Funnily enough, it’s a great movie but not a super one…
Not sure what I was expecting but Kick-Ass really fell between two stools. Not quite funny enough and not enough action, I just wished it would make it’s mind up and take a clear path.
Matthew Vaughn (clearly a talented guy based on this movie and the two before it, Stardust and Layer Cake) directs this adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book series (all about a regular schoolkid with no super powers who wants to become a very real superhero) and, before I dwell on some of the negative points, I will start with all of the good stuff.
The cast were all great. I agree with everyone who loved Nic Cage (his channeling of Adam West’s version of Batman was hilarious whenever he was in the Big Daddy suit.) but this is very much an ensemble piece. Aaron Johnson is great in the lead role, as are all of the younger actors and actresses featured, Mark Strong makes for a great baddie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse provides some fun moments and Chloe Moretz steals the show as the foul-mouthed Hit Girl. There’s also the likes of Dexter Fletcher and Jason Flemyng popping up in small, fun roles.
Then we have the action sequences which are absolutely brilliant. I will happily admit that all of my favourite moments were the scenes featuring amazingly OTT violence accompanied by an enjoyable, mad tune. It’s not big or clever but in the dark of the cinema it’s bloody great fun. Vaughn shows that he can always meld great visuals to great tunes (even if those tunes come from other movies) and really gets the adrenaline pumping with some absolutely, hair-raisingly great face-offs that will make you want to applaud the sheer exuberance coming off the screen.
And one other moment worth mentioning that I have not seen many people praise: I absolutely LOVED the animated recap of how Big Daddy came to be. One of the best comic-book moments ever shown on screen, as far as I’m concerned.
A decent second half and that foot-stompingly good final half hour or so almost made me forget about it’s failings but I was really hoping for something . . . more. What was so bad about it? Well, I now agree with those who have been moaning about Jane Goldman’s writing (the lady largely responsible for Stardust’s script also played a major part here), there was nothing that quotable here when it should have really been a goldmine. Will Vaughn ever get a script as good as Layer Cake again?
Then we have the whole disjointed feeling of the whole piece. Jumping around in both time and tone, the movie doesn’t really feel that cohesive until it settles into that fast pace as it gears itself up for the big finale. Character study? Dark dissection and inversion of superhero traditions? Action comedy? The movie seems to try and hit all of these marks and doesn’t really hit any of them dead on. As hard as it may be for some to stomach, Watchmen remains a superior anti-superhero movie. Kick-Ass is great fun in places but should have really been the movie we were all hoping it would be.