Kick-Ass: A Milestone?

I'm reluctant to add to the mountain of blog reviews of Kick-Ass, but I do have a few observations. First, it's remarkable what the filmmakers were able to accomplish in under two hours. They established the origins of four major characters without slowing the pace of the story. Usually in superhero films you have to endure the first act in which the protagonist is endowed with his power, but I didn't get that feeling here. In Kick-Ass, we witness Dave Lizewski become a superhero, but the origin story is woven into the entire plot. There's no twenty minute section that just screams "this is the origin of Kick-Ass". The same goes for Big Daddy, Hit-Girl and Red Mist- by the conclusion, we know enough of their backstory to understand what compelled them to don a mask. 

Chloe Moretz - Hit-Girl
I also thought Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz gave two of the best performances in any superhero film to date. Johnson's nasally, whiny voice and slumped, beaten down posture perfectly captured a seventeen year old kid just trying to get through life. I thought his "Dave" captured a typical teenager's characteristics much better than even  Tobey Maguire did in Spider-Man (2002).

What can I say about Moretz that hasn't already been said? This is the best I can do- her action scenes are as intense and exciting as any that I can remember. Obviously, a lot of credit has to go to her stunt double and the technical wizards that made the scenes so realistic. However, it was Moretz's delivery of the dialogue and attitude that made the scenes memorable. I have no doubt that she'll be an Oscar winner for some future role- I just hope it's in another superhero movie.
Aaron Johnson - Kick-Ass

In some ