Mark Millar is one of the biggest douchebags in the history of comic books that the world has ever known. Right behind Rob Liefeld. But unlike Rob, at least Mark can come up with some decent ideas every once in a while, but before they come to full fruition he almost always fucks them up in the end.
For example, the comic series Wanted (which Ms. Jolie's movie was kind of based off of) was a fun and decent ride, but I could not enjoy it at ALL because of the horrendous dialogue that Mark made his lead characters say, and the fact that Millar insisted that the main protagonist look and speak like a smug Eminem in his prime douchebaggery years... Let me reiterate: A "rap star" who's afraid of a a sarcastic, cigar-chewing, puppet dog named Triumph is supposed to be the world's greatest villain assassin. Oh, and the leading lady is a direct rip-off of Halle Berry, and even dresses up similarly to the costume Berry wore in Catwoman (which made appreciating her in this book almost impossible when all it did was remind me of that should-have-been-aborted fetus of a movie).
Then there's Millar's part in Marvel's shitty Civil War crossover event, and the mung-infested launches of Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four — both of which completely failed to be as fun and "ultimate" as Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spidey. But Millar THOUGHT they were all bad ass. In fact that's probably the one thing Mark Millar is MOST known for: shooting off his mouth and saying the most ridiculous and stupid things about his work. He's quoted all over the web talking crap about other comic book writers, but he can mostly be found and Googled bragging about how "stylish," "cutting edge," and "ass-fucking awesome" his stuff is, "but not in, you know, a GAY way or anything... I mean 'ass-fucking' as in fucking a hot chick's ass. That's not gay, I swear."
Knowing all this, a few years ago when I found out that Mark's next comic book series was going to be called "Kick-Ass" I rolled my eyes at the absolute gall of the title and vowed never to read it. After it started coming out though I was told that there was a character in the story who was a 10 year-old girl (who killed the shit out of people with a katana sword while swearing like a sailor) named Hit Girl. That's when I decided to give it a try, despite reading that Millar was now bragging that Kick-Ass was the most "realistic take on super heroes ever. Like if real actual people, without super powers, actually decided to put on a costume and fight crime. Nobody's EVER thought to do something like that EVER! And my name is Mark Millar, and I fuck my own momma, and she likes it. And she's been dead for 5 years." Apparently Millar's never read Watchmen or seen those 20/20 episodes where they interview people who do just that (dress up as costumed vigilantes and "fight crime") in cities like New York and Chicago. But whatever.
Beyond Millar's pompousness, I remembered just how much I liked the first two Ultimates books, and so (like I said) I gave Kick-Ass a shot. All in all, it weren't that bad. I loved Hit Girl, but really didn't like the main character, Dave Lizewski, aka Kick-Ass himself. Yes, Dave is supposed to be a loser with nothing to live for, no martial arts training, no muscles, and no cool factor, but really, it's the job of the writer to STILL make such a dickless protagonist likeable. If you don't care about, or especially if you HATE the main character, and you actually wish that the bad guys would kill him (horribly), then I hate to break it to you but you fail as a storyteller. If the readers don't WANT to join the hero on his quest, then it doesn't matter how epic that quest may be if everybody just wants to see him get a sword blade or bullet in the back of the skull. Guess how I felt about Millar's Dave.
Yeah, I stuck with Kick-Ass (the comic) till the (long overdue) finale, mainly for one reason: there was a movie coming out based on it and I love finding out what's going to happen in a flick long before it hits theaters. Unfortunately, because Kick-Ass was written by Slow-Ass Millar, the last issue didn't appear in comic shops until a month before the opening day of the movie (I believe it was originally due 7 months before then), which is really just laziness out the rectum for all involved... But I digress.
Anyway, Kick-Ass goes a little something like this: Dave Lizewski is a total comic geek and the epitome of a "loser" in high school. He's never touched a girl, and all the hot chicks in his class think he's gay. His family life kind of sucks too, but his single dad does love the poor schmuck and does his best to raise him well. Unfortunately Dave gets an idea in his head that he can't believe nobody's ever thought of before: (even though he has no training at all [and is in fact a royal pussy]) he plans to dress up in a scuba diving wetsuit (with matching face mask) and go out into the crime-infested streets of his city to clean things up. He gets knifed and beaten and run over by a car on his very first mission and then has to go through excruciatingly painful rehabilitation in order to learn to walk again.
