding over hot chocolate.

Chloe Moretz, who played Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s smart, sassy sister in last year’s 500 Days of Summer and is slated to play the child-vampire role in the American redux of Let the Right One In, certainly won’t have to pull a Christina Aguilera-Dakota Fanning-Miley Cyrus-Britney Spears-style “LOOK AT ME I’M NOT A KID ANYMORE!” stunt. She’s got a few roles under her belt that aren’t all kittens and rainbows and unicorns, and it’s a good thing. In 500 Days of Summer, I noticed she performed laudably and seemed to possess a composure and bright intelligence most young actresses simply don’t. I have faith she can separate her character from real life–and to assume she can’t is to take away credit she deserves for a job well done.

What do you think: would Hit-Girl be as disturbing to critics if she sported an XY chromosome? If you’ve seen the movie, did you find the character unnecessarily violent or crude? Would you have changed anything?

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Julia Rhodes graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Communication and Culture. She's always been passionate about movies and media, and is particularly fond of horror and feminist film theory, but has a soft spot for teen romances and black comedies. She also loves animals and vegetarian cooking; who says horror geeks aren't compassionate and gentle? Google+



  1. Logan

    May 16, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I think kick ass is the best movie yet it was made amazing because of hit girl her acting in this was the best plus shes cute

  2. [email protected]

    May 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    “Of course, the uniform is also an homage to Gogo in Kill Bill.”
    Yes, and the music as well :-)

  3. Sid

    May 13, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Just as when she asks for a puppy and a bratz doll, dressing in a school uniform is Hit Girl pretending to be normal little girl. The disguise is a deliberate ruse to trick the gangsters into letting her into their fortress. It works: she gets in. After killing the guards in the lobby, she enters the elevator. And what does she do in the elevator? She changes into Hit Girl. Ruse over. Game on.

    Of course, the uniform is also an homage to Gogo in Kill Bill.

  4. Reich

    May 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    The first thing i’d teach my babydoll is how to make a Balisong(blade) dance I would be more than happy if I was to have a daughter who I know can fend on her own, especially in a world full of pervs and criminals. Though HG’s excessive use of harsh words kinda bother me, I mean, doesn’t even make her flinch saying those?!

    Especially the word C**Ts that was just down low….

    In that pic thought It dawn to me of the irony, big guys being killed by a “little school girl” is ironic. hence the uniform.

  5. Arble

    May 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Well, I suppose I’m not going to convince anyone about the child-porn aspect of HG, even if I’m hardly the first to make such an observation. I only mean that using children to get our violence jollies on is a new and troubling twist…whatever you label it. Yes, the movie mentions again and again how “messed up” HG is, but as Jesse Post mentioned above, the movie indeed takes a morally ambiguous tone even if it lets some of its characters mouth a little more “concern”. But that’s the point: the movie is not responsible itself, considering the many tweens who’ll see it…and the impact to the young actors who act in it. It is a bit like reading the hollow warning signs against excessive gambling posted at casinos. “Oh, this is so deliciously wrong! Wink wink.” …is the message. Now, about the child porn thing: yes, depicting children having sex is illegal and technically the true definition of “child porn”. Technically, gratuitous violence only for shock value, even involving children is not considered child porn. I cannot avoid that fact. (I do wonder what kind of world we live in in which sex is so taboo relative to violence but that’s another argument). I’m just drawing a comparison to make a point. Here’s how my logic goes: In modern entertainment, there’s existed for some time a bizarre nexus between sex and violence which I’ve never quite understood, but which is everywhere. That’s very weird to me but ok I guess, if that’s what entertains you. However, here, in a story essentially about children, it has a particularly awkward and troubling feel. Why is it that Sandra noticed (above)the “gratuitous” nature of the schoolgirl uniform? She’s right. Let’s ask ourselves what she meant. It is one thing to see Uma Thurman in tight leather decapitating with a katana if that’s your thing…but…There are sexual undertones (sometimes not so hidden) at certain points in this movie which make me squirm, considering the age of the cast. That’s all I’m trying to say. I don’t call this “progress”– artistic, social or otherwise. Again, just look at all the folks on this site and so many others who are taking this the wrong way; actually praising HG as a role model. I think most are quite serious, right? What about the father above who praises his daughter’s armed and paranoid reaction to 9/11 as some kind of indication of her toughness? Poor thing was probably scared and just needed some parenting. Are we that short of role models these days that we have to find them in savage, foul-mouthed ll year olds? This is why bullying and violence in our schools is on the rise: no appropriate role models to help teach our kids the meaning and impact of violent deeds and words. I’m afraid HG won’t do much to straighten them out.

