I think that having seen it, I should have been all over this movie from the very beginning. I guess just the image of Kick-Ass that adorns the cover made it look, to me, like it was taking the piss out of superhero films rather than what it is, which is a love letter to them. I’m glad that now I am in the club, however late I might be for the party.
Two things happened recently which brought it back to my attention – the first posters for the sequel arrived, where again I wasn’t really sure of what it was or what it was supposed to be. The second was that a girl I know got a tattoo of Hit Girl. A superb tattoo I should hasten to add and we normally have pretty similar tastes so I thought if she thinks that much of it then I really need to catch up. And so I did. And I definitely thank her for that.
From the very beginning, Kick-Ass had me under its spell. It played the usual layers game (you know, like an onion – how’s that for a nerd reference which somehow seems to fit in with this film) and seemed to be dealing with lot of emotions in different ways. Like many comic book movies it is about a loner, unlike them he does not suddenly gain powers, instead he simply decides to become a super hero by buying a suit and, well that’s pretty much as far as his plan goes. He is a boy with an empty space. His mother has died suddenly which is enough to send you to a million difficult spaces and he is spending his spare time being ignored by the girl of his dreams. He is essentially a hive of emotions, if he had been called Emotion Boy it would have made similar sense, but Kick Ass looks better on a t-shirt and probably made it easier to get a budget together.
There are many nods to Spider-Man, there is certainly a lot of Peter Parker in the main character, the guy just slightly out of step, trying to keep up with everything that is rushing past him. And like Peter Parker, he is very likable, which makes what is to come more exciting as you know that this guy is in way over his head and could get killed at any moment in a world where guns and explosions have replaced computers and homework. There are clever nods to this in the voiceovers, reminders of films in which the narrator is dead, leaving even more uncertain of what is coming.
Hit Girl. Man, Hit Girl is awesome. Again the death of a parent is a large breeding ground for the emotions that she feels, as well as the love of her father who she wants to impress at every step, even if it means being shot. By him. The fact that the father is played by Nicholas Cage is a super bonus, he is brilliant, on the top of his game, his costume seems to be a nod to the tragic main character of Phantom Of The Paradise (brilliantly nerdy reference) and he also quips about John Woo, which as a fan of Face/Off made me cheer at the screen.
The film not only takes from similar superhero tales, the way the soundtrack is used (tunes by The Dickies, Sparks, Joan Jett and additional music provided by Liam Howlett) is Tarantino 101 and ramps up the incredible action on show. As well as QT, the movie also owes something to Michael Mann in the way that the city itself seems to be an important character throughout.
Kick-Ass is a fresh and brilliant comic book movie, one that isn’t afraid of that description and revels in the ridiculous world into which it throws us. It’s also ridiculously violent, not playing safe for the younger audience or a lower certificate as we have seen a million times. In fact, and Christ knows I don’t want the BBFC to think they are being mellow, there is so much in here which screams 18 that you wonder if the censor popped out for a two hour fag during the brilliantly choreographed scenes of slaughter and a teenage girl being punched in the face after wiping out a line of gangsters. Now if the BBFC could act like adults every day and not think that we are taken in by everything on the big screen then that would be nice.
Great characters, great music, great action scenes, great script. Yep, Kick-Ass has it all. Now carry on with your hyping of the sequel, Hollywood, I am now all over that bitch!