Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Kick-Ass does it.
With respect to Marc Webb, Matthew Vaughn would have been a great choice to direct the next Spider-man movie. In a way he already has with his adaptation of the Kick-Ass comic book.
After producing Guy Ritchie's early films, Vaughn went on his own and directed a pre-Bond Daniel Craig in Layer Cake. Later he was selected to replace Brian Singer on X-Men 3, but he dropped it in favor of Neil Gaiman's Stardust.
Like previous works such as Watchmen, the Kick-Ass comic attempted to depict what would happen if superheroes existed in the real world. Mark Millar (writer) and John Romita Jr. (artist) took the idea one step further by basing their comic on the real-life costumed vigilantes that have popped up patrolling America's streets.
The movie is a very faithful to the source material and where there are differences, it is usually an improvement. The violence is toned down, and multiple characters are portrayed in a better light. Where the comic was dark and cynical, the movie is bright and positive.
Overall, it's a very fun film. The action is well-staged. Most of the performances are well-done and the story holds your interest.
Many elements in the film evoke Sam Raimi's Spider-man trilogy. The cinematography recreates the brightly colored world of comics. Aaron Johnson's plays the protagonist like he's channeling the spirit of Tobey Maguire. The main story arc is like an alternate history where Peter Parker never got special powers, but still decided to fight crime.
Chloe Moretz's portrayal of the homicidal Hit-Girl is the highlight of the film and it's most problematic element. Not since Natalie Portman starred in Luc Besson's Leon has there been a more memorable juvenile killer. Watching this 11-year old slaughter a bunch of gangsters can be entertaining, but it might create confusion about the film's intended audience. Despite the young cast and colorful costumes, this movie has a well-earned R-rating.
Another issue is that the film's climax is so over the top that it abolishes any notion that the movie takes place in the "real world".
Kick-Ass is a movie worth seeing and a worthy addition to the superhero film-canon. Just don't expect it to be very family-friendly.