An ordinary high school boy decides he wants to be a hero, and in doing so accidentally stumbles across two ruthless vigilantes.
I won't lie to you, I've never read a single page of the 8 issue series that spawned Mathew Vaughn's latest motion picture. Though aware of it's existence, and admittedly curious, the closest I've ever come to picking up a copy of Kick-Ass #1 is passing it on my way to the M's. As for the movie version, I was entertained but certainly not floored.
Narrating the movie and taking the lead as Dave Liweski, Aaron Johnson introduces himself as the newest face on the lovable losers list. This is my first movie with the adult Johnson, and though entertaining, I quickly forgot about him completely as Chloe Moretz's Hit-Girl stole the show. In truth I'm not even sure "stole the show" is the right term considering she did so in from her very first scene. A more true way to look at it might be that she didn't so much steal the show, as she made me wonder why the movie was named Kick-Ass and not Hit-Girl.
She swears like a sailor (why is fictional children swearing funny? And does that make me a bad person?), sasses people many times taller than her, and slices up gangsters to the tune of Joan Jett. The only thing odder than how enjoyable all this can be to watch is how she manages to work in a hint of adorableness to it all. I felt a great swell of joy as I watched her weave a talented tapestry since she'll be playing Abbey (Eli) in Matt Reeves remake of Tomas Alfredson's Let the Right One In. Being reminded how talents Moretz is helps me talk the fan boy inside out of tearing his fictional hair out at the very thought of Reeves undertaking.
Cast- Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl, and all the rest- is this movies strongest point. Writing however, is another story. That the movie is hilarious and entertaining is by nature of it's subject matter alone I would venture- as in terms of straight writing it's rather unoriginal. All together I think Kick-Ass will work for anyone who's ever seen a comic book movie. If you know what's supposed to happen when the music swells, or the hero is out gunned and out numbered, then you'll inevitably laugh at what actually happens here. This serves as both the movies rise, and it's downfall however, because for all it's intentional lampooning, in the end it lacks the courage of it's convictions. When it's time for the climax, all goes according to the standard plan, with all the good guys getting the girl and living happily ever after, all the anti-heroes dying in a semi-redemptive blaze of glory, and the bad guys either being righteously smyted, or left in their hideouts to brew up new schemes for the sequel.
If you are not of a sensitive demeanor (read: if foul mouths and gored henchman don't offend you) and you know your way around a comic book adaptation -or if you just want to hear Nicholas Cages awesomely bad impression of Adam West- than Kick-Ass is definitely worth your time. If any of these things doesn't apply, than I can't believe you'll have missed much when you see Why Did I get Married Too instead, as these are the best things Kick-Ass has going for it (though I'll definitely question your decision making skills). For me Kick-Ass was, if nothing else, an enjoyable, palette cleansing opener before all the comic worlds heavy hitters start dropping this weekend.
Reel Deal Recommends:
(500) Days of Summer: Moretz supports in a movie I'll take any excuse to mention.
Matchstick Men: Nicholas Cages best movie.
My Dreams: A perfect place to find Adam West.