Friday, April 16, 2010

Let's All Go to the Lobby!


Mark Millar proves he's gaining serious Hollywood clout with "Kick-Ass." After the success of "Wanted," Millar was a hot scribe with the golden touch on several Marvel properties, but it took a unique, creator owned concept to land Millar's name back on the silver screen.

"Kick-Ass" brings to life the question: What if someone stopped reading comic books and tried to be a real superhero? What unfolds over the course of the film's two hours comes close to answering that question. A high school kid decides he wants to help people so he creates a costume and an alter ego in Kick-Ass. He's soon confused with a vigilante known as Big Daddy, who has enrolled his daughter, Hit Girl, into his war on crime. Kick-Ass is captured, tortured and revealed to the world as a nebbish dork.

The film does showcase several well-choreographed fight/action sequences. The decision to not tone down Hit Girl was a wise one (even if that produces controversy) as the film would be rather droll without her. Chloe Moretz is sure to be made a star after such an obscene performance. Nic Cage is surprisingly effective as Big Daddy and I was actually able to tolerate Clark Duke. The editing is crisp and there are several genuinely funny moments throughout the story. The film is reminiscent of some Quentin Tarantino work in that it presents grandiose intense violence, coupled with humor, all while backed by songs that seem an otherwise odd juxtaposition.

While the film follows the general structure of the original comic (hitting all of the major beats, basic origin, and comedic lines), the screen adaptation greatly deviates once the film hits the third act. The comic was enjoyable for the outrageous situations that the main character, Dave Lizewski, finds himself in once he 'dons the mask.' He really finds being a hero to be much tougher than he ever imagined, YouTube celebrity aside.

Once the film hits the final arc, however, it turns into generic Hollywood action film drivel complete with John Woo shoot-outs, rocket launchers, and jet packs. Regrettably, the biggest deviation comes in the form of all generic Hollywood films: the hero gets the girl. Probably one of the coolest aspects of the source material is that Lizewski gets the crap beat out of him, his balls electrocuted, and dumped on by his big crush - all within the last two issues of the series. To make the film more appeasing to audiences, that was completely nixed.

The film keeps the original concept of the comic, mixes in a crash course on Tarantino filmmaking (hopped up on smack but with a 1/10 of the depth), and creates a dazzling, crowd pleasing spectacle that is sure to pull audiences in droves. I may have been nerding off while watching the film - checking the original comic story points against the adaptation - which may have kept me from fully enjoying the experience. However, it's a fun-filled film with gratuitous violence and absurd action that's actually enjoyable to watch with a group of people. See it.

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