Friday, April 16, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass is, first and foremost, an uncompromising movie.  It was made without studio interference, and the artistic vision of the director comes through the final product, as does the voice of Mark Millar, who originally wrote the comics it's based on.

The thing is, sometimes compromise is a good thing, particularly when subtlety is called for.  As for artistic vision, this is the director of the Stardust we're talking about.  And, while Mark Millar has written some great stories (Red Son is nothing short of fantastic), the majority of his work we've seen has been mediocre at best.  We never did get around to reading Kick-Ass, and we don't feel particularly inspired to do so at the moment.

This isn't to say Kick-Ass is entirely bad.  In fact, as a whole, it averages out to good.  But good won't cut it this time.

The issue isn't so much with the movie as with our expectations.  We've all seen the previews, which were, on a whole, amazing.  Those scenes were amazing in the movie, well: seeing them before hand didn't dull their effect.  What it did was give us an opportunity to imagine what the movie could be.  And that comes down to a single word:

Fun.  This movie could have been fun.  If the pacing had kept up or if the tone had been more consistent, it could have worked at that level at least.  Had they cleaned up the dialogue as well, then it might have reached for something higher.

With that said, this is still worth seeing, though not necessarily in the theater.  Hit Girl is awesome; an eleven year-old girl action hero embodies a facet of superheroics we hadn't seen before.  There's not a lot that wasn't covered in the previews and scenes released online, but there's enough to make this worthwhile.

Ultimately, as a dark spin on superheroes, this just isn't as grand, intriguing, or simply as much fun as Watchmen.  Granted, Watchmen had its problems, but it was certainly an experience to behold.  Kick-Ass had its moments, but it was nothing special.

Kick-Ass might have benefited from studio interference.  If the director had been told "no" from time to time, it could have meant a better film.  And, frankly, if a bit of the violence had been toned down, we doubt the finished product would have been poorer for the loss.

On a scale between one and five stars, where five represents The Incredibles, Kick-Ass gets two and a half.  This is a movie you need to see... but that's what Netflix is for.

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