Much like The Losers, this flick is based on a comic that I have never read. Neither of the creators, Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., impress me much with their comics work (another reason I never read the comic), so I didn’t have high hopes for the movie. After seeing it, I think I’ll be avoiding the comic.
The story follows the concept of a ‘real world’ teenager who decides to become a superhero. No powers, no weird secret origin, just a mask, a wet suit and a couple sticks. He promptly hits the streets and gets his ass kicked, is stabbed, and is then run over by a car. From this point, all ‘real world’ aspects are out the window as the self-named Kick-Ass now has a bunch of metal braces in his bones and a serious lack of nerve endings. Scratch that no weird secret origin bit, I suppose.
Other super heroes manifest, or at least that’s how it appears. As the movie continues (and it does continue, and continue, and continue, for a solid almost intolerable two hours) a division arises between who we think the good guys and the bad guys are and who they really are. Black and white morality is not a hallmark of Kick-Ass.
Among the pseudo heroes is Nicholas Cage’s Big Daddy and his eleven year-old daughter Hit-Girl, played actually quite well by thirteen year-old Chloe Grace Moretz. She’s a veteran actress even at her young age, and Nicholas Cage, well, Nicholas Cage walks around and collects a paycheck. His only real watchable moment is his bad Adam West impression while in costume. The rest is just terrible. I’m not as much a Cage-hater as some folks I know, but he really ruined every scene he was in in Kick-Ass.
Having never read the comic, there were plot elements that seemed out of place. The Red Mist seemed like a character that should have been a surprise rather than someone whom we knew about all along. It just seems like common sense from a writing point of view. But what do I know? Mark Millar is the guy who cloned Thor, apparently he can do no wrong in some comics fans’ eyes.
Speaking of comics, director Matthew Vaughn has just been tapped to direct the new X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class. How he got that gig after this one other than they are both comics movies is beyond me as I can’t see his style here lending itself at all to the X-Men franchise. After all, Astro Boy and A History of Violence are both comics movies – no thematic similarities there.
When the flick first came out, much was made of the violence and the swearing of the character Hit-Girl. This is very violent, and mercilessly so, with close-ups and slow-mos more traditional to horror gore rather than violent action flicks. I didn’t mind Hit-Girl’s swearing, or her killing almost everyone she sees – what bothered me was when at the end the older man, the big bad, gets the better of her toward the end of the movie. No matter how you slice it, it’s disturbing seeing a grown man beating a young girl.
The previews for Kick-Ass depict a comedy, and those comedic moments are still there, just you’ve already seen them in the previews. The voiceover narration by Kick-Ass is inspired when it appears but it doesn’t appear nearly enough to save this flick. This is just a bad movie, and made worse by Nicholas Cage’s phoned-in performance. He says he was paying homage to Adam West but it comes off more as mocking and bad acting. Give Kick-Ass a wide berth, and wait for it to come to free TV if you insist on seeing it.