I get so angry when I think about all the times we’ve been so disappointed by film adaptations of memorable comic books.
When great characters were sidelined (Storm in X-Men), left out altogether or poorly cast (Brandon Routh as the new Superman and Storm again!) I was forced to lament yet another missed opportunity to create greatness. How ironic it is then that a comic which has only just been published has given us fan boys and girls one of the best conversions in living memory.
Kick-Ass gave me everything I’d ever wanted from a superhero movie and then some. The only thing missing was a lack of actual superpowers but the film was so mind-blowingly sharp and awesome that I barely even noticed.
Based on Mark Millar’s comic book series, this hilarious caper follows teenage loser Dave Lizewski, whose main hobbies are comic book reading, being ignored by girls and chronic masturbation. Dave soon becomes inspired to try heroism for himself and subsequently takes a helluva beating and a knife in the stomach for his trouble.
The doctors fix Dave up with some metal plates and along with his damaged nerve endings, he can now withstand a really good kicking. Donning a wetsuit and calling himself Kick-Ass, Dave draws the attention of some real heroes; Batman lookalike Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and his 11 year old daughter Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz).
While Kick-Ass just wants to see what it’s like to be a hero, these two are armed to the teeth and out for revenge on crime lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Chris, the gangster’s son, attempts to help his dad by becoming rival hero, Red Mist.
Everyone is perfectly cast, particularly the star of the show Aaron Johnson. His performance as Dave/Kick-Ass is goofy and fun but manages to keep the movie grounded. I knew he’d was capable of doing this calibre of work when I saw him in Nowhere Boy – keep it coming Johnson.
Stealing the show is Chloe Moretz as foul-mouthed gunslinger Hit Girl. Her fights are some of the best scenes in the movie and Moretz is about to show Abigail Breslin and Dakota Fanning who’s the man when it comes to child actors. She’s backed up by Nic Cage who’s usually off doing some sub-standard action movie, but here he is impersonating William Shatner/Adam West and doing a damn good job of providing some laughs.
Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse is well cast as Red Mist but feels a little underused, but if the implied sequel happens then we’ll get to see much more of him.
Written by Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn, the script is funny, darkly comic but balanced well between the heroic and the normal lives of the characters. Vaughn provides balls-out action scenes with a touch of the old ultra-violence. Though it always looks good, it’s heavy on the gunplay and light on the fisticuffs, which might have broken up the tone a little more.
If you object to onscreen violence then not only should you not see Kick-Ass, you should stay 100ft away from every cinema.