|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Monday, 22 March 2010 16:58|
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Have you ever watched Spider-Man and wondered what it would be like if Peter Parker cut someone's head off? Mark Millar has. But blood and guts arent part of cinema's superhero world. They're part of the real world, where superheroes aren't people with super powers, they're people with big guns and mental health problems. It's tribute to Millar's genius that the idea works so well - his clever comic book series is not only original, but it's something that truly lives up to its form: it's novel. And it's incredibly graphic.
Who better, then, to tackle the twisted humour of Millar's mind than Matthew Vaughn? Well, you could easily name a few (Layer Cake and Stardust are hardly distinctive cinema classics) but after seeing Kick-Ass on a big screen, you'll see how perfect a fit it all is. Shunning studio funding for a free reign with the tremendous source material, Vaughn doesn't go easy on the swearing. Or the violence. Or anything, for that matter. This is one of those rare occasions in cinema (even rarer for a comic book movie) - a director really cutting loose with some high-class adult entertainment.
Trying to woo Katie, the girl of his dreams, Dave soon ends up on YouTube mid-punch up. Sure enough, Kick-Ass becomes an internet sensation overnight. Soon he's fighting mob boss Frank D'Amico (Strong) alongside fellow vigilantes Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit-Girl (Moretz) - a 10 year old with a taste for knives, guns and the c-word. Setting up society's saviours as unbalanced nutjobs, Kick-Ass pulls no punches in its dark treatment of the genre stereotypes: a jaded ex-policeman, Big Daddy is out for revenge against D'Amico's wannabe Scarface, while Dave lives with his widower father, pretending to be gay just to get into Katie's bedroom.
But while everything is laugh-out-loud funny, you still end up feeling some kind of warped sympathy for these crazy characters. It helps that they're all clearly having so much fun - John Lennon is a reliable lead, while Cage's OTT Adam West impression puts him back at the top of his game. Even Christopher Mintz-Plasse outgrows McLovin' playing Kick-Ass copycat, Red Mist. As for Chloe Moretz's psychotic schoolgirl? Believe the controversy: she's as bloodthirsty as you could imagine, with a disturbing streak of cute naivety. Every time she mows down a roomful of bad guys, don't be surprised if she gets a standing ovation.
It's all pulled off with consummate style. Jane Goldman's sharp script, co-written with Vaughn, is a perfect port of Millar's witty dialogue and post-modern references (even with that anachronistic use of MySpace). They chop and change the plot a lot, but every change works, creating a wonderfully hyper cartoon-like reality. And Matthew Vaughn's direction is amazing; visceral, dynamic and overwhelmingly confident, he finds his voice here as a filmmaker and never hits a bum note.
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