Comic Book Movie Review: Kick-Ass

I didn’t have a chance to see Kick-Ass in theaters and had to wait until I could get it through Netflix, which is why you’re seeing this review now, instead of back in April.  Well, honestly, I wasn’t really interested in paying $7 to see this movie in theaters.  I didn’t really like the series, so I suspected that I wouldn’t really like the movie.  And after watching the movie, I was pretty much right.  I enjoyed watching the movie more than reading the series, but that may be due to my laziness.  Watching is always easier than reading.  In my analysis, I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but there might be a few small ones.

As far as translating Mark Millar’s work into film, Matthew Vaughn did a fine job.  Unfortunately, doing a very faithful adaptation brings the bad parts of the story along with the good.  In a nutshell, Kick-Ass is about a powerless Peter Parker deciding that even without great power, or any power, there is still great responsibility.  So, he decides to fight crime, and gets his ass kicked.  Eventually, he runs into Frank Miller’s Batman and Robin as they are chasing after the Kingpin.  I kid.  Peter Parker equals Kick-Ass/Dave Lizewski played by Aaron Johnson, Batman equals Big Daddy played by Nic Cage, and Robin equals Hit-Girl played by Chloe Moretz.

The acting was actually pretty good, for the most part.  All 3 of the main characters played their parts well.  Also Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist and Mark Strong playing Frank D’Amico (Kingpin) played a pretty good villain.  Where the acting hurts the movie is with the supporting cast around Dave.  When he’s talking with his friends, it is completely boring.  The dialogue is boring, the delivery is boring, and none of the characters are the slightest bit interesting.  It also didn’t help that Dave’s moments as himself with his friends often contained one of my major annoyances with the story.

And so I’ll explain this annoyance.  This story takes place in the “real world.”  As in, the world you and I are living in.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but the issue comes with how they establish this fact.  To show they’re in the real world, they mention real comic book writers and stories over and over again.  Even to the point where the actual issue of Kick-Ass #1 appears in the comic store.  (I half expect Mark Millar to appear as himself in the second story, and offer advice to Kick-Ass, trying to be Morrison-esq.)  It wouldn’t bother me if these stories were used to further the story, but they don’t.  They are nothing more than name dropping.  And it gets annoying, quickly.

There’s also the issue of the tone of the story.  Sometimes it’s fun violence, sometimes it’s emotional drama, and other times it’s a teen comedy.  I kept wanting to tell the movie to pick a tone and stick with it.  Sure, it’s possible to have multiple tones in a movie, but here, they kept tripping over each other.  When you jump from a very emotional moment, and go back to fun violence, it takes away from the emotion.  A lot of this could have been fixed with the soundtrack selections.  For instance, perhaps “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett isn’t the best choice of music when building up to the climax of the movie.

In conclusion, I know I’m very critical of the movie, but it is worth a view, just try not to pay to much for it.  Also, the biggest thing I walked away from this movie thinking was, “Why isn’t Aaron Johnson playing Spider-man in the reboot?”  I mean, this movie was pretty much a long audition tape, and he was pretty good in the role.

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