The Attempted Review of Kick-Ass

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 10:55 PM

Kick-Ass that comic book movie that's not quite a comic book movie came out today. You know the one, it's the one that family groups are terrified of because an 11 year old slices and dices mobsters, the one that stars a hero with no powers and the one that features Nicolas Cage with a moustache. It's the film that has been endowed with the one liner "Kick-Ass really kicks ass" by so many reviews but really, they are right. This movie is all kinds of awesome and kicks all kinds of ass.

What it's all about: The film is based off Mark Millar's comic book series of the same name. I never read the series but trust me, I'll be one of those fanboys who will go out, buy the series and wish he'd heard of it before the movie. Layer Cake director Mathew Vaughn helms this one with that guy from Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (Aaron Johnson) starring as the titular hero Kick-Ass. Kick-Ass, the alter ego of geeky kid Dave Lizewski, is born out of Dave's desire to help people. He wonders why no one has ever tried to be a super hero in real life and after what is not a lot of convincing he dons a costume and mask. His exploits soon garner him the attention of the news, the public and YouTube as he becomes an overnight phenomenon. That's also enough to attract the interest of fellow super heroes/vigilantes Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz). All roads end up leading towards local mob boss Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) and his son Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

What it did well: As I said I haven't read the comic book so I can't tell how well it adapted it but, overall, this film did a lot of things well. I won't go in to too much detail because I don't want to spoil things for you but the action was brilliant. It was brutal and varied and I liked the way Kick-Ass responded, with absolute shock and fear, to witnessing Kit-Girl carve up some guys for the first time. Every time I saw a new violent scene it felt fresh and different from the last which is always a good thing.

The acting was solid across the board while the dialogue was hilarious yet thoughtful when it needed to be. Strong was his usual evil self, Mintz-Plasse was awkward and almost ignored like his usual self, Moretz pulled off a creepy mix between cold blooded killer and sweet little girl who likes butterfly knives and chocolate sundaes and Johnson also pulled off the awkward, stuttering loser act who is actually not that bad quite well. The film also had some great lines like "Is that a bazooka? Yeah. Okay" and "It's okay everything's fine (picks up bazooka). Everything's fine? Your holding a fucking bazooka."

The pacing was good, the soundtrack well suited to the film and the story was more interesting and full of a few twists I didn't expect. It's more than just a guy becoming a super hero. It's about wanting to be acknowledged and noticed and trying to somehow fit in. I won't detail the story very much so you can experience it for yourself but I will say that the comedy in the film really makes the serious, dramatic scenes standout and feel like they have some serious weight and emotion behind them.

In the end Vaughn has managed to put together a very entertaining film that will certainly live long in the memory. Speaking of living long in the memory Hit-Girl was everything I expected from the hype. She was a whirlwind of guns and knives who just kicked so much ass it wasn't funny (okay really it was). The relationship between her and her father was an interesting one and you could almost see the reason behind their actions when you know their back story.

While Kick-Ass isn't your ordinary super hero film it certainly has enough elements from super hero films to make it more than just senseless violence. The character seriously considers the ramifications of what he is doing when he finally has someone to care for. He realizes why super heroes have such a hard time of things when they have someone to care about, someone who might miss them. It also asks several moral questions about the death of the community and the willingness of people to help and look out for each other. Johnson does a good job of channeling the inner turmoil of Kick-Ass and Dave. He slowly begins to realize that he could die doing what he is doing and questions whether helping the people he has helped is worth dieing for. The film also manages to make several humorous comments on popular culture and comic books that shows a great awareness of the type of stuff the people who see the movie will be interested in.

What it didn't: I only had a few issues with the film which were fairly minor. I found, at times, the sound editing to be a little dodgy, either that or it was the cinema I saw it in (quite likely). There were times when I couldn't really understand Big Daddy or Frank and Chris D'Amico so I missed some of their dialogue and had to assume some things for myself. I've noticed this happening in a few films lately, like Alice in Wonderland.

Also the special effects in two scenes didn't seem quite right to me. The scene were (spoilers from here) Hit-Girl is using the night vision goggles and the scene is like a first person shooter didn't seem right to me. The gun and the hand seemed too skinny and small compared to what they should be like in real life and, considering she's a little girl, the height of the camera and the gun didn't quite seem right. I'm glad that point of view was only used a little bit as it was starting to remind me of Doom. The other scene were the special effects didn't seem up to scratch was the jetpack scene towards the very end. The scene just looked a little bit too fake and superimposed.

The final thing that didn't work for me was the scene were you find out why Big Daddy and Hit-Girl have a beef with Frank D'Amico. The actual way they told it, through a comic Big Daddy was writing, was very cool but the fact that the cop, and former partner of Big Daddy, just happens to swing by one day was a little random. It just seemed a little out of place and the explanation that he is a cop and therefore capable of awesome detective work seemed weak and the whole scene felt like a weak plot device. I would have preferred maybe Kick-Ass, when he reaches the safehouse with Hit-Girl, to find out why she still wants to kill D'Amico then. Also the cop seemed to break into that safe house really easily. Wasn't there a keypad to get in? How could he use a standard lock pick? Maybe I don't know enough about locks and security as I should. 

Memorable Moment: There are really quite a few memorable scenes, pretty much all involving violence, and a scene involving Hit-Girl may be an obvious choice (shotgun epic fail was just hilarious) but I'm going to go for the bear cam scene with Big Daddy. I thought the song chosen to accompany the scene was perfect as it really helped set the mood and the feel for the scene. Also Daddy was a man on a mission, and a deadly one at that. It was really our only example of Big Daddy kicking ass and he certainly didn't disappoint.

What it all means: In my book Kick-Ass lives up to all the hype it generated. Vaughn has created one thoroughly entertaining film in Kick-Ass that delivers laughs, action and a good story with good characters. It really is quite close to being the perfect package and is a super hero film that will certainly change your view of super hero films.

8.5 out of 10



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