Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: Kick-Ass (2010)

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lyndsy Fonseca

I just knew from the start that this movie would be awesome. Kick-Ass is a superhero film, but it's so entirely different from the norm that it becomes something new entirely. It's a film that really defies traditional classification, but that isn't the reason we watch it. We watch this movie because it's so much fun, such a pinnacle of big-time enjoyment. Everything about this is enjoyable, over the top and hilarious.

It's about a guy named David who is as average as they come. He is invisible to girls and can't talk to them to save his life, and he spends most of his time with his two wise-cracking best friends - one of whom is that kid from Sex Drive. The movie is based around this premise: Why hasn't anyone ever tried to be a superhero? David asks, "Is real life so exciting that people just don't feel the need to do it?" So, as the laws of moviedom would dictate, he decides to become one. With a green wet suit and a mask that looks kind of like a Gimp mask with eye and mouth-holes cut out, he becomes the fearsome scourge of the night known as KICK-ASS. "It requires a perfect combination of optimism and naivete," he says, and he promptly gets stabbed and hit by a car on his very first endeavor into fighting crime. Charming. Kick-Ass in general is just a well done character. He completely sucks as a superhero at first, but he's just...really, really likable. The scene where he first defends that guy being beat up by the gangsters is really awesome; one of the best scenes in the whole movie.

I love the narration, I love the off-the-wall daring quality the film has and I love how I could never anticipate what was going to happen next. It's bloody, it's gory and it's funny as hell. There are a lot of characters, all really funny, interesting and pleasing to watch. Like Frank D'Amico, who has some great lines - like where he's fuming about the Kick-Ass impersonator he killed, snorting cocaine the whole time. And I really like something about Red Mist, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. He just kind of works. There's something really funny about his mannerisms and the way he's such a putz even though he poses like he's this really cool, confident guy. Great character.

The fight scenes are just enthralling. Nic Cage and Chloe Moretz as Big Daddy and Hit-Girl make a great team - their first scene starts off with Cage shooting Moretz in the chest. Any scene in which they exchange dialogue is simply golden - "I'm just fucking with you, Daddy" - and any movie that has a bunch of trained adult bodyguards running in fear of a twelve year old girl with a purple wig is at least trying, and succeeding wholly in this case. Hilarious.

One more scene I have to mention as particularly great is the 'live execution' staged by D'Amico's thugs, just for the 'oh shit!' factor you get. It's just two superheroes falling prey to real life violence and crime and paying the price. Adds a little something to the film, I think. Brutal, harsh and dreadful...but also not that realistic. I'm personally willing to overlook that.

The climax is simply one of the best action movie climaxes I've seen in a while. It's goofy, it's spunky and it sets everything aflame with a beautifully witty intensity that I love. Pure cheese, sure, but it's some of the best cheese around. Explosions, machine guns and high-flying jet packs are the order of the day here and you will certainly feel like coming again once it's over.

The whole movie is done with the intensity of a normal movie's climax, even the really normal-seeming parts. It's all played up to a ridiculously over the top kind of urgency, a strange, kinetic energy, with every bit of the plot being too important to sacrifice or leave off as trivial. What would normally be called 'build up' or 'exposition' is done here with enough flair and style to be just as good as the high-octane action. That's why it's such a damn good summer blockbuster type movie! Simply impeccable. This is a film that is too enjoyable not to love. It's good because it makes you sit up and pay attention every time they introduce a new plot point, and say, "did they just do that?" But of course they did, and you will love it. I'm not trying to dictate your emotional response me, you will.