As good as a nice cup of tea, and a sit down.

Monday, 12 April 2010

"With No Power, Comes No Responsibility"

This is the glorious Kick-Ass, one of my favourite new releases at the moment, and judging on how HMV is armed to the hilt with "Hit Girl!" slogan T-Shirts, comic books and action figures, I'm guessing it's not going to disappear quickly.

Here's my review:

Everyone said how ‘subversive’ The Dark Knight was. Obviously, it was more thrilling than the increasingly ridiculous franchise which came before it. But as readers will know, comics often deal with adult themes and violence: Batman merely tapped into that a little further than the average big-screen adaptation. Kick-Ass, on the other hand, takes the usual morality of comic books and skews it so far it’s easy to forget who has the upper ground.
You may think it strange that Matthew ‘Layer Cake’ Vaughn has turned his hand to a graphic novel, but it is his gangster sensibilities that make this film what it is. For a start, the only real, pure ‘good guy’ in this whole thing is the geeky, awkward protagonist Dave Lizewski (young Brit Aaron Johnson). Dave tires of being life’s pushover, buys a silly looking scuba suit and patrols back alleys trying to fight crime. Rather than the expected seamless cinematic transformation into masked crime fighter, it’s nice to see a reality check in with Dave for once. We see him stabbed, run over, beaten to pulp, set on fire, and generally pulverized. Dave’s luck starts to fail further, but he is saved by the ‘Good Guys’, father/daughter combo Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). You might sigh with relief at this development, but the twist comes in the fact that BD and HG are pretty nasty themselves.
Their quest for vengeance is run of the mill, after all, heroes always have an axe to grind. But what shocks is BD and HG’s gleeful appetite for violence. The more torturous ways they find to kill the criminals on their hit list, the better. Kick-Ass laughs in the face of duty and justice in favour of a healthy Tarantino-style splatter-fest, and this is what makes it so deliciously dark.
Strong comedic performances all round and an ever loveable Christopher ‘McLovin’ Mint-Plasse save Kick-Ass from straying into a total blood bath. The last 5-10 minutes tarnish the lustre a little but other than that, it’s a cheerful assault on common decency: tongue-in-cheek, funny and juvenile enough to offend the grown-ups.

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