I've been anticipating this movie for quite some time. But I really didn't know what to think of it from the Green Band trailer. Then the Red Band trailer came out and it was like "OMG," as they say. And the closer it came to release, the more excited I got. Ironically, though, I didn't realize it was coming out this week until it was almost Friday. Lame. But I just got back from seeing it, and I must share my opinion.
The plot is pretty straight forward. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a nerd who starts to wonder why nobody has ever tried being a superhero. And after yet another mugging of him and his friends (Even Peters and Clark Duke), he decides to order a wet suit and be one. Well... it doesn't really work out, ending up in a near-death experience. However, it messes with some nerve endings and infuses his body with some metal plates, allowing him to take quite a punch or two. And then he tries again... still getting his ass kicked, but fairing better. And this time, people see it happen and put videos of the fight up on YouTube (or a similar site). Meanwhile, mobster Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) is losing some money and drugs to somebody ruining his plans, and he starts believing it's the new superhero Kick-Ass, while it's really the vengeful daughter-father team of Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), who take a page from Kick-Ass' book and dress up like superheroes. But Frank can't get a hold of Kick-Ass, so his son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who really just wants to prove himself to his father, takes up the moniker of Red Mist to lure Kick-Ass into a trap and deliver him to his father. But all of this isn't nearly as easy as it seems.
Really, there's not a whole lot to say about the movie besides the obvious: it kicked ass (I know, so original). The action is phenomenally over-the-top and awesome, especially in regards to Hit-Girl. Chloe Moretz is the real star of the movie... at least the action parts. Kick-Ass (the character) really has Harry Potter syndrome. He's in over his head and, albeit having potential, mostly relies on his friends and acquaintances to survive at any given time. In other words, he gets the crap kicked out of him for most of the movie. But I believe that's the point.
As for the other characters, the most surprising was Chris/Red Mist. The trailers make him look like he's just gonna be some kind of wannabe inspired by Kick-Ass, but his story is actually much more interesting. Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays a much darker character here than he's done in the past, and he actually didn't make any of the character turns I expected him to. As for Nicolas Cage... other people have said it already, but this is one of his best roles in years.
There were only really a couple disappointing factors, but they weren't anything huge. First, the love interest angle of the story almost felt tacked on, like they did the rest of the movie and realized that they needed to give the main character a personal story as well, something for him to connect with when he's not getting beaten up. It wasn't overtly like that, but there were times when it just wasn't working for me. The other minor quibble was that they seem to build up this whole "he can't leap from one building to another" thing, but it doesn't really pay off anywhere. Granted, what it might have been doing was setting up a fear of heights which plays into the climax of the movie... if that's the case, then it's understandable. I was just waiting for a moment when he'd have to leap from one building to another, and it just didn't happen.
You've heard it already--the movie is uber-violent. Let's just say Tarantino would be proud. So let's just segue from that into the visuals: there's some good camera work, and the action scenes aren't confusing to follow whatsoever. And while there is a tiny bit of slo-mo, it doesn't feel out of place or overused. And there are some fantastic cinematography shots, like during the strobe-light fight, which is probably (outside the climax) one of the coolest parts of the whole film.
Besides the violence, the movie is hilarious, too. The only joke that really kinda seems out of place is one from the Red Band trailer--the masturbation joke. But it's so early on in the movie (the very beginning) that it doesn't feel out of place at the time. Only in hindsight. But there really aren't all that many crude sex jokes. And I'm not saying it bothered me. It didn't. It's just a random note looking back at the humor of the film.
One last thing I want to bring up is the soundtrack. This movie had to have one of the coolest action-comedy soundtracks ever. I seriously just loved the music in this movie, from the instrumental stuff to the ones with lyrics. The only gripe I have with the music is that they ripped off the main theme to 28 Days/Weeks Later (the long song they play at the beginning parts of both movies and/or during any slow-building intense moments of either film). Well, I don't think it's a rip-off, because it isn't a song that sounds like the theme. It actually is the song itself. But considering it's one of my favorite movie tracks ever, I forgave it just for the sake of including such a great song during a cool scene.
In fact, I can forgive practically all of my quibbles with the movie based on the last 20-30 minutes alone. It's practically one long action sequence (like... a pre-climax leading up to the climax). And with a big dose of incredible and over-the-top action and good humor, Kick-Ass is the movie to see right now. At least if you're into insane action-comedies.
Royale With Cheese
(P.S. Was I the only person to chuckle at the movie theater marquee sporting that "The Spirit 3" was now playing?)