    PS: Thanks LT for the support, at least on one issue. Yeah, seems pretty clear to me that affirmative action in entertainment is no longer needed. That’s a good thing of course but time to dial it down again because it is robbing a lot of otherwise good entertainment of its artistic integrity. It is just so TIREsome…

  6. Matt

    May 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    This just in, KICK-ASS has been in theaters for three weeks and there are still no kids who have dressed up in leotards and bulletproof vests and cut crimelords’ heads off for revenge.

  7. Podrick

    May 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    while on the subject, where can i find hit-girl porn?

  8. [email protected]

    May 1, 2010 at 7:18 am

    I’m stil horrified how some comments(and the actual persons behind them) can just think about child porn regarding kickass and HG in particular! They don’t seem to really know what it is! Like Jimmy says on april 26th, “I would much rather my teen daughter idolize Hit Girl vs. the pseudo-prostitute, Miley Cyrus”, the list of this kind of “semi-bitch” (I know…crude…) in the music industry and clips our children are exposed daily is endless. Just look at the new teen idols…dressed like prostitutes and behaving likewise in the clips, with the ever present dominant alpha male singing, while the girls humiliate themselves…and this is tolerated by all major tv and entertainment channels…

  9. James Kingwood

    May 1, 2010 at 1:40 am

    In all truth i think the fact that everyone believes that if HG were HB there would not be a problem is totally baseless. While some of the gratuitous violence might have been written off, i believe people would still have been upset because of the character would still be 11. More over critics would have been angered even more at the usage of the C Word, saying that it was promoting sexism even though it was being used towards men

  10. Ares-god of war

    April 30, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Not that I’m calling those movies pornographic. But those sexualized child characters did not appear to draw the same fire from Ebert at least. Kind of ironic and hypocritical.

  11. Ares-god of war

    April 30, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    This is child porn. Child porn is not fine. Child porn is not “whatever”.

    But you calling this child porn is whatever. And irresponsible. Or to use your term, moronic. You have actually managed to trivialize the disgust and filth that is real child porn. Congratulations Arble.

    Child porn happens to be illegal in case you’re not aware. I wonder what you and the R. Ebert’s of the world had to say when Jodie Foster or Brooke Sheilds starred in films playing child prostitutes years ago.

    Oh wait. Ebert called Taxi Driver, “one of the best and most powerful of all films”…Of the film Pretty Baby he says, “it turns out to be a good-hearted, good-looking, quietly elegiac movie.”

  12. Matthew Smith

    April 30, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Yeah, so, in comic books, there is a standing trope in the superhero books where a (generally) much older person trains a young person to fight crime as their sidekick. Most prominent in this point is the Batman/Robin relationship, where a man who, in most source material and in the current films, is a morally complex and dark-natured crimefighter who feels it his duty to avenge his parents’ deaths. Dick Grayson (the original Robin) also loses his parents, and in the comics, is also very bitter about it. Depending on who is telling the story – most recently Frank Miller had an excellent and much darker re-telling of it in his slightly pulpier Batman universe, which was much misunderstood and caused some outrage in the fan community – this relationship takes on various forms, but the most common is that Batman sees himself in Robin, attempts to keep him from the life, but then caves once Robin decides he has to join up, Batman has no trouble accepting him as a partner, despite the fact that (again, in the comics and not in film versions) Dick Grayson is only 13 years old. Hence the “the Boy Wonder” part of his name.

    What the Big Daddy/Hit-Girl relationship comments on specifically is the darker tellings of this origin, in which Batman is not just a do-gooder, but also a vigilante obsessed with his mission of eradicating crime. This lines up with the current Nolan films, though Robin is missing from the equation. In Frank Miller’s recent series, a lot of what fans objected to was that Batman was basically presented as someone who was holding Robin against his will and brainwashing him into joining up. This was before Mark Millar wrote Kick-Ass, so it was undoubtedly a slight influence, though this is by far not the only example of the trope, just one of the most relevant.

