After experiencing Kick-Ass I did what most of you are likely to do- headed right to the store and picked up the comic. I’m here to warn you that this is not a good idea.The comic certainly lays down the basic framework of the film and a lot of dialogue and events are the same, but it’s shallow, silly and an altogether disappointing effort. It only makes it more impressive how the filmmakers managed to polish this turd into one of the best action films in years.

Here’s a little list of a few of the changes that have been made in adapting it.

WARNING- massive, massive spoilers to follow. This is more for anyone who’s read the comic who wants to see what’s been changed.


KICK-ASS

In the comic-

Our hero. Dave (Kick-Ass) is an annoying, dorky kid who becomes a superhero out of wanting to help people and quickly winds up in the hospital. The new metal plates in his skull only help him with future battles, however, and he soon makes a name for himself, bolstered by social media sites and Youtube clips of his fights. Once he becomes this character his head seems to swell with it, until he realizes how unprepared he is for the violence to follow.

In the film-

Kick-Ass not only has metal plates throughout his body from his first fight but nerve damage, which lets him take more pain than he should. It’s a little touch but adds a little more believability to this kid. He obviously doesn’t know how to fight  but a spazzy kid who can’t feel anything swirling around batons is clearly something any rational person would want to avoid.

Aaron Johnson is the glue that holds this film together, managing to make him a perfectly likable character. More so in the comic does this character seem to genuinely want to help people. He’s confused about how to do it, sure, but his heart’s in the right place.
 
Also- he has friends. In the comic they seem to drop off the face of the earth near the beginning of the series here they’re shown throughout, working to constantly ground him from the insanity of his hidden life.


BIG DADDY


In the comic-

The lead of the Big Daddy/Hit Girl superhero duo, a father/daughter combo that don’t take prisoners and usually go for the jugular quite literally. Big Daddy is a big motherfucker, a complete Frank Castle ripoff in every way. You think he’s a former cop whose wife was killed by a mob boss called Frank D’Amico, forcing him to seek revenge. But in actuality he’s a comic book dork, a former accountant who funds his insane weapon collection by selling back issues of comics. He goes after the mob boss because he wants a villain. 



Yep, he is just another asshole. You don’t care about what happens to him or Hit Girl because he brought this on himself. He made his daughter into a monster for no reason whatsoever and deserves everything he gets.

In the film-

He is what he says he is. A former cop was framed got his ass thrown in jail for years. His wife tried to commit suicide with a handful of pills and in her death Hit Girl was born. His former partner (a character absent from the comic) took care of Hit Girl in the meantime and tried to raise her as best he could, but when Big Daddy got out of jail he took her and went into vigilante mode. There’s a great scene Big Daddy meets up with his former partner who is horrified to see how Hit Girl’s chance for a normal childhood has been completely lost. But Big Daddy explains that he didn’t take it away from her- the mob boss did.

While Nic Cage gives a campy Adam West performance inside the suit, moments like this make him oddly believable and sympathetic, and a much more well-rounded character than the comics.

POP CULTURE REFERENCES



In the comic-



Not a page goes by with some kind of comic or movie reference. Of course, the
basis for the whole story is that regular people are influenced by
superheroes, but by using so much recycled concept and repeated dialogue you
being to grow sick of these shallow people. It’d be like listening to someone who constantly quotes Monty Python and the Holy
Grail
- no one likes someone who just parrots jokes.



In the film-



There are plenty of references but on a whole the dialogue is more
original, and has more meaning and substance. Not that there isn’t a
clever use of famous quotes and such when the time calls for it, mind
you… twists on famous Spider-man and Batman quotes are used to incredible effect.

RACISM


In the comic –

Anyone who’s read a Millar comic has been privy to his casual racism. Kick-Ass is no exception. He drops little lines here and there that should make you sit up and scratch your head. For example, when Kick-Ass first fights the group of thugs in the beginning it’s awesome because he’s fighting Puerto Ricans. The comic needlessly mentions it all the time like a source of pride.


BONUS LAME POP CULTURE REFERENCE!


In the film-

None, thankfully.

