Kick-Ass Definitely Kicks Ass
By Fred Topel | Image property of Lionsgate
Kick-Ass is this month’s The Crazies. I may really get my wish that every month has a movie so awesome I need only compare it to last month’s awesome movie. Clash of the Titans has a lot to live up to, because this is the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight.
Okay, maybe setting above the likes of Incredible Hulk, Punisher: War Zone and Watchmen may sound dubious, but Kick-Ass lives up to the potential of actually having something to say and making you care while it thrills you.
It’s one thing to give Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne enough soul that you care about what happens to them when they’re not Spider-Man or Batman. It’s the next level entirely to take kids playing dress-up in ridiculous outfits and not only care what happens to them, but totally believe them as heroes.
There’s real character setup and you care about them before the action really cranks up. There’s real passion in the drama. It’s what movies are all about, where you buy into the world, you buy into the characters and their stakes so you invest in it. No matter what it’s about, it’s the movie’s job to make it as important as a real life drama.
Man, I felt emotional about these child superheroes’ triumphs and tragedies, and it’s just kids in costumes. The film’s great strength is that it never condescends, even when it makes fun. It really is about social responsibility and purpose, but since it’s R-rated can deal with the uglier side of it. It’s The Incredibles for grown-ups.
It’s so well made. Each fight has its own personality. It’s not always visual, but it’s visceral. It portrays how a single hero would go about dispatching a dozen bad guys. It’s hard work, but if you’re awesome you do the job. Thank you for elegant, smooth and steady shots by the way. It’s graceful and you can actually be more in your face than with that bogus handheld shaky cam. Actually, when Kick-Ass employs some handheld shots, it is specific to a character, and it’s mild. They’re still careful what they frame and how much they shake.
The action is scary. You really feel like anybody could die. Maybe they won’t kill Kick-Ass if they want a franchise, but they’ll still mess him up. Certainly anyone else is in a tense situation, and even the desperation of a goon trying to explain things to his boss feels real.
Yet it’s gleefully inappropriate too. Big Daddy training his little girl it so wrong, yet it’s kind of smart. If you were going to enter into this ridiculous world, that is how you should prepare your baby. It’s not really about profanity and gore. It just goes all the way with the disparity between the age of its heroes and the severity of their situation. Some of the gore gags may be predictable but I cut it a little slack for the fact that I’ve seen everything else.
It’s clever enough to really comment on all aspects of the superhero genre, but never too clever for its own goods. The money shot homages, the catch phrases and the psychoanalysis are smart, but it’s never wink-wink and never too inside for the average fanboy to get. Maybe there’s more if you read all the books, but there’s definitely a lot of meat if you’ve only seen the movies.
The comic book stylings work beautifully, from the time stamp block to the three dimensional art work of Big Daddy’s own comic strip. The seamless transitions between scenes without cutting are subtle and beautiful.
There’s good CGI. People put in impossible positions look like real people. Fire looks fake, but oh well, that’s not as important an effect. CGI blood looks fake too but it allows them to do awesomer stunts and you can call it comic book-y.
Kick-Ass captures the wonder of superheroes for grown-ups. My jaw was open marveling at what I was seeing in this movie. I want to more Kick-Ass adventures. Actually, what I really want to see is more Hit Girl. Hit Girl is the next level of hero. She’s Kill Bill on Ritalin.
Kick-Ass opens to theaters on April 16.
For stills, posters, trailers and more movie info, go to the Kick-Ass Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of Lionsgate
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