I promised myself that I wouldn’t use the already overused cliché when summing up my opinion of the film KICK-ASS
. So on with the review…
When it comes to comic books, I am -- by far -- a Batman guy. I rarely read anything that doesn’t involve The Dark Knight. However, I LOVE comic book movies. I don’t care what comic book company the source material belongs to, I look forward to each and every one of them and hope that they do well at the box office.
Truth be told, I didn’t read the KICK-ASS comic books. In fact, I was oblivious to the fact that they even existed until about a year ago. A buddy of mine was into them and raved about how great this comic was. Even so, I still didn’t read them, but I did start covering the production of the KICK-ASS movie here on BOF. Each time I posted something new about the film’s production or promotion, the more excited I got for it.
So, when I learned that KICK-ASS movie would premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival over in Austin (And BIG thanks to those folks for hooking me up!), I made damn sure that I got my press pass for the event. And by the time I made it over to my home state’s capital city for this premiere this past weekend, I had worked myself up into a pretty good geek-frenzy.
OK, not geek-frenzy on the level of THE DARK KNIGHT mind you, but a fairly good one nonetheless.
And speaking of THE DARK KNIGHT -- which I consider the greatest comic book-based film of all-time – KICK-ASS certainly has something in common with it. Like Batman, none of the “superheroes” of KICK-ASS have any superpowers. Also like director Chris Nolan’s Batman universe, Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, Big Daddy, and Red Mist – the superheroes of KICK-ASS -- all exist in the “real world.” In fact, KICK-ASS is actually more realistic than Batman -- who many (including yours truly) often claim to be the most realistic comic book character of them all.
The story of this film follows the very mundane life of high school teenager and geek Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson). Dave decides to actually do what all comic book geeks have at least considered: Dress up like a superhero and fight crime. Upon actually doing this, his alter ego – Kick-Ass – spends more time getting his own ass kicked than kicking any. In fact, his exploits almost get his ass killed.
Isn’t that exactly what would happen if some dork actually tried to be a superhero?
Chloe Moretz as "Hit Girl" in KICK-ASS
On the other hand there’s Hit Girl (Chole Moretz). Unlike Lizewski/Kick-Ass, Hit Girl --a 12 year old master assassin who has been trained by her father -- is the ultimate badass. She dishes out lethal justice in a violent – and I mean violent -- whirlwind of ass-whoopin’ artistry. Admittedly, there’s not much realistic about a pre-teen female ninja taking down dozens of grown men, alright? But hey, it’s a COMIC BOOK MOVIE y’all! This naturally allows one to easily accept a foulmouthed 12 year old girl ninja badass, you know what I mean?
(Since many of my readers are Batman fans, here's a description of Hit Girl that they can relate to: Hit Girl = Damien Wayne, but you won't want her to bite the dust.)
One last thing about Hit Girl – she absolutely steals the movie. What a great job by this Chole Moretz!
Nic Cage -- who plays Hit Girl’s father/trainer “Big Daddy” -- must have had one hell of a time making this film. Everyone knows that Cage is a HUGE comic book geek, so getting to portray the psudo-Batman Big Daddy -- while channeling his inner Adam West -- had to be a nerd’s dream come true. Hell, it definitely had to beat his experiences on GHOST RIDER and the almost-made SUPERMAN LIVES, right? Props to you Cage -- you were quite brilliant.
Mark Strong also shines as the film’s mob boss villain Frank D'Amico (I can’t wait to see him as Sinestro in GREEN LANTERN). I hated him and wanted to see him finally get what was coming to him. Also, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“McLovin” from SUPERBAD) does a swell job as D’Amico’s dork son Chris -- who goes on to become the costumed vigilante Red Mist.
Also, I’ve got to toss out a few accolades to John Romita, Jr. (KICK-ASS comic book artist), Mark Millar (KICK-ASS comic book writer), and director Mathew Vaughn (who’s credited for the screenplay along with Jane Goldman). The fact that all these folks were turned down by every studio in Hollywood, made the damn thing independently, and then turned around and sold the S.O.B. back to one of ‘em for double, is a fantastic story in itself.
Hey Vaughn, what are you doing in a few years when Chris Nolan might be done with BATMAN?
(Relax BOF'ers, I'm certainly not trying to push Chris out the door. In fact, I've spent the last 5 years trying to shove him through it. But he's going to be gone one day and we certainly don't need a Brett Ratner taking over, right?)
I *think* KICK-ASS is going to be a success for a several reasons. Comic book nerds will dig it because it’s essentially their ultimate fantasy brought to life on the big screen (and it's filled with tons of comic book homages). The average Joe will enjoy it because it’s sort of an amalgamation of SUPERBAD, KILL BILL, and of course, “comic book movies.” But more importantly, it’s just damn good.
Look, I’ll make no bones about it here -- I loved this movie! I think it’s one of the best of the comic book moive genre to date. In fact, it's now in the top 5 of my personal list of the best all-time comic book movies. Plus, any movie that can work in an Elvis song -- especially a damn comic book movie -- totally gets my seal of approval.
You are going to laugh, you might even cry, and you will DEFINITELY be entertained. Don’t miss this one, trust me… ‘cause KICK-ASS KICKS ASS!
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
KICK ASS hits theaters everywhere on April 16, 2010.