Resisting the urge to scream, “It Kicked Ass!” Because, truly, it did. There are so many ways this movie could have been screwed up. I have to give major kudos to director Matthew Vaughn for not taking the easy route and producing this movie independently. From what the Internet tells me (all praise the mighty Web of Knowledge) Vaughn turned down major production companies because they wanted him to change too much. Kick-Ass is utterly perfect they way it is. Any changes would have ruined it.
That being said, let’s go through all the ways this movie (which is perfect, I’m going to stress that until you hate me) could have been ruined by the “I’m planning a third Transformers movie,” big-wigs of Hollywood.
1. The Rating: This had to be an R movie. PG-13 simply would not have cut it. It, as Vaughn said in one interview, would have offended the audience base it was aiming for. We of the 90’s violent comic generation enjoy our blood and gore. We like our guns, our bazookas, our butterfly knives, and our overkill (which this movie has plenty of). Humans bleed, we gush fountains of the stuff when we’re shot or stabbed. This is something Hollywood sometimes likes to ignore.
2. Teenagers: There is just enough teen awkwardness and angst in this movie. Nicely juxtaposed beside that lovely R-rated gore we so love. Hollywood would have contorted and twisted these scenes, making them an agonizing focal point we’d have to endure. We do not need to be forced to relate to these characters. When they’re written and acted well we do so automatically. By highlighting their shortcomings until we’re nauseous doesn’t make us sympathetic to them, it just makes us hate them.
3. The Characters: Hit-Girl, played by the phenomenal Chloë Grace Moretz, would be horrible. They would have changed her age or made her remorseful, or some other moral crap, and she wouldn’t be Hit-Girl anymore. She’d be another Batgirl and we all remember how well that went down. Kick-Ass would have some secret instead of being the most average superhero ever. Removing the thing that defines him as Kick-Ass. Or they would have cast some cuite on loan from Disney to fill the role so expertly executed by Aaron Johnson. Nicholas Cage’s role as Big Daddy (the first role in a long time in which I didn’t want to cover him in bees) would have been made less insane and I can’t even imagine what bizarre take they would have on Red Mist, played by the wonderfully nerdy Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
4. Directing: This is the kind of movie they would have shoved Michael Bay’s way. He would have sqeezed this one out between salivating over the third Transformers movie and the “re-imagining” of A Nightmare on Elm Street. All the action would be painfully rendered CG and somehow he’d manage to shove a pair of robot testicles in there. Matthew Vaughn has respect for the material; you can see the love in every baton hit across the face. The words I have for Bay’s respect for anything can only be properly translated through the dead language of Cthulhu. And then the world would end in a horrific tentacle explosion.
I’m going to end here because, really, nothing quite beats a tentacle explosion. Go see Kick-Ass, drag your friends along, bring the dog too. Then buy the DVD and all the merchandise and maybe we can send a message to Hollywood that they don’t have to dumb everything down to their level.