Kick Ass (2009) Dir. Mathew Vaughn


A battier Batman, a whacked-out Watchmen, 
Mathew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass is a sweary shed-load of fun!

WARNING: SPOILERS WIELDING FISTS OF RIGHTEOUS COMIC BOOK FURY

Considering that the recent crop of comic book hero flicks have been dark, moody grump-fests or frothy, hi-tech quip-a-thons, it’s truly super to find a film that gets the blend of both extreme, insane comic book violence, and the need for characters you can actually enjoy. Kick Ass is a perfectly pitched piece of self-aware super violence, and while not for kids, it’s a long way from the bleakest aspects of the Dark Knight, or the tequila-swigging high-life of our beloved Tony Stark.

In fact, it seems to owe a larger part of its inspiration to both 2002’s Spiderman and its spot-on spoof, Superhero Movie (2008). The hero, Dave (Aaron Johnson) is steeped in superhero self-awareness, inspired to be a superhero because he can’t figure out why no one else would do it. He sucks, but a costume can work some serious magic, and as the callow youth works his way up to full kick-assery, sort of, he comes up against some seriously bad-ass enemies – and their enemies are even worse!

Mathew Vaughn brings a ballsy fresh take on the overused superhero origin story, and as he apparently paid for the whole thing following countless studio rejections, it’s even more impressive that this looks and behaves as awesomely as it does. Yes, there’s swearing – but it’s hardly out of context and it’s played for humour throughout. However violent it gets, it’s certainly not a disturbing film. It’s in the league of 300, where the violence is almost balletic and the baddies tend to deserve it. Watching it is a hyper-real sugar rush, the very best sort. As long as you aren’t the kind of person who actually believes a ten-year old girl can go around beating the crap out of fully grown Mob guys, but totally enjoys seeing that happening on screen, then you’ll have a blast.

The music is brilliant, as you’d expect from Layer Cake’s director! Nice use of Gnarls Barkley, with the song that SHOULD have been in Watchmen, and a lot of love for the spiky bass of the Prodigy, and 28 Days’ Later’s chilling ‘In a Heartbeat’, among many others. There is no bad in his soundtrack choices, which are very important for a film as soaked in pop-culture as this one. There are a LOT of pop-culture references, although I think the only ones that will date are the film’s obsession with Myspace pages, but that’s nitpicking.

The strangest thing about Kick Ass, which separates it from the bulk of Sin City wanabees, is that it maintains a sweet, believable centre. Honest. And, while it’s not totally realistic that a girl would forgive a guy for pretending to be gay (which she just assumed, to be fair) because he’s also a costumed vigilante – and kinda cute – then jump him in bedroom where he snuck in on her….well, she kinda digs him, so that’s OK, too!

David/Kick Ass’s friends are also hilarious. The best/worst mates in the world. Plus, I dearly want to hang out in their comic book store cum coffee shop too. 

Highly recommended, the best way to spend your designated beer and pizza evening (or fine brie and port, whatever…), and it stays interesting enough to quell the urge to talk all over the top of it. High praise indeed. Open your mind to Kick Ass, and discover a heap of OTT comic book fun that knows exactly where it came from and then does one better.

Kick Ass kicks arse! 

That’s a good thing.

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