Thursday, 8 April 2010

Kick-Ass - Mini Movie Review... No Spoilers.

Last night I managed to go and see one of my most anticipated movies for 2010 with The Dark Knight... Kick-Ass was its name.

Now I'm going to make a confession here before the review that no one in the world knows about apart from me...


When I was in secondary school, probably about 13 years old, I was obsessed with comics, superheroes, t.v. and movies. I had massive amounts of toys, old outfits and props and every picture that was on my wall was either Cindy Crawford or Batman... I'd been bullied quite heavily for the past couple of years due to having a dodgy haircut, fancying the hottest girl in our class and having a Japanese step dad and it was getting to me.

So I took steps to change myself and not only got a better haircut (spiked instead of parted) but started weight training too. I'd bought one of those concrete filled gold coloured York sets from Argos and built myself up to be one of the strongest kids in my year. I was already good at martial arts and was the fastest 100 metre runner (much to the annoyance of all the bullies and fit kids) and pretty damned good at every other sport, but I upped my hierarchy position from being chosen last by my peers in each PE class to being chosen first. It was a great turn of events and by the time I was 16 and left for college I had a bit more confidence in myself (plus I had two years of almost all girls in my college classes which was awesome!). Anyway, back to being 13...

For some reason I decided that as there were no "real" heroes in the world and my town was honestly overrun by grotty, drug-addled teens (it got voted the drug capital of Essex at one point, even though it was a pretty nice town!) I would make my own costume and roam the streets protecting the weak and the innocent... Yup that's right I did a 'Kick-Ass'... However the first time I stepped out one afternoon with my basic costume (black trainers, jogging bottoms and turtleneck), mask (an airplane sleeping mask with eye holes cut out) and weapons (a Batman logo wooden axe/hammer thingy I secretly made in Craft Design & Technology class and a spring loaded toy gun that fired little carboard planes which I adapted to fire rather sharp and nasty wooden barbecue skewers) I got as far at the park down the bottom of my street. I popped into a bush, costumed up and waited. Low and behold a fight started in the park within a short while and of course I was about to jump out and save the day when one of the boys saw me and shouted out "ha ha, look at that dick-head in the bushes"...

I ran home with my tail between my legs and the superhero kit stayed in my cupboard for the rest of its days. My dreams of being a real-life hero were destroyed by shear embarrassment.

True story, sad I know. I still have that Bat axe thing somewhere, I'll have to fish it out at some point!

Now on with the review of Kick-Ass!


I'm not going to give away any major spoilers here as I really want to advise you go and enjoy this movie yourself and judge it based on your experience. Me, I loved the damned thing!

I'm gonna do this quick as I've already bored you all half to death with my own stalled origin story above, but basically a teen name Dave Lizewski asks the question "why are there no superheroes in the world" and then decides to don a crappy outfit, call himself Kick-Ass and see what kind of a difference he can make. Unfortunately his first fight is disastrous and he's out for the count. When his second bout comes along months later he does a better job (albeit still pretty crappy) and a video of him doing his heroic deed goes up on Youtube and he becomes famous, emerging as the world's first true costumed hero (even if most take the p**s out of him for doing it).

What happens next is difficult to describe without giving too much away, sufficed to say Kick-Ass gets in over his head with certain bad guys and bosses whilst coming across a couple of other new heroes who deal efficient and gory death to any bad guy in their path.

The movie is a coming of age hero movie that shows that the world isn't as bright and fuzzy as it can seem in the comics. If you decide to take the path of a hero in a world where they only exist in fantasy you're going to get your ass kicked... or worse. There's more to it than that but you'll get the drift when you see it.

Truly though this film has humour, emotion, lots and lots of gory violence, excellent fighting scenes, and a fitting and blood pumping sound track. You really want Kick-Ass to succeed in everything he's doing on screen and a lot of that comes from Aaron Johnson who pulls off the almost useless Dave/ Kick-Ass really well. His supporting cast do a pretty damned good job too with the stand out performance going to young Chloe Moretz who pulls an excellent swear filled, limb-lopping performance out of the bag. I actually said to Dark Knight that the movie should have been called "Hit-Girl" instead of Kick-Ass as she seemed more dominant as a character throughout the film, with most fight scenes being owned by her and her alone. Kick-Ass kinda fell to the wayside. The funny thing for me was that the weakest performance by far was by Nicholas Cage who's turn at playing Big Daddy was more enjoyable when he didn't speak... When he did he was almost intelligible and boring as hell with only one laugh in the whole film. Why? I have no idea. I know he was trying to talk like Adam West from the old 60's Batman t.v. series when he was suited up (or I'm hoping that's what it was) but he just didn't gel with the film. It was a real shame too.

One thing to point out is that this is a true "based on" movie. The comic book source material is hardly noticeable through the massive artistic interpretation the writers and director Matthew Vaughn finished up with and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, especially near the end where a sequence made just for the movie felt out of place and a bit silly. There are certain scenes that are almost identical to the comics and then there are massively different scenes that have no connection to the original story at all, even though once again you can see what they were going for. This is not Watchmen, that's for sure. It's a movie audience that'll be watching this and they need certain plot points changed to accept what's going on and enjoy it, I understand that, but having read the trade paperback a week before seeing the movie I now realise that I probably should have done it the other way round as I might have enjoyed it just that little bit more.

Another thing to point out is that this isn't a movie for the faint hearted. It's a 15 certificate in the UK and DK and I really thought it would be cut to obtain that rating (considering what we'd seen on line and read in initial reviews). But it wasn't, by any means. Limbs are chopped off left right and centre, blood fills up the screen from every angle, brains are blown out by gunfire and wince-inducing moments of sickening gore pop up more than once throughout the films run time. I'm not saying this is a downside, it's not all the way through and I'm almost totally immune to this kind of stuff these days. It's totally in context to the original comic and the theme of the film. Swearing is also a fond stable mate of Kick-Ass and the first time Hit Girl appears on screen you may be a little shocked if you haven't seen the red band trailer. A middle aged couple sitting a few rows in front of us walked out after that scene and never returned so I can only presume it offended them, or they were in the wrong film...

"With no power comes no responsibility" is a great line in the film and sums the whole thing up quite well. Heroes in the real world can't actually win a fight with superpowers or awesome costumes and we just aren't ready for them either. They do what they must with what's given to them and sometimes that means kicking ass or killing your enemies. Kick-Ass gives a hugely entertaining couple of hours to its viewers and is so far my favourite movie of 2010. I seriously suggest you grab this in the cinema while you can and as long as you can open your mind to the (quite humorous) portrayal of morality with all the blood, guts and swearing involved you will love it. If not don't even try it. I came out of the cinema very happy, pumped up and excited to have witnessed it. More so that Clash of the Titans which I honestly thought I'd enjoy a lot more.


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