This Tuesday, Chloe, Frank, Al and I decided to catch a movie. Nothing else was playing past 10 except for the new comic inspired action/comedy, Kick Ass. I've seen the trailers and the movie looked pretty awesome. I've heard pretty decent things so I figured "What the hey? What kind of asshole says 'what the hey' ?"
The film is based on a comic book of the same name that is distributed through Marvel Comics. It follows the life of Dave Lizewski, a sort of 'everyman' character for the geeky comic crowd. Dave is an ordinary American teenager who spends most of his time floating though the shadows of high school while dealing with the existential issues of identity and angst. Dave spends most of his waking days hanging out at the comic book store with his equally geeky friends or in his bed room 'freeing the soldiers of love', so to speak. But after a few run ins with numerous street thugs, Dave decides that the people need a hero. Taking inspiration from the comic books which he admires so, Dave puts together a costume composed of a scuba suit. Armed with billy clubs and a taser, Dave sets off to save the world but he may have stumbled into something that is way bigger then he was ever prepared for.
The film stars Aaron Johnson, whose curly hair and self-effacing demeanour made me reflect on one of my childhood favorites; the Wonder Years and their lovable protagonist, Fred Savage. Who didn't think that the experiences of Kevin Arnold weren't based on their own experiences?! Seriously, everyone was able to relate with the kid. His narration was always on point; at times hilarious and at others extremely profound. And if it weren't for the Wonder Years, I wouldn't have known the 60's. If it weren't for Kevin Arnold, I wouldn't have known how to love. And if it weren't for Joe Cocker, I wouldn't have known the majesty of a stoned buffoon playing the air guitar on acid (no disrespect to Mr. Cocker, his Woodstock performance was epic). But what my digression proves is that Kick Ass understood this formula for success and employed it effectively through their character Dave Lizewski.
The Film also stars Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz. This was by far the best role Cage has played since Matchstick Men. Cage had to almost play two roles, one as the sharp and dark avenger, and the other as the nurturing and dainty father. Moretz shines hardest though, in what is sure to be her break-through role. Some may recognize Moretz from her role in (500) Days of Summer which was very minor at best. However, in Kick Ass, Moretz shows some extreme depth and displays some excellent acting skills. Her character was extremely tenacious and presumptuous while also displaying a light of innocence and vulnerability. What all these contradictions reveal is a film that has more depth then one would associate with comic book fan fare that will appeal to film goers at large.
The film was also technically brilliant. Comic books have a certain knack for capturing blood, violence, and gore; things we should all employ in our every day lives. It created the comic book feel very well and utilized zooms, slow motion and special effects to put the audience into the front seat of all the action. One scene that stands out in my mind is a slow motion of Moretz character set back to a strobe light. Absolutely brilliant!
Kick Ass is a great movie. It had some hardcore action, some great laughs, excellent talent and also looks at a the issue of social apathy that plagues our cities. It certainly is not okay to allow someone to be beaten or mugged, but how far are you willing to go to help your fellow man? Kick Ass is a highly irresponsible answer to that question, but is also a cool f'n movie!