Millar started a "creator-owned" division of work (Millarworld) that includes franchises like Wanted, which was adapted to film in 2008 starring Angelina Jolie--Kick-Ass is part of Millarworld--and like the other lines in Millar's world, ALL have been optioned for film adaptation (so look for things like Chosen and The Unfunnies to come out at some point through Sony). Millar was inspired to pursue a career in comic books in the 1980's after meeting Alan Moore. At the time, Millar, born in 1969, was in his late teens. It didn't take long for Millar to be recognized by DC Comics sometime in 1994...and the rest is KICK-ASS history.
Though Millar and Romita are Kick-Ass's biological parents, Director/producer, Matthew Vaughn, co-wrote the screenplay with Jane Goldman, giving Kick-Ass its emotional angle.
Matthew Vaughn (married to supermodel, Claudia Schiffer) has directed little beauties like Layer Cake (2004) and Gaiman's Stardust (2007) and produced other glistening nuggets of pop culture gold with hits like Snatch (2000) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). AND, I just received word about an hour ago that Vaughn WILL be directing the next X-Men prequel flick X-Men: First Class with Twentieth Century Fox (FYI: Vaughn was the first pick for X-3 but was already commited to Stardust, so X-fans ended up with Brett Ratner...Vaughn is an actual FAN so that's GREAT news for all of us comic book geeks who LOVE our X-Men!!!). X-Men: First Class is literally about the first class of X-Men and will include younger-versions of Cyclops and Jean Grey; the film is scheduled for release in summer or fall of 2012. Vaughn plans on following in Bryan Singer's footsteps for what will be the FIFTH film in the X-Men franchise, with more on the way! But back to KICK-ASS.....
Jane Goldman is a British television personality; she worked with Vaughn on the Stardust screenplay and also co-wrote another Vaughn-directed film premiering in 2010, The Debt. Both Goldman and Vaughn, along with Millar, are all UK-born talents. Goldman will turn 40 in June and Vaughn turned 39 in March. The reason why I mention this is because I'm the same age as Vaughn. Vaughn, Goldman, Millar, and I all come from the same generational perspective. We like pop culture--heck, pop culture exists because of our generation. We're also the FIRST generation of the global population to be affected by early pop culture, and yes, that includes comics.
KICK-ASS is my wet dream. I sat in a private screening and was so floored by the experience, it was on par with sitting in a pew before God. I've read some of the reviews from movie critics like Roger Ebert, calling KICK-ASS "morally reprehensible" because Hit Girl, the show-stealer played by Chloe Moretz, is an 11-year old KICK-ASS superhero...and oh yeah, she's a GIRL! I called it. I saw that coming a mile away. We don't want to be saved by superheroes like Catwoman who stops an evil plot to hook the world on toxic face cream...we want HIT GIRL! We want our female hero to take out a boat-load of professional mafia-men with more panache than ANY OTHER superhero we've come to know and love. The Atlanta-born, 13-year old powerhouse of an actress has been in 25 movies to date!!! Some of those films are in production or pre-production and will be coming out in 2011 and 2012.
I almost died with laughter when Moretz saves regular-teen-turned-superhero, Dave Lizewski a.k.a. "Kick-Ass" (played by Aaron Johnson). Hit Girl crashed into a room full of thugs who are about to kill the naive Kick-Ass with an, "Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now...." Cough. I almost wished there had been an audience in the theatre--I would have LOVED to have seen/heard their reaction to that, and by that, I mean the c-word....
I am known as both a feminist writer and comic book scholar. I did not find Moretz's character or language or actions offensive AT ALL. Yes, she swore. Yes, she wielded weapons. Yes, she killed people...lots of them. But she's a superhero, for crying outloud--that's what SHE'S SUPPOSED TO DO! So I'd like to repeat Hit Girl's quote as a message to all those people who found KICK-ASS remotely offensive:
"Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now...."
Seriously, people. It's a MOVIE. It's ENTERTAINMENT. And the reason, I mean the REAL reason, you c-words don't "approve" of Hit Girl isn't because she's "morally reprehensible," it's because she's a GIRL who KICKS ASS. And mainly, kicks the ASSES of MEN. You heard it here first. Her father is framed, jailed, and suffered because of a crime-boss who also happens to frame, jail and make lots of other people suffer. It's okay for Batman to kick ass for that reason, but not Hit Girl? And why? Because she's 11? I have news for you haters out there, most girls have had to deal with their periods for a few years by the time they're 11. Maybe 11-year old boys couldn't handle Hit Girl-level violence...but 11-year old girls sure can, and often do. Hit Girl is a symbol of female EMPOWERMENT...in the most kick-ass way I've ever seen.
I loved Hit Girl (obviously) but I also loved so much about the storyline--Aaron Johnson plays a remarkable emerging teen who decides he's not going to be an unthinking, unfeeling conformist--he's going to stand up for himself and others. He dons a scuba suit and sets out to save the world...one cat, or person, at a time. British-born, 19-year old Johnson has played roles in other films like Shanghai Knights (2003) and The Illusionist (2006).
Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays the Red Mist...who, if you can't tell by his "superhero" name, is really a villain. Hello, KICK-ASS 2! The very handsome Omari Lateef Hardwick plays Sgt. Marcus Williams; you'll see Hardwick in June's A-Team adaptation. And of course, Nick Cage plays Big Daddy...Hit Girl's father. And Cage does a stunner of a job in his role, too.
If you LOVE comic books, you'll LOVE KICK-ASS. If you don't love comics, you'll still love it. I grew up devouring comics, swinging from trees, and using branches as swords and guns...this movie was MADE for me. On the Housel-scale, KICK-ASS earns every inch of my biggest 10/10! The pedestrians out there who "don't get it" need to stay home for Kick-Ass 2. And kudos to Vaughn for taking Kick-Ass to Twentieth Century Fox--it would have been a VERY DIFFERENT movie with mediocre impact if you didn't have your own superheroic courage, Matthew! $72-million dollars and counting...keep kicking ass, Kick-Ass! I've been waiting a long time for you....
PS: While waiting for Hollyhood to catch on to my awesome talent, maybe some of you KICK-ASS Brits need the rare talent of a female comic book scholar??? Call me.... ;)