12 April 2011

Kick-Ass Review

To celebrate the announcement at Kapow Comic Con that there will be a Hit Girl comic, I thought it would be best to give my thoughts on the film that put Hit Girl on the map, Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass written by Jane Goldman and based on the comic by Mark Millar.
The story in Kick-Ass is really clever in how it spoofs comic books, a teenager who becomes a superhero but fails miserably, with the constant name-dropping of comic book iconography both old (Spiderman coming up the most) and new (mention of Scott Pilgrim and a nice little fourth wall breaking joke were the comic about Kick-Ass in the film is the actual comic book written by Mark Millar). The characters and acting in the film are also brilliant. Aaron Johnson brings a true level of heart to his performance as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass making the character more than the Peter Parker spoof he originally seems like with a true level of emotional depth and actions that feel like those of a genuine teenage boy, especially when dealing with his friends in the comic book shop and the way that he interacts with his girlfriend Katie. His performance as the Kick-Ass persona is great as well bringing in a sense like he really is growing through the film as you can see by the fight scenes Kick-Ass has with him getting destroyed in his first act as a hero and gradually getting more competent as the film goes on with the jetpack scene (you'll know it when you see it) being one of the coolest things ever put on the screen. The performance of Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico/Red Mist is great as well combining his McLovin persona with the persona of a comic book villain while bringing in a great conflict at the end of the film in which he has to choose between the family business or being a superhero. Mark Strong is brilliant as the villain Frank D'Amico having the perfect face and voice for a villain and it will be surprising if Strong gets a role as a goodie in films from now on. The character is completely ruthless with the multiple torture scenes being a good way to show how evil Strong is in the film. Speaking of which, a lot of people complain about the scene in which Kick-Ass and Big Daddy get tortured by Frank D'Amico's goons and to that criticism I say, so the villain isn't allowed to be violent, the scene is meant to be unsettling as it has to show the audience how much of a threat D'Amico is to the goodies and the torture scene fulfills this by making the audience disturbed by his actions. Nicolas Cage is brilliant as Big Daddy and it's films like this that show the masses why Cage is such a good actor (a separate entry on why I like Nicolas Cage coming soon). The Adam West voice he put on as Big Daddy is hilarious and had me in stitches every time his character came on screen, providing a great parallel to the Christian Bale gravelly Batman voice and Cage's performance makes me hope that Cage will be cast as Batman in the future. The real star of the film however is Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl. This is a performance that comes around once in a generation, a really dangerous performance by a child actress in situations which involve murder and assassination, see Natalie Portman in Leon and Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, and through this performance, Moretz shows herself as one of the most talented actress working in film today with the variety of projects she has booked up and the big name directors that she has signed on to work with (Tim Burton and Martin Scorcese being the most influential) meaning that she will have a brilliant career in the future. In this film Moretz plays Hit Girl as this badass killing machine while never letting you forget that the character is still only 11 years old with the scenes in civilian identity with Cage being a clear reminder of this. Speaking of which, the main reason why the character of Hit Girl works is because Cage and Moretz have a very natural father/daughter chemistry together onscreen. The action scenes in the film are incredible with Moretz stealing all of the best action scenes, especially impressive considering that Moretz did virtually all her own stunts, with the first Hit Girl action scene being the standout. Cage also gets a great action scene set to the main theme from 28 Days Later which makes the scene both really awesome and slightly disturbing in the way that Big Daddy is so motivated by his revenge. The dialogue in this film feels very natural to the mood that the characters are in, even including the swearing that Moretz delivers which, considering the tone of the film being satirical, makes fun of the Frank Miller style superheroes who swear non-stop. Overall this is a brilliant film with great action, a great music choice (the song written for the film by Mika being a standout song and anyone who hasn't should listen to the song should), great costume design, brilliant performances with a starmaking performance from Chloe Grace Moretz and great dialogue, I highly recommend this movie, watch it as soon as you can.
My Rating: 5/5

P.S. If you can read the Daily Mail's review of Kick-Ass here, it is so offensive in the points Chris Tookey wants to make and it is one of the funniest reviews I have ever read in how serious Tookey wants you to take him despite his points being terrible. Seriously I'm reminded of South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut with the controversy surrounding this film, violence being okay but swearing being evil. Don't listen to the complainers.

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