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Exploding gangsters, McLovin as a superhero and a twelve year old girl who says the C word before mutilating a bunch of gangsters. These are just some of the ingredients which come together to create the absolute insanity that is Matthew Vaughn’s latest film, Kick-Ass. Superman it ain’t.
Adapted from the brilliant comic book series by Mark Millar, Kick-Ass is the story of Dave Lizewski, an average guy who dresses up in a diving outfit and goes out to fight crime in spite of the fact that he’s weak, skinny and terrible at fighting. By sheer dumb luck he foils a mugging and becomes an internet sensation overnight. It’s not long before he comes to the attention of both local crime boss Frank D’amico (Mark Strong) and ‘real deal’ vigilantes Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy Nicholas Cage).
It’s rare for a film to succeed on as many levels as Kick-Ass does. As an action film it’s frenetic and fast paced with each fight scene successfully managing to get the adrenaline pumping. Whether it’s Kick-Ass’ pathetic attempts to fight off muggers or Hit Girl springing all over the room, the film never fails to excite and on that level the film is a complete success, always maintaining a kinetic energy that is the hall mark of a good action film. However the film also succeeds when viewed as a comedy. Though it’s never becomes the films primary goal to just make you laugh, there’s no getting around the fact that a major part of the film is genuinely funny one liners and levels of violence so extreme it’s ultimately slapstick. In spite of it’s alternating between more serious scenes and those of a humorous nature, it’s a fact that this film is likely to make you laugh more than 80% of this years straight up “comedies” and in all likelihood the percentage will be even higher than that.
However, the best part of the film is undoubtedly the characters. They push the boundaries of what you expect and all the actors give performances worthy of their over the top nature. From Aaron Johnson who does a great job of making us connect with the average guy behind Kick-Ass, through to Chloe Moretz who is brilliant as Hit Girl. The best performance is saved for Nicholas Cage who works wonders making us empathise with the insane Big Daddy whilst also making us understand the depth of the connection shared by him and Hit Girl.
Inevitably the man who must take a large amount of credit for the overall success of this piece is Matthew Vaughn and the man shows his directorial nous in more ways than one here. He skilfully negotiates dramatic scenes between Big Daddy and Hit Girl whilst also mixing in humour that makes certain to never intrude on the moments of real emotion the film exhibits. Two of the action scenes in particular also display that the man knows his way around a camera between a first person night vision shootout shot from Hit Girl’s perspective To my personal favourite action scene, a glorious tracking shot of Nicholas Cage as he takes down an entire warehouse full of Mobsters and the camera follows every move perfectly as he takes them out. These are just the tip of the iceberg, however and there are many other scenes where Vaughn shows not only an eye for a camera trick but also an eye for the makeup of a scene as each fight is beautifully choreographed
Ultimately Kick-Ass pulls off everything it attempts and more creating a film of such insanity and brilliance it’s impossible not to admire. It transfers the comics’ glorious pastiche of the superhero genre brilliantly from page to screen and works, both as a comedy and an action film. It will be controversial and the violence will no doubt not be to everyone’s tastes but this is simply one of the best films of the year so far and undoubtedly one of the best comic book adaptations ever. But that doesn’t even begin to cover the true genius of this film. It is a film that simply has to be seen to be believed. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before and it is something you owe it to yourself to see.
Overall Rating: Epic WIN!!!!!!!!!
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