I’m still going through movies adapted from comic books, though I’m starting to run a little low on available titles. This post is about the director’s cut of the 2010 movie Kick-Ass.
IMDb Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes critics: 75%
Rotten Tomatoes audience: 81%
My Rating: 6/10
The first time I watched this movie, I had to pause it occasionally because I was missing dialog while laughing at the previous scene. The humor was so unexpected and different from other comic-book movies that it caught me off guard. This time through, I didn’t laugh nearly as hard, but it was still fun to watch.
The premise of the movie is exactly what many comic book fans dream about. A high-school kid, Dave Lizewski, who loves comic books wonders why there aren’t any real superheroes. He decides that it isn’t about money or training, just a strong enough desire to do good, so he makes a costume and starts fighting crime. He almost immediately winds up in the hospital, but doesn’t let that deter him. Things really start to get crazy when he learns that there are other people fighting crime as costumed vigilantes and he accidentally gets targeted by a mob boss. The story is a little convoluted and messy, but it’s intentional. Dave is clearly in over his head from the beginning and he’s just trying to keep up with everything going on around him.
The development of the protagonist is great. Aaron Taylor-Johnosn, who plays Dave, does a fantastic job of balancing the optimistic outlook of a kid who’s living out his wish fulfillment and the utter terror of seeing horrific violence for the first time in his life. He grows through the movie, not just as a crime fighter, but as a person. Chloë Grace Moretz, who plays the vigilante Hit Girl, also does a fantastic job with her character, and is probably the most fun person to watch. While the other characters in the movie don’t get the same attention, they also have mostly complete stories and personalities but there are some of them that feel like they’re just filler.
This was director Matthew Vaughn’s first comic book adaptation (he later did X-Men: First Class and the Kingsmen movies), and it’s apparent that he loves that medium. Everything in the movie feels pulled from the page. The effects of the movie are more fun than realistic, even during the extremely bloody scenes. The heavily stylized violence of the movie isn’t quite to Tarantino levels, but it’s close. The over the top gore is supposed to be a combination of horrifying and hilarious, but it doesn’t always strike that balance, which will definitely turn off some viewers.
Kick-Ass is a movie that’s really fun to watch once or twice, but it loses it’s appeal quickly. Where the movie really shines is in its originality, but once it’s been experienced, then there isn’t a whole lot left.