Kick-Ass: The Comic Noize Review.

This past weekend, I settled myself down in the bowels of my local multiplex (as opposed to the bowels of my local Multiplex, which would just have been gross on all sorts of levels) and prepared to enjoy 2 hours or so of superhero satirizing snarkiness.

I’d say I got about an hour and a quarter. Maybe an hour and a half.

It’s not that Kick Ass was a bad movie, or even a bad adaption. It’s not. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s violent, it’s snarky, and at times it’s stupid. It’s everything you could want from a comic that was fun, funny, violent, snarky, and at times stupid. It’s just that somewhere along the line, they forgot what they were making fun of, and the movie turns into a full blown wish fulfillment superhero fantasy.

Production wise and acting wise, there’s nothing to complain about. The movie looks top notch. All the actors more than pull their weight, and Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl especially is going to come out of this with a cult following (which given her age, and the age of the character, is kind of creepy).

And of course Nicolas Cage puts his usual unusual touches on his role, using what’s been described as an “Adam West” voice during his costumed scenes as Big Daddy (though to me it was far more William Shatner). And there’s a point later in the movie where he seemingly channels his own performance in the camp classic remake of The Wicker Man.

(No, really, it’s up for sale. And has a bid.)

Certain critics have been harsh on the movie for the character of Hit Girl, Roger Ebert especially. And after seeing the movie, while certainly not offended or disturbed, I have to say, I completely understand. One of the few notable changes the movie made was to remove a certain twist from a certain characters origin (I’m trying to stay spoiler-free here), and by doing so they dulled the clarity of the “a real world kid sidekick would be a sociopathic mess stripped of an actual childhood” idea. The movie took more subtle paths towards this, such as shooting a big rescue scene from her perspective, making it look like a first person video game. So it’s clear to me how someone could miss the point.

(The point of this… much less clear.)

The long and short of it is, Kick Ass is a good movie. First and foremost, that’s what it is. And it certainly lives up to the superficial levels of the comic book. It’s the satirical part that it falls short on (and this is coming from someone who has his doubts as to just how much satire Millar was actually pumping into the comic in the first place; based on his past works, he strikes me as the type of guy who came up with the 11 year old mass murdering superhero idea first and the parody aspects of it second), as it drops the promised “these aren’t your same old superheroes” idea and settles for the standard Hollywood superhero movie route of big showdowns, big FX, and a happy ending. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, and it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as just a plain old cartoony shoot em up action movie.

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