Sunday, April 25, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Release Date: April 15, 2010 
Studio: Lionsgate 
Director: Matthew Vaughn 
Screenwriter: Jane GoldmanMatthew Vaughn 
Starring: Aaron JohnsonChristopher Mintz-PlasseMark StrongChloe MoretzNicolas Cage 
Genre: Action, Adventure 
Rating R: (for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children) 
Official Website: 

My Wonderfully Majestic Opinion
So for those of you who have gone to see Kick-Ass, could you relate?  How many of us have actually contemplated being a superhero?  How many of us have wanted to go out there and fight crime without worrying about the limitations that the government puts on our law enforcement officials?  How many of us have at least dreamt of becoming something that was so far above and beyond that of a normal human being?  I know I have.  Kick-Ass tackles those very aspects of the human psyche, shedding some light some questions while keeping some hidden in the shadows.  One thing we can be sure of, however, is that Kick-Ass holds nothing back and creates a much more realistic superhero world, which isn’t exactly what you’ll expect it to be..

The film is about David Lizewski, an average high school nerd, whose life consists of reading comic books, talking on message boards, fantasizing about the women he’s surrounded by, and hanging out with his other dorky friends.  After asking himself why no one else has ever tried to become a superhero, he goes on a personal quest to right the wrongs and defend the defenseless as an actual costumed avenger.  As Mr. Lizewski goes out night after night fighting crime, he discovers this lifestyle isn’t as glamorous and colorful that the comic books might have you believe.

The story, in and of itself, is quite predictable.  It has a very formulaic progression of events where most of the major establishments within the story are very predictable and in line with the typical comic book plotline.  Now while this is typically a negative aspect of films to me, Kick-Ass takes a much more unique approach in telling the story of an average boy going out to fight crime.  Lizewski finds himself getting the shit beaten out of him more often than not.  In fact, the very first, and shocking “hit and run” scene where Lizewski suffers blows to the face and ribs, a knife punctured stomach, and a car ramming into him, causing his whole bloodied and broken body to fling in the air, was the most surprising scene of the film.  It was in this moment the vibe from everyone in the theater came at me like a shot in the dark, as if they were thinking, “This wasn’t the film I expected to see…and I’m not sure I like that!”  The story is not at the heart of this film, it’s the thematic aura that permeates the story that Director Matthew Vaughn wants at the forefront of his viewer’s minds.

The previews make this film out to be some light hearted, fun comedy film that makes fun of the superhero genre.  But rather than portraying the nice little satyr of comic books in general, it shows audiences the absolute brutal nature of crime fighting and what it would actually be like if someone were to dawn a cape and mask.  Lizewski makes a profound statement that people are more concerned with becoming like the immoral/materialistic celebrities like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, or one of the Baldwins, (wink) but no one wants to become someone that actually attempts at making a difference in this world.  But through the brutality of each event, we see why no one has ever attempted such a feet.

The actors are almost spot-on with their character in comparison with the graphic novel.  Mindy Macready played a wonderfully awesome and hard ass Hit-Girl, equipped with all the swear words and violent nature that comes along with being a 12 year old, middle school girl.  And as controversial as it may sound, Nicolas Cage and his depiction of a loving father despite his gun-crazed, vengeful lifestyle comes off eloquently and humorously while still maintaining that edgy persona of being Big Daddy.

Now as much I try not to compare films based off of their literary counterparts, I felt that Kick-Ass, played by Aaron Johnson, was incorrectly portrayed as a cowardly nerd rather a persistent, hard-nosed kid who could take a beating better than anyone alive.  The team up between him and Chris D’Amico’s interpretation of Red Mist was a little off center as the graphic novel has Kick-Ass going head first into the burning building and little Misty is the reluctant one.  I found this alteration in the story to miss the point of our Ass-Kicking hero, but it makes sense in the scheme of the film’s overall plot change. 

Speaking of which, the film’s ending became a tad to “happy-dappy” for me.  I hadn’t finished the graphic novel before going to see the film, but even then I felt the ending was too much on the positive side.  As it turns out, the graphic novel doesn’t end happily in any way.  Lizewski doesn’t get the girl; in fact she down right calls him a prick and unleashes her boyfriend on him.  And of course Big Daddy dies, but to put another twist on things, he’s just another fanboy with no real vendetta against the mob who also doesn’t get to say goodbye to his daughter before the bullet goes through his head. 

While the graphic novel is FAR more violent that the film, the blood, head bashing, and sword slicing action is still not for the squeamish and those with weak constitutions.  But you’ll be happy to know that it is a lot more bearable than you’d expect as the film gives the audience moments to breathe and break away from the blood and gore, where the graphic novel…does not.  The musical score during many of the fight scenes also helps to alleviate a lot of the tension, almost making it humorous.  But in doing so, the film gives off a very hollywoodish ending that does fit the hour and a half storyline where everyone ends up happy with over the top, booming endings that’s aimed at making you smile and feel good about life as you walk out of the theater and into your car.  This defeats the purpose of a film whose story is founded on dark humor which should never end happily. 

My Awe-Struck Conclusion
Fanboys, get off your duff and go see this movie.  You’ll enjoy it and geek out over the comic book related material.  For you Kick-Ass fans, I think you will love the film despite the inconsistencies and changes in the storyline.  But as for you “normal” people, you may like it, you may not.  Just don’t go into this film expecting some nice little satirical film making fun of comic book geeks and’s far from it.

Rating 8 out of 10 Stars

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