Kick-Ass is the adaption of the Mark Millar, John Romita Jr Comic. Matthew Vaughn directed it and AICN had this review sent to them by Terry Tibbs. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun.
Just got back from the screening of Kick-Ass, and I’m happy to report that it is fucking awesome!!!
Just as a side note about the film, I know that the film has been picked up for distribution in the States by Lionsgate, and it says so in the opening credits, but I’m sure that it hasn’t got a distributor over here yet… or has it? The screening was hosted at BAFTA, and it was obviously hosted by Universal as it was their name on the screen before the film started, and there was shit loads of Universal staff there, in fact i’d say a quarter of the audience was Universal staff, a quarter european distributors (I guess), the rest were lucky punters off the street. So I’m sure it hasn’t been announced, but I’d say it was a safe bet that Universal are the UK distributors.
So the movie itself. I’m a huge fan of the Mark Millar/John Romita jr comic anyway, so to see the film so early felt like a massive coup, and I’m happy to tell you that this is the Kick-Ass film that Kick-Ass fans will want to see. It opens like the first comic virtually verbatim (I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read them), but the film itself varies only slightly from the source comic, but the changes made by director Matthew Vaughan and screenwriter Jane Goldman ring true to the spirit of the comic, and never feel strange, in fact the changes made make the film seem logical and help some bring some of the wilder concepts down to earth.
The comic sets out as a modern deconstruction of the superhero concept, with knowing nods to geekdom surrounding comics, and the film takes that idea and runs with. Littered with references to other superhero films from Batman, Superman and Spiderman (even the Spirit movie gets a hilarious nod), this feels like it is happening in our world, and will drive fellow geeks wild. The film veers ever more into outlandish areas as it goes on, but it always feel believable.
As far as the actors go, Brit Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass more than fills the lead role ably handling the accent, but I did feel that he lacked the vulnerability of the comic’s Dave Lizewski, never nerdy enough and definitely too buff, but that’s just nit-picking at a role that should catapult him into the big time. Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse proves that he has what it takes to hold his own in a comedic role as Red Mist, and he seems perfectly cast. Nic Cage, who I wasn’t really to impressed with when I heard he was cast as Big Daddy, proved me wrong by putting in a hilarious, Adam West-esque performance (although his final scenes did raise a few eyebrows for his scene-chewing, but again I won’t spoil it for you).
There were a few nice cameos from British actors Dexter Fletcher, Jason Flemyng and Tamer Hussan, but the Mark Strong was the pick of the British bunch as gangland boss Frank D’Amico, who steals every scene he’s in with a genuinely brilliant turn. Clark Duke provides ample comic relief as Dave’s high school chum, and Lyndsy Fonseca is suitably cute as Dave’s crush Katie.
But the film truly belongs to Chloe Moretz who, as Hit Girl, tears through the film as the baddest pre-pubescent 4 foot badass ever committed to film. She totally owns every scene and provided the audience with at least three bandstanding crowd cheering moments. She’s funny, witty, knowing, hugely crude, and just massively ass-kicking, her Matrix lobby-esque scene at the film’s climax is just incredible, and again should propel her into the big time by just being one of the most incredibly cool characters in any comic book film ever. Badder than Wolverine, funnier than Deadpool, more athletic than Spiderman and cuter than that kid in Runaways. Just fucking awesome.
Matthew Vaughan does himself proud and he should find Hollywood banging at his door upon the release of this film. He handles the action superbly (a couple of fight scene’s seem to go on a bit, but this was a ‘work-in-progress’ cut we saw, so there is time to tighten them up), and he manages to inject enough humour alongside the brutal violence effortlessly. Fans of the comic will be glad to know that plenty of blood is still spilled, and the violence has only slightly been curbed from the comic, keeping Mark Millar’s ultra-violent tone intact.
Although the film was a rough early cut, everything seemed in it’s place apart from the music (there are replacement bits and pieces from Dark Knight, Superman, 28 Days Later, and possibly I think heard some from X-Men in one bit), some of the dubbing was still to be done too, but the biggest thing that we didn’t get to see what Romita’s animated section, which only appeared as a rough idea of how it will look, but it still looked quite cool.
Still from what we saw, I’m quite confident in saying this is up there with the best comic films I’ve ever seen (Spiderman 2, Dark Knight), and probably one of the best films i’ve seen all year. It’s rude, lewd, naughty and knowing. The violence is brutal, the laughs come thick and fast, and the tone is pitch perfect. At just under two hours long, the film seems to drag in the middle, but the spectacular finale more than dispels any qualms I had with that. There are a couple of plot points that feel fumbled, but that will hopefully be sorted in the final cut.
What Matthew Vaughan and everyone involved with Kick-Ass is just brilliant. They’ve created the ultimate super-hero origin film, one that never feels forced, but always organic, natural, and gut-bustingly funny in the process. Full of cultural references, fanboy in-jokes, and a genuinely comic script, this is the deconstruction of the superhero film that the genre needs at the start of the next decade, something that the Watchmen film failed to do, but the Watchmen comic did for comics in the 1980s. I can’t wait to see it again, and judging by the audience response at the screening, this should be a huge hit.
Oh and it sets up Kick-Ass 2 nicely, but i’ll be damned if i’m going to get excited about a sequel before this even comes out…
It’ll be tough.