    The usage of Hit-Girl and Big Daddy in this context is actually the direct equivalent of the Eastman and Laird TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES comics from the mid-80s, which commented heavily on the absurdly violent books coming out at that time, which perhaps not coincidentally featured Frank Miller’s writing and artwork: WOLVERINE, DAREDEVIL, and his legendary BATMAN miniseries that set up his pulp universe for the character.

    I hope that was helpful in providing some context to what I was talking about. It may not be extra-clear since most film adaptations drop sidekicks altogether, but the film, being an adaptation of the comic, and having the same preoccupation with over-the-top depictions of ‘real’ violence and serving as a commentary on that prevalent trope in current comic book movies. Like I said, nothing is created in a vacuum.

  13. Jesse Post

    April 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Matthew — I’m curious about your thoughts on the hero/sidekick elements of the movie. You say Kick Ass is a comment on that genre trope, but what exactly is the comment? That it’s perverse, or still familial yet strange? Or something else? Again, just curious about your viewpoint.

    I felt that the character of Big Daddy’s partner was there to call out how moronic it is to endanger a child in that way, but that the movie itself took a more morally neutral standpoint, especially seeing as how sweetly and naturally the father/daughter relationship was played.

  14. Matthew Smith

    April 29, 2010 at 10:04 am

    P.S. – as for your child porn argument, I really don’t think you’ve seen the movie. And that’s fine, but if you had, it’s not child porn at all. In fact, it’s mentioned IN THE MOVIE SEVERAL TIMES how messed up it is that Hit-Girl exists at all, or does what she does. Her father is basically called crazy to his face by his friend, and Kick-Ass himself actually tells her that her mission is crazy.

    As for immorality, the movie mentions that several times, too. Thanks.

  15. Matthew Smith

    April 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

    You just reminded me of all the scandal over Brando having his chest exposed in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, and all that jazz about how kids were gonna go and flock to act like the same actor as a hellraising biker in THE WILD ONE, or how about when rock ‘n’ roll was threatening? Or better yet, how about when people thought that Mae West was so raunchy they threw her out of the picture business and came up with a ‘code’ so that the movies would be a family-friendly medium? How about you take all of that, your reasoning on this movie, and whatever else you feel really bad about the youth of today, yesteryear, or whenever, and shove it.

  16. L.T.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Anyone who has their undies in a bunch about Hit Girl’s language has obviously not chaperoned a flock of 11/12 year olds on a school trip recently.

    @Arble – “We cannot see a movie anymore without an obvious and often bolted-on attempt to insert a strong female character, even if not necessary to advance the story.”

    HERE HERE!!!

  17. Arble

    April 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Superheroes are fine, violence is fine, sex is fine, …for adults who have the capacity to deal with them. We’re talking about an 11 year old. This is child porn. Child porn is not fine. Child porn is not “whatever”. If you still don’t get what I’m talking about, then you never will. If you think this movie will not be viewed by kids, you’re a fool. If you think these characters, fictional as they are, will not be emulated, then you have not read any of the entries above or on any of the other fanboy sites about this movie. Even adults seem to think these “fictional” characters are role models, so how can our kids have any hope? We’ve really become a nation of morons.

  18. Matthew Smith

    April 28, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Did everyone here see the same movie I saw? I mean both fans and critics of it. Did all of you miss the point? Oh yeah, you did, because you forgot to think about this as a superhero movie. The Big Daddy/Hit Girl relationship is not a role model situation for anyone, and it doesn’t come across as that to anyone who actually payed attention to the movie. It’s a commentary on the relationships between superheroes and their teenage proteges.

    As for Arble’s comment…whatever. I don’t think you’ve seen the movie, nor do you have any idea what you’re talking about, just like Ebert’s review seemed like he had seen a completely different movie completely devoid of any context in the superhero-heavy climate our culture has embraced over the past decade on film. I’m sorry, but no film is made in a vacuum, just as no book is written in a vacuum.

    All of this is a roundabout way of saying that it’s fine not to like a movie, but you should see it so you know what you’re talking about, and when you do see it, you should probably not use words like ‘reprehensible’ or ‘moral’ in your reviews, because embracing morals or having as your goal to please everyone is irresponsible as an artist.

