Special Edition Podcast

Special Edition – Kick-Ass

Show Notes

The comic book from Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. was mightily F’ed up, and now it’s time to see if the movie version lives up to that same standard. Kick-Ass hits theaters today, with Matthew Vaughn directing, and Josh Flanagan, Ron Richards, and Conor Kilpatrick all saw it, and figure out if it does indeed kick ass. Featuring Nic Cage, and young female actress with the most permissive parents in the history of cinema, it is time for Kick-Ass.

Oh yeah, from here on out, in the podcast and comments, you have been spoiler-warned.

Running Time: 00:22:31

“Banana Splits”
The Dickies


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  1. My favorite soundtrack part? That song from For A Few Dollars More when Hit-Girl was in the building vestibule. Got my inner movie-geek super excited!

  2. But yeah, this was a great and very stylistic action flick. I’m really glad that they made the changes that were made in this film, not only for the reasons that you mentioned in your podcast, but I think that if this were to be a direct adaptation of the source material, it would be a tad bit vapid. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the comic series and everything it sets out to do, but it would seem empty if it were directly adapted panel for panel, line for line. The way it’s done here, not only do we have a well put together film, but we get a strong flavor of that intention  to offend that made the comic so great. I can’t think of a better way to start off the summer movie season than with this.

  3. Ok, havn’t listened to the podcast yet, but wow, I fucking loved that movie.  Honestly, not sure if I want to hear Josh ruin it for me (just kidding)  I really really really really hope it makes money….

  4. The best soundtrack moment of this movie is the bit with Sparks. <3

    Will listen to this later, been looking forward to it! 

  5. I said this in a different thread but this is the best film I’ve seen ABOUT superhero comics.  The, touches like the establishing shots that looked like comic panels (and often were direct reproductions of JRJR panels), the text panels, the drawings by Big Daddy, etc, etc. 

    But it was also a great film in itself.  My girlfriend even really liked this film and she in no way is a fan of the superhero…No way…Just not at all…No sir…Trust me on that.

    I haven’t read the comic yet (it’s in my stack) but I doubt it can be as good as the film, which you guys confirmed for me on the podcast.

    One thing I want to know though is do you guys really have comic shops like that with tables and sell coffee and stuff?  We do not have those in England.

  6. Haven’t seen it yet, but loved the podcast.  Sorry Ron:(  I promise spoilers never ruin a movie for me.  Just wanted to know what you guys had to say before I spent $12 on a movie.  I’m now definitely going to see this movie.  Thanks!!!!

  7. I really liked it. I could find a few complaints about it, but at the end of the day, it was a very enjoyable experience that’s stuck with me. I also hope it’ll be a big money-maker.

    It seems the biggest problem people have with the movie is the "moral" aspect of it. I don’t even come close to understanding this outlook.

  8. Must admit, thought the comic was a bit bland, but I LOVED the movie! Was not expecting to, but it blew me away for exactly the reasons you guys listed. I mean, jet-pack? Hell yes!

  9. This movie is like eating Krispy Kreme donuts and chasing it with Mountain Dew. It’s stimulating in a way, but it’s entirely empty. Almost a guilty pleasure.

  10. Great review guys for a truly terrific film. I’m not a Millar fan so I haven’t read the book but I adored the hell out of the flm.

  11. I liked the movie even better than the book as well.  Very happy that they got Dave and Katie together, and loved that they didn’t do the stupid fucking big daddy twist.

  12. @BornIn1142: you don’t even come close to understanding why it would trouble people to see an eleven year old girl subjected to mass murder and torture? I’m bothered by the fact that the little actress had to pretend-see those things. You don’t get to be eleven twice.

  13. Think taxi driver, but times ten

  14. I’ve been loving the JRJR interview & reviews of Kick-Ass on the Pick of the Week Podcast,

    but I’ve been tradewaiting on the series.


    Went into the movie hoping they didn’t water it down.

    Did the movie reach the level of effed up that the book did?

  15. I have some thoughts but it’s been a long night. Tomorrow i will break some fanboy hearts

  16. Damn now I really wanna see this.

    You guys are usually dead on with film reviews (sans Star Trek of course). But then again my idol, Roger Ebert, says this is a piece of garbage. Who to trust?…..

    I have a feeling I’m going to be seeing this in theaters sooner then later. Cause now I don’t know if I wanna wait for a DVD release. 

  17. don’t hesitate…see kick ass…

  18. There were literally only 5 other people in my theatre, and I was with 2 of them.  That can’t be good. 

    Haven’t listened to the podcast, but I thought it had a few problems.  It was VERY obvious that after a certain point, the writers were only getting footnotes about the story.  Major beats would happen, but go in a completely different direction.  I’m not complaining that it’s not faithful, I just didn’t think they made much sense (like when Kick Ass revealed his identity to Whatsherface… that was utterly stupid)

    Another problem it had was it took all of the twists from the book, and either blew them by telling you it was coming, or just flat out dropped it.  Big Daddy actually was a cop turned vigilante? Lame.

