So it finally gets released and being one of the only films in recent memory that I have been waiting more then a year to see, is it actually worth it.
All I can say is that it exceeds all of my previous expectations; this is a fantastic (and often fantastical) deconstruction on the superhero genre. The story concerns high school loser Dave Lizewski who decides after being picked on and the average joe just passing by and ignoring these random acts of violence, to become Kick-Ass a local superhero. After his first encounter he is stabbed and then run over by a car severally wounding him, leaving him with metal rods and plates all over his body (“I look like wolverine”) and with damaged nerve endings, impervious to the most brutal of beatings. So with Kick-Ass 2.0 he begins fighting crime, until a chance encounter with a load of street thugs outside a dinner which gets filmed and placed on youtube. Making him an instant internet phenomenon, this in turn allows him to set up a myspace page that desperate citizens can use to contact him for his help. In the mean time father and daughter superhero team, Big Daddy and Hit Girl are taking out gangster Frank D’Amico’s drug dealers, but for what purpose?.
If you read my earlier post about my 5 reasons for being excited about “Kick-Ass”, then all I can say is that all of those expectations where either met or surpassed which is surprising since most films that either get me excited or jazzed to see, turn out to in fact be steaming piles of donkey shit. What amazes me about this film (now that I have allowed it to simmer for a day in my lovely grey matter) is that it constantly threw more stuff at the screen which just constantly impressed me. For starters it contains one of the best soundtracks since “Shaun of the Dead”, full of music which beautifully complements the images as well as the tone of the film.
Tonally this is spot on the length is perfect as well as each and every joke hitting its marks and although a lot of them are within the trailer, there are several which make an appearance, particularly aimed at the likeminded comic book geeks among you. The action when it hits is absolutely superb in its excitation, as evidenced in Hit Girl’s introduction which is suitably playful as well as darkly comic (thankfully they kept the sped up rendition of Banana Splits playing). All of the best action stems from Hit Girl’s on-screen despatching, one particular strobe lit sequence visually blew my mind, proving that in the right hands of a skilled director and DP, strobe lighting in an action sequence can proved excitement and not nausea.
Chloe Moretz provides that not all child actors read scripts phonetically by giving one of the best performances within the film and will more then likely draw comparisons with Natalie Portman’s performance in “Leon”, but that is no bad thing due to the level of pain she inflicts on unsuspecting goons and henchmen makes “Mathtilda” look like a big girls blouse. Great thing about this is you can almost sense the daily mail is going to have a field day with their film review, because Hit Girl seems to actively enjoy slicing and dicing. Ooh can you hear that in the air…..that is the sound of several right wing daily mail readers dropping dead on the floor…oh dear.
Nicolas Cage even impressed me more then the internet clips that have been buzzing around youtube for a while. This is one of his best roles for a good 12 years and it shows he is constantly enjoying and relishing his performance, as he switches from a sing-song vocal quality for his young daughter, to his masked persona which includes the best impression of Adam West I have ever had the pleasure to hear (at least once my initial laughter subsided). Even the inner monologue from Dave is humorous and at times even profoundly poetic, which brings me to Aaron Johnson’s performance. His American accent is just the right side of winey teen, but you truly believe in his character throughout, and you constantly feel sorry for him as he fails at his endeavours (that includes him acting gay to get a girl, as a rumour spreads around school).
The script is pin sharp and full of cultural references as well as sardonic and satirical jibes at both life and comics. So again Jane Goldman has provided a pitch perfect script for the second time and one what keeps you constantly entertained throughout with its darkly comic tone which seems to feel (if you exclude all Americanisation from it) utterly British in its sensibilities, one moment when Frank is talking to his son about the cinema and you hear in the background the torture of a rival gangster, felt oddly like a Monty Python sketch, or maybe it was just me.
All of this accumulates into a satisfyingly OTT action finale which has to been seen to be believed (and should not be spoiled) which literally grinning from ear to ear. I smiled, I laughed, I winced, I cheered and I want to see it again as soon as possible.
This film has restored my faith in cinema going (ever so slightly) that not all features are mass produced pieces of pish, which fall within the studio system. I know now why nearly every major studio turned this script down. It was so ambitious that the execs probably did not grasp the concept and had trouble seeing past the crassness of Hit Girl’s lines. For now they will forever know that it was a mistake, the end product is not only a fresh take on the superhero genre, but manages to deconstruct it before building it back up again.
Believe the hype this has to be seen.