Before I write anything about Kick-Ass, the much discussed new movie by Matthew Vaughn, allow me to acknowledge that I read Kick-Ass, the comic book series by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., first, which may have been a mistake... albeit a minor one.
You see, I read the comic because I'd heard the hype and seen the trailers for the movie, and in my restless anticipation I read the book to soothe that desire.
Oddly, I got from the movie what I'd originally wanted from the book, but then my experience and hopes for the movie were altered by the book by the time I saw the movie.
Millar is a writer that I'd never bother to think of myself as a fan of, and yet I somehow do frequently gravitate to his books. I'm not sure why. I know they tend toward hype, but my interest in comic book hype is pretty low right now. I think there's an unconscious attraction to the purity of his cynicism. It reminds me of Sergio Corbucci, although I'm sure the more common comparison is Chuck Palahniuk, however I'd not yet state that Millar's best work yet compares to Corbucci's best.
Now, "Kick-Ass" joins Millar's earlier Wanted in having a movie adaptation that removes many of the more cynical aspects of the original work. In the case of Wanted, the movie by Timur Bekmambetov, I didn't feel they found something to replace that cynicism.
Vaughn does, however, and he replaces it a vital, strangely life-affirming quality, which is certainly the contradiction that's throwing off the movie's critics. Although I'm not sure it isn't part of my own intrigue.
Where do I stand on the movie? In a critical sense, conflicted. On a personal level, at the end of a long week for me and more especially for Kim, with the will for a good time at the movies, I felt it delivered exactly that. I'll be interested in revisiting it to see if my conflicts sort themselves out. It does not lack for charms, especially the enthusiastic and inspired performance by Chloë Grace Moretz.