Thursday, August 12, 2010

What You Should Have Seen #13

I’ve never been more excited about a movie based on a comic book, and it’s for a comic book that only geeks like me have heard of. The only big name in it is Nick Cage, and he’s just a supporting character. Sure, it’s got McLovin’ (from Superbad) in it, but do you really know his real name? And it’s got that kid, y’know, who’s been in a few movies that you might have seen (The Rocker and most recently Hot Tub Time Machine), but they’re supporting characters, too. I’ve got no clue who the lead actor is.

And is the comic that good? Nah, not really. Hell, when this was first released in theaters, the series wasn’t even completed. The first issue was released in April 2008, and (according to Wikipedia) the rights to the film were sold before it ever hit the stands. Apparently director Matthew Vaughn wrote the script for the movie as Mark Millar was writing the comic. Okay, I didn’t actually know that part before looking it up, and now it’s kind of cool. But seriously, the production of the movie seemed to go quicker than the production of the comic. The last issue of the eight issue monthly comic came out just a month before the U.S. release of the movie. It took TWO YEARS for this comic to come out, and it really wasn’t worth the wait. It was so forgettable that I really didn’t care to go back over the previous issues when the next one finally came out, and it seemed to want to do nothing more than to shock the audience with crazy, unrealistic violence, which was stupid since this was supposed to be a “real” person fight crime in a “real” way. But anyone who has read anything by Millar (Authority, The Ultimates, Chosen, etc.) knows that he’s all about shock value.

But the movie, man, each trailer got me more and more excited for the movie. Had the eight issues of the comic been compressed into four or five issues, had just been quicker about everything, then it might have actually held my interest. So yeah, I can see a two-hour movie taking the basic storyline and doing some good with it.

Now, I’m not a movie guy who watches something based on the guy behind the camera, but for only his third movie as director, Vaughn had two great movies already under his belt: Layer Cake with Daniel Craig and Stardust with, well, lots of people. Add in production credits on Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Harry Brown, and that’s already a damn fine resume. So I thought this was in good hands (and now I think the new X-Men movie might have a chance to be decent).

But enough about my lead-up to the movie. What about the movie itself?

First, I love it being immersed in comic books, and real ones at that, not generic stock books. Talks about Batman and Superman, one of the kids is reading a Runaways comic in the beginning. This movie doesn’t try and hide what it is. You can even get a hint of the classic Superman theme when Dave is putting on his costume for the first time.

The first time we see Nick Cage, he FREAKIN’ SHOOTS HIS DAUGHTER IN THE CHEST!! Granted, he’s having her test out her bullet-proof vest so she knows what it’ll feel like, but that’s still insane! And I loved the first time we see Hit-Girl in action. It wasn’t exactly like the comic, close fuckin’ enough. What made it for me was not the wholesale slaughter of a gang-banger and his crew, it’s the song playing when she shows up. It sounds a lot like Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana) from the old Banana Splits TV show, and a quick check on Wikipedia (I go there a LOT) lists it as Banana Splits (Kick-Ass Version) by The Dickies. Cute, and it made that scene even more surreal than it was.

I liked that the Big Daddy and Hit-Girl origin scene was motion comic drawn by John Romita, Jr., the artist and co-creator of the Kick-Ass comic.

I don’t like McLovin’, or whatever his real name is. He’s not a good actor, at least not in this or Superbad. He's stiff and his delivery comes off as amateurish. He’s like a mediocre high actor in a high-school play.

I love the first-person-shooter perspective of Hit-Girl at the end. I guess one good thing came out of the Doom movie, huh?

It’s extremely weird and disturbing to see a grown man kick the crap out of a pre-teen girl. Granted, that girl just killed the guy’s entire security squad, but still. Disconcerting, to say the least.

So, I’m going to say that this movie was slightly awesome. Other than out hero getting the crap kicked out of him…a lot…don’t expect much realism. Even when it’s purported to be the real world, I wouldn’t expect much realism from any sort of superhero movie. But really, is that what you want in a movie like this? Is that what you want in ANY movie? Realism is your life. Movies are entertainment, a way to escape that realism for an hour or two. And if you want a fun way to spend that time, if you want an enjoyable experience of watching a nutbag, his pre-teen daughter and a high-schooler attempt to fight crime and rack up a pretty impressive and bloody body count (with a pretty fun soundtrack, to boot), then Kick-Ass might be for you.

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