    One complaint I had about the book was about halfway through, Millar started ignoring his "realistic take on superheroes" pitch. After seeing how over the top the movie ended up getting, I don’t mind that in the book so much.

    Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie. I just don’t think it was good enough to warrant a second watching for a couple of years. I normally don’t like to compare source material vs. book, and when I do, I always recommend people read the source material first. I think in this case, though, I’d recommend people see the movie THEN read the book.

  19. Matthew Vaughan is married to Claudia Schiffer. What a dude

  20. Yikes, I see now that this post provides the spoiler warning, but as someone who subscribes to the video podcast through iTunes and doesn’t check here first, I was not prepared for Ron to ask a question that began "So in the final scene when _____."  Is it the site’s policy to always have the video podcasts include spoilers?  I know what to expect in the audio podcast, but I didn’t think the same applied in video.  I’ve already read the comic, so an additional spoiler won’t matter too much, but some in-episode warning would’ve been nice (my apologies if there was one and I’m just an idiot).  I’m excited to see this, but I learned from Watchmen that my fiancee really does not like hyper-violent movies, so I’ll have to wait for a time when some friends are up for it.

  21. I really didn’t care much for this movie. A lot of the comedy fell flat and I was actually bored for most of it. I was really hoping to be entertained by this. It had it’s moments, but overall I didn’t enjoy it.

  22. Ron, I’m totally with you about the geography being messed up. I saw it in Toronto, and that scene where Red Mist and his father go to the movies is filmed at the theatre where we were watching the movie. They made no effort to disguise it, even though the theatre’s name is clearly printed on the doors and it’s named after a Canadian bank.

     It was a really fun, kinetic movie, and I enjoyed it a lot. They changed enough that it kept me guessing about how it would unfold, but kept the spirit of the book intact. I did think they wussed out a bit in changing Big Daddy’s origin; Kick-Ass’s story is about the perils of wish fulfillment, and the reveal about Big Daddy in the book was a nice counterpoint to that. The movie took it in a different direction, but it was a less nihilistic direction than the book, and if they had kept the original origin it might not have been as fun. 

    Good review, guys.

  23. The movie was great but the jet-pack flying scene at the end was a little chessy. Thats is my only complain.

  24. With regard to changing the Big Daddy origin, I think the film-makers made the right decision.  It worked in the comic as it was totally in keeping with the tone and Millar’s themes but within the movie it would have added an unnecessary plot complication and would also have taken away some of the emotional resonance of that character.  It’s tough enough getting you rooting for a guy who trains his daughter to kill people even with the motivation of his wife being murdered, but to take that out and just make him a bit nuts…that doesn’t work on the screen unless you’re making a film where you DEFINITELY don’t want to make any money.

  25. The irony of Ron not wanting to spoil the _______________ jetpack…

  26. Bumping spoiler off front page.

  27. Saw this movie a few weeks ago, loved it at the time… I pretty much agree with Ron on the podcast. None of the changes bothered me but I probably would have preferred the ending where he doesn’t get the girl.

     Also… Jetpacks are awesome.

  28. Wanted’s run and gun sequence was nothing  compared to Hit-Girl’s!

  29. did mclovin’ just said "whoever mark millar is…" like he’s some random guy? hahahaha priceless

  30. I think he said wherever.

  31. This movie was seriously laugh out loud hilarious at points. When he started shooting those gatling guns all slow-mo matrix style, my god it was so ridiculously awesome! This movie had everything, laughs, action, suspense, touching moments, and a great great soundtrack. There should be no reason not to see this movie!

  32. Great movie! I hope it does well.

  33. I thought Josh nailed it when he said that the comic lacked soul, whereas the film was chock full of it.

    Also, my girlfriend really liked it and not only does she not like comic-books, she usually doesn’t like action movies too much either. 

  34. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit.  I thought Chloe Moretz was great…..I mostly approved of the changes made in the movie, as they worked better for a movie audience and while I thought the jetpack and bazooka stuff was a little over the top, it was funny and entertaining enough that I was okay with it.

    Also, I had a nice laugh at the dad who was explaining to his two kids that he did not realize what it was he was taking them to see and asked "How was I supposed to know it was rated R"?

  35. I have to wait to june 18th to watch this movie in México *sigh*

  36. Well, I just read the comic and, man, the movie is so much better in every single respect. I actually think this was one of Millar’s better books but Vaughn and Goodman just improved on everything in it.