After months of laying in a hospital bed though, and as soon as he's released, the first thing Dave does is put on a replacement costume and hit the streets again. This time, by luck and tenacity alone, Dave (now calling himself "Kick-Ass") manages to save some poor fuck's life (that he put in danger in the first place) by holding off a group of 3 armed Latinos who try to cave the guy's head in with their boots. During the fight (where Kick-Ass is knocked around like a marionette whose puppeteer is drunk off of Jäger), some people nearby start video recording the beating (instead of helping out), and because Dave refused to just walk away and save himself he became a huge YouTube star when the video was posted there... Every talentless geek's dream come true.
Dave starts to think he's hot shit after that, and even though the rumors in school say that he's a gay male whore (because of all his bruises and absent days, and especially after being found naked after his first attempt at fighting crime when he ditched his costume before going to the hospital), he starts taking on more and more dangerous requests via his FaceBook page. During one such request he is to tell some big, muscley, psycho drug dealer to stay away from the girl he's harassing. This message doesn't go over too well (especially since Kick-Ass is the only white guy in the neighborhood for about 2 miles), and just as the dealer's friends are about to utterly rape the poor deluded loser, Hit Girl makes her grand appearance and turns all the druggies in the apartment into human sushi in a matter of seconds
Then things spiral completely out of control for Dave as he realizes that he's really just a big pussy with no skills, a 10 year-old girl can utterly defeat him with one move, and the girl of his dreams who's finally hanging out with him is only doing so because she "always wanted a gay friend." Then Red Mist enters the picture.
Red Mist is another costumed super hero in town who credits Kick-Ass as his inspiration. Eventually the two meet up and Kick-Ass is very impressed with Red Mist's Mistmobile, costume, and extensive superhero funds. But shit goes pretty sour for all involved when Hit Girl (and her handler and father, Big Daddy) cross the mob one too many times and all the criminals and vigilantes come crashing together in one big finale.
Without spoiling it too much, that's the gist of it. Now I will spoil the shit out of all things Kick-Ass in order to tell you about the differences between the comic and the movie and which one is better.
SPOILER ALERT The movie is much better than the comic (no real surprise there), but Millar's original comic actually has the less satisfying (from a cheering point of view) but all around better ending. I'm as shocked as you are. In the comic, the only character who's more than just a one-dimensional cliche is Dave/Kick-Ass, and even he's just a "total dork, nerd, geek with no social skills" character that we've all seen hundreds of times before. Hit Girl is just a one-line joke in the comic (LOLZ! A little girl just cursed! OMFGZ!), Red Mist is a completely missed opportunity, and the bad guys are all just mobster rejects from Goodfellas. Nobody really grows and nobody changes on their own, only their situations are altered by the last issue.
The movie makes Dave, Hit Girl, Dave's friends, the girl Dave likes, Red Mist, and even the mob boss relatively believable people. The big "twist" in the comic is that Red Mist is actually the son of the mob boss who's plan is to deliver the vigilantes who are fucking up daddy's work to the head cheese on a silver platter. This is not really a twist though, and not half as shocking as Millar thinks it is. The movie people know this (and understand storytelling 101) and therefore decided to make the mob guy's son a sympathetic character from the very beginning who's only trying to make his dad see that he isn't just a comic book-loving pud; he was probably my favorite character in the whole flick. Oh, and let's not forget Hit Girl. Considering her lines really don't change much from the comic to screen I can only credit her actress as the reason that she came off so much better in the movie. Her line deliveries, the way she moves like a hyper, rabid squirrel slicing and shooting through a room full of bad guys trying to kill her, and the delivery of her profanity-filled sarcastic dialogue... It made me wish that any daughter that I eventually have is half as sarcastic and cool as she.
Now for the one part about the movie that I just don't understand: why they changed the ending. No, Kick-Ass and Hit Girl win in both the comic and movie, but... Well, let me start by telling you about the last 2 issues of the comic, and last 30 minutes of the movie.
THE COMIC: Big Daddy and Hit Girl (mostly Hit Girl) want to invite Kick-Ass and Red Mist into their group in order to form a team to really yank the New York mob by its Italian nards, but when K-A and RM show up at BD and HG's hideout, K-A is shocked to find his two compatriots beaten, bloody, and at the feet of the main mob boss (and his army of goons) with guns aimed at their heads.
