Based on a comic book mini-series that wasn’t even finished when production began, Kick-Ass follows Dave Lizewski, a teenager who buys a costume and hits the streets as a “super hero” to help people. Using the moniker Kick-Ass he discovers that he is way out of his depth when he meets the real deal in the form of Hit Girl and Big Daddy, a father and daughter pair of vigilantes on the trail of mob boss Frank D’Amico. As Kick Ass begins to get the blame for the pair’s “work” he finds himself in the sights of the D’Amico family who put their own “super-hero” on the streets to trap Kick-Ass.
I’ve been excited about this movie ever since I read issue one of the series about a year ago. I only became more and more excited as I only heard good things from magazines and other reviews. Empire gave it a full five stars. In actual fact the movie left me conflicted. Here’s why.
I’m not going to lie to you. I massively enjoyed the movie. It was cool, snappy and didn’t try to pull any punches with language or violence like many films do these days to secure a lower certificate. Characters, especially Hit Girl were portrayed wonderfully and I really can’t see a weak link in the cast. Similarly, the direction, score and action were all top notch. No problems there either. What left me conflicted was the not so graceful deviations from the source material: the comic book series.
I’m the first to admit that in certain comic to film adaptations you have to make changes, either to flash out the content to fit a 2 hour movie or to cover up things that simply can’t be translated from comics (see Wolverine’s blue and yellow spandex). In Kick-Ass, though things were changed that really shouldn’t have been. Most of these I could overlook but two points; climax and Dave’s relationship with the girl of his dreams differed so much that it left me feeling disappointed. Maybe if you hadn’t read the comics these things wouldn’t bother you. but they bothered me.
But the thing, on reflection that bothered me the most is how they translated the character Red Mist (Christopher Mintz Plasse) from comic to screen. In the comics, the true nature of Red Mist is only revealed when the double-cross is punctuated by a swift pistol whip to the back of Kick-Ass’ skull. In the movie, the set-up is dealt with out in the open and as such an opportunity for a great plot twist is thrown away.
In the grand scheme of things these flaws are minor. Kick-Ass is up there with Iron Man and Watchmen at the top end of the comic to film genre. I recommend you go and see it then read the comics.