  19. Ausautas V.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:27 am

    After all the fuss, I just saw the movie, and I’m wondering what all the fuss was about. Have these critics been to a movie in the past 40 years???

    Profanity seemed pretty restrained and sporadic overall. I had the impression it would be f*** every other word. No.

    She blew someone a kiss. The horror…

    Most of the people she killed seemed beyond redemption. Not one of them seemed like promising citizens.

    I wouldn’t say her character was realistic, even as a Chinese orphan/terminator type. I wasn’t expecting a Lifetime Original Movie, though.

    There was violence and profanity. It’s not a “My Little Pony” movie, so don’t go looking for that.

    I enjoyed the movie more than I expected. Much much more than “Avatar”. “Avatar” stunk. I thought “Tropic Thunder” was more offensive.

    Also, I can’t believe the budget was only 28 million. Dreamworks/Paramount should kick Michael Bay’s ass.

  20. Lars Whangdoodle

    April 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I am reminded of something the late Robert B. Parker said during a reading at Cody’s Books in Berkeley, CA in 1987… in the question and answer portion of the evening someone rather pointedly asked Parker if he knew that his character Spenser was an alcoholic. Parker replied that Spenser was not an alcoholic; Spenser was a fictional character.

  21. Arble

    April 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Bravo to Roger Ebert. I’ve had enough. Indeed I’m a huge fan of violent pulp movies and of Marvel and all its work to date. However, this is perverse. First of all, I don’t think girls or women need anymore “empowering” (at least in the sense that they are pushed to affect the most boorish, violent, sexist and otherwise scum-bag-ish nature of a 1970s man. Is that “empowerment”? Ironically enough, I feel that men have matured since the 1970s and women are seeking to emulate the worst of the pre-evolved man for some reason…). It is certainly the case that 20-30 years ago or so, a healthy dose of independence and assertiveness were required as role-model examples for young girls but we’re more or less past that. As exhibit A, I submit EVERY GODDAMN movie or television commercial released in the past 20 years, showing powerful female figures, to the point of absurdity and in many cases, even sexism. We cannot see a movie anymore without an obvious and often bolted-on attempt to insert a strong female character, even if not necessary to advance the story. Yawn…enough already. I’m proud of the position women now occupy in society and think it is ok finally to slow down and start fresh, with boys and girls on equal footing. Next, Hit Girl is neither a good example for boys nor girls. I’d be just as sad to see “Hit Boy” at 11 years old, to all of those “sexist behind every bush” types who somehow claim those who reject Hit Girl are sexist men. All she represents is further descent into unnecessary shock for entertainment value, which will further desensitize audiences to violence….only now, we’re talking about violence among and perpetrated by children. In fact, I don’t think I’m the first to observe that there’s a bit of a child-porn aspect to KickAss. To see children perversely stripped of their innocence at 11 years old for our amusement is child-porn. No sex…at least not yet…but watch this space, since there’s little left to do anymore in this area for shock…sex has to be the next frontier…it will probably start soft-core, but I’m bracing for the next Hollywood film like this which will be praised as “groundbreaking” when they show children not just as violence objects but now also sex objects. To those who would claim: “get real, children have already lost their innocence” I say: “no they have not. a child’s mind is by nature undeveloped and by nature still hopeful and innocent at 11 years old, even if on the surface she may emulate “role models” by speaking with a foul mouth or by glorifying violence. Their minds are not yet developed enough to really understand these things yet, so rushing to push them into the (real?!) world does nothing for them but harm. Yes, there are child soldiers in this real world, but they represent the saddest of people on earth, not glorified role models. Get the difference folks? It is totally bizarre to me that people see glory in places where I see only sadness. Am I the only Catcher in the Rye left? Finally, I cannot resist the notion that KickAss, despite its R rating, is a thinly veiled cunning attempt to reach a tween demographic, who we all know will see this movie in droves. The fact that it is “Restricted” only makes it “cooler” to see somehow for tweens. Once they’ve finally seen it…well…they’re going to have to cope with what they’ve seen and despite how they may react on the surface, they will actually die a bit inside. Very sad.

