Check out this in-depth, early review of Kick-Ass, the most anticipated R-Rated superhero movie of all time!
Directed By Matthew Vaughn
Starring Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Mark Strong
We don’t normally review movies here at the Outhouse, and It’s actually quite a challenge for me. When you’re reviewing a comic, you’ve got it next to you, you can easily check out a line of dialogue, or a scene, but reviewing a movie… I have to use my memory, I’m not typing this in the Cinema. Luckily I’ve seen Kick-Ass twice, so it’s pretty vivid in my memory, and I think I can do this. Believe in yourself!
The fact that I’ve seen the movie twice in a week should indicate something to you, it’s really, really, really good. As you all know, the movie is an adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jnr’s Icon series, so I don’t think I really need to précis the plot beyond this: Nerd decides to be superhero, nerd gets his ass-kicked, 12-year old girl kills people and swears. The comic was a lot of fun, crude and outrageous, but with a lot of heart. And the movie is incredibly faithful to Millar and Romita’s book. And when it isn’t… it’s actually an improvement.
The main difference is that Kick-Ass the movie functions as much as a comedy as it does an action-adventure superhero movie. This is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time, with humour coming from all different angles. Hit-Girl is hilarious, Big Daddy is funny as hell, Dave’s nerdy mates are brilliant, as are the various Sopranos style mooks. The comic was funny in an ‘I can’t believe this is happening way’, funny in a knowing, satirising superhero comics way, but the movie is just genuinely funny. Even the action scenes are hilarious, when Hit-Girl lets loose, you’re amazed, you’re cracking up, and it’s exhilarating to say the least.
The action scenes aren’t just funny, they carry real weight, and are filmed really well. When Kick-Ass is pounding the shit out of some muggers, and the Prodigy pumps in the background, you can feel every punch. When Hit-Girl is rescuing Kick-Ass and Big Daddy, the first-person, epilepsy-inducing gun-fight is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen. And just one word: Jet-Pack.
So we’ve got a movie that hits all it’s marks in humour and action, but what about the characters? The most significant departures from the comic come in the characters. In the comic, it’s revealed that Big Daddy isn’t actually a bad-ass, but just another loser. But in the movie, he actually is a super-cop (his origin is told in an excellent scene animated in John Romita Jnr’s own style), and not only does this make his feats more plausible, but it also makes the character less pathetic, it means you don’t hate him, you actually get behind the characters, and Hit-Girl’s adventures don’t seem quite so helpless. The movie also makes Dave Lizewski, aka Kick-Ass more likeable and less pathetic. The comic and film share a common subplot where Dave pretends to be gay so he can hang out with his dream-girl. In the book, she rejects him when he comes out as straight. But in the movie they get together. Not only does this stop Dave being quite so creepy as he is in the comic, but it adds some stakes to the finale, as you know Dave has something worth living for. The character of Red Mist is also much improved in the film. Played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (better known as McLovin), we know from the off that he’s the son of a mob boss, and he is actually made out to be quite sympathetic, and the reveal of him as a bad guy doesn’t come out of the blue, it makes the story tighter, and more effective.
Kick-Ass is one of the best times I have ever had at the movies. It’s funny, violent, and geared very much to our target nerd audience (references to Runaways, Scott Pilgrim and Ditko!), and is probably the best comic book movie since Spider-Man 2 (the movie makes several references to Raimi’s movies, the street where Dave lives looks a lot like Peter Parker’s Queens home in the first movie, and the training scenes echo those in Spidey). If you’re a fan of the comic, this is a must-see, and even if you found Millar’s story to be cynical and empty like some, the movie adds heart and soul. I cannot really convey how much I enjoyed this movie, it’s what cinema was made for, you have to see it for yourself in a packed theatre on a Saturday Night, and you won’t have a better time all year. Basically, see it, or I’ll kick your ass.
Kick-Ass is out now in the UK, and is released in the US on April 16th, the comic is available now in Hardcover
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