If it's crap ... We'll tell you
If you keep in touch with either the cinema or comic world (and, chances are, if you're checking this site, you follow both), you don't need me to tell you what Kick-Ass is, but if you do, here is the basic plot: a bored teenager, Dave Lizewski, a regular guy and comic book geek, wondered why there were no real-life superheroes ("Why do people prefer to get an average job that they hate rather than helping their fellow citizen?" if something you've probably asked yourself already). When he decides to put his money where is mouth is, he gets himself a scuba suit and starts going on patrol regularly. While the first weeks were calm, he soon got a taste of action. Only, that didn't go as he expected, and I'll leave it at that. Along the series, his actions inspired some posers (who just want to dress up as superheroes rather than doing the actual part) and some heroes (in the shape of Red Mist, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl).
Those points are present in both adaptations (the movie and the comic have some differences. Ex: The mob boss in the movie is called D'Amico, while he's called Genovese in the comic). However, as I was watching the movie, I actually prefered it over the comic (STARTING HERE, SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT - BEWARE!).
One of the reasons is the main character: Dave Lizewski. In both adaptations, he's a regular, awkward guy, who happens to be shy near girls, who is regularly mugged as he leaves school, and who's in love with THE girl, Katie Deauxma, in front of whom he pretends to be gay in order to get to talk to her. However, in the comic, he came across as a very douchy guy, at least in my opinion. I don't know if it was JRJR's art (which I love, and who might have intended for him to come across as such - See his face in the panel in which he burns his comic books), Mark Millar's dialogue (the exaggerated amount of cursing in the ovarall dialogue seemed like it was trying to be edgy just for the sake of it), the geek-who-tried-to-play-it-cool attitudes, a combination of all of those or something else entirely, but he struck me as an unlikeable guy. In the movie, I found it easier to relate to him, because Aaron Johnson has a very humble look and voice, things that made his character likeable: he's shy, he's authentically awkward (you probably know or are someone like that), he's nice to people, the cursing is toned down, among other things.
Something that people believe was handled better in the comic was the "Gay Dave"/Katie relationship, and its conclusion. I disagree on this point as well, for reasons I will now explain: In the comic, Dave was depicted, in the first issue, as a stalker wannabe, which made Katie act aggressively towards him. But, in the movie, he was just a regular guy who liked a girl that didn't even aknowledge his existence. This scenario made a gay-BFF relationship more plausible, since she felt neutral about him. The way Millar handled the beginning of the relationship was very farfetched.
Regarding Katie's acknowledgement of Dave's true sexuality, I understood why she treated Dave the way she did in the comic: if you read it again, you'll notice that Dave's revelation has a "Yeah, I did it, and I'm sorry, but I only did it because I love you. There, now you say you love me too" feel (There is the asshole Dave I mentioned above), so you understand, and actually appreciate, Katie dumping Dave (who shows his asshole side again when he realizes he's about to get beat up by one of Katie's friends, making up a stupid excuse to try to save his sorry ass). In the movie, however, he's apologetic and humble, he recognizes he did something wrong and is ready to give her some space and time and, this, I believe, was essential in getting her to start dating him. This is the perfect analogy of the comic-book Dave/movie Dave aspect I mentioned previously...
Then, there's Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. What I think that worked about the movie's Macgreadys was their arc: while, in the comics, Big Daddy was a mere accountant who wanted to make his daughter's life more exciting, in the movie he was a cop who, upon being framed by D'Amico and losing his wife as a direct consequence, trained his daughter in order to avenge her. This plot is actually more sensible in the way that it was a personal vendetta rather than a mere coincidence and that an accountant wouldn't have the weapons and combat know-how in order to train his daughter to face the dangers that might present themselves in their crusade. The father-daughter relationship was handled well in both adaptations, but Big Daddy's death was more heartfelt in the movie: rather than dying after anticlimatically getting shot in the head, in the movie he was actually beat up by D'Amico's goons and burned after Hit-Girl killed the lights, dying in pain near his daughter. Nicholas Cage's and Chloe Moretz's performances in the scenes mentioned was great, and the score by John Murphy only helped the drama and intensity lived in those scenes. This is truly the type of roles Nicholas Cage was born to play, and the role that will most likely propel Chloe Moretz to a successful career (that is, if the controversy about the violence of this movie doesn't follow her along the way, which probably will not happen).
Even one of the most controversial parts of the movie among comic book readers, the ending, was understandable. In the comic book, the amount of gore and violence is completely over-the-top (one of the best examples is Kick-Ass shooting Genovese/D'Amico's dick off before Hit-Girl kills him with a cleaver to the head), and that would be nearly impossible to translate to the movie. This movie was already controversial just because of Hit-Girl, and exposing a general audience to such sickening violence would just put the spotlight on it for all the bad reasons. Instead, Matthew Vaughn chose to have Kick-Ass help Hit-Girl infiltrate D'Amico's house with a jet-pack, before him and Hit-Girl face off with Red Mist and D'Amico and Kick-Ass kills the gangster with a bazooka. The jet-pack has been the most controversial element so far, but its appearance was built up during the movie, and it only helps the satirical aspect of the film, alongside the bazooka. In my opinion, the ending was gory enough, without needing to slip into the sickening violence that has been Millar's trademark for a while now.
There are, of course, some things that I was left unimpressed with the movie, such as Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist (understandable, since the character is kind of one-note anyway), and the film should have invested a little bit more into the comic book references like the comic did, but as it was, it was a very good movie.
If, as you read this post, you feel that I hated the comic book, nothing could be farther from the truth: I love the concept, the universe and the characters that Millar and Romita brought to life (if only the ending wasn't such a depress-fest). But, in some aspects (most of whom you already know from reading the post), I felt the movie did better than the comic.
Please note that this is only my opinion. If you differ, please post in the comments section why you do. Also, this is the first blog that I ever posted on Spill.Com, so if it got confusing at some part, please say it, because this was written one piece at a time during this week, and it may be confusing at some parts...