  37. I saw it in Tempe, AZ and the whole audience loved it. You who didn’t love it? Roger Ebert: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100414/REVIEWS/100419986

  38. The Box Office estimates are in and it looks like Kick-Ass finished second to that Dragon movie: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=2724&p=.htm
    The numbers don’t look terrible, but they are certainly weaker than expected.  I’m surprised.

  39. @stuclach: Dragon was pretty strong. It dethroned Alice in Wonderland and Kick Ass is not on IMAX, so the stacking of the sales will be slower. 

  40. From Stulach’s link 

    "Shackled by its unappealing subject matter, Kick-Ass packed a not-so-walloping estimated $19.8 million on approximately 4,300 screens at 3,065 locations. The Incredibles holds the record for superhero comedies and is the only truly successful one, but, among live-action entries, Kick-Ass boasted the biggest debut. Mystery Men was the previous high with $10 million (or over $15 million adjusted for ticket price inflation), showing how little interest the sub-genre has stirred in the past."

    I freaking love Mystery Men though.

    It’s already made it’s money back with an extra $7 million to boot (the production budget doesn’t include advertising though). Barring a huge and depressing drop-off, we’re looking at that being maybe 30% of the total take? Plus dvd sales. They’ll pay their bills. No telling if it’ll warrant a sequel though.

    Also, Dave Lizewnski’s "numb to pain" element was included in the comic, pretty late in the game though (#7) and so that might’ve been a case of Millar borrowing from the screenwriters.

  41. I walked out of Mystery Men. Never saw it again.

  42. great review of the movie guys!  gets me psyched to see it! 🙂

  43. Man I loved this movie. Loved it. I took a few of my non comic reading friends. one of them stated "This may be my movie of the year and it’s only April. Something really good is going to have to come along to knock it down." This was a blast, my favorite scene visually being Big Daddy taking down the wearhouse with the "28 Days Later…" music playing, just bad ass. And Nick Cage was great in this movie, truly, can’t say enough good things about it, I"m going again.

  44. @Josh  I thought it was blah when i saw it the first time but after the last few years of comic books movies i rewatched it and loved it. It’s like what Ghostbusters was to supernatural movies. Thats what Mystery Men is to spider-man and batman begins. Plus Tom Waits is in it. How can that be anything but cool?

  45. You might not have my deep and abiding dislike of Ben Stiller.

  46. @Josh – You dislike Ben Stiller, too?  I thought I was the only hater.  I CANNOT STAND him in anything, but Royal Tenenbaums.  He is excellent in Royal Tenenbaums, but I assume most of that credit goes to Wes Anderson and excellent cast he was working with.

  47. There is the RT dispensation, yes.

  48. In tone, this reminded me of Warren BEaty’s DICK TRACY insofar as its whole hog embrace of the rall of the comic book tropes on which it was based actually ended up celebrating the essence of the genre. Granted, Kick Ass was a a much more explcit satire than TRACy, but there is a spritual kinship there.

     Or am I crazy?

  49. Most of the hate for Mystery Men stems from the (seemingly vast) majority’s predilection to hate Ben Stiller. I’m kind of surprised he’s still making movies.

    To me, he’s tolerable…in his old movies…or some of them…when he’s part of an ensemble cast…

    …basically Heavyweights, Mystery Men and Royal Tenenbaums. He was okay-to-funny in those.

  50. Ben Stiller is good when he’s playing an idiot or a jerk.  When he’s trying to be a leading man he’s offensive.

  51. Anyway…. Kick-Ass.

  52. Nick Cage is another actor who, when he finds the right part, just works for me. Adapation, Matchstick Men, Raising Arizona. He is a legitamately good actor, I just wish he could afford to be a little more descriminating with the roles he picks.

    Oh that said, I still haven’t seen the movie.

  53. I really liked the comic book, but I was glad they took out some of the bigoted elements of the comic that didn’t add anything to the story. 

    Overall the movie was better. Props to Millar for getting this movie done thought. He is a master at turning his books to movies. I am hoping this will make JRJR a millionaire. 

  54. I loved this movie.I think it’s far superior than the comic.I like the comic but to me it didn’t make me care enough for the characters.The movie fixed that.It’s funny,but it can be dark and emotional when it wants to be.There is just so much good here and unfortunately I’m to lazy to type it.

  55. So I just got back from KICK ASS.


    I loved it!!


    Also, when Red Mist is going to the movies with his dad? You see what was showing on the scrolling marquee? THATS RIGHT.


    I lold.

  56. This movie was so bland and boring. I could not stand the Kickass character onscreen. The only scenes that were interesting had Chloë Grace Moretz and Nic cage in it. The scenes with Kick ass and his friends were not funny at all. This movie  would have been so much better if it was focused more on Big Daddy and Hit Girl. The jet pack scene completely took me out of the film.

