Film: Sorry for the week delay for my DVD review, but you know, have to prioritize with Sixth Form work and general life etc. But anyway here is my review for one of the biggest surprises of the year. Kick-Ass is not your traditional Comic-Book movie. It tears up the rule book and doesn’t want to be constricted to the conventions of the genre. This is much more of a spin of the comic book genre then Scott Pilgrim, which was more video game-ish then it was comic books. But Kick-Ass shows what happens if your average comic book geek, not Peter Parker, decides to take matters into his own hands. There certainly are traits of your traditional comic-book movies here, but this is more as part of a trick to keep the audience comfortable and make it seem like any old comic-book movie when really you’re getting something completely different. This is a lot more of a realistic vision of a young vigilante, yet that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough room for some terrifically ridiculous ultra-violent action scenes.

The story, based upon the comic by Mark Milla and John Romita Jnr.,  follows geeky awkward teenager Dave Lizewski (Nowhere Boy’s Aaron Johnson) who wonders why no one in this world has ever tried to become a super-hero and help people. These thoughts soon materialise into reality when Dave takes it upon himself to become a masked vigilante and help those when other people choose to ignore. Soon his wet-suit clad alter-ego Kick-Ass gains a cult following after a YouTube video sky rockets. But as the celebrity increases, Dave soon begins to realise is in over his head and in genuine threat as he becomes the target of the biggest mob boss in the city, Frank D’Amico (Robin Hood’s Mark Strong). But there is help at hand from two superheroes who are the real deal, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and eleven year-old Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) who have their own personal agenda with D’Amico.

The film clearly states to its audience that this isn’t going to be your traditional superhero movie, he doesn’t decide to be superhero to avenge a loved one, he doesn’t have any powers, no massive fortune to buy any gadgets he needs. He is simple a kid with an idea, and as he states himself, the correct amount of optimism and naivety to pull it off. Due to this, the film is refreshingly original in a cluttered genre, and the cinematography cleverly reconstructs a similar tone of bright colours to Sam Raimi’s Spider-man movies, even in its most grittier moments it remains a brightly coloured and hugely stylish piece of cinema. It never feels like a send up of the genre though, thanks to some very tense and genuine moments of drama and tragedy with very rounded characters. The action as well brings some excellent entertainment value to the movie, it is manages to be both gritty and cartoonish at the same time (thanks to an awesome sequence involving the Banana Splits theme tune) and at times quite disturbing. Some films that try to achieve this mix end up very unbalanced in its tone but Matthew Vaughan expertly handles the action and drama to give the film a pop-arty feel. He delivers some excellent action scenes, all the Hit Girl ones in particular and Big Daddy taking down a warehouse. 

The cast go a long way to making the drama and fun action work so well together. Aaron Johnson is proving to be one of the best young talents emerging from England at the moment. With this and Nowhere Boy he has shown the amazing versatility he has, as Dave is the complete polar opposite of the  young hell raising scouser that is John Lennon. He is our eyes through this movie and he maintains a sense of vulnerability so we are always caring for him in the highest moments of jeopardy. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin’, although he apparently doesn’t like to be called that) has the best character arc, as Chris D’Amico who desperately wants to please his mob boss father and has the best character arc as Chris goes from normal kid but takes a dark turn, which recent news reports will go even further in the sequel. Chloe Moretz is amazing as Hit Girl, who caused the most controversy on the films release, due to her vocabulary and, lets say, violent outbursts. The character is the most unconventional thing about the film but also one of the funniest, twisted and original character creations of the past decade. She manages to totally convince in the action scenes and show vulnerability to remind us that she is still an eleven year-old girl… who has been raised as a highly skilled assassin. Mark Strong shows once again that he is one of the best actors for villain roles going at the moment. And he’s British. No change there then. Nicolas Cage also puts in one of the better and weirder performances of his recent career. His Adam West impression strangely works for Big Daddy, but he is obviously mental but brings across some strong emotion in some scenes particularly in one very dark and disturbing sequence with an unfortunate end. 

This is thankfully the sort of film Hollywood won’t try to copy, as they would never have the balls to make it (as the funding and distribution of this film well and truly proved). But this is a movie that refuses to compromise, and thank God it stuck to its guns! It’s brave, stylish, fast paced and gloriously entertaining. Some may find the climax a little over-the-top but it is a brilliant pay off and such a crowd-pleaser. It is one of the most original and fun movies of the year that I can’t recommend highly enough. Bring on Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall!

Extras: Another case of the Blu-Ray having most of the special features. That has 2 hours of bonus features… this has a 21 minute long feature on the comic book, which is pretty good stuff for some background knowledge on the movie. But Matthew Vaughan’s commentary offers some great insight into how the film was made on a constricted budget and how the production of the movie went, offering some interesting trivia facts along the way.

Film- 5/5                  Extras- 3/5

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