Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kick-Ass kicked... well you know.

I have anxiously been waiting to see the movie Kick-Ass ever since I saw the first trailer some time ago. My anticipation went through the roof when I saw the red-band trailer that featured some of Hit Girl’s “colorful” dialog.

Well, I finally saw it and the good news is that I really liked it. The bad news, it’s a little uneven and may throw casual viewers for a bit of a loop.

I knew going in that this one of this movie’s biggest strengths, the amazing trailer, would also be one of its biggest enemies. The trailer would certainly draw a lot of people in. What’s not to love? A seemingly hilarious take on a superhero movie with a foul- mouthed, eleven year old girl who’s a killing machine and Superbad’s McLovin’ in a cape and mask.

Sure, I would be easy to please. I love comic books, sci-fi, horror and action movies and I’m a connoisseur of the superhero genre. But what about everyday people off the street. The kind that can’t tell you the names of all the different Robins in the Batman mythos. Or the difference between the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin in the Spiderman world.

Without going into too much detail, Kick-Ass is the story of a regular, high school kid who decides to dress up like a super hero and fight crime. There are no super powers here. It’s pretty much like if you or I decided to do the same thing. We’d get weird looks from people and we’d most likely get our asses kicked. Kick-Ass takes his lumps, but thanks to the internet, becomes a huge sensation, spurring others on to similar “super heroics”. Eventually Kick-Ass crosses paths the Big Daddy and Hit Girl, two costumed adventurers with a slightly more serious motivation and a much larger arsenal. Kick-Ass also teams up with another costumed kid who calls himself Red Mist. (McLovin’) All of these characters get mixed up in a situation with the mob that escalates from fun and games to real danger very quickly.

Kick-Ass has plenty of laughs, but it’s not a non-stop, lighthearted comedy like the trailer leads you to believe. This movie has a slight edge. So while there are plenty of laughs and some fantastic elements that require some suspension of belief, there is also plenty of violence. And it’s not typical superhero movie violence. You know, like how the bad guys on the A Team would always get up and brush themselves off after their truck flipped. Here, when someone gets hit in the mouth, it hurts and they bleed. And people die. So while the violence in this movie has a fantastic element to it, it is a little more brutal than some folks might expect. It’s kind of like expecting to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but instead seeing Kill Bill.

As I said, I was fine with this. I liked that a movie that dealt with “real world” superheroes had violence with somewhat real consequences. I also thought the movie had plenty of laughs. You may love or hate Nicholas Cage, but his portrayal of Big Daddy is one of the highlights of the movie. And fans of the old Batman TV show will certainly appreciate his performance.

As you have probably heard, it’s Hit Girl that really steals this move. This is a star making performance Chloe Moretz on par with Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, Natalie Portman in The Professional of Kirsten Dunst in Interview with the Vampire. I predict Hit Girl will be the “It” costume this year, just like The Joker was when Dark Knight came out.

Kick-Ass himself is a good character, but part of the unevenness that I alluded to is that with all of the characters in this movie, he’s not consistently the focus of the story or the action. It’s a minor complaint, but an observation worth making. I hope a sequel is in the works. There is a lot of potential for these characters in this world.

Personally, I loved Kick-Ass. If you want a fun movie with plenty of action, some good laughs and a bit of an edge, I highly recommend it.

(By the way, the people who held the mantle of Robin were: Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Damian Wayne, Tim Drake and Carrie Kelly.)

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