Thursday March 25, 2010

Kick Ass (the Movie)

Review by Tristan Hanks

After much anticipation, Mark Millar’s fantastic comic ‘Kick Ass’ has been brought to the big screen by ‘Layer Cake’ director and ‘Lock Stock’ producer Matthew Vaughn. Luckily he has done an excellent job by producing one of the most entertaining films of the year so far. The plot could be lazily described as a comedy ‘Watchmen’ but while referencing many comic characters it always feels like an original idea.

Dave Lizewski, played by ‘Nowhere Boy’s’ Aaron Johnson, is an ordinary high school student in New York who is perplexed as to why nobody has ever decided to be a superhero. His friends scoff at the idea, citing lack of super powers as quite a big hurdle in becoming the new Superman. Undeterred, he purchases a scuba diving suit online and after a few stretches goes out on the mean streets to fight crime as Kick Ass. When he is caught on camera fighting 3 men, Kick Ass gains a cult following and soon sets up a MySpace account to gather pleas for help from the public.

Soon he finds he is not the only superhero in New York City by running into Hit Girl and Big Daddy, a father daughter duo who have many more skills and weapons that Lizewski’s green clad vigilante. Nicolas Cage plays the father brilliantly, bringing pathos to an essentially humorous role and his miniature sidekick is played with aplomb by newcomer Chloe Moretz. Christopher Mintz-Plasse also pops up as another faux superhero Red Mist, who lures Kick Ass and co into the hands of his crime kingpin father, played by a scarily intense Mark Strong.

One of the best things about this production is the casting, with everyone putting in a solid performance. Even the minor roles played by Vaughn stalwarts, Dexter Fletcher and Jason Flemyng are excellent and make the film feel like a team effort. The movie also sticks pretty close to Millar’s original creation by mimicking the beautiful artwork of illustrator John Romita Jr in some scenes. The violence is pretty harsh throughout but is done with a knowing comic book sensibility and almost always juxtaposed with a hilarious one liner.

This film is exactly what comic book adaptations should be like. It is all played a bit tongue and cheek which makes the film more believable while the brilliant script written by Jane Goldman, underlines the importance of comic books in the 21st century. Modern technology is cannily used throughout too and without seeming like it is trying too hard to appeal to the fanboys. This is a film that has everything from laughs to punches, romance to carnage and the whole thing is shot superbly, with special effects used sparingly but well. If you want to be seriously entertained for a couple of hours make sure you make a date with Kick Ass, because this film does exactly what it says on the tin. 

In Cinema’s from Friday 26th March

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