Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #28: Kick-Ass (2010)

I'll bet you thought I was going to start this review with something lame and corny like "Kick-Ass kicks ASS."

You did, didn't you?

Well forget it. I won't do it.


But to be fair, Kick-Ass does kick some serious ass.

As you may have gathered from my review of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, I can't resist a film about unlikely or amateur superheroes. (Or, in Dr. Horrible's case, supervillains.)

Thus, it shouldn't come as any sort of surprise that I just watched Kick-Ass for the second time...and loved it.


Kick-Ass is the story of Dave Lizewski, a geeky teen who, after years of fascination with fictional superheroes, finally decides to don a costume and try his hand at the craft.

As you can imagine, our protagonist encounters some serious drawbacks as the superheroic Kick-Ass, what with the no-super-powers and the no-formal-training and the not-entirely-heroic-physique, but with the help of two highly secretive and experienced superheroes, played by Nicholas Cage and eleven-year old Chloe Moretz, Kick-Ass ultimately manages to...well, kick ass.

I really dig this movie, but if I learned anything from my adoration of 2009's Watchmen, it's that it's tough to give films a glowing recommendation when they also exist in graphic novel form. Essentially, you're almost guaranteed to piss off someone who thinks the movie didn't do justice to the book.

Luckily, with Kick-Ass, the rights to the film were sold before the first issue of the comic book was published. So it isn't so much an adaptation as an alternate interpretation of the Kick-Ass concept--which branched off from the same moment in time as the textual edition.

In other words...score one for Matthew Vaughn! Not only is he married to Wayne's-World-Salute veteran Claudia Schiffer, he also managed to make a superhero flick that effectively avoids fair comparison to the original text. Schwing!

But with that said, even if the cinematic version of Kick-Ass was a straight-up adaptation, I think it would've fared pretty well, even with fans of the comic.

First, the action sequences are awesome--surely they were well-illustrated in comic form, but there's nothing quite like watching eleven-year old Hit Girl flat-out demolish a room full of thugs in real time.

The action sequences are also very creatively presented, with different lighting and camera effects to make each major battle distinct from the others.

Second, it includes a tribute to Kick-Ass' graphic origins with a beautifully effective still-image montage depicting the origin story of Kick-Ass' ally, the superheroic Big Daddy. (Played delightfully by Nicholas Cage, who more than makes up for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans with an eccentric homage to Adam-West era Batman).

And third, it sports a pretty decent soundtrack--something the graphic novel can't compete with unless you're reading it with headphones on. And even then, you'd have to be constantly pressing "Play" and "Pause" at the appropriate moments, which is way more annoying than watching a movie.

Overall, I think Kick-Ass would please graphic novel enthusiasts just as much as gung-ho moviegoers. For a blockbuster action movie, it has an appropriate amount of plot and humour to offset the violence and badassery, and it's charmingly self-aware as a superhero flick about superheroes.

And let's face it. We all have to do something with our time while we wait for Christopher Nolan's next Batman movie.

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