Episode 95: I’d Kick That

The Overthinkers tackle Kick Ass. (It’s not hard. He’s a wimp.)

Matthew Wrather is joined by Natalie Baseman, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, Josh McNeil, John Perich, and special guest Keith Harrington to overthink Kick Ass, ass kicking in general (which is to say agency and the protagonist), and the Hit Girl controversy.

Along the way, they plug OTI’s appearance at Geek Week, Clichemageddon 2, and the Mr. T Party.

→ Download Episode 95 (MP3)

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11 Comments on “Episode 95: I’d Kick That”

  1. Iron Knight L85 #

    In regards to fully developed characters in action movies, perhaps a good example might be the movie 300. Sure it does do a brief montage of Leonidas’s youth, but for the vast majority of the movie Leonidas is simply an epic warrior.


  2. cat #

    Not that I know anything about this, but considering that this was based on a comic book and I think the writers of the book also contributed to writing the script can we blame “Hollywood” and the way movies are made? Has anyone read the book…who can offer a comparison?


  3. Tom #

    Well, actually . . .

    The recent Supreme Court decision didn’t say that the animal “crush videos” are protected by the First Amendment – it said that the law Congress passed to ban the videos was overbroad — that is, it banned a bunch of stuff that was protected by the First Amendment. (For example, the defendant in the case was prosecuted for selling videos of dogfights that were legal where the videos were taken.) The opinion specifically suggested that Congress could pass a narrower law that would pass Constitutional muster.

    Anyway, there’s your pedantic legal tangent for the week.


  4. Gab #

    Opening Question-

    McNeil: This may get too close to a political argument for the site’s tastes, but really, one of the problems the left has is it’s too nice when it gets attacked by the right. One of the myriad reasons Kerry lost, for example, is because he just sat back and took the abuse from Bush’s campaign (and its affiliates). Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, and others it’s crazy with crazy. It sucks, and it would be nice to THINK the left could take the high road, but this is the hoi polloi being roused, and they’re too stupid as a collective to ignore the outlandish points of one side if they don’t get ones equally outlandish from the other. In a perfect, platonic world, I’d agree with you 100%, but in the real world, I can’t. It hurts, but, well, yeah.

    Wrather: THAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I SAW WATCHMEN OH MY F**ING GOD!!! What is it with parents taking their kids to violent movies?

    Full disclosure time: Haven’t seen it, not sure when I will. So anything I say is based on stuff I have read or heard from people that have seen it, with my own personal opinions about the issues themselves and conjectures based on the evidence given to me second-hand.

    Established characters that succeed: _Unforgiven_, the Clint Eastwood movie. I realize it’s pretty old by now, but it’s a great movie, imo, and there are established relationships and characters all over the place, the majority of which don’t get hashed out- yet they still work beautifully. Further, the little blurb onscreen at the end even hits you on the head with a gap in the protagonist’s “explanation” with something like “…and no one ever knew why or how she could love such a cold-hearted killer,” in there. I realize that’s not *uber* relevant to the overall topic, but there were some film-/name-drops, and I love doing those, and that was the first example I thought of.

    And I’d say the appeal of the Bond movies isn’t Bond himself, it’s about the world he lives in. Bond isn’t the only person doing fantastical things, nor are just the villains, but also the other people he works with in order to bring the bad guys down. Viewers go to experience the whole shabang of unrealistic but totally awesome stuff happening: the gadgets, the witty banter, the insanely impossible schemes and counter-schemes. I think that’s part of why the newer ones with Daniel Craig disappointed so many hardcore Bond fans: they really tried to delve into his character in them, and those fans weren’t suspecting that and didn’t like it.

    Girlfriend/ Kick Ass as a lame character (since they ended up going together): I read somewhere that he decides to give it up and stop being a superhero after he gets the girl. Is that true, and does he then take up the cape one final time in the instance where he’s Hit Girl’s sidekick? If that’s wrong, I’m sorry. And if he DOES give it up and does NOT take it back up, then he certainly isn’t a really good superhero at all.

    Hit Girl controversy: I read that a lot of the problem was geared more toward Hit Girl being, well, a GIRL, and not just that she’s young. If it was a boy, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal (and in reading some of the angry pieces, I picked up on it, myself). I’m not saying it’s not a big deal that a child would be doing such violent things (of course not, ee gads, I’m usually pretty easily affronted by and hypersensitive about stuff that could be child exploitation of any kind, I’ll admit that), but while I haven’t seen the movie, I’d totally buy an argument saying the skirt and pigtails (for example) being such a gendered example of youth, add a level to the backlash that wouldn’t have been there if it was a boy wearing khakis and a sweater-vest. She may or may not have been sexual, but she could still be quite gendered.


  5. Hazbaz #

    Hey Guys, great show as always.
    having seen Kick-Ass, I think I agree most with Perich (I think? I get the voices mixed up a bit) In that the depiction of Hit Girl as a competant ass kicker is a step forward in movies and is almost praiseworthy. I think she definitely falls into the Strong Characters, Female group that has been mentioned on the site a few times.
    Do you think thae fact that she has been far and away the most successful chracter form the movie raises the chances that Chris Nolan will put Rovin in the next Batman movie?

    I have been trying to find the review you mentioned a few times in the episode, by Amy Something, but I can’t remember the name and don’t want to search through the podcast at work. Could someone link it for me? Thanks very much.


  6. Hazbaz #

    Oh whoops, I mean Robin.


  7. Hazbaz #

    @perich: That’s the one, Thanks


  8. fenzel #

    @ Tom

    Thanks for the clarification. I definitely oversimplified that.

    I recall one of the instances brought up being that, since hunting is illegal in Washington DC, a law that made it illegal to sell depictions of violence toward animals in a place where that activity is illegal could effectively make hunting magazines illegal to sell in DC, even if that were not its publicly stated intent.


  9. lee OTI Staff #

    We covered this in the post-podcast chat with the UStream audience, but I should repeat this here:

    When I put forward the theory of “Kick-Ass'” ultraviolence as a sort of Inglourious Basterds-esque dark mirror reflection of the audience’s perverse love of ultraviolence, it was mostly out of wishful thinking. That is to say, I was kind of repulsed by Hit Girl, and I wanted this movie to be a commentary on why we should all be repulsed by Hit Girl. But the facts mostly don’t support that, especially how Hit Girl is shown to be A-OK at the end of the movie as opposed to a horribly traumatized, warped victim of her father’s manipulation.

    I think there may still be a little of the dark-mirror going on, but it’s definitely not played out to the extent that is is with Inglourious Basterds. Speaking of which, did you read the article I wrote on it last summer?



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