Saturday, 27 March 2010

Kick Ass - Review

Superheroes have been long standing pop icons for almost 100 years, and I, like many, often stop and wonder for a brief moment "Here Dave, why hasn't someone ever stuck on a costume and become a superhero?" After watching countless movies from the genre, director Matthew Vaughn also decided to ask that same question. The result? Well suffice to say, it kicked ass.

Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Mark Millar, the film tells the story of Dave Lizewski - Aaron Johnson - who sets out to become a real life superhero known simply as Kick Ass (not gonna lie it's a pretty awful name for a superhero...) and gets caught up in a bigger fight between fellow heroes Big Daddy -Nicolas Cage - and Hit-Girl - Chloe Mortez - against mobster Frank D'Amico - Mark Strong.

Obviously it would be unprofessional of me to mention this but I had a feeling I was going to love this film from the moment I saw the first trailer. Rarely this happens and works but Kick Ass went one better and even managed to succeed my expectations.

Many have tried and failed horribly (Superhero Movie anyone?) to poke fun at the lucrative genre but this film manages to pull it off while telling a rather superb story of its own. The comic timing of certain scenes would put most of Judd Aptow's best films to shame while the action was ten times more satisfying than most of the movies it was even trying to satire from the Spiderman trilogy -which was a clear reference point for the protagonist - to the painfully dire Punisher movies.

The performances however are the real talking point of Kick Ass, if young Aaron Johnson had not appeared in this, he would be a fair call to play Peter Parker/Spiderman in the upcoming reboot of the franchise, he was essentially the heart and soul in a movie full of cold blooded mobsters and vigilantes. It also pleases me to say, this is the first film in nearly a decade which featured Nicolas Cage and I didn't want to walk out in despair, he was actually brilliant, channelling a bizarre mix of Adam West with Christian Bale era Batman. While Mark Strong and Christopher Mintz-Plasse worked well in the villianous supporting roles, the true star above all of them was the frankly jaw dropping performance from young Chloe Mortez - the film could get by on hearing this little girl scream profanities and beat the crap out of men twice her size easily. On the basis of this performance she is capable of amazing things in the future.

The film even managed to defy my initial expectations of being a full throttle tongue/cheek affair, though it was full of genius comedic moments and some fabulous action pieces, it also had a few tender heartfelt moments to remind the audience of the pain and suffering being a superhero might cause - again mimicking the likes of Spiderman, Batman, Superman etc. A particular scene involving Cage and Mortez even left my dear colleague in tears. Bless her.

Visually Matthew Vaughn managed a highly stylish piece mixing the best elements of Tarantino's Kill Bill with comic book elements slightly reminiscent of Ang Lee's Hulk (maybe that's a bad example...) with an eclectic, head bopping soundtrack.

Final Thoughts
Kick Ass is quite possibly the funniest film you will see this year, with plenty of well constructed action, brutal ultra violence and perhaps most surprisingly, tonnes of heart. Nicolas Cage hasn't been this good in years and I really mean that. Though young Chloe Mortez steals the show rather easily, Aaron Johnson is also worthy of plenty attention for his leading performance as the title character. Kick Ass is the film equivalent of Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain - it does exactly what it says on the poster...


See This If You Like...
Pretty much any superhero or comic book film ever released.

Kick Ass is in cinemas everywhere from Friday 1st April.

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