Kick-Ass (2010) 3.57/5 (5)


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Rating: The Good – 75.9
Genre: Action, Comedy
Duration: 117 mins
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz

One could be forgiven assuming that this was just another action comedy flogging the same ole pony – guy with no powers tries to be superhero. And for the first 18 minutes, it lives up to said expectations. However, at that point it quite refreshingly takes a turn for the dark and continues to throw curve balls from then on. The story focuses on a young teenage guy (Aaron Johnson) who gets tired of looking the other way when bad things happen and eschews his life as a typical geek to don a wet-suit and fight crime as “Kick-Ass”. It never really takes off for him (although there are a few tasty moments) mostly because there are bigger fish out there in the form of Nicolas Cage’s “Big Daddy” and his daughter “Hit Girl” played brilliantly by Chloë Grace Moretz.

Just like Big Trouble in Little China, Kick-Ass is happy for its hero to be more doofus than action man and it’s in that the true strength of the story lies as it allows the secondary characters to be all the more impressive and gives the film a wider base. The script is highly original and suitably funny. The actors are all on top form and add serious levels of charm to the film. The set-up of the first act loosely follows that of Raimi’s Spider-Man and there are more well placed nods to the better superhero movies throughout. Matthew Vaughan’s direction moves from goofy funny, slick cool, to uber-dramatic and always perfectly contrasting the reality of Kick-Ass’ life with his aspirations. The action scenes are simply mind-blowing in their choreography and also in terms of the concepts underlying them. That, combined with some wonderfully innovative direction, ensures you haven’t seen anything like them before and while sudden interchanging between slow-motion and fast-motion shots can often be grating and indicative of that nasty CSI TV culture, they’re used sparingly here and always in the right place.

Best feature of Kick-Ass, however, has to be John Murphy’s mighty score. For a composer who was always teetering around the edges of the sublimely cool, this is his coming of age score where he fully realises better than any composer before him (whether that be Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard) the spirit of the superhero in musical form. His score is an ode to the whimsical ideal of the superhero, an actualisation of the very concept. Moreover, he resists all temptation to repeatedly hit you over the head with it and instead, he tantalises you throughout, building ever closer until it explodes at the finale in a crescendo that will have you on your feet punching the air. And that’s just the primary Kick-Ass accompaniment! The secondary Big Daddy and Hit-Girl themes are just as hair-raising and perfectly whet the appetite for the main event. Not to belittle any of the other work on this project – because it is uniformly excellent – but Murphy’s boisterous achievement makes this film worth watching alone. All in all, this is a rousing superhero movie and a breath of fresh air for the genre. It’s darker and more violent than most but all the healthier for it. If you like movies that think outside the box and deliver a serious punch then look no further.

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