Review - Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass is probably hitting moviegoers much like Wanted did: a movie adapted from a comic that people didn't know was a comic. It was a comic, and a rather violent one at that. Things like this you have to wonder how they'll translate onscreen, as inevitably the story will be toned down for mass audiences. Kick-Ass is no exception in that the story was changed slightly, but what it lost in terms of gratuitous violence and gore it made up for it with campiness and humor. Read on for the review and keep in mind some spoilers abound.

If you haven't read the comics, Kick-Ass the movie is a pretty good translation. Dave Lizewski is a normal, run-of-the-mill, high school teenager dealing with the same things we all dealt with in high school: shyness, dorkiness and girls. He decides that maybe if he follows suit of his comic book heroes things might get better, so he becomes one himself and takes on the person Kick-Ass. All suited up and ready to fight crime, Kick-Ass makes his way to the streets and finds two ne'er-do-wells trying to hijack a car. A longer fight in the comics is abbreviated with Kick-Ass getting stabbed sooner than later and hit by a car.

After recovering, Dave has to deal with the notion that he's gay (as he was found naked after being hit), which is great because now his crush, Katie Deuxma, is into him. This would be because he's in the friend zone now that he's gay (supposedly). Things are going well for Dave and he starts to make a life of his new persona until he gets in over his head doing a favor for a fan. About to be killed amidst a slew of gangsters he's saved by Hit Girl and Big Daddy who, after being refused on an offer to assist, decide to go on their own paths. Kick-Ass is obviously wary of other superheroes, but that fear is allayed upon meeting Red Mist.

Red Mist is the son of a powerful drug boss and Chris D'Amico really wants to be his father's son. His dad, Frank D'Amico, thinks that Chris is too young to fully appreciate what he does for a living. This leads Chris to come up with a plan to prove to his dad that he can be a part of his life. His plan? To lure Kick-Ass, Big Daddy and Hit Girl into the same location and spring a trap where they're all caught and killed by D'Amico's men. The trap goes down, heroes are killed and Hit Girl is on a quest for vengeance. The film ends with a dynamic duo of Kick-Ass and Hit Girl storming the D'Amico castle and wrecking shop. The last man standing is Chris in a modified Red Mist costume (which is now orange) vowing vengeance.

My first thoughts after seeing the film was that it was a pretty faithful adaptation of the comics. There were some differences which were minor but nothing that were so different they were detrimental to the film's experience as a whole. Matthew Vaughn has only two movies on his resume at this point: Layer Cake and Stardust. Based on such a brief resume you wouldn't necessarily expect him to be the man for the job, but he did really well in adapting the source material to the movie. Obviously, he didn't do everything with the film himself, but his direction behind the camera successfully captured everything that made the comics so awesome.

My biggest gripe with the film was that the characters weren't really developed as they were in the books. Yes, I know this contradicts what I wrote in the previous paragraph. My issue is that Kick-Ass and Hit Girl were the only characters that seemed to successfully translate from comics to film. Big Daddy, Red Mist, Dave's dad, Katie...all of them were sort of adapted to the film so to speak. I'm sure this was in an effort to make the film more appealing to a wider audience; however, it sort of hurt the film for those that read the comics. Don't get me wrong...I thought the movie was delightful and well done. I guess I'm just being nitpicky with the film at this point.

Every scene with Hit Girl was beautiful in a sense. I know that sounds weird, saying scenes where a 13-year-old girl impales, decapitates and shoots people are beautiful. Chloe Moretz really stole the show in every scene she was in and her fight scenes were so well choreographed and scored that they were almost sentimental in a way. Her second to last fight scene with the strobelight scope is really a thing of beauty if you stop to think about it. Moretz definitely played the strongest character in the film: resolute on who she was, what she wanted and what she needed to do to get it. Kick-Ass and Red Mist were a little unsure of themselves at time, going back and forth between being heroes and being scared. That's part of the overall problem with the film: it's called Kick-Ass but seems to be more about Hit Girl.

Kick-Ass won't necessarily go down as the greatest comic-film adaptation ever, but it's definitely up there as one of the greatest as it was actually really good. The violence was toned down from the comics which was to be expected and the roles were really well cast. I just didn't like the happy ending tone of the movie that the comics shied away from. As I mentioned earlier I'm sure this was done to broaden the appeal of the film and in the end it won't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. For those of us that read the comics though it's a little painful to see something that worked in the comics have to be stripped down for film. I'd highly recommend checking the film out though. There's enough violence, humor and campiness to make it worth anyone's while. Assuming you can get past the blood and eviscerations.