This review is going to work as a review of both the comic book and the film, though mostly of the film.
Kick-Ass is an interesting movie, has all kinds of homages and in jokes to other super hero stories. The movie opens with a funny sequence which has already been spoiled to anyone who’s seen the trailer. From there it flashes back to tell the origin story of, the eponymous hero, Kick-Ass. Dave Lizewski is just an ordinary kid who’s in to comic books and overlooked by girls. When Dave begins to wonder why no eccentric loner has ever tried to become a superhero he orders himself a scuba suit and goes out in disguise. He spends a couple of weeks doing nothing really calling it training.
After a while he comes across some guys breaking in to cars and decides he’s had enough of just standing by and jumps in to stop them. After a short scuffle he is stabbed and left to bleed, then as he tries to get away he gets knocked down by a hit and run and Dave regains consciousness long enough to convince the paramedic to discard his costume and not tell anyone about it. Then the movie skips ahead to after Dave recovers and his x-rays now look like Wolverine, or so he believes. And despite his injuries he decides it’s now in his blood and he wants to continue with his secret identity. While at school a rumour has started that he is gay because he’s spread the story that he was mugged and the police reports say he was found naked, and this is when the girl of his dreams begins to take a second look at him, believing him to be gay and in need of help, and she has a thing for the damaged guys.
As the story goes on we find out there are other super heroes coming out of the wood works following Kick-Ass’s lead, and Dave quickly gets in over his head. The story of the film unfolds differently to the comic and by the end has diverged quite significantly. I only read the comic last week so I was worried I’d spoiled myself on the film but it’s told in such a way that I didn’t feel spoiled at all. There are some strong music cues that remind me strongly remind me of other superhero movies, which is probably the idea. There are a lot of fun scenes in the film and it’s definitely worth seeing for anyone who already has an interest, in fact I can see it being an enjoyable film for anyone who doesn’t even have an interest in comic book films because it works both as a send up of comic books and a film for the fans.
Between the comic and the film I’d be hard pushed to say what I prefer, they both have strengths and weaknesses. The comic, although not quite at the same level, seems like a Watchmen for this generatation, whose greatest fear isn’t nuclear bombs dropping and commies, but boredom and lack of cool factor. Whereas the film works well as a comic book film as well as a comedy, although it is quite over the top at times it still manages to work and be entertaining. So I’d probably rate both the book and film on par as solidly good, but just shy of being great.