What Kick-Ass Gets Right and Wrong in the World of Real Life Superheroes

Kick-Ass 2 came out this past weekend. I skipped it because of the harsh reviews. Also, I really didn’t like the comic sequel. I enjoyed the first and might watch Kick-Ass 2 when it hits HBO or Netflix. However, the big hook to Kick-Ass is that it is supposedly what would happen in the “real” world if people tried to be superheroes. Well, author Mark Millar probably could have nailed it if he’d taken some time to research the actual real life superheroes of the world. After I wrote a series of articles right here on the Robot’s Pajamas about real life superhero Phoenix Jones, we ended up becoming friends and I’ve learned from him some of the basics you have to nail if you want to survive as a superhero. Following is a short list of the things Kick-Ass gets right about trying to be a superhero and the things they get so very, very wrong.

RIGHT: Wear a bright, obvious superhero costume

It might seem obvious when taking inspiration from comic books to follow their idea of wearing an iconic costume. But that’s not the choice every would-be superhero makes. Just last week, a man outside of Philadelphia decided to be a superhero and dress in all black like a ninja. Which looked to everyone else like he was trying to rob homes and they called the cops on him. It’s better to dress in an obvious costume.

Kick-Ass and Phoenix Jones

Kick-Ass and Phoenix Jones

More after the jump.

WRONG: Must wear body armor

In the first movie, Kick-Ass gets stabbed on his first time in costume. And by the end of the movie, he still hasn’t invested in any body armor. Does he have a death wish or is he just supposed to be stupid? Phoenix Jones insists that each member of his team (Rain City Superhero Movement) wears at least a level 3a bulletproof vest, preferably with anti-stab plates. When I followed him on patrol, he even had me wear one.

Phoenix Jones and I, wearing body armor

Phoenix Jones and I, wearing body armor

RIGHT: Patrol together

In Kick-Ass 2, Kick-Ass goes on patrol with a big group of superheroes. This only makes all the sense in the world. When Phoenix goes on patrol, people are designated tasks: primary to break up a fight, secondary backup, cell phone to call 911 and report location, EMT duty, and so on. A superhero doesn’t have the authority the police do. All you can do is intercede in a fight or follow someone until the police get there. One man can’t necessarily defuse a situation while also calling the police, let alone watch your back if someone has a weapon or a group of people is causing a disturbance. Kick-Ass got this one right.

Kick-Ass patrols with a group of superheroes

Kick-Ass patrols with a group of superheroes

WRONG: Record your patrols

All of Kick-Ass’ patrols are pretty much worthless if the district attorney can’t prosecute the criminals they encounter. When it’s one person’s word against another, not a lot can happen. Phoenix live streams and records his patrols. He knows the law and what he can and can’t do. If someone ditches some drugs they were trying to sell or assaults someone, Phoenix has that recorded and can and has handed that over to the police as evidence. Below you see Phoenix wearing his GoPro camera. If you’re just putting on a costume and trying to get in fights, maybe just go to a pro wrestling school.

From L to R: Mr. Pink, Phoenix Jones, el Cabellero of the RCSM

From L to R: Mr. Pink, Phoenix Jones, el Cabellero of the RCSM

Obviously Kick-Ass is fiction and we need to cut it slack in certain areas for dramatic license. At the same time, it’s nowhere near as ground-breaking at presenting superheroes as real people in the real world as it thinks it is. Hit Girl is still a ninja with skills beyond what anyone can reasonably expect. Phoenix Jones is a real life MMA fighter with a 25-0 record (watch one of his title fights here) and I still don’t think I’d see him doing flips off of a van going down a highway to avoid gunshots. Kick-Ass 2 is in theaters now, where it opened in 4th place to a disappointing $13.57 million in its opening weekend. Phoenix Jones will return to the cage under his real name, Ben Fodor, on November 2nd with Cage Warrior Combat at the ShoWare Center in Kent Washington. The fight will be available on PPV.

  • Logibear Keener

    he did wear body armor in the movie

  • Chris Piers

    In the sequel. Took him a long time to figure that one out!

  • DracoDropKick

    Nice article about PJ… staring PJ.

  • Flo

    “WRONG: Record your patrols”.. if Kickass’ patrols were not recorded.. what the hell did I watch?

  • Knight-Hood

    Haven’t seen the sequel yet but in the first one you neglected to mention that Hit-Girl, Big Daddy kill their foes. How many bodies did you count in the film? Even Kick-Ass uses machine guns on the jet pack and a bazooka! Heroes do not kill people. Let’s hope no kids get the wrong idea from either film.
    Knight-Hood