Then Red Mist shocks Kick-Ass (SHOCKS him I say!) by revealing himself to be the mobster boss' son. Then Kick-Ass gets kicked around, Hit Girl gets shot and falls out a window, and then Big Daddy confesses that he's not an ex-cop bent on revenge against the mob who's responsible for his wife's death (what he told Hit Girl, his daughter, for all these years). Nope, he's just a comic book geek who thought it'd be cool to raise a legitimate superhero himself, and since they needed a bad guy to fight he made up a story about her mother's death and how the mob boss was the cause. Oh, and the way BD funds his whole operation (all the guns and ammo and swords that he and his little girl use)? He sells vintage comic books for mad cash online. After hearing this really sad confession the mob boss just shoots BD in the head. Brains everywhere.
Kick-Ass starts freaking out over all this, and then he tells the mobbies everything about himself (and everything else he knows) when they hook up a car battery to his testicles and torture the shit out of him. He tries to come up with a plan to escape, but it's pathetic (it involves pissing off his captors enough to get them to beat him up and actually break the wooden chair that he's strapped to so that he can... do something), and he's only saved when Hit Girl shows up (she's in pretty much full body armor, so the bullets didn't do anything to her) and slaughters them all like piggies.
Then they take the fight to the mob boss, and a most excellent and hilariously bloody battle occurs in which every bad guy is killed (except for Red Mist whom Kick-Ass leaves unconscious but alive). Then Hit Girl goes to live with her mom (who's really still alive), Dave confesses to the girl he likes that he's not gay and she gets so pissed she has her new boyfriend beat the tar out of him, and we end with the guy in the birdsuit from the very beginning getting on the elevator to get to the top of the building. All in all the ending made up for quite a bit of Millar's typical assy-ness.
Now for THE MOVIE: Kick-Ass and Red Mist show up at Hit Girl and Big Daddy's hideout, Hit Girl is shot and blown out the window by Red Mist, and then the mob guys show up and capture BD and K-A and take them to a warehouse where they are to be beaten and then executed on a live web feed for the world to see. After being slapped around a bit, we find out that Big Daddy really is an ex-cop with a grudge against the mob, and so the dirty Italians just light Big Daddy on fire. Hit Girl chooses that time to save the day after blowing out the lights and playing a live-action DOOM game with night-vision goggles, and although BD burns to death (quite pathetically), HG and K-A then go on the offensive to take down the mob once and for all... With a rocket pack armed with gatling guns. Oh, and a super bazooka. Oh, and Dave and the girl he likes become a couple and fuck like bunnies all the time.
The ending of the movie, although cheer-worthy, just felt like too much. Hit Girl and Kick-Ass got beaten up a bit sure, but they were too indestructible. Yeah, they lost Big Daddy, but they themselves don't really pay any physical price beyond that. In the comic they are both within an inch of their lives by the end of the mob take-down. And I don't know why but I found Big Daddy's comic book history much more interesting than another Frank Castle take on vigilantism. That part of the movie just felt quickly shat together.
Let me just say though, I love Kick-Ass the movie. It was one of the most fun times I've had in the theater since Sin City. Everybody cheered and laughed at the right moments, and it was bloody and action packed the whole way through. I just wish they kept the original comic's ending. END SPOILERS
This movie was absolutely atrocious! I know that the little girl in this thing didn't REALLY kill all those people, but she really DID say all those bad words! (Note from the Rossman: Angry Amy means the words "cock, cunt, fuck, shit, motherfucker, goddamn, and masturbate.") Do you know how harmful that is to a developing child! Do you fully understand just how much this will alter her perception of reality? She is scarred from all this! This movie destroyed a fragile little life for your entertainment! I hope you all burn in HELL!
(Notes from the Rossman: Wow, sounds like somebody either got too much or too little wooden spoon butt-paddlin' when she was little. Honestly, people, bad words are just words. How do they "harm" people when spoken? I mean, unless they're used as the verbal activation switch to launch nuclear missiles, THEN words can hurt. I also suppose that if somebody called me a "cuntfag" I might get my feelings a little hurt slightly, but I'm never mentally or spiritually damaged when I call somebody ELSE a "dickless fuck" or something [which is all that young actress was doing in the movie]. Lighten up, Francis. Oh, and if Angry Amy thinks THIS movie could fuck up the girl who played Hit Girl, wait till she sees the same little girl in her next role: the vampire in the remake of Let the Right One In. Holy. Fuck. Balls.)
This is the greatest movie of all time... Well, the greatest one featuring kids beating the hell out of each other, little girls stabbing grown men in the balls with samurai swords, and teenagers fucking like inmates and their girlfriends on visitation days I mean. I love this movie and throw the Monkey of Madness at whoever tells me it sucks.