Posted on: April 9th, 2010 Review: Kick-Ass

KAPosterEvidently there is something in the paperwork of movie rights that says if it’s written by Mark Millar, it will be a loose adaptation.  Who here saw the movie Wanted?  Who read Millar’s book? Was it the same? No. Not really. If you were okay with that, then you’re going to be okay with Kick-Ass from Lionsgate. Did the Wanted adaptation piss you off? Kick-Ass is better, but it still might make you angry. Just do yourself a favor and look at the comic and the movie as separate entities.

Dave Lizewski takes his love of comic books to the next level when he decides to try his hand at vigilante justice crusading around the city as Kick-Ass. Although happy taking down petty criminals and finding lost cats, Kick-Ass unknowingly advances into serious crime-fighting when he meets the super-hero duo Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. When crime-boss Frank D’Amico feels his operations are being threatened, he vows to do whatever it takes to bring down Kick-Ass.

Let’s look at it as a movie first: Over-all, it’s a blast. It truly embraces the idea that these characters behind the masks are just regular shmucks, trying to add some excitement or purpose into their lives. Pacing sort of hits a lull in the middle of the movie, but all the action scenes make up for a lot. Bradley James Allan was stunt coordinator on this flick and he did one bang up job. If Kick-Ass is any indication of his quality of work, his next exhibition of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World should be incredible. Judging from the response of the audience, it will be all the violence and action sequences that dominate word-of-mouth. In regards to direction, Matthew Vaughn’s name has been thrown around lately for anything from Sandman to X-Men: First Class. After seeing Kick-Ass, I can’t wait for him to get his hands on another movie. It takes a special kind of director to take a story enjoyed by a relatively small market, and shape it into something enjoyable for mass consumption. Most of the people in my theater had not read the comic, it seemed that everyone enjoyed the movie.

In the story, Kick-Ass’s Alter Ego Dave Lizewski is a forgettable character. Aaron Johnson was a forgettable Dave Lizewski. Is that the fault of the character or that of the acting? I’m not sure. What I do know is, you could have put someone different in that wet suit, I probably wouldn’t have cared. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (doomed to be referred to as McLovin) plays Red Mist the same way he plays every character. Weird, a little creepy, and funny because of it. I don’t actually think that’s acting. I think that’s just him. Similar to McLovin, he was by no means impressive but he is enjoyable.

I won’t lie to you, when I first heard that Nicholas Cage was up for Big Daddy, I nearly cried. I did NOT want that dude messing up my movie. That was unfair and if ever given the chance to tell Nicholas Cage that I’m sorry, I’d do it in a heart beat. He was amazing. In a recent interview he revealed that 1960 Adam West’s Batman was a huge influence in his speech mannerisms as Big Daddy. It was a bold move; not a risk many actors would have taken. I commend him and it totally paid off. It’s a little awkward, but that’s what makes these characters great. Everyone is awkward…except Hit-Girl. Chloe Moretz. 100% flawless delivery as Hit-Girl. Only she can still maintain the sweetness of a 10-year old daddy’s girl while flinging blades and firing some serious heat. Without question, she owns every scene she’s in.

KARomitaposterI’m the comic chick, let’s talk shop: (MINOR SPOILERS) the surprising little nugget of goodness was the inclusion of John Romita, Jr.’s art. We even get some sweet motion-comic action as a story-telling mechanism. I was a big fan of that. Another surprise? This movie is darker than the comic book. There’s actually a voice of reason to come out and say that Mindy’s not being put in the best of upbringings. It forces you to think that hey, maybe a 10-year old shouldn’t be out killing bad-guys. And c’mon, you know what happens with Hit-Girl and Big Daddy at the end of the story. It’s even more twisted in the film. Yes, there are differences in the back story regarding Damon and Mindy Macready. Their origins have, in fact, been movie-fied. Now our loser dad turned superhero has become a former-cop that unjustly took the fall for the dirty-dealings of his colleagues involving a drug-ring. After his pregnant wife commits suicide, he vows to take down the D’Amico operations. It drives the movie plot, so it’s not as frustrating as you may think. Would you like to know what is? Dave gets the girl. What?! She even gets to be his Mary Jane Watson where she knows his secret and is the worrying lover back at home. I liked the fact that in the comic Dave ended up right back where he started, but we don’t get that in the film. I think the message of the story loses something because of it, but mass audiences like happy endings. If you can over-look those changes, you’re going to dig the hell out of Kick-Ass.

In the end, this is one violent, twisted, and genuinely funny movie. Did it change the way I look at comic book adaptations? No. But I couldn’t be happier for Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. Their work was in NO WAY bastardized through the production of this film and it’s very likely that this will sell more of the hardcover. My friend’s girlfriend wants to read the comics now. And, for me, if it means more people will read comic books, then it’s a success.

Kick-Ass opens April 16th. Go see it.

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2 Responses to “Review: Kick-Ass”

  1. Ben Rankel Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Wow, opening a review with a caveat that the movie dances away from the comics is never a good sign.

  2. Ryan’s Take On KICK-ASS « Giant Killer Squid - Film, Comics, News, Reviews and more Says:
    April 17th, 2010 at 12:03 am

    [...] I get into my review of Kick-Ass, be sure to read our very own Auburn’s excellent take on the film as well. It’s not often we get two reviews for one flick, but if anything, Kick-Ass warrants [...]

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