It’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a movie. I’ve been very busy. You don’t want to hear about it and I don’t want to talk about it, so why don’t we just get down to business.
I finally saw Kick-Ass last week. It basically lived up to it’s billing as a funny superhero movie. I laughed. Not a lot, but when I did it was genuine. I’m willing to give it a tip-of-the-cap in the comedy department, although the target audience of most of the jokes is probably 10 years younger than me. It opened with a big laugh, which is always nice. Also not that hard to do considering I walk into these movies high off my ass. A really good comedy will still have me laughing in the second half. I can’t say Kick-Ass accomplished that feat, but it did keep me interested. The movie transitions away from comedy intentionally in the second half, and it works for the most part, so I’m not taking points away.
I’m a little surprised to be saying this, but what makes Kick-Ass entertaining is the actors. Aaron Johnson, who plays the title character, is straight-up likable. He toes the line between nerdy and cool perfectly. I even liked his look. Scraggly, yet well proportioned. I found myself thinking he was a guy I would’ve wanted to be friends with in high school. I’m 28 years old. I was seeing Kick-Ass by myself. Not my coolest moment. But the kid really was pretty good.
I also liked Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl, and that was shocking. I was sure I was going to hate this character. Irreverent little girl who kicks butt? I had my tomato ready. At any moment, I was gonna start hating this little girl. But it never happened. She kinda got it done. Yes, she sneers, kills people and curses, but she’s able to pull it off thanks to some excellent character development accomplished mainly in the back story. Kick-Ass has an excellent back story. I’m a sucker for that, and the way this movie traces the story of Hit Girl and Big Daddy had me noddin’ my stoney head in approval.
Big Daddy. Cage. The reason Kick-Ass was a must-see for me. I, like many of you, have been laughing at Cage for years. I mean he’s a joke, right? His next two movies coming out are The Sorceror’s Apprentice and Season of the Witch (I’ll be seeing and reviewing both). He was in The Weathermin, The Wickermin, The Familymin, and Matchstickmin. He’s in countless terrible action movies and seemingly has no shame about it. He’s expressed willingness to star in Ghost Rider 2: Ghost 2 Ghost. It seem like an open-and-shut case: this is a man deserving of jeers, not cheers.
And yet, some smart people think otherwise. Roger Ebert, for one. Dig this quote:
“There are often lists of the great living male movie stars: De Niro, Nicholson and Pacino, usually. How often do you see the name of Nicolas Cage? He should always be up there. He’s daring and fearless in his choice of roles, and unafraid to crawl out on a limb, saw it off and remain suspended in air. No one else can project inner trembling so effectively…. He always seems so earnest. However improbable his character, he never winks at the audience. He is committed to the character with every atom and plays him as if he were him”
The first time I read that I thought there must’ve been some mistake. He was talking about Nic Cage? What? But it’s not just Ebert. Some people I know and respect are big Cage fans. It’s always hard to tell how much of that is a joke and how much is genuine, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. Josh Duggan at Inconsiderate Prick, a movie/literature blog I recently stumbled upon*, makes the case for Cage nicely in his Kick-Ass review. Kind of hard to argue with him, honestly. Kick-Ass definitely pushed me more towards the pro-Cage camp.
*Duggan writes a Royals blog I like, and Inconsiderate Prick, his other blog, is linked there. Kinda like me with this and the Chiefschat. Anyway, he’s a good writer. One of four Royals bloggers I read regularly, along with Rany Jayezerli, Will McDonald at Royals Review, and my boy Diet Pepsi over at Bullpenboyz. I am such a loser. And I think I actually hate the Royals.
Cage’s performance as Big Daddy is definitely something everyone should see, if only because it needs to be factored in when evaluating him. A guy who chose to play this character has to be hilarious on some level. And while you can (and should) criticize his choice of roles in general, calling him a bad actor would be inaccurate. I said the same thing about John Travolta* in my review of From Paris With Love. These guys are clearly insane, but they definitely aren’t bad actors. Cage’s formula is to pick a ridiculous role and get after it. I can respect that. I think maybe I can respect Nic cage.
*I actually do really dislike Travolta though. As a person, he makes me sick.
I’ll tell you who I don’t respect: McLovin’. He bugs me. I’ve seen enough of him. Kick-Ass’s biggest flaw was the various high school kids who are supposed to be funny. I found them annoying, not endearing. Some people will probably also take issue with the abundant violence, but I have absolutely no problem with that. In fact, I enjoyed it. This scene in particular was incredible.