Published at: March 4, 2010, 8:52 a.m. CST by merrick
...with a look at KICK ASS from AICN reader DrDroog. I liked that he caught the...pacing dip...'towards the middle of the film. It's definitely there, although it didn't impact my overall love of this movie. Doesn't sound like it phased DrDroog too much, either.
There was a special screening of Kick-Ass in Mesa, AZ tonight and I was lucky enough to get invited. Atomic Comics is featured heavily in the film, and this screening was primarily for the Atomic Comics Phoenix staff members. This will be a spoiler-free review so feel free to read without fear.
The movie opens up just like the comic book, with a random person jumping off of a building in an attempt to fly like a super hero. From there it moves right into the creation of Kick-Ass and how Aaron Johnson’s character goes from normal high school kid, Dave Lizewski, to the vigilante Kick-Ass. I expected this part of the movie to be somewhat slow like how many super hero origin stories are, but it moved along quickly with humorous parts at key intervals to keep the audience entertained.
This is the first time I’ve seen Johnson outside of his small role in The Illusionist, but I was impressed. His actions and words as both Dave Lizewski and Kick-Ass did not feel forced or misplaced. The transformation from a nerd who can’t even talk to girls, to a confident crime-fighter was perfect. I felt his confidence as Kick-Ass, and cringed as he tried to hook up with the primary love interest in the movie.
Lizewski’s two friends, played by Clark Duke and Evan Peters interacted well with Johnson. Peters didn’t say much, but he added just enough to each scene he was involved in. Duke, even as a secondary character, nearly stole the show. It’s easy to see why he’s getting more and more roles. When he interacts with Johnson it really feels like what a smart ass kid would say to his friend. It felt convincing and added significantly to the flow of the movie, especially in scenes that would’ve been slow and dull without the natural interaction between Duke and Johnson.
If you’ve watched all of the red band trailers, you’ve seen most of the early scenes of Nicolas Cage’s Big Daddy and Chloe Moretz’ Hit-Girl. Unfortunately, there’s a brief period in the middle of the film that begins to slow down. I found myself starting to lose interest, but these two quickly bring you back and keep you in your seat for the remainder of the movie. Every line out of Hit-Girl’s mouth is pure gold, and the audience was reacting to her more than any other character. Her acrobatic fight scenes were also some of the best parts of the movie.
Nicolas Cage does not disappoint either. And while he’s outdone by Hit-Girl, he was convincing every step of the way. There’s a scene just before the turning point of the movie where Big Daddy shows us a completely different side than what we’ve seen previously. Cage pulls this transition off flawlessly. He’s usually hit or miss for me, but he was definitely on point this time around.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse turned in a solid performance as Red Mist, but he’s beginning to get type-casted. Every time he was on screen I couldn’t help but think of McLovin or Augie Farks from Role Models. He did his job, but he was probably the weakest link in the main cast.
Even the minor roles in Kick-Ass were played to perfection, with solid laughs coming from Nelson Frazier Jr. as a body guard, and Jason Flemyng as a door man. Mark Strong as mob boss Frank D’Amico turned in an average performance, making D’Amico really feel like a typical mob boss. With virtually everyone else showing us their A-game, it was a bit disappointing to see a mob boss who was average at best.
I won’t spoil the end of the movie (which has changed since early drafts of the screen play), but it was an impressive end to a highly entertaining film. As a former video game reviewer, I’ve become fairly critical of both games and movies, but I was thoroughly entertained by Kick-Ass. Even the small stutter around the middle of the film was easily overlooked by how outstanding the rest of the film was. I just hope the general public feels the same way so we can get the sequel that’s clearly setup at the end.