REVIEW: Kick-Ass

4.5

600full-kick--ass-posterThe aim of most superhero adaptations is to fulfill the excitement and expectations of comic book nerds in the breath-taking visual experience of cinema. Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass takes a uniquely creative detour as its story is told from the perspective of teenage characters inspired by comic books. However, due to this the film provides a brutal, violent, more realistic and thematically darker tone that opens a new style within the superhero genre. Mark Miller’s Kick-Ass comic book is different in general compared to, for example, MARVEL and DC Comics but amazingly, the Kick-Ass film adaptation becomes both a straightforward, exciting superhero film and a parody.

In many ways, Kick-Ass has parody and spoof all over it. Indeed, it is about ordinary, super-powerless people becoming superheroes but it often pokes fun at the whole superhero genre. It does this through its humour within key moments that jeopardize the invincibility of a superhero. For example, Spider-Man takes giant leaps across buildings but Kick-Ass, inspired by Spider-Man, almost attempts this but suddenly retaliates and gets terrified. While Kick-Ass still parodies from other superhero comics and films, it does get serious in its own unique way. It does not contain any dramatic concepts seeing as the humour and violence dominate, but the development and execution of the characters and plot initiate ‘ridiculous drama’. In addition, Kick-Ass get serious in terms of the violence and vulgar dialogue it bestows, particularly through the Hit-Girl character. It is nothing bad but the film prevails in being afraid or forced to take it to that extreme level. In fact, the mood Kick-Ass has makes all the extreme and arguably controversial incidents humorous. The characters have no powers and to have no violence would seal it as a spoof but the extreme violence redeems the superpowers that these character do not possess.

While Mark Millar’s original comic-book and this Kick-Ass film adaptation is dark, the visual style is somewhat unique. Director Matthew Vaughn’s choice to give the film an ordinary colourful tone blends with the general aim – to transform ordinary people into superheroes within the real world. It works but at the same time, it is daft because its fictional, science-fiction style opposes the traditional visual representation of comic books. However, the film becomes focused on ordinary citizens but when we are introduced to all of them as their alter-ego, it becomes more comical while still using the same cinematography. In fact, Kick-Ass follows identical action, comical trends of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, particularly filming style, editing and visual effects.

While we saw a re-invention of comic book adaptations in Kick-Ass, we also witnessed the uprising of new young stars. First, Aaron Johnson delivers his breakthrough performance in the role of Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass. Dave is an ordinary comic-book nerd who becomes influenced by superheroes to become one. Like most superheroes, we see Johnson playing practically two characters and he shines as both a teenage geek and as a superhero fighting crime. Furthermore, Chloe Moretz’s role as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl is a total show-stealer. At 12 years of age, she went to the extreme through explicit language which highlights her early stardom status. Meanwhile, Christopher Mintz-Plasse is hilarious as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist, the geeky son of mob leader Frank D’Amico. On a similar note, Mark Strong is badass as Frank, a Guy Ritchie-like villain with a sinister but darkly funny nature and Nicolas Cage surprisingly shines and stars in his best role in years as Damon Macready/Big Daddy.

Initial expectations for Kick-Ass were mixed but its originality, character development and humour made it a surprisingly impressive success. The plot and characters serve as homage to superheroes through specific references yet the humour creatively parodies that. Kick-Ass is non-stop entertainment and exemplifies that it is often the simple, original films that become the greatest. It’s high supply of entertainment values worked at the highest level alongside its impressive visual and technical style, which occasionally signified it as a film of art. Nevertheless, Kick-Ass delivers the exact ambition of its title and leading character – to kick ass.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 14/08/2013.

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