Saturday, 8 May 2010


Title: Kick-Ass
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Released: 2010
Staring: Aaron Johnson, Garrett M. Brown, Clark Duke, Evan Peters, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Lynsey Fonseca

Rating: 5 / 5

Plot: Dave Lizewski (Johnson) is a high school nobody and obsessive comic book fan, who despite having zero super powers, no training and absolutly no real reason, except a fascination with why no one tries to be a superhero in real life. Taking this into account he decides to become a superhero himself, taking on the guise of Kick-Ass.

Review: Okay allow me to start by pointing out that a film has to have something really special, to get me to drag my ass to my local cinema, especially seeing how it’s so darn expensive, the seating usually sucks and I always find myself at the same screening as the guy, who wants to be a critic but is to lazy to start a blog and instead bores the crap out of whoever he's convinced to go with him, as he rattles off pointless trivia about the film. All of these things I tend to thankfully avoid by waiting for most films to come out on DVD. Still like I said it takes something special and “Kick-Ass” is one of those films and honestly it was so worth the trip.

Based on Mark Millers graphic novel of the same name, who was also responsible for “Wanted” whose film version resembled the source novel really in name only, proved a crushing disappointment for myself, being such a huge fan of the graphic novel, which made me kind of wary when, I found out his latest creation, was being given the big screen treatment, even more so after the comic suddenly got put on hold after four issues, with the full trade paperback only recently being released with the film, which I’m sure had a lot to do with the studio dropping that truck load of money off at his house, to secure the rights. Thankfully this time they bothered to stick to the source material, no doubt helped by having comic book uberfan Jane Goldman work on the script, who has done a great job of adapting the comic for the screen, capturing not only the characters, but also the darkly comic humour of the source material, which is clear right from the start, as we watch a would be superhero leaping from the top of a skyscraper in his make shift flightsuit, only to crash directly into a taxi cab below, as Johnsons commentary points out that this particular superhero was just some guy who’d gone of his meds, in a deliciously dark humoured introduction to what is to be the tone for rest of the film, a film which is essentially asking the question of
“How would superheroes really work in the real world”
which it’s true was also the base idea of Alan Moore’s epic “Watchmen”, but it’s a more light hearted approach that Miller has chosen to take and it works all the better for it, especially when you consider that Millers best work is always crammed full of violence and humour, with the less thinking the better and this has certainly been carried over into the film version, but certainly not to the point were it feels like it has to dumb things down into frat boy humour, which has in the past proven to be the undoing of so many potentially great movies with “Superbad” (2007) proving especially true of this.

It would certainly seem that Miller has spent a lot of time going over a lot of the things, which we take for grantee with superheroes, as he attempts to find ways around so many of the potential problems a wannabe superhero has to deal with, such as dealing with large quantities of pain, which is covered nicely after Dave’s first failed attempt at super heroism, which see’s him not only stabbed and beaten up, but then run over and left for dead, forcing him to have numerous metal grafts and plates added to his skeleton while also at the same time screwing up his nerve endings, giving him the ability to endure beatings, which sure is handy as despite calling himself “Kick Ass” he really can’t handle himself overly well in a fight, as he waves his clubs wildly around himself, during his second more successful attempt at being a hero, while reminding the audience that we are not watching a guy who is a trained or even skilled fighter, but in fact just a regular Joe in a diving suit who thinks he’s a super hero.
The flip side to Dave of course though is “Hit Girl” (Moretz) who is not only hyper violent, but also highly skilled with it seems anything she can get her hands on, having been trained as a weapon of revenge by her father “Big Daddy” (Cage). Moretz is absolutely fantastic as this character, who loves ice cream sundaes and butterfly knives and whose foul mouth will no doubt leave the more stiffer critics grumbling, (but then compared to some of the kids I know, she seemed pretty timid) but she delivers a performance with such energy and enthusiasm, that I found the majority of my favourite scenes to be the ones she appeared in, while her daddy daughter scenes she shares with Cage, carry real emotion even if their daddy daughter relationship is anything but traditional, even more so whenthe first time they are introduced it sees her getting shot by her own father as part of the ongoing training regime which he has created for her, with Goldman’s script perfectly capturing their relationship, which for myself especially was always going to be the point, were the film was either going to work of fail horribly and thankfully it manages to make it seem like a believable relationship they share, while at the same time not coming across too fantastical to accept, while Cage does a great job of playing Big Daddy a man who is clearly trying to balance his lust for revenge, with his desire to look after his daughter and even though I was unsure about Cage playing the character, his restricted appearances throughout help stop his oddball characterisations, from becoming over powering especially the strange Adam West esq voice that he has chosen to use for the character.
I guess the other main surprise here would have to be with Mintz-Plasse, who finally manages to break away from the shadow of “Mclovin”, as he proves to be surprisingly enough the perfect choice for spoilt mafia son Chris D’Amico and his superhero alter ego “Red Mist”, who is actually a plant to help capture kick-ass tying in the old cliché of the nemesis starting out as a friend of the hero, which made me all the more frustrated that the scene in which Chris compares himself and Dave to Spiderman’s Peter and Harry, as their climatic showdown almost seems like an afterthought, with the final showdown being largely devoted to Hit Girl taking on Chris’s father and mob boss Frank (Strong). Still were as I have found him largely irritating in the past, here is used to great effect as the competition for Kick ass’s popularity when he emerges as the new hero on the block, even if his powers seem more grounded in flash gadgets than anything resembling a super power.

Vaughn in the directors chair doesn’t really challenge himself here, allowing the script to bring all the shock and awe, though thankfully he ensures the action is kept pacey enough to prevent any fidgety moments, while thankfully avoiding drowning the whole thing in the same kind of angst which constantly seems to plague every superhero movie which comes out, with the “spiderman” films being especially guilty of this crime and it made a refreshing change, to not have to watch characters mope around with their feelings, with instead the time it seems being used for a Dave being mistaken for being gay subplot, which proves an entertaining way of giving him something to do, when he is not running around in his scuba gear costume, as he attempts to score with the target of his affections, the token popular girl Katie (Fonseca), who thankfully is the target of a more favourable character rewrite here, much like the character designs which have also been reworked outside of Kick-ass who is still in his trademark green, but these redesigns all add to the pop culture cool which the whole film is essential drenched in, from the snappy quotable dialogue about superheroes to the MTV style editing of it’s fight scenes, this is certainly a bold attempt to break free of the traditional conventions which the genre has been bound to, with the notable exception of films like “The Dark Knight” (2008) who were not afraid to try something not so family friendly with their material and kick ass is certainly one of these films.

Overall “Kick-ass” makes for a fun and mindless couple of hours, while proving how there is certainly life outside of the main superhero characters, who have in recent years dominated the genre, which at the same time certainly make it clear that this indie creation has certainly more than enough originality to take on the big boys of the comic world, as he brings the comic world kicking and screaming, bang up to date, leaving me already hungry already for Kick-Ass 2


  1. Happy you enjoyed Kick-Ass too! Chloe Moretz was amazing as Hit-Girl. Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong were awesome too.

  2. Nicolas Cage was almost too perfect as "Big Daddy", I mean who'd have thought that his Adam West impression would work so well for the role. Still considering how much of a Comic Book fan Cage is, I wasn't suprised to see him snap the role up.

    Moretz is definatly a name worth watching, but heres hoping that she doesn't become another child star casulty and retains her indie edge.

  3. Hoping she doesn't become a train wreck like Lindsay Lohan. You're right: Only Nic Cage could have pulled off that role.


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