Kick Ass – A Review

Violence – Check! Sex – Check! Drugs – Check! Foul Language – Check! Burning Buildings and crazy costumes – Check! And this is only a description of my bus journey through East London to the cinema!  You see, I was off to see the new Superhero film, Kick-Ass from Producer-cum-Director-cum-moghul-cum-Supermodel’s husband-cum-lucky so and so, Matthew Vaughn.

The advertisement campaign for Kick-Ass has been huge. You couldn’t walk ten feet without seeing a poster with the green, wet suited avenger staring at you. And after after watching several (extremely violent) trailers, I was excited to catch an early showing of the film and put up an early review.  A friend and I had pre-booked tickets to see the film at the Screen on the Green in North London. A lovely little cinema with EXTREMELY comfortable sofas with arm and footrests (well, that is the least you would expect for £12.50 a ticket!) and a little table to place your drinks as there is a fully licensed bar with table service.

Kick-Ass is the story of Dave Lizewski, an exceptionally normal teenager whose only special power is being invisible to women. Tired of being a nobody and getting pushed around, he decides to create a costume to become a Superhero and fight crime. His alter ego, Kick Ass, fast becomes an internet sensation and pretty soon, other costumed heroes such as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) come forward to assist Kick-Ass. But when mafia boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) decides to send a message that being a superhero can be bad for your health, our heroes are faced with their biggest challenge yet.

Kick-Ass is the total antithesis of most superheroes movies that has come before it. It’s an R-Rated Spider-Man if you will. Dave Lizewski is basically Peter Parker in disguise. He has the same geeky demeanor and is ignored by women. He lives in the same colourful, leafy suburbs of New York and is beset by family tragedy. But where as a film like Spider-Man only alludes to issues of growing up and being a teenager, Kick-Ass slaps you across the face with them with a nunchuck.

Take an early scene in the first Spider-man film for example, where Peter Parker is exploring a new part of himself, shooting that sticky, creamy substance from his wrist in his bedroom. Aunt May is dismayed by the clamour and wonders what is going on behind closed doors in his room. She knows what he is really doing. We all know what he is doing. In Kick-Ass, no subtlety is needed. Dave is a typical teenager and is jerking off to his school teacher before the opening credits are over. When he becomes a superhero, we see him use his superpowers for good by having sex with his new girlfriend in the ally. The best quote from this film that sums up where Kick-Ass sits in the realm of Superhero films is this: “With great power, comes NO responsibility!”.

All the characters are foul mouthed and vicious. The only other film i can think of that was similar was the Watchmen, but that was so dark and brooding, more in tone with The Dark Knight. Kick-Ass still looks and feels like a comic book, just with real characters. For example, before the film even begins we see a guy fall to his death trying to be a superhero. But he was not a hero, just mentally insane. It was refreshing to see a film that was fantastical yet set in the real world at the same time.

Aaron Johnson is good as Kick-Ass, as are the rest of the supporting cast, but the real star of the show for me is Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl. She swears like a sailor and and is more clinical with her gun than Dirty Harry. It’s unbelievable seeing how sweet she can be in one scene, yet so convincing shooting up a whole gang in the next. Nicolas Cage is surprisingly good as Big Daddy and Red Mist still has a bit of the ‘McLovin’s about him but is still has some funny lines.
When it comes to the films style, Matthew Vaughn has clearly done his homework into the superhero genre. There are also some original moments to the film and the action sequences are exciting and exhilarating. It was good to see some great camera and grip work in the film moving Matthew Vaughn forward visually and stylistically. One scene in the lumber yard is particularly great to look at without compromising the story.

If I had any gripes with the film, it would be that it looked so similar to some other superhero films in tone, and was almost a shot for shot copy of Spider-Man in certain areas. I would guess the film-makers would say that this is the point as it was supposed to be similar yet drastically different at the same time. The film still worked however, and if this was my only complaint I don’t think they have anything to worry about.

Kick-Ass is the kind of superhero film that you have always wanted to see. Kick-Ass could be anyone of us as, despite being set in a fantasy world of costume avengers, he has no superpowers, no money and no special gadgets. Just a will and a desire to make a difference. I doubt people will try to copy Kick-Ass and try and become a superhero in their own right, but it has certainly given me a few ideas of my own. Not from a need or desire to do good and fight crime, but i might need a costume and some nunchucks just to make it back home through the mean streets of hackney! Wish me luck…

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Categories: Film, Reviews

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