  22. Erin

    April 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I am a 47 year old L.A. woman who absolutley loved Kick Ass! It appealed to my inner fanboy, and filled the Buffy void. Matthew Vaughan was one of the reasons I saw it. Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl was the other. The character is great fun and the actress is terrific (as she was in 500 Days…). The language is part of what makes the character so much fun. Not once did I think the character was fetishized.

    As for the critics – It’s an R rated movie. Get over it!

  23. danZZ

    April 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    people need to remember it is a movie…..calm down.

  24. Dr. Awesome

    April 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I can’t believe the critics. They are so very lame.

    “reprehensible” , “crude”…you’d think they’ve never seen a R-rated movie. They are in the movie business, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.

    At first I thought the movie was going to be kinda dumb, me and my daughter went this weekend with hopes of a few silly laughs. I thought it would be something along the lines of super bad, mystery men, etc. What we got was an awesome action movie with a lot of humor. Tough to pull both of those off in one movie, we were both very entertained. Lots of emotion and entertainment, that’s what movies should do…correct?

    Bambi = G Rated
    Bambi grows up pissed and kills some hunters = R Rated

    Both could be entertaining….I’m just saying. :)

    I loved the movie and so did my 19 year old daughter.

  25. Jimmy

    April 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I would much rather my teen daughter idolize Hit Girl vs. the pseudo-prostitute, Miley Cyrus.

  26. Frank

    April 26, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I liked the movie as entertainment, but as someone with professional knowledge of psychology, it did not add up.

    Much was made in other reviews to her killing bad guys, but the biggest problem was the death of her father, passed over quickly to seek revenge. The mix on ruthlessness and affection could not exist in an 11 year old girl.

  27. John

    April 24, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Just saw the movie with my 15 and 21 year old daughters. They were “disapointed” that I had not trained them with the same intensity that hit girl had been. (tounge in cheek comment) But I believe in raising my girls, to parden the pun, “Kick Ass”. Example, my 21 year old on September 11th was home sick from school, was armed and waiting for terrorists. Same girl, when 13 and a football player tried to assult her, sidelined him for the season with a badly torn knee. My 15 year old, last year had a similiar insistant male, left him with a concusion. Both these girls barely are taller than 5″ and weigh less than 110#. You can decide to be a victum or not, its up to you. As a charecter, I enjoyed hit girl, but in reality, that would be a young lady with a lot of mental baggage. Hell people its a movie.

  28. [email protected]

    April 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Just saw it yesterday (living in Switzerland..) I have two daughters, 13 & 14 y.o. Hit girl and her dedication for justice inspired by her father is certainly not what bother me in this movie, and be a reason for me not letting them see it! (some overly sexual comportments of the male characters would although)ok killing people like this should not be the rule..but knowing that f….. bad guys should pay one way or another…that’s good!

    Jesse, fwhite, loved your posts.

  29. Daryl Cameron

    April 24, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    My daughter (12) and I have already seen this movie threetimes and she’s asking for showing number four! Hit-Girl is awesome! Sure she’s a profane killing machine, but in reality she’s not saying anything more obscene than what already passes for casual schoolyard conversation. I’d rather my daughter aspire to fight crime and refuse to be victimized, than turn into just another unmotivated golddigger looking for a free pass in life because she was born with breasts and internal reproductive organs. Hit-Girl is a way better role model than some
    ridiculous ‘Princess’ Hanna Montana or any other number of Hollywood bimbos.

  30. Chris Lewis

    April 24, 2010 at 8:16 am

    It’s a film for adults….get over it :)

  31. John Nagle

    April 23, 2010 at 2:23 am

    I’m impressed with Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl. What she projects is devastating competence as a performer. Moretz did the hard training to do those stunts herself. She has the stage presence to make Hit Girl real without overacting, or by relying on being young and cute.

    She makes the other actors look like losers by comparison. Cage is trying too hard when he’s channeling Adam West as Batman. Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist is stuck between being cool kid or dork. Johnson as Kick-Ass does OK, but he’s playing an easy part. Mark Strong plays his villain part well, so at least somebody knows their job.

    Moretz in her twenties will be spectacular.

