Everyone who loves comic books has heard of the breakthrough comic series by Icon ‘Kick-Ass’ which was originally printed in 2008. The series took the comic world by storm as this young teenage boy decides to pick up the mask and become a superhero. It soon took on a new light when in 2010, a movie was produced to commemorate the comic books success. Comic book nerds around the world fell in love with ‘Kick-Ass’ due to its brutality and realism as modern day batman’s kicked some ass with plenty of blood to go round. It really added a touch of realism to the now superhero film craze so many of us are enjoying today.
Not too long afterwards, in the independent circuit, another movie was being produced with the same touch of realism as ‘Kick-Ass’. ‘Super’ was also released that same year but was lost in the shadows of its more popular advisary. Now that I’ve seen both films, I feel that I can give an honest opinon of them; comparing their strengths and weaknesses and why I think one succeeds where the other fails.
‘Kick-Ass’ (2010) follows a young teenage boy named Dave (Aaron Johnson) who is a bit of a nerd. He’s a fan of comic books and along with his friends, idolizes them with the same spark so many other nerds do. After he and his friends were robbed on the street, Dave decides to take matters into his own hands. He constructs a suit and begins patrolling the streets of the city in an effort to kick crimes ass. After a small hiccup, his face becomes plastered all over the internet and his status as small time crime fighter takes on a new leaf. He soon befriends a father/daughter team of crime fighters, with way more experience then an average teenage boy. Hitgirl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her father Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) have a mission of their own in mind; to take down the big time mobster drug lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Seeing Kick-Ass as a threat, D’Amico’s son Chris (Chris Mintz-Plasse) creates his own superhero personae Red Mist and he soon befriends Kick-Ass in an attempt to find out who has been meddling in his fathers affairs. Getting closer to the truth, Chris relies the information to his father and a trap is soon devised to take out these do it yourself super heroes.
‘Super’ (2010) follows a quiet and subdued restaurant cook named Frank (Rainn Wilson) who prides himself in his accomplishments which aren’t very many. One day, he finds out his recovering wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) has left him for a smart smooth talking drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon). Frank is devastated that his wife has fallen victim to Jacques diabolical trickery and tries to find a way to save her. He idolizes a cheesy Christian superhero show and, while watching it for any sign of encouragement, soon has a vision of what he must do to save his wife. Using comic books as his Bible, Frank creates a superhero identity known as the Crimson Bolt. He begins to fight off petty criminals in an effort to make the world a better place. His face is soon plastered all over the news as people both praise and ridicule his clumsy heroic efforts. His interest in comics soon catches the attention of a girl named Libby (Ellen Paige) who works at the comic book store. After denying her the right to know the truth, Frank ends up going to Libby for help after he gets shot by one of Jacques men. Libby soon becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming his sidekick and soon Boltie is born. The pair slowly begin to close in on Jacques, bringing them one step closer to rescuing Sarah.
These two films have more similarities then differences. The overall premise is the same; two average people taking matters into their own hands. Each posses no skill, no super powers or previous combat experience. They are just two people who are looking to make a difference; no matter how small it may be. Right off the bat, the Crimson Bolt has more to loose when he first decides to take up the mask. His overall goal is addressed early on which allows the audience to watch him try and seek it’s conclusion. Kick-Ass is a bit more spontaneous in his involvement with D’Amico and his work. The other characters, Hitgirl and Big Daddy, have more at stake and more of a cause to bring D’Amico down. Kick-Ass just gets caught in the crossfire, although that does not belittle his involvement in any way.
Both of these films relish is amazing brutal combat. Both the Crimson Bolt and Kick-Ass are amateurs and it shows. Athough it seems Kick-Ass doesn’t really improve too much as the film goes on, Crimson Bolt begins to gain experience and knowledge of how to do certain things to achieve an advantage. With Boltie at his side, they become first rate Batman’s, creating gadgets and weapons to help them achieve the ultimate effectiveness. Even though Kick-Ass does not really improve his skills as much as C. Bolt, Big Daddy and Hitgirl pick up the slack. Watching them fight is like watching a dance, it’s overwhelmingly captivating.
Long story short, both films are incredibly entertaining. ‘Super’ I felt was more of a personally invested story. Wilson’s character had a purpose to become what he did and to do what he did. The ending was extremely heartwarming and satisfying. It gave the story more of a dramatic effect seeing Wilson’s character come into his own, alongside its relentless beating and bashing in of bad guys heads. ‘Kick-Ass’ was focused more on the action then the story. Not that there wasn’t one, this one was a lot more developed as the film went on. In a way, it made the film a lot more interesting. Also, the fact that the comics were already established with a huge fan base, helped the film achieve monumental status amongst movie goers and nerds alike.
No one can deny the sheer awesomeness of Hitgirl or the jaw dropping moments of Big Daddy’s clean up job at D’Amico’s warehouse; but maybe being a girl had a lot to do with me liking ‘Super’ just a little bit better. Believe me, I LOVE bloody action movies just as much as the next girl (well maybe not) but ‘Super’ just appealed to me more. I saw a lot of myself in Ellen Paige’s character, which made it hit home for me. Both these films were great, no doubt. There con’s are very very far from demoralizing any doubts that you will not enjoy them. So if you haven’t already seen them, don’t you think its about time you did?
Munky Rating: B / B+