Genre: Superhero, action, comedy
Director/s: Matthew Vaughn
Writer/s: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay), Mark Millar & John Romita, Jr. (Comic)
Running Time: 117 mins
Budget: $28 million
Released: 23 April 2010 (South Africa)
Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so – imdb
Warning: the following contains spoilers, do not proceed unless you have watched the film or read the comics.
Well this was one of the films for 2010 that I’ve been quite apprehensive about as I’m a huge fan of the comic-book series and to my knowledge Hollywood have quite the reputation for fucking up comic-book adaptations. though lately (let’s say the last decade or so), film studios have done a phenomenal job bringing superheroes to the silver screen with 2000’s X-men kick-starting the superhero film revolution. Ten years later and the industry is still going strong and I’m glad to report that Kick-Ass, kicked ass!
Right from the beginning I had a grin on my face, as the winged, bird-like superhero dove off the skyscraper and people watched in awe as he darted down towards the streets only to become pulverized by a car below instead of flying away gloriously through the clouds as the gathered crowd so obviously expected. My grin seldom dropped as Kick-Ass is for the most part, funny as hell. Aaron Johnson has done a wonderful job of portraying the geeky comic-book fan turned superhero, Dave Lizewski – a young man who wonders why out of all the people in the world, at least one person hasn’t tried to be a superhero.
At times Aaron Johnson resembled Tobey Maguire in the Spider-Man films, in terms of awkwardness and sheer goofiness. He isn’t well-built, has no fighting skills and no powers to speak of yet that doesn’t stop him from taking to the streets to dish out some vigilante street justice. What makes Kick-Ass so damn funny is that a lot of the time Dave is getting his ass handed to him, an aspect that I’m glad was carried over into the film as usually the filmmakers will turn the character into a martial arts master, but not this time, true to the comic – Kick-Ass gets his ass kicked even though he carries a set of batons, his lack of expertise results in wild thrashes and swings as opposed to precise deft moves of a professional.
As for the characters, the various personality traits and attitudes of the protagonists have remained intact, the most noticeable difference between comic and film are the obvious costume changes/tweaks, most notably with Nicolas Cage’s character – Big Daddy, who had a striking resemblance to a certain Dark Knight only Cage’s character was a lot more brutal what with all the firearms, knives and explosives, the warehouse scene was fucking brilliant as Big Daddy wasted each and every bad guy with machine-like efficiency and Kick-Ass was basically a mirror image of his comic counterpart. But it must be said, that Hit-Girl is the most bad-ass eleven-year-old (though thirteen in reality but that’s besides the point) of all time. Hit-Girl owns all as she shoots, stabs, disembowels and executes her foes one-by-one with the martial expertise of a Spetsnaz warrior. There’s nothing quite like hearing a little girl say; “Show’s over motherfuckers” – simply brilliant.
There are three main changes from the comic-book in this film adaptation. One – the viewer is made aware that Red Mist is in fact a villain as he offers to ensnare Kick-Ass as proof that he has what it takes to join the family business. In the comic, we are led to believe that Red Mist is in fact a genuine hero and it’s only until later via an ambush do we learn that Red Mist is in fact a traitor. So the filmmakers have removed the comic’s twist in favour of a more direct approach that in a way works better on-screen as audiences will feel the suspense-filled tension knowing that Red Mist is leading the good guys into a trap.
…There’s nothing quite like hearing a little girl say; “Show’s over motherfuckers”…
Two – In the comic, when Dave reveals to Katie that he is in fact not gay, Katie finds him even more repulsive than before and ends up abandoning him (kinda sucky being the hero and not getting the girl), in the film once Dave has revealed himself to be Kick-Ass, Katie asks Dave to stay and the two end up having sex and in doing so become a couple. Three – rather than have Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass take out all the bad guys with pistols and what not like in the comic, the film has Kick-Ass showing up in a jet pack loaded with twin Gatling guns in order to dispose of all the henchmen and Frank D’Amico being shot out of a window with a bazooka round as opposed to being struck in the head with a meat cleaver like in the comic-book. I’m going with the assumption that the filmmakers were going for a grand finale with Kick-Ass at the centre of things, it wouldn’t have made sense to suddenly have Dave rock up and beat the shit out of everyone with martial arts moves so I’m happy with the jet-pack scene, even if it was somewhat unbelievable.
To conclude – Kick-Ass is a highly enjoyable comic-book adaptation filled with humour and tonnes of brutal/bloody action scenes (the night vision ambush was breathtaking) that it’d be hard for anyone with even a passing interest in comics to ignore. This is by far the best film I’ve seen in quite a while (yes it is better than Avatar as it wasn’t a complete rip-off of pre-existing films like Dances with Wolves and Fern Gully) and of 2010 so far, and what’s more it managed to do so with a comparatively low-budget of $28 million, as opposed to the $125 million shit-fest – Clash of the Titans. Watch Kick-Ass as soon as possible, it won’t disappoint.