Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kick-Ass Review

Okay, I know it's been awhile and blah blah blah. Now, onto what I've been waiting for, for months. Kick-Ass. The movie. Here we go.

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Now, for those who don't know, Kick-Ass is a one-volume comic series, made by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. It chronicles the tale of Dave Lizewski, a mild mannered loser who decides he wants to become a super hero. It sold reasonably well, and then a movie adaptation was announced. I hadn't really read the whole series, but I was syched for this thing. Now then, the movie.

Our characters are: Dave Lizewski AKA Kick-Ass, a loser whose only superpower is "being invisible to girls." He gets fed up with crime and nobody doing anything about it, so resolves to become a superhero, buying a wetsuit for his costume. He gets his ass kicked a few times, in one instance incredibly badly, but eventually he succeeds, becoming an internet phenomenon. (Though he still get beaten pretty badly in every fight, even when he wins.)

Big Daddy & Hit-Girl, A father daughter team who dress up as superheroes after seeing Kick-Ass on the web. Big Daddy is an ex-cop who trained his daughter into a killing machine, to get revenge on Frank D'Amico, who framed him, and sent him to jail, at which point his wife committed suicide. Hit-Girl is his loving daughter, whose training consists of various trials such as being shot while wearing a bulletproof vest.

Red-Mist, a rich kid, who, using his massive funds, becomes a superhero, not unlike Kick-Ass. We never really see him fight, except there is a news report about him bringing down a drug dealer. He, at one point, wants to be Kick-Ass's sidekick.

Frank D'Amico, big time crime boss, heads a syndicate that mostly sells cocaine. Is baffled by Kick-Ass, and thinks he's absolutely harmless. That is, until he gets reports of a masked man taking down his guys.

There are also some minor characters, like Dave's friend and this girl he has a crush on. There is a subplot where his crush starts talking to him because there's a rumor going around that he's gay. He plays along, just because it gives him an excuse to be near her. A good B-plot, though nothing as personally involved as the usual Spider-Man fare.

Now then, let me be the first to say, this movie does not pull any punches. Ever. Forget what you know about superhero movies. There are no superpowers, no family friendly deaths, no 1 digit body count. The 11 year old girl has a mouth like a sailor! She says words I'm afraid to say! But, you know what? It works! This movie is set in reality, and you can tell. The action is glorious, the writing is realistic, and it's all pretty believable. To be honest, I didn't really expect it to hit so hard. Thing is, I think that's the point. It's at the same time, very optimistic, yet spirit-shatteringly depressing. I mean, let's take Big Daddy. He kicks ass, he takes names, he kills everyone with expert precision. He's a badass, and his daughter is the same way. Only, it's all too obvious that he's a nut-job, who brought his daughter into the crazy world he lives in, depriving her of her childhood. The thugs? All too willing to kill Kick-Ass, and they get damn close. In spite of that, I felt good watching that movie. Kick-Ass's whole reason of being is to do something, instead of just watching as people are beaten up and mugged. He's there to do something. Sure, he gets beaten up. Sure, he runs a risk of being hideously murdered every time he goes out there. But he does it anyway. The idealism there in a world all too like our own, is almost a bit jarring. He's like what every comic-reader wishes he had the guts to do. Hell, I wish I had the guts to do that. In the same vein, the movie doesn't glorify it or blow sunshine up your ass. If you do this in reality, chances are you are dead.

I'd watch it again. In fact, I'm planning on it. It may just be a way to vicariously soothe my desire to be a superhero. Or maybe it's a warning that it's a terribly bad idea. Maybe it's both, wrapped in a neat package. Point is: This movie left me wanting to kick some ass, but also left me with things to think about. This isn't a no-thought action movie, or good guys are always right superhero movie. If you can handle the violence and lack of babying in your comic movie, I'd highly recommend giving this a watch.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Hey everybody. Finally got my Protomen CD, so the review is upcoming. This post, however, is about something completely different. Namely: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.

Oh yeah. If you didn't know, what's Spider-Man Noir there, from the Marvel Noir universe, where it's depression era, and gangsters are gunning people down, then there's Spider-Man there, looking all awesome. Now, it looks like it's going to be a sort of sequel from the guys who made Web of Shadows. And that excites me, because 1. I am a Spider-Man fanboy. and 2. There were only a few things keeping Web of Shadows from being a truly awesome game. Now, what kept WoS down? A big part was the repetition. At times they expected you to do the same exact fighting move many many times in a row. Sure, you had the black suit, but that only gave so much. Shattered Dimensions, on the other hand, looks like it will have much more variation. It looks like in the Noir parts, there's actually a stealth aspect, which one wouldn't usually expect from a Spider-Man game. But that bit of something new is exactly what Web of Shadows needed.

The second thing that left a bad taste in my mouth about WoS was the mission system, in that all you ever did was what people told you to do, which usually was along the lines of "Kill six snow moose" or something. Point is, the missions were boring. Hopefully this one will have a little more variation in that field as well. Oh, and did I mention the voice acting? Spider-Man's was terrible, he sounded like more of a girl than a man. They remedied that, at least for Noir, by making Spider-Man's voice actor sound like Crispin Freeman! Otherwise known as the VC of Seigfreid from Soul Calibur 3, and Electro in Spectacular Spider-Man. Oh yeah. From what I can see in the trailer, they took Mainstream Spider-Man out of the big city, which might be a bit jarring, but since that's the only place Noir will ever be, it could work.

So right now there's Mainstream Spider-Man and Spider-Man Noir. There's two left, and since they really threw a curve ball by having Noir in a game, it could be anything. I'm willing to bet Spider-Man 2099 will be one of the other two, and with the last one, maybe Spider-Girl? Or Ben Reilly? Also, considering it's called Shattered Dimensions, I imagine there'll be some sort of crossover in there at some point. If there's good writing, I'd actually like to see Spidey's reaction to seeing his Depression-era self.

Anyway, I am super-excited for this game, mostly because it looks like a Web of Shadows with a lot more to it, so I won't get bored doing others' dirty work. I'll undoubtedly post an update about it when the next trailer comes out. So until next time, The Spider waits...