Take it from us: As much fun as “Kick-Ass” is upon first viewing, its unraveling — and bloody reweaving — of comic book tropes is even more entertaining the second time around. You notice the little things in this flick about ordinary folks who decide to become superheroes — the nuances of Nicolas Cage’s fanboy-infused portrayal of a wannabe Batman; the winning one-liners you know are coming but are somehow even funnier than you remembered; the many nods to comic book classics past and present.
Yet unless you’re a movie nerd of truly impressive proportions, you won’t be seeing “Kick-Ass” twice this weekend, which is where MTV News comes in. We’ve compiled a list of random references, cool backstories and assorted geektastic minutia that is required reading before you hit the theater this weekend. Here’s five things you need to know about “Kick-Ass.”
The Adam West Voice … And The Ex-Girlfriend’s Dad
The first time you see Cage in his getup as Big Daddy, you’ll notice the unmistakable similarity to the Dark Knight. The first time you hear him speak, you’ll hear his odd, halting delivery. As Cage told us, the voice is an homage to Adam West’s Batman in the classic ’60-era TV show.
“[Director] Matthew Vaughn gave me this yellow belt to try on for the costume and he said, ’You know what that looks like?’ ” Cage said. “I said, ’Absolutely.’ It was my favorite thing about his costume in the original ’Batman’ TV series. But I said, ’Why stop there? Let’s go for the whole thing and try to bring a little Adam West to this thing. I really enjoyed Adam West as a child and I like his delivery — I’m not even sure why — there’s something bizarre and wonderful about it. I brought it into rehearsal and, shockingly, Matthew didn’t kill it and decided to go with it.”
When he’s not dressing up as Big Daddy, Cage’s character is a father and ex-cop named Damon. The inspiration for that portrayal comes from quite a different source than the small screen.
“I had an idea of someone I had dated in the past,” Cage said of playing Damon. “I had dated a girl for a while whose father was a policeman and he had that demeanor and used words like ’child,’ and so I brought that into the character.”
The Superman Score
In the very first scene of the film, a superhero hopeful stands on the precipice of a skyscraper, metallic wings strapped to his back, ready to take flight and soar through the air. That music playing in the background? That’s John Williams’ iconic score from the Christopher Reeves-starring “Superman” series. In “Kick-Ass,” of course, this wannabe hero isn’t exactly a Man of Steel, and things don’t work out so well in his nascent crime-fighting career. But the “Superman” music is but one nod to superhero movies of the past.
The Beloved Comics
Mark Millar, the creator of the “Kick-Ass” comic book and this week’s guest editor over at MTV’s Splash Page blog, clued us in to the appearance of other comic books within the movie.
Co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s character is shown as the proud owner of “The Ultimates” and “Ultimate X-Men.” Another character can be seeing reading a copy of Brian K. Vaughan’s ” Runaways.” And then there’s the appearance of Millar’s own creations, like “Wanted” (which was turned into the Angelina Jolie-starring flick).
“[T]hey actually sprinkled a lot of my books through the whole movie, and to be honest, I would sometimes just be standing in the background making sure that the books were in the shot,” he said.
Blink and you’ll miss a “Kick-Ass” appearance by John Romita Jr., who penciled the “Kick-Ass” comic book.
“[N]obody has spotted [it] yet because Johnny has his back to you in the cameo,” Millar said of Romit’s role as a bartender. “Yeah just for a fraction second you see him.”
Millar’s own cameo didn’t go as well. “I had a little cameo as well, where I was playing an alcoholic — a Scottish alcoholic,” he explained. “And that got cut from final of the movie — hopefully it’ll end up in the extended version that Matthew’s working on. I was hoping to be something cool like a special-forces guy or something. And they said, ’No no, you’d be great as a Scottish alcoholic’ and I was like, ’OK.’ ”
The Final Line
Spoiler alert! Turn back now if you don’t want a sneak peek at the movie’s ending. We won’t give everything away — where’s the fun in that? — but suffice to say that Mintz-Plasse’s character, the costumed Red Mist, declares, “Wait’ll they get a load of me!”
That line is ripped directly from Jack Nicholson’s Joker in the 1989 Michael Keaton-starring “Batman.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Kick-Ass.”
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