  57. I rather see a prequel or something of Hit Girl and Big Daddy in the next movie. I didn’t really care too much for the others, except for the mob boss. He was pretty good. But Cage and the girl had some good chemistry together as father and daughter.

  58. I enjoyed your podcast review of the film "Kick Ass", which I was able to see this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had already read the comic version, so I was prepared to enjoy it in the way that I enjoyed the books. Yet, this film exceeded my expectations in ways that I didn’t quite expect. I leaned over to my friend before the movie started and told him, "this movie, at it’s best, will be a three (out of four) star movie, mainly based on my reaction to the comic- and knowing that the filmmakers were going to stay very faithful to the material- I felt that this would probably be a fun popcorn movie, and not much more. As the movie progressed I realized that I was correct in my estimation- this was an awesome popcorn movie. However, with a few added lines and moments that were not in the book, Matthew Vaughn and company managed to draw out an emotional and thematic core absorbed this viewer into depths that I never anticipated this film could tread. As one example the line "Three guys beating up one, while everyone else stands around watching- and you call me crazy?" (or something to that effect). I thought this simple line was a great example of the small touches that drew out some very socially aware themes relevant to the modern state of apathy in this culture, that I didn’t get as much from the book.
    I applaud your collective extolment of this film on the site as well as in your podcast. I also agree with a comment you made that this film was better than the book, though for reasons that you couldn’t quite put a finger on. I believe that the reason lies in the inherent Nihilism and cynicism present in much of Millar’s work, that the movie does a great job of toning down. I believe it is also due to the thematic depths that the film is able to reach better than the book did. So for my final rating, I am pleasantly surprised to give "Kick Ass" Three and a half stars (out of four). 
    On a small note of correction, at the risk of appearing overly scrupulous. One of you made the comment that the Gatling gun/jet pack reveal towards the end of the film served as a McGuffin. As a film buff I couldn’t help but note that the McGuffin is Alfred Hitchcock’s term for the device or plot element (an item, object, goal, event, or piece of knowledge) that catches the viewer’s attention or drives the logic or action of the plot and appears extremely important to the film characters, but often turns out to be insignificant. I dare say that the Gatling Gun/Jet pack in "Kick Ass" hardly qualifies as insignificant, nor does it work as a plot driving element- it simply kicks ass. Some of the greatest McGuffin’s in film include the Letters of Transit in "Casablanca", the issue of mistaken identity in "North By Northwest", or more recently the Rabbit’s Foot weapon from "Mission Impossible 3". 

  59. Before I start, I must say that I thought the movie was great, the comic was MUCH better, but I enjoyed the movie and will buy the DVD.

    That said, I must strongly disagree with your unanimous opinion that the changes made for the movie were improvements over the comic.

    1) Big Daddy’s Origin: Come on guys, you really think the movie version was better? To me, it’s too generic, too close to The Punisher and too close to a bunch of different cop gets set up then gets revenge movies. In the comic, that moment when he reveals that he made up that origin story, that he is in fact just a fanboy just like Kick-Ass, is a twist that I would guess very few readers saw coming. It’s a punch in the gut to Hit Girl, a mind blower to Kick-Ass and it’s original. Without the twist the origin is cliche.

    B) Katie’s reaction to Dave’s confession: The scene in the comic when Katie has Carl kick Dave’s ass then sends him pictures of her going down on Carl is hardcore, realistic and once again, original. Having Katie accept Dave, and be his boyfriend?!? Please! Typical, unoriginal, unrealistic and uninteresting!

    III) The Jetpack: I don’t care how cool you guys think the jet pack is. I don’t care that my wife agrees with you. She’s wrong too. Why make a realistic super hero movie and then introduce an element that saps the realism right out of the climax? 

    I’m not hating on the film. I’m not even insisting that the movie should be exactly the same as the comic. But, to say that the changes make the story better? No frakkin’ way! The examples I mentioned illustrate that the changes made for the movie are cliche and water down the hard core nature of the book. The comic definately has bigger balls than the movie.

  60. Typo Correction: I obviously meant to write, "Having Katie accept Dave, and be his girlfriend?!?", not "boyfriend".

  61. Loved the movie but hated the jetpack and that KickAss got the girl.  Took away the best plot point, that this kid is douche-loser so deluded but never gives up.  I honestly think it weakened the core of who Kick Ass is.  That inconsistency made the movie lose steam for me in the 2nd half.

    Would have loved to seen a longer Red Mist – Kisk Ass fight where the two display their lack of fighting skills, could have been hilarious.

    IFanboys are right, Hit Girl is awesome in every scene.

    And despite my nitpicks, thought this was a fun movie, but have no clue what normal people would think.

  62. Watched it again. Just as good the second time.

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