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Kick Ass

January 19, 2011

Kick Ass

 

What happens when a geeky kid decides that he wants to become a superhero and wants to do something more with his life and be noticed?  Not all that much good.  This film is very well crafted and creates great characters, and while parts of it end up being quite predictable towards the end, it is put together well enough that you don’t notice that.

As my opening sentence says, the story is that of a nerdy kid who decides that he is going to become a superhero.  He has no formal training and he has no idea what he is doing, but that is his goal, and when he puts on the costume, he becomes something more than the geeky kid who girls don’t notice that he is.  His forays into the seedy underbelly of his town don’t go all that well, he gets beaten up and battered on several occasions, things really don’t start going his way until Hit-Girl, another superhero shows up with Big Daddy.  They end up saving Kick Ass’s ass, for lack of a better way of putting it.  The story then switches focus as you get a bigger picture as to what is going on the city, and why Hit-Girl and Big Daddy are doing what they are doing.  Kick Ass takes a step back from his superhero life when a girl that he likes starts taking notice of him (granted she thinks he’s gay, but that is a minor detail for him).  Things are going well until Red Mist reaches out to him.  Red Mist and Kick Ass run into some troubles and they go to Big Daddy and Hit-Girl for help.  But things aren’t quite as they seem and Kick Ass has to become a real hero.

The acting in this film is very good.  Nicholas Cage, known mainly for his terrible work, does a very good job in this film as Big Daddy.  His generally slightly creepy and off vibe that he gives off, or the generally slightly off vibe might be a better way of putting it, works really well for this character.  Chloe Moretz plays Hit-Girl, and for a child actress she does a great job.  Her innocence on screen combined with the profuse amount of language that spews from her mouth works as a comedic element and she does a great job being someone who has had no childhood or life.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse (of Superbad fame), plays Red Mist, this role has some of the whiny nasily pansy characteristics that you expect from him in his roles, but it takes a slightly darker turn than the most lovable character from Superbad who most guys wish that they were to some extent.  Aaron Johnson plays Kick-Ass and like Moretz, he doesn’t have a ton of previous experience (some but nothing as major as this role), but he does a very good job.  He is sufficiently awkward and hopeful in his character, and his character makes the viewer want to be a better person.  Mark Strong, from Sherlock Holmes, plays another villain and does a good job of it again.  The rest of the supporting cast is solid, even though for some reason, Clark Duke, Hot Tub Time Machine, rubs me slightly the wrong way in most of his films.

Visually this film works well, it isn’t shot in the dark and gritty style that we see the Batman films shot in, but it has realism to how it is shot that you don’t always get in superhero films.  The costuming also needs to be mentioned, which is rare, but they do a good job with the superhero costumes and making them something that is unique and that sticks out from the realistic surroundings of the characters.  The script is impressive as well.  It blends comic book excitement with real emotions.  John Romita Jr and Mark Millar did a great job on the source material, and Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn did a great job adapting it for the screen.  And Vaughn needs to be applauded for his work directing this film and getting good performances from his cast.

This is a film that I highly recommend.  It won’t win any awards, but it is very strong in terms of every area and has a very good story to it that has more depth than many of the wishy washy superhero films and better character development than most as well.  It won’t sit quite right with people who expect some normal fun superhero film, but it is part of a new breed of hero films that are changing how superheros are to be looked at, and in many ways this trend of change is happening in comic books as well.

Entertainment Grade: A-

Critical Grade: B+

Overall Grade: A-

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