About a year ago another comic book-based film Watchmen premiered in London to decidedly mixed reviews. This week it is Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass bowing on the Thames, and the critics were considerably kinder. Nick Curtis of the Evening Standard called the film a “razor-sharp action comedy, a triumph of wit, energy and cartoonish but undeniably visceral violence.” Variety’s London correspondent Joe Leydon was equally positive, “Equal parts audacious dark comedy, wish-fulfillment fantasy and over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek action adventure, Matthew Vaughn’s bloody funny adaptation of a cult-fave comic book manages to be sufficiently faithful to its source material to please fervent fanboys while remaining easily accessible for ticketbuyers unfamiliar with the superhero conventions Vaughn and co-scripter Jane Goldman satirize as well as celebrate.”
Pitt & Vaughn
Brad Pitt, who helped finance (and produce) the film, flew in from Venice for the star-studded London premiere of the film that opens in the U.S. on April 16th, but the gray-goateed Pitt and even the film itself were upstaged by its flame-haired scenarist Goldman’s daringly low-cut dress.
Goldman’s husband, BBC presenter Jonathan Ross, even posed for a leering over-the-shoulder look at his wife’s ample assets.
Ross & Goldman
A London debut certainly made sense for this film given the UK connections of its lead actor Aaron Johnson, who stars as John Lennon in the soon-to-be-released Nowhere Boy, its director, its scenarist, and the original creator of Kick-Ass Mark Millar. The sophisticated, cosmpolitan audience also managed to take the antics of the 11-year-old assassin Hit Girl, who manages to undermine her female-empowering carnage with the use of the “C-word,” in stride. Variety’s Leydon clearly doesn’t think that Hit Girl’s antics will torpedo the film, though they will certainly raise a few eyebrows. “Scenes of hilariously overstated violence perpetrated by an 11-year-old girl doubtless will discomfort many and incense quite a few. But this deservedly "R-rated"Lionsgate release should nonetheless score a knockout in theatrical and homevid venues.”
Expect Kick-Ass to create some blowback from the conservative end of the critical spectrum here in the U.S., but that could actually help swell the box office numbers for a film that was made independently without compromise. It will be very interesting to see how it fares.