Apr 19, 2010

[Movies] Kick-Ass (2010)

Kick-Ass (2010)Being the geek that I proudly am, movies based on comic books are almost completely irresistible to me. Of course there's always the irony that the track record of suchs movies is questionable at best and yet despite the many disappointments of the past, we all continue to go see them in the hopes that this time it will be better.

Plus superhero movies are such an easy franchise when you think about it. They need very minimal original creative output and as long as you attach fairly notable stars, then you increase the likelihood that the crowds will come to go see it, if only during the opening weekend.

Despite how jaded many geeks tend to be when it comes to movies of this genre, we're also the first ones to go wild when the studios somehow get it right and come up with some pretty awesome movies.

Kick-AssImage via Wikipedia

Kick-Ass is the 2010 adaptation of the Mark Millar comic book of the same name. The story centers around a young man named Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) whose only dream is to live in a world with superheroes. Instead he's your average high school loser who is hardly noticed by girls, constantly bullied and picked on and yet not smart enough for full nerd status. He's just your average geek lost in his comic books and dependent on his friends for some degree of social interaction in his life.

So one day he decides to try to become a hero by buying a scuba suit and using it as a costume. Of course being a kid without superhuman abilities or actual martial arts training, he sucks at it but this doesn't stop him from trying all the same. He eventually crosses paths with two other vigilantes operating in the city - Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz). They're everything that he's not and are on a mission to take down Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong), who is running a modest crime operation of his own in the city. Eventually the lethal activities of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl get attributed to Kick-Ass and thus the complications are just beginning for young Dave.

I had to skip over a few key bits in that synopsis since I didn't want to spoil certain entertaining sequences here and there, so my apologies if it seems like I skipped to the middle of the movie.

I absolutely loved this movie and so did my partner, and it's hard not to see why. The movie is not the most though-provoking one that you'll encounter or anything like that and it doesn't pretend to be. It's all about good action-packed entertainment of the rather violent variety.

The visuals of this movie were pretty amazing - a nice mix attempts to recreate panels from the original comic book coupled with well-executed sequences that can only be done in a movie. The movie did a good job of trying to give you that comic book feel to things ranging from the small touches like the "Meanwhile" inserts as transition devices to the pretty awesome rotoscoping effect employed in making certain scenes really look like comic books of a completely different sort.

Casting was stunning, especially in the surprise gem that is Chloë Grace Moretz. There's definitely something to be said of enjoying the sight of a young girl killing and maiming miscellaneous thugs with knives, swords, balisongs, guns and whatever. Her action sequences were more stunt-driven than CGI, which is probably what made things all the more intense. CGI-action tends to come out a bit too clean and somewhat weird. Actual stunts, while at times awkward, still do a lot more for the movie and certainly convey things remarkably well. But Chloë just brings something completely different to the movie - she really does come across well and I can see a great future for her in roles that feature underage murder.

Plus Aaron Johnson was a lot hotter than I expected. Now that I researched online, I guess it's no longer surprising since he seems to have done some modeling work in the past. So kudos to the make-up folks who managed to really make him look like a weakling throughout the movie despite the fact he's not quite one at all. Plus I actually tolerated Nicolas Cage in this movie. His normally hammy acting style totally worked given his comedic interpretation of Big Daddy as an Adam West kind of hero.

Kick-Ass is a great example of how a comic book should be translated into a movie. It doesn't need to be a full panel-by-panel translation for it to work. Instead it just needed to take key elements and embellish them as needed in order to make it work as a movie.

It gets 5 superhero tropes out of a possible 5.

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