How politically incorrect is the upcoming superhero satire movie Kick-Ass?
Not only does it have teen superheroes practicing extreme vigilante violence, it also features a bloodthirsty 11-year-old girl (played by 13-year-old Chloe Moretz) dropping F-and C-bombs and slashing bad guys to death to the soundtrack from The Banana Splits (at least she does in this R-rated trailer).
Needless to say, Kick-Ass was not the kind of comic-book movie Hollywood studios wanted to make—every major studio passed on the adventures of a teenage crime fighter (Aaron Johnson)—but now that Lionsgate is releasing the independently made film, director Matthew Vaughn expects there will be some backlash from parents' groups and political pundits.
To which he might just as well reply: OK, you c--ts, let's see what you can do now.
"I think it's really important that if you're going to criticize a movie or say this is morally wrong, go see it," Vaughn told a panel at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas, earlier this month. "Then I'll listen to your opinion. But if you haven't seen it, I'm not really that interested. I'm not forcing someone to buy a ticket. If you go watch the movie, you're making a conscious decision, I hope, unless you're watching a pirate DVD, of engaging and paying us money for a movie. After that, you've got the right to say whatever you want. But beforehand, I'm not interested."
Later, in a press conference, Vaughn elaborated on the film's hot-button issues. You can't watch Hit Girl slice up criminals and think about child endangerment issues, he argued: It's satire. "The people who are taking it overly seriously haven't seen the film," Vaughn said. "The way I feel is—and I said this earlier—it's a movie. You do not have to buy a ticket, number one."
But if you buy a ticket and you still have issues with Hit Girl, you're not paying attention. Hit Girl's father is a single parent obsessed with crime, training his daughter with dangerous weapons. He's not supposed to be a role model for child rearing.
"Secondly, this is a character that slaughters and kills people and has from the age of 5 been brainwashed," Vaughn continued. "If she was working for the U.S. government, killing the Taliban, and a 19-year-old Navy SEAL, no one would complain."
Yet the violence might not be the major issue. Vaughn has found himself having to defend Hit Girl's use of the C-word and F-word more than her bloody violence. "It's interesting that we're discussing more about the fact that she swears more than she kills," Vaughn said. "I would rather be in a room with a bunch of people swearing at me than hacking me up."
And Vaughn really doesn't care what you say about the movie: "As long as they're not reporting that someone's gone and copied what they do in the movie, I'll be fine with them complaining and causing controversy," Vaughn said.
Kick-Ass opens April 16.
So ... are you outraged?