Saturday, November 6, 2010


So, Kick-Ass. What's interesting about this comic adaptation to me is that that's not actually what it is, exactly. The book was apparently written at the same time as the script for this film, so the departures in tone and story are organic growths from the same idea rather than changes for the sake of changing. Based on what I've read, the movie is less mean-spirited than the book, and also less plausible, especially near the end. Fundamentally, I think it kind of has an identity crisis. Aaron Johnson is a dork in high school who idiotically tries to be the world's first real super hero, and at first things progress very believably - he gets a silly costume, dons the name Kick-Ass, confronts some thugs, and then gets stabbed and hit by a car. Eventually he gets a bit better at it, although he's still quite amateurish. Things take a change though when another pair of heroes are introduced, the father/daughter team of Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz are both pretty great in these roles, Cage especially with a cadence straight from Adam West's school of acting. And the action scenes that feature them at work are a lot of fun. But they're just both way too good at stylishly killing people to buy into the rest of the story as something that could happen.

I generally liked the super hero stuff, although that's not all there is to the movie. There's a fair amount of whiny narration and boring high school stuff going on, none of which you haven't seen before a million times. It's not that it's impossible to make that thing interesting, it's just that this movie fails to do so. He has a couple embarrassing situations, an extremely improbable story arc with a girl who's out of his league, and that's about it. His friend played by Clark Duke has a few funny lines, but if they were going to do this whole ultra violence thing, they could have dedicated more time to developing that part of the story and just cut a lot of the high school stuff out. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is surprisingly still likable as a rich kid who gets involved in the super hero business, and whenever all that stuff is the highlight the movie is a lot more fun. Some of it gets fairly brutal, but it's never too far away from making you laugh again. And about the shock value stuff with a preteen girl killing mobsters and cussing like a sailor - if that stuff offends you, then guess what, it's working. I'll watch the sequel when it comes out, but first Matthew Vaughn has to direct the first X-Men movie without Wolverine. Let's hope he can fix the franchise.

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