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Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse SYNOPSIS:
Review by Andrew Kosarko
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Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.
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What is WILDsound?
I’m not going say it, but you know every critic has already made the pun about what this movie does. So I won’t say it. And no, this is not a comedic setup so that I can come back at the end of the review and say “Kick-ass kicks ass!”…
Damn it. Well at least that’s out of the way now. Let’s begin.
The Story: Overall the story is “grasping.” That’s the way I would like to put this. You, or at least I was, sucked into a nerd conversation in a comic book shop. There is a wonderful idea here of how much of the “hero” realm is built up in comic books and their following movie releases. The good guy is always trained in every martial arts skill, dodges bullets and never gets hurt. Literally, we see our main protagonist get the crap kicked out of him, stabbed, and then hit by a car.
To which this leads to him having dulled nerve endings and metal plates put into his body ala Wolverine. It’s at this point the movie starts to go a little down hill. Yes, Kick-Ass still gets quite a whooping often but he doesn’t feel it as much and so the physical wear and tear aspect, which would be the main problem if you ask me, is completely lost. After this, the story jumps back into the comic book territory realm that it was originally sending up. It’s like the kid who starts to make fun of your crocs and designs his own sneakers that everyone thinks is cool. And now that he’s cool, he comes into school the next day wearing crocs. (Sorry, this analogy may only be relevant to Art School Students.) Regardless, the point is, the story starts to focus more on a father-daughter assassin duo out for revenge on a drug lord that framed Nick Cage for a crime – leading to his wife’s suicide. And it really never gets off of that as the spine of the story.
Meanwhile, Kick-ass is pretending to be gay to hook up with the girl he likes and being suckered by the drug lord’s son McLovin into a trap to rid the world of the superheroes – which, having read the comic even I was wondering why the hell Red Mist is shown as a hero in all the posters and commercials. The real problem starts to be when the story falls in love with Hit-Girl. Who, by this point, we’re so far removed by the reality that is able to dodge bullets, know all sorts of martial arts and guess what? She can throw 2 magazines of ammo in the air and catch them while doing a flip and shooting 2 bad guys in the head. What is it they always say? “Promises, promises…” ? Kick-Ass takes a back seat to Hit Girl and by the time the movie is over, I’m pretty sure he’s not even in the back seat any more. He’s about 3 cars behind her.
Acting: Here is where the movie stands up pretty high. Aaron Johnson is great as Kick-ass. Nick Cage pulls an Adam West as Big Daddy – which urks me, but I’m a little bias there. And Chloe Moretz? She steals the show. Too bad myself and everyone else keeps referring to her as Abigail Breslin. Christopher Mintz-Plasse? He’s… well he’s alright I guess. He’s great at playing awkward for a character like McLovin, but in this case, he’s really not that intimidating for a villain. I realize that’s the point, but I’m not even referring to his physical demeanor. I’m more of the acting style. Dialogue and facial expressions and such. Meh – I could do with out. The only truly amazing acting for the villainy comes from Mark Strong. Man, oh, man can I not wait for him to be Sinestro in Green Lantern. He’s definitely we all should start to get to know cuz after this and Sherlock Holmes? He’s making quite a name for himself.
Directing: Matthew Vaughn went to every studio with this project. Every studio turned him down. He held a dinner/fundraiser and got 30 million to make the project. And then he turned around and sold it for double that. And while I have a problem with the direction the story takes and the lack of perspective on Kick-Ass at the end, he made a damn solid film.
Cinematography: Real and gritty and then ventures into Watchmen/300 territory at the end. It’s like the film is just transitioning you to a fictional world instead of maintaining the “reality” that was supposed to make this more original than other films.
Production Design: Same as cinematography. Kick-Ass’ suit is best the reason to see this. Once Big Daddy, Hit-Girl and Red Mist show up, you are in just a regular old comic book movie.
Editing: Pacing alright for the most part, but gets messy at times. Mostly due to the story being a little unfocused. Things move fast but the climax takes a little long to get rolling. We could have done without the love aspect and such for Kick-ass if it wasn’t going to have any kind of importance at the end of the film. That’s something you leave out and put in for the directors cut. Nice, but not necessary.
Score: Great at some points, and commercial at others. It’s all used with good intention and makes for some of the more memorable moments of the film.
Special Effects: Too many. Wire work and the like… eh. Give me the real thing like you promised.
In closing: Kick-ass is a movie that most will go see more than once. Most comic book geeks at least. Me? I like it less and less the more I stew about it. In fact, almost angry that I was promised something to have it taken away and become ridiculous. “What would it really be like to be a super hero?” Well, truth be told, they stop asking that after the first act. From then on out it’s just a violent (in a good way) comedic romp through the normal Superhero lore with an 11 year old chick outperforming what’s supposed to be the everyman protagonist of our film. *sigh*