Movie Review: Kick Ass- A Disturbingly Violent Yet Immensely Accurate and Entertaining Take on Mark Miller’s Comic Series

Anyone who is familiar with comic book writer Mark Miller’s work will know that his Marvel comic series Kick-Ass would be a difficult piece to bring to life on the screen due to its original concept, brutally violent scenarios, and above all gripping dark humor. It seemed the fate of Kick-Ass might take the Hollywood plunge along with the horrid adaptation of Mark Miller’s graphic novel Wanted, which was unfortunately demolished by creative freedoms from the producers and directors. However, because of the unfortunate fate of Wanted, a film that Mark Miller plans to fix later on, Mark Miller seemed to get more involved with the adaptation of Kick-Ass, which is helmed by director Matthew Vaughn who is known for his gritty British crime drama Layer Cake. Safe it to say Kick-Ass might be the most accurate adaptation of a known comic series produced as of yet matching even the stylistic achievements of Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City. Kick-Ass is entertaining, funny, and violent but also seems to capture the vulnerabilities of the teenage years as well as a psychological reasoning for possessing the naïve urges of being a superhero. The dedicated script from Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn is successfully captured by Vaughn’s creative directing and given life by a clever cast filled with familiar faces and new comers making Kick-Ass the best and most entertaining blockbuster this year.

The basic story in Kick-Ass involves an excessively shy nerd named Dave Lizewski who contemplates the glamour and awesomeness of being a superhero and ends up giving it a try with drastically negative outcomes. His determination and heart are products of fantastical idealism as well as being at the brunt end of receiving bullying and armed robbery, where a man sits idly by and does nothing while he is mugged. The catalyst is sort of on the scale of commentary equal to the Kitty Genovese case, where a woman was stabbed to death while people living in the apartments around here did nothing despite hearing it. However, this vigilante will take a stand against the existence of what he deems as actual evil and once we are introduced to our antagonist Frank D’Amico it gives the audience a realization that there is someone to really fight against. Dave Lizewski takes on the name “Kick-Ass” and after becoming an internet sensation realizes he isn’t the only one fighting crime when two professional superheroes, “Big Daddy” and “Hit Girl,” cross Dave’s path. Each character possesses complexities that are only slightly revealed, which is forgivable considering its based on the first segment of many in a comic series, but ultimately the script does flesh out many of the characters personal intentions. “Big Daddy,” played extremely well by Nicholas Cage, has a dark past and vengeful past that is introduced to us in an animation segment done by the actual Kick-Ass animator John Romita Jr. who also makes a slight cameo on one of the scenes. This film captures the realistic risks of being a superhero whole embracing the idealistic dream of wanting to selflessly help others by actually making a difference on their own accord. The script is accurate to the comic series in story, scope, and biting humor, which makes for a guaranteed entertaining experience.

Matthew Vaughn was a risky choice despite his credentials in the gritty and realistic field of filmmaking because of a strange off shoot film entitled Stardust, which was beyond reasonable comprehension as to why such a film was bothered to be made. But here Vaughn proves that he can balance humor, teenage awkwardness, violent action, and varying character intentions with a tightly directed and intriguingly shot film that is practically a frame by frame adaptation. This looked as though it was a fun set to be on and the relaxed state of the filming really resonated with the actors and the finely edited sequences that flowed very well. Vaughn also has the rare ability among modern directors to allow his violence to not only be shocking but also mesmerizing. At times the shock value can drive people away but here it is used as a satiric exaggeration of realism to ultimately convey humor at its ridiculousness while also cautioning those with any ideas of duplication that it can have serious consequences. Even the music adds a level of humor, to the classical pieces during times of torture or brutality while using rock segments to compliment the more fast paced action sequences. Legs get chopped off, knives impale chests, people burn, bullets fly, and rockets get fired making every action sequence an entertaining chaotic experience. Compared to the horrid adaptations of graphic novels and comic series in the last decade, including butchering V for Vendetta, The Watchman, and Wanted, it seems as though Kick-Ass will be the first comic adaptation to learn that sticking to your source makes for an enjoyable, visually mesmerizing, and relatable film experience.

All of this wouldn’t have worked if the casting wasn’t done well and there are no complaints in this department. Aaron Johnson not only makes the awkward teenage years seem painfully familiar but his comic book fantasy world that he immerses himself into with horrifically drastic consequences seems quite believable yet also humorously tragic. While Nicholas Cage has never been a horrible actor, just an easy script choosing sort of fellow, here he embraces a complex, determined and extremely funny father hell bent on revenge while also training his young daughter to being a killing machine. And that is where there is an exceptional performance to be witnessed and that is from Chloe Moretz as the brutal foul mouthed action machine “Hit Girl.” Known for being the unbelievably mature younger sister in (500) Days of Summer, Chloe Moretz shines in this off beat physical performance as a gun slinging, obscenity yelling, innocent enough looking girl, which makes for great humor while remaining a tad bit vulnerable. The cast doesn’t lack the inventiveness or liveliness that was needed to deliver this project well and while some aspects of the film aren’t flourished out enough, a weakness that isn’t the fault of the delivery but rather because the story continues, Kick-Ass is definitely an original take on the superhero genre and makes for full throttle entertainment.

Some people might find Kick-Ass a tad too shocking for their tastes and granted there are many moments that would make that feeling understandable. However, look past the graphic violence and focus on why it was used and it’s used in many ways either for humor or to accentuate the risks and harshness the world has to offer. Vigilantism isn’t actually something looked upon with great favor but then again The Dark Knight broke box office records and was solely about taking matters into one’s own hands. Kick-Ass addresses the idealistic superhero within us all and shows how difficult the path of helping others in a world full of palpable evil can actually be. The film is all at once an action film, a satire, and a reflection on doing something about helping others instead of standing idly by. It is a guarantee that those who are fans of the Kick-Ass comic series will be pleasantly surprised with the accuracy this film has in comparison to its source, but has enough dark humor, gripping action, and relatable characters to keep anyone interested and hooked on this fun superhero film.

Grade: B+

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2 Responses to “Movie Review: Kick Ass- A Disturbingly Violent Yet Immensely Accurate and Entertaining Take on Mark Miller’s Comic Series”
  1. Carlos says:

    This was one of the best movies I have seen this year so far. Right from the start of the movie I was caught up in the lives of the characters and waiting to see what happens next to them. One of the best scenes in the movie is when kick-ass makes his first attempt at fighting crime. Could anything else have gone wrong for him.

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