Many months ago, I was strolling past the movie theater on one particularly beautiful morning in downtown Burbank when I happened upon one of those annoying movie ticket barkers. I was about to ignore him when I saw the following letters in big, black type: KICK-ASS. Exuberant, I ran over and as he started to explain what the movie was about, I told him I’d take 6 flyers.
That night at the plushy and sometimes snooty Hollywood Arclight I sat with a few of my very geeky friends in the front row and watched a test print of the most Kick-Ass film of the year. Below is my review….from a gal’s pov of course.
TO ANYONE WHO HASN’T READ THE COMIC, SPOILERS FOLLOW:
The film begins with a shot of who you think is the lead character. He is dressed in superhero tights and leaps from a tall building to his death. The voice-over then aptly tells the audience that this is the real world and crazy men in tights don’t have super powers.
The next opening scenes are extremely reminiscent of the very first Spider-man film. Here’s the thing. I get how in any new comic book movie there is usually a very long and very slow opening arc where some normal guy has something horrible or great happen and he gets turned into a superhero– but it’s been done. I hear it’s even going to be re-done again in a new Spider-man flick.
I know how Spider-man gets his powers, my mom even knows how Spidey gets his powers, his name implies that maybe a spider was involved. I don’t need an hour of exposition to get to the good part.
At least in Kick-Ass, the early scenes parody the first Spidey film. It lasts longer than it should but is ultimately pretty funny. Yet again, we have a dorky, nerdy superhero who we as women would probably never date. Of course, he ends up getting the hottie who could get herself a better man if she put even the teeniest bit of effort into it. This is really a guy’s fairytale at its best.
To the lead’s credit, his life doesn’t solely revolve around getting into a girl’s pants, aka Superbad. Dave Lizewski wants more from life. He stops dreaming about the day when a radio-active spider will bite him and just goes full speed ahead and becomes a superhero. I have to give a lot of respect to a guy who boldly goes the extra mile to fulfill his dreams. If it were me, I might have say, taken a few years to I don’t know, take every class imaginable on how to survive a knife fight on the streets before looking for one.
Which brings me to the true Kick-Ass hero of the film…Hitgirl! I would not want to meet her in a dark alley. At first glance she looks like my 8 year-old niece. She’s a cute, little girl who looks so innocent and sweet you just want to run out and buy her a princess Barbie. Strangely, quite like my niece, Hitgirl uses her sweet, cutesy smile to get away with murder. Okay, so my niece doesn’t kill any bad guys, but Hitgirl sure does.
When Hitgirl jumps into action to save Dave’s ass by flawlessly killing everyone in sight you are instantly stunned and mesmerized. It’s surprising that a studio wouldn’t shy away from putting a young girl assassin onscreen in all her glory.
From that point on, you are transported on a wild ride alongside Dave as he manages to survive and realize all of his wildest dreams. The teenager gets fans, the girl, partners, and even his own arch-nemesis. Ironically, Nicholas Cage, who’s been whoring himself out to any movie who will take him, doesn’t ruin the film but incredibly enhances it. His Adam West impression is spot-on and I felt ever-so-cool laughing at the inside joke of it all.
My favorite part of the film is when the song “Bad Reputation” is screaming in the background while Hitgirl destroys everything in her path like a Tasmanian devil from hell. The entire audience was honest-to-God clapping at the end of the scene. I do have to say, the fight between Hitgirl and the lead villain, John Genovese, could use an editing eye, as Tim Gunn puts it.
It was a little hard to take watching John Genovese beat a young girl to a pulp. This scene yanked me out of a fantasy mind-set and made me realize she still is in fact a child. If there was more comic relief spliced in using the geeky slap fight between Red Mist and Kick-Ass, not only would it give the audience something to laugh at but also show the contrast between trained fighters and amateurs. Adding in more comedy would lessen the disturbing feeling during the Hitgirl ultimate fight.
Besides my notes, the film is wildly different than anything else out in a very refreshing way. It has a humor that acknowledges the intelligence and maturity of its audience. It doesn’t shy away from the true essence of the characters like so many other comic book films have in the past.
So often films have gimmicky scenes that have no other purpose in the story than to be visually stunning. Instead, Kick-Ass stuns fans and non-geeks alike by seamlessly integrating a funny, hip story with a unique point of view. I wish the director, Matthew Vaughn would have put his uncanny skills to good use on another comic-book movie he was actually slotted for, X-Men the Last Stand.
I cannot wait to bring as many geeky friends as humanly possible when it finally comes out this Friday. Okay, that sounded super cheesy, but I’m really excited!!!