  32. Matt

    April 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    i’m gonna join in on the critical drubbing in my own post later this week (i’ve yet to see the movie, but adore the comics, so i’m sure of what these guys have their panties in a wad about), but i just want to point out that Robin is a teenager when his parents die (very brutally) in the bat-books, and is pushed in a very disturbing direction by the recent (and also completely misunderstood) frank miller series “All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder”, which takes very disturbing liberties with the relationship between bruce wayne and his young protege.

    hit-girl’s a spot-on parody of this (and admittedly, miller’s problem with batman and robin was that he was doing it in the very book in which it had originated), and people can suck it.

    as for the cunt word, it’s very common parlance in british swearing, and not at all the “OMG”-grabber it is states-side. c’mon guys, you all heard it in monty python, and that was in the 60s. grow up already.

  33. Ares-god of war

    April 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    “Ares-god of War, that is obviously not what Katy said or meant. I believe she meant that the idea of any parent turning their kid into a killer is seriously messed up. I find that pretty easy to agree with.”

    Its obvious I’m not questioning whether a parent who turns their kid into a killer is seriously messed up or not. Nor is anyone celebrating a kid killing people.

    Katy brought up how Hit girl is not an example of feminism because of her father, no? Now I’m by no means any kind of expert on feminism…BUT it would seem to me that Hit Girl has displayed plenty of individual qualities that any feminist could identify with. Strong, smart, independent, tells men to F off, takes ownership of the C word, doesn’t take s**t…And kicks ass? Come on, feminists have to love that, don’t they? Whether or not her father is a creep and inappropriate and taught her to murder and use the C word. This is all I was questioning Katy about. Aren’t children-every feminist in the making included-products of their environment/parenting good or bad. And in this movie that you have not seen and I have seen twice now, Big Daddy teaches Hit Girl all those things stated above. And Katy’s comment just made me wonder, in general how fathers are regarded amongst feminists.

    Totally agree with your entire post and find the Joan of Arc reference most fitting and enlightening.

  34. Alex

    April 22, 2010 at 12:15 am

    “I guess I never knew that feminists owe nothing to their fathers. Or that fathers have no positive influence on a feminist value system.”

    Ares-god of War, that is obviously not what Katy said or meant. I believe she meant that the idea of any parent turning their kid into a killer is seriously messed up. I find that pretty easy to agree with.

    And Alexander, I would bet you an awful lot of money that just about every real-life child soldier does what they do because they are either a) forced to, b) desperate, c) brainwashed, or some combination.

    I haven’t seen the movie, so I have to reserve judgment on it. And I certainly don’t want to censor anyone. But a little kid killing people–is that really something to celebrate?

  35. Sandra

    April 20, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Ugh, what’s up with that school uniform, though? Total gratuity.

  36. Sienna

    April 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    See what made this movie so god damn grand to me was the feel it had of a graphic novel. yes in comics you have small children swearing wearing purple wigs and murdering people. most the humor in good comics is dark and brilliant with the special bitter taste to all the moral dilemma . concerning are little girl here i think we need to give the world more credit. yes im sure there are those who would consider it better for a small boy to be doing such acts but then theres though who Im sure don’t care either way. me, i read an interview with the actress where he discusses how she did most her stunts cus she can throw knives and uses weapons. yet there was no hint of psychosis in her speech nor was she drooling like some of the over sheltered youth today ….that was far too long sorry

  37. dorothy

    April 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    as always, i love julia’s analysis and insight. i wrote a giant post over on my tumblr: if anyone cares to read my thoughts on this matter. FYI i am very pro-hit girl.

  38. fwhite

    April 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Like Joan of Arc, Hit Girl creates the unique paradox of a force for good that must employ deadly methods. On the whole, she is unpredatory and sexually neutral, only using manipulation through pity. She is more of a role-model for men than women, providing them with the heroic fighter in a woman’s skin which you’d usually see played by Stalone or Bruce Willis. She’s not about money and she’s not about revenge. She’s there because she believes in her father. She is also believably far more capable than the male lead, only being saved by him once, which is normally the moment delegated to a female love-interest. This character is remarkably subversive, just as her predecessor Joan of Arc was, but with added bonus of being more capable and noble than any of the men around her.

  39. Crabby Lioness

    April 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I’m not bothered by her gender, but by her age. This is the time when children are supposed to be learning logic and ethics, not 99 ways to kill people. I would not have liked it when I was a girl, and I don’t want my girls to see it.

