Armond White of New York Press has a very interesting review of Kick-Ass that doubles as a review for Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video. White's more often than not, all over the place these days, but when he's on, he's on, and his review breaks down a lot of the issues with Kick-Ass but also comics, especially of the "gritty" and "cynical" sort, that we on this little blog often try to break down this cogently.
It's a good piece of Popular Culture criticism, taking Kick-Ass and Lady Gaga seriously, but ultimately, taking them more seriously than they're ready to be taken, and as a result, just kind of schooling both phenomenons as part of the same misreading Post-Modernism continuum. What I mean by that is this ability to bend this way and that without ever leaning properly on either side of any fucking equations, so it's just a big mess of back-patting irony and cynicism, wrapped in an ultimately pretty conventional little present. To mix metaphors: To have one's cake and eat it too, as old people like to say. And because White's essentially an outsider to Kick-Ass, he views Millar and Romita's simultaneous comic/movie writing as very cynical, it isn't just normal comics biz bullshit.
The duel writing/creation is an insult to the comics form because it's just using comics as a means to a bigger end (a big Hollywood movie, that they keep claiming is technically an "independent"), even as it hinged all its success on doing stuff in comics that you couldn't usually get away with in movies, precisely so that they could go to some financiers and show them how a super-violent comic with a little girl saying "Cunt" indeed has an big audience. That the comic book owes much of its style to Apatow and post-Apatow dirty-joke/heart-of-gold movies, just make this whole franchise disappear further up its own asshole.
The best part of White's review though is the way he's clearly disgusted by both Kick-Ass and Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video, but more disgusted by Kick-Ass because shit man, at least "Telephone" just goes for it! At least Gaga's mini-trashterpiece is weird and stupid and ugly and uncomfortable and insane. Kick-Ass, as Sammy pointed out, is just another superhero movies masquerading as "this ain't just another superhero movie" which is a special kind of loathsome.