Here’s a real wonder: a comic book movie that I actually liked. I hasten to add that it’s not for everyone. Roger Ebert hated it, as did a few other critics, but it was mostly reviewed positively.
Chloë Grace Moretz is Mindy Macready, an eleven-year-old whose obsessed father (Nicholas Cage) is training her to be a super-Ninja killer so they can avenge her mother’s death at the hands of a drug lord. Her secret identity is Hit-Girl. Meanwhile Dave, an ordinary semi-nerdy high school kid, suddenly decides to dress up in a green-and-yellow wetsuit, call himself Kick-ass, and roam the city righting wrongs. He is totally incompetent at this, and gets his ass kicked so thoroughly that he spends weeks recovering in the hospital. He comes out with a reduced sensitivity to pain, which is a good thing for him, because Mr. Ass is a slow learner, and keeps getting his ass kicked. Then he stupidly walks into the apartment of a serious drug dealer and is about to be killed when Hit-Girl arrives and swiftly and gruesomely kills all six people in the room.
This is where some critics had problems. It didn’t seem right that a pre-teen would commit all this mayhem. (She was just getting started. The body count here is 59, and she is responsible for at least 40.) And they thought that she was somehow being “sexualized.” Her purple costume and hair and Robin-style mask is not sexy at all in the sense of most comic superwomen, who go into combat half naked with their huge tits about to fall out. However, I agree that there is something sexy (though not at all sexual, if that makes any sense at all to you) about seeing this little pixie wreak all this havoc on great big tough guys. By that I mean it is sexy in the same way a Ferrari is sexy, tearing down the road, revving its engine, or even just sitting there at the curb. Not sexual.
Like I said, this is not for the overly-sensitive or faint of heart. Blood gushes, and it ain’t sanitized cartoon violence, another thing that upset some people. But it’s all in fun (again, if you can deal with very violent computer-game-type fun). Even Lee enjoyed it. What mostly makes it work is little Chloë, who was thirteen at the time. She is terrific. I hadn’t realized we had already seen her in the second version of Carrie.