Twitter Plot Summary: Dave Lizewski is your typical high school geek – unnoticed, unloved etc etc. So he decides to become a superhero. As you do.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Key Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong,
Five Point Summary:
1. Geeks and knowing superhero voiceovers. This should be good.
2. There’s that C-bomb. Daily Mail readers have collective heart attack.
3. Kick-Ass isn’t a very good superhero really… must try harder.
4. Fire. Fire burn.
5. Explosive finale. Literally.
We’re very much in the midst of a comic book movie frenzy at the moment, with adaptations of a number of properties – some obvious, some not – hitting cinema screens in recent years. Mark Millar is part of a vanguard of comic book creators who have created new characters and approaches to writing comics, and subsequently it was almost inevitable that he would sell one of his comics to a movie studio.
The genesis of Kick-Ass as a film is a strange one. Not only was the script written at the same time as the comic (which may explain why the movie script works so well), but it’s a big American superhero movie that is in fact an independent British movie, which in itself is fantastic and hugely welcome. After my cinema viewing way back in the mists of time, I purchased the Blu-Ray/DVD combo set on release day from a certain popular retailer, a rarity for me. I’m usually more inclined to wait for the price to come down before I put good money down on anything. I could have actually saved a fiver by buying it online, but I wanted to watch it straight away. Therein lies the only problem with Internet shopping: you have to wait for it.
Anyway, to the film! Dave Lizewski (Taylor-Johnson, formerly just Johnson) is a run of the mill geek who decides to become a superhero called Kick-Ass. After his first attempt at preventing crime goes so horribly wrong he ends up with permanent nerve damage, after he rehabilitates himself he realises that he now has the ability to endure pain. Proper superhero stuff. Soon he crosses paths with Big Daddy (Cage) and his foul-mouthed daughter Hit-Girl (Moretz). Big Daddy is on a quest to take down mob boss Frank D’Amico (Strong) who’s responsible for the death of Big Daddy’s wife. And thus, the plot unfolds. We also encounter D’Amico’s son (Mintz-Plasse) who opts to become superhero Red Mist, who’s equally as incompetent as Kick-Ass.
The action is well choreographed, and it moves at an impressive pace. It’s also often very funny yet incredibly violent at the same time. It’s also strange to see Kick-Ass set up a Myspace page, like most technology related references it dates the film. As an antithesis to your typical superhero film it also works very nicely, subverting a lot of cliches and stereotypes yet playing up to them at the same time.
Going back to the DVD/Blu-Ray release, it also includes a fantastic Making Of documentary that almost reaches a 2 hour run time. It covers every aspect of the production of the movie from start to finish, and despite Matthew Vaughan stressing almost constantly about the film’s quality (and with good reason), it conjures the image that making the film was great fun to make, from all parties involved. Even more impressive was that four different composers were used for the soundtrack, which I’ve not seen before in my movie-related travels. The documentary also pointed out that the music from Big Daddy’s attack on the lumber business was custom written for the film and wasn’t a direct rip of the awesome theme from 28 Days Later (the same theme that was horribly overused in 28 Weeks Later). Turns out you do learn things by watching the special features.
A lot has been made about an 11 year old girl dropping the C-Bomb, but compared to the original comic the movie is incredibly tame by comparison. It’s still violent and uncompromising, yes, but it’s nothing compared to a torture porn movie. I really don’t see what the problem is. But then, I’m not really a moral crusader with nothing better to do. Kick-Ass deserves plaudits for being a full budget British production that doesn’t pull its punches and has a hugely entertaining story to tell. It’s also restored my faith both in Nicolas Cage and Matthew Vaughan as creative talent, which was a pleasant surprise and it actually gave me more of a reason to catch up on more of their material.
Favourite scene: Hit-Girl’s entrance. Controversial yet awesome.
Quote: “In the world I lived in, heroes only existed in comic books. And I guess that’d be okay, if bad guys were make-believe too, but they’re not.”
Silly Moment: Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy speaking like Adam West. Silly genius.