A main character dressed as a superhero fights crime, narrates his own story and in some moments breaks the fourth wall.
Think I’m talking about “Deadpool?” Nope. I’m talking about “Kick-Ass,” the 2010 action comedy adaptation of the comic book. In just a few days “Deadpool 2” will be released, with the first one coming to theaters in early 2016.
Despite both of these films having a great number of similarities to “Kick-Ass,” though, people seem to have forgotten the movie that’s now nearly a decade old. But the fact is that “Kick-Ass” deserves to be remembered and recognized because of how it raised the bar, especially in this period of time where we have the “Deadpool” films coming out.
So let’s go back to 2010. The Marvel cinematic universe had just gotten started, with only “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” coming out so far. As for mature themes, the closest mainstream audiences got to see when it comes to superhero features was “The Dark Knight.” Additionally, aside from “Mystery Men” from over a decade ago, not many films from Hollywood brought a satirical view on the superhero genre.
Then, came “Kick-Ass.” A well written, superbly acted and topical feature film that poked fun at the superhero genre while still taking itself seriously enough to tell a meaningful story.
It was also rated a hard R, with brutal, bloody fight scenes, complete with all kinds of style and color thanks to Director Matthew Vaughn and his crew. Just like “Deadpool” had its entertaining and gruesome highway battle, “Kick-Ass” featured an amazing shootout in a hallway.
It should also be noted that the “Kick-Ass,” like “Deadpool,” has a kick ass soundtrack. The music is mixed in fantastically with the battle sequences, such as the scene where “Kick-Ass” wins his first fight. This is something that both films share, as each uses numerous songs in great ways to match what’s going on in their respective movies.
“Kick-Ass” surpassed “Deadpool” in some areas, too. For example, the supporting characters in “Kick-Ass” such as Mindy (better known as Hit Girl) and Damon (Big Daddy) added a ton of intrigue to the film and made it much more engaging. There was also a fantastic villain in the crime boss Frank, played by Mark Strong. The supporting characters in “Deadpool,” meanwhile, were fine, but were never as interesting as the main character.
As for the main characters, relatively speaking, Deadpool is probably the better lead character. Deadpool is so damn entertaining, seeming to have a joke ready for everything he sees. He also often has commentary that usually reflects what the audience is thinking. However, in all fairness, Kick-Ass, aka Dave, is also a solid character. He’s a teenager who gets into an extremely dangerous situation but still holds onto some of the responsibility related to the path he’s chosen.
From my perspective, “Kick-Ass” also had a better story than “Deadpool.” The latter, at the end of the day, was actually a fairly straightforward superhero origin story. It was a very funny, self-aware and meta origin story, but an origin story nonetheless.
“Kick-Ass,” meanwhile, has a story that follows a character who at first is a naive teenager who transitions to a person who’s in over his head and leads to an ending where the protagonist learns what the consequences and sacrifices are for a person who decides to be a vigilante. It’s also an origin story, but told from the perspective of a person who realizes he’s in an origin story and has to come to terms with it.
Now, I want to be clear. I liked “Deadpool” and I have high hopes that its sequel will be a great experience at the cinema. Ryan Reynolds has been perfect as the titular character, and the film really succeeds with its crude, vulgar humor and action sequences that don’t pull punches.
But from my view, “Kick-Ass” did it first, and in some areas, did it better. So, before you head to the theater to see “Deadpool 2,” it’s a smart decision to put “Kick-Ass” on your screen and watch a fellow R-rated superhero action comedy that has unfortunately been somewhat forgotten.
Just don’t watch “Kick-Ass 2,” let’s all pretend that one doesn’t exist.