I won’t necessarily say that I can’t see what all the fuss is about, because I can understand how seeing a pre-pubescent girl wielding a samurai sword, and a variety of guns while swearing can be jarring. However, I’ve read all the issues of the comic and it’s a lot more in your face on the page. What is sorely lacking from the transition to celluloid is the dark humour, and the likeable aspects of protagonist and titular vigilante Dave Lizewski.
It’s certainly a fanboy film, and comic creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, and film director Matthew Vaughan (Layer Cake) know their target audience well. From the Superman-like intro credits to the many scenes set in Atomic Comics, it is an experience for comic readers who can embrace the silly aspects of the superhero, with Nic Cage doing his best Adam West Batman impression, and Kick Ass hitting the streets in a green wetsuit. What is missing is the sense of fun, which does arrive too late at the film’s emotional and satisfying climax. Aaron Johnson is a fine actor, but he’s overshadowed in his own film, by baddie Mark Strong, Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the fumbling Red Mist. It’s not long into the film that Kick Ass deviates from the source material (particualarly in who dies and who lives) but with only 8 issues released in 2 years, the film makers had a lot of room to move.
It is an enjoyable film, but not as ‘out there’ as I expected. There’s no nudity or excessive swearing or intestine spilling. And that’s certainly a good thing. Any Tarantino film pushes the envelope more than this in respect to blood letting. Raising issues of family, friendship and standing up for your fellow man may get lost in all the gaudy costumes and gunplay, but don’t dismiss this film straight away. It’s not another great cross-over film with daring and artistic mass appeal like say, Sin City was, but at the same time, it does stand out more as a parody amongst the horde of comics films that have landed on cinema screens in the last few years and proves that even sequential art can be self referential rather than self reverential.