VIOLENCE


In the comic-

It’s one of the goriest comics around. Blood sprays in all sorts of pretty patterns as the superheroes go to work. If there’s one thing Kick-Ass can pride itself on it’s pure, unfettered, mean-spirited violence.

In the film-


 

It might be even more violent! It’s helped by the fact that Matthew Vaughn knows how to frame action scenes a helluva lot better than Romita Jr. Nothing against the artist’s work but there’s no real sense of movement between panels, no sense of place. The film manages to make each action set-piece top the last, and each is vastly different in terms of style and darkly, darkly funny. Just wait till you see the first person shooter segment…
 

SEX


In the comic-

Kick-Ass pretends to be gay to get close to his crush Katie (something ripped from Mark Millar’s life), who rebukes him when she finds out that he’s been lying this whole time and sends him a picture of her sucking a black guy’s cock.

In the film-

Kick-Ass gets the girl. This will definitely be a source of some debate- of course, audiences want to see our hero get something for all his trouble, so it was likely the best choice, but there’s something to be said for a protagonist with unfulfilled sexual urges driving him on. There’s also something to be said of actress Lyndsy Fonseca.
 

TUNK


In the comic-

Kick-Ass’s friends try to popularize their own swear word and settle on “tunk”. It means the whole male area (penis and testicles) and is just as stupid and sad as it sounds. You get to see Hit Girl yelling “TUNK YOU ASSHOLE!” in a later comic in a moment that’s a whole lot dorkier than Millar likely intended.

In the film-

It’s thankfully absent.
 

RED MIST


In the comic-

Red Mist is a superhero that shows up on the scene soon after Kick-Ass, stealing a lot of his thunder and eventually teaming up with him on a few missions. But he reveals himself as a bad guy- the son of Frank D’Amico, no less- after trapping Kick-Ass along with Big Daddy and Hit Girl. It’s a big reveal at the end of a comic and in the next one we get a big talky “This is why I’m bad!” moment  from everyone that brings us up to speed. Red Mist revels in the violence that follows.

In the film-

You know from the very start that Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is the son of a Frank D’Amico, but here it’s much better shown how much he wants to earn his father’s respect. Red Mist is just another dorky comic-book loving high school kid, which is why his father doesn’t trust him with the business. But Red Mist wants to play with the big boys, so starting up his superhero persona is the way to show his father that he can get things done, and deliver those meddling superheroes to him. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to Kick-Ass. Whereas Kick-Ass is fighting in a scuba outfit purchased online and fighting with some batons, actually getting stuff done in the process; Red Mist is all fluff- fancy cars and smoke and gadgets and even less street smarts.

The thing that makes Mintz-Plasse such a great choice to play him is that he’s not some cool superhero guy- he’s just a scared kid. He’s terrified when he shoots his gun for the first time and the violence that follows is obviously shocking to him. He’s got more obvious motivation than the character in the comics and his downfall is heartbreaking.

THE VILLAIN


In  the comic-

The mob boss villain (Frank D’Amico) is hardly shown. Since most of the film is from Kick-Ass’s perspective you don’t know the motivations for this cookie-cutter character. He’s just bad because he’s bad, and his inevitable downfall doesn’t really mean anything because he’s hardly in the comic at all.

In the film-

Two words- Mark. Fucking. Strong.



His Frank D’Amico is menacing in every way. He’s a mob boss businessman who likes to get his hands dirty once in a while, and finds it ridiculous that these costumed do-gooders are ruining his operations. He’s simultaneously scary and hysterical and you understand why he’s so angry about everything.

Plus, he gets in a hand-to-hand fight with an 11 year old girl.

THE ENDING


In the comic-

They storm the mob boss’ lair while yelling comic book cliches like “It’s clobbering time!” and fry a whole bunch of them with a flamethrower. It’s over in a couple of pages after lots of death and we watch as Kick-Ass settles back into his crappy life and Hit-Girl reunites with her mom.

In the film-

There is a big reveal that’s hinted at but never shown until the end of the film and oh, no, I’m not going to ruin it for you. Let’s just say that the superheroes are a lot more prepared for their final assault, a whole lot more brutal in the way they handle it. It’s long and satisfying and will make the entire audience stand up and cheer, as they wish for a sequel.

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