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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Exciting new content: Richard's 95.7% spoiler-free review of 'Kick-Ass'! Warning stream of consciousness ahead!

Last night, I was able to watch Matthew Vaughn take a comic I enjoyed and turn it into a movie I loved. Mark Millar's story was brought to life with the verve and punch to create a modern classic in the superhero genre. It's not as mean as the comic is and takes a number of very different choices but many of them are fascinating if not better paths to take; the 'Hollywood ending' that many have hinted at isn't so much part of the finale as it is an impetus for the climax. The stakes are a little higher and while some of the events from the second half of the series have been cushioned, it helps in creating drama and enhancing the character arcs. Vaughn is one amazing director to be sure and I'm waiting with bated breath for his next project to be announced. His talent is evident in the co-writing of the screenplay with Jane Goldman, who also co-wrote 'Stardust' with him. Every choice in the movie is interesting if not fantastic. All the action sequences have a different flavor and feel, from kinetic to claustrophobic to traumatic. Anyone directing an upcoming action movie should be sweating bullets at this point because essentially any scene featuring Hit-girl is a new classic for anyone's highlight reel. She's going to be something that everyone talks about, much the same way it was with the source material. Credit, though, needs to go to Aaron Johnson for giving a lot of gravity to the title character; I think it could even be argued that he's more interesting in the movie then he was in the comic where things kind of stalled around issue #3. They picked up when the duo of HG and Big Daddy appeared but that never happens here. Big Daddy himself is portrayed in a very interesting way by Nicolas Cage; he definitely grabs onto the surreal aspect of the movie's content and gives interesting points to the character in both of his identities. Be forewarned, many of the things involving his character are part of the movie's biggest changes but that could be a result of the movie being shot long before the comic was even finished. Mark Strong is very entertaining as crime boss Frank D'Amico and leaves a much stronger impression here then the character ever did in the comic. He's dangerous but still very funny in the process of being a genuine threat; the interaction he has with his legion of thugs is definitely a highlight of the film's dialogue. Christopher Mintz-Plasse also had a few aspects of his role altered but they likely won't be as noticeable until much later. In the meantime, he gives a hilarious effort as the Red Mist; the scene of him and Kick-Ass in the Mistmobile is one of the funniest things in a film since the end of last summer. It's a scene where every part of making a film comes into play especially the genius use of music. The pacing is great and with a runtime of 118 minutes it never feels too long and it's a great team effort from everyone in the cast to keep your interest. From the top billed to the most minor mafia goon everyone has something to make them memorable; in fact, the latter offer some of the movies biggest laughs. It's an excellent technical movie as well and it definitely leaves you excited for whatever is coming next from both Millar and Vaughn. Accurate to it's source material in all the important ways, 'Kick-Ass' impresses even when it deviates; while I'm looking forward to 'the Losers' it's got quite the hurdle to get past when it's released next week as the competition is steep.

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