  40. Ares-god of war

    April 19, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I guess I never knew that feminists owe nothing to their fathers. Or that fathers have no positive influence on a feminist value system.

  41. Ares-god of war

    April 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Question To Katy.

    What daughter or son for that matter is not molded by their parents? Big Daddy did a remarkable job with Hit Girl.

  42. Ben

    April 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    When I saw the trailer I was shocked. But I got over it, saw the movie, and thought it was great. I was disappointed that Hit-Girl had to be saved at the end. I wanted her to skewer that guy. I think it was a copout to have the guy dweeb hero save her.

  43. katy

    April 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I don’t see how Hit Girl can be considered a feminist character. Sure, she outperforms the boys – because she’s been molded by her creepy father in incredibly inappropriate ways.

    For the record, I’d be disturbed by a Hit Boy as well; there’s very little context in which a murderous eleven-year-old is in any way appealing. It’s a gratuitous, shock-value concept by its very nature, and while I’m a fan of the superhero genre (including some of its famously darker incarnations), I’ve never had much use for that sort of shock-for-its-own-sake.

  44. Jesse Post

    April 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I think the point of Hit Girl, as portrayed in the movie, was to show the heroism that can come from familial devotion. You’re definitely meant to ooh and aah when she does her acrobatics, and wince (or laugh) when she swears, but it seemed obvious to me that all of that was building up to the choked-back tears at how tender the father/daughter scenes are, particularly at the end.

    It’s a shame critics are getting stuck at the icing and ignoring the cake.

  45. Alexander

    April 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I didn’t really see anything wrong with Hit Girl. The purpose of the character in the story is to parody the kid-sidekick characters in comic books like all the various incarnations of Robin in the Batman comics. At least two of those Robins were also young girls (see Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Wargames for all that nonsense.)

    Also, didn’t Kirsten Dunst graphically murder and say all manner of naughty things as Claudia in Interview with the Vampire? It seemed like she was even itty-bittier than Hit Girl. It seemed that critics liked that movie fairly well (if my memory serves and sometimes it doesn’t.) Is it vile because Hit-Girl is a sort of superhero and Claudia is a vampire? I don’t get the conflict.

    In the context of the setting in which I find her, Hit Girl does not seem inappropriate and if we are going to be romanticizing graphic violence AT ALL (and we are certainly doing that) then I don’t think it really matters who is doing the dismemberment or slinging “inappropriate” language. They mention that she thinks of it all as a game, which seems at least reasonably feasible…

    My cynical bits also urge me to say that it would be naive of us to think that children soldiers don’t exist even in the really real world, which is ultimately what Hit Girl is. Surely at least a few of them are A)female B)good at it and C)Completely unrepentant in what they do. That sentiment, by the way, is WAY darker and more cynical than anything in Kick-Ass and in no way is what is implied by the film. I just mention it because it seems surprising to me that people are astounded by her or in any way sees her as something that simply could never be, especially in a fictional world as exaggerated as the world of Kick-Ass.

    To anyone in a huff, I’d probably just ultimately remind them that it is a comedy. Try not to take it too seriously. The material in question obviously doesn’t take itself too seriously.

  46. Patricio Díaz

    April 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I agree with Brad Jones’ comment about Ebert, it was like his granma trying to make a critic about A Clockwork Orange.

  47. Ares-god of war

    April 19, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Hit Girl is a daughter that any father would be proud of. Made me think what Carrie Anne Moss’s character, Trinity in the Matrix might have been like as a little girl. Morally reprehensible? Get off it Ebert and company. Disturbing? ok maybe. Twisted? Surely, but that was the intention, was it not? LOVE the scene with the Banana Splits theme song.

  48. Mark

    April 19, 2010 at 10:41 am

    That is my least favorite word… I will say.

  49. Mark

    April 19, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Film critics are c**nts.

    All of a sudden Hollywood is worried about decorum? Look around and then give me a break.

    Everything you say is on-point. If it were a little boy far less would be said right now.

  50. Rob Hansen

    April 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I was a bit surprised at all the comments in the US about the c-word being used to insult guys until it slowly dawned on me this is unusual over there. Mark Millar is British (as are Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goodman who adapted Kick-Ass), and over here it’s used as a gender-neutral insult that can be directed at men or at women. What we have here is a bit of cross-cultural confusion.

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