In case you haven’t heard, the latest trailer for the movie ‘Kick Ass’ has been released. You can see it here. I thought the trailer was excellent and expressed that to Jim. To say we had opposite reactions to the trailer would be an understatement. But it lead to an interesting discussion about acceptable levels of violence. I condensed the emails to this discussion:
Lee: HEY! Did you see the latest Kick Ass trailer? It makes me want to see the movie even more.
Jim: Wow that (trailer) is so wrong, I’m not sure I want to see it.
Lee: What's wrong with it? There's no blood.
Jim: A father pulling a gun and shooting it at his little girl, nope you’re right, nothing wrong with that. Something is over the line with me when it comes to shooting a little girl, who would have thunk it.
Lee: This is odd... you have a strange line. Aaron's version of Kingpin in ok but this isn't???? There wasn't any blood AND she was ok. 'Ceptin for a bruise or two.
Jim: The act of a father shooting his own daughter is disturbing to me. I understand the absurdity of it, but having two daughters makes it off putting. I agree that my line may not make sense, but one is father/daughter and the other is bad people vs bad people
Lee: With all the violence inherent in every other aspect of comics, I'm still surprised this bothers you. Maybe it’s because my girls aren't older yet but this doesn’t phase me. Didn't you find the fact that the girl was hacking people to pieces in the comic disturbing too?
Jim: The girl in the comic hacked up people based on what I heard, but I stopped getting the comic. Nothing to do with my girls being older, in fact I think it would be more bothersome if they are younger.
My question to people, and you: What would be over the line for you regarding violence in a comic book?
Lee: My violence line is defined by the book I'm reading. And I think books should have a target audience that limits the violence. For example, the latest Punisher Max is very over the top in the violence. I haven't read the latest version but I read Ennis's version and that didn't offend me. BUT, that was labeled as a Max title and I expected the violence. Now, as I've stated many times before, I was offended in the violence levels in The Flash when Johns wrote it. The Flash was/is targeted at teens or younger. It's a brand name character that the ordinary man/woman has a better than average chance of knowing. That kind of book shouldn't show people getting their throats slit... but it did.
Jim: My line comes down to the fact that we as a society have child pornography laws, but can we draw child porn? This book takes the violence down to a young girl and then shows a father shooting her and we are supposed think that is cool? How is that cool? How is that acceptable? Would you think your wife would think this is okay? What age do you think it would be okay to show that scene to your children - especially your daughters?
Lee: Ok, lots there.
(0) There is a difference between porn and violence. And, it's a huge difference. Let's not get into that.
(1) The violence in this case is acceptable because of several things >a<>b< The father & daughter obviously love each other and there's even a certain playfulness to the scene. That's what makes it ok.
There is no harm/threat to push the violence into unacceptable zones.If he were swearing at her, berating her, or even threatening her life then the entire scene, and situation changes. In this case, with the lack of harm it raises the question of why he's doing it, thereby making the movie interesting.
(2) My wife doesn't read comics so it's moot BUT she would probably never think it's cool. And to be fair, I doubt there are very many wives, or women in general, that would like the scene.
(3) I wouldn't show this book to my kids until they were mid-late teens. The book is over the top violent and I don't think it's age appropriate less than that. But, I believe the book was marked, and sold, as such.
Jim: I'm pretty liberal when it comes to entertainment, but there has to be lines that we should not cross and this is it for me. I think it is a form of child porn. Just my opinion, but it is a considered opinion and not just a knee jerk reaction.
Lee: I still think using child and porn in the same sentence gives it the wrong connotation. BUT, if you were to call it violence porn (like disaster porn movies) then I can see it. While I am still the more violence conservative of the two of us, in this case I think you're wrong. Context is everything. For another example, in the latest Werewolf by Night comic there was violence against a pregnant woman... I found that over the top because it was violent just for the sake of violent. This wasn't that bad.
Jim: The problem I have is it is still Dad shooting at the daughter. If he misses - he kills her. Pretty heady stuff. If the vest is not manufactured correctly he kills her. Blunt force trauma to the chest kills kids a far amount of times - it is a father shooting a daughter with the chance of killing her. Just does not sit right.
I use porn idea because I'm trying to equate when violence hits a certain point does it in fact become something which we (as a society) do not want to see portrayed.
I understand context as Punisher Max is ok and I'm even okay with the Johns level of violence. Kick Ass is rated mature - but does that mean anything goes? I say no, but I could argue that the answer is yes as these are just drawings and the market place will determine what is a success.
Lee: Ok. It’s fair to say we’re definitely disagreeing on this one. But, we can settle the argument in a sense. Let’s ask Gwen. She’ll provide a woman’s point of view which, I imagine, will be considerably different from ours.
After watching the trailer, Gwen: umm.... wtf? That makes my brain hurt - I just sat here stunned for a few moments before I could react. Nick Cage is a bit creepy there. And yet, part of me found it to be so over the top that it was funny - kind of goes a bit too far though. Definitely don't care to see the movie.
So, over the top but ok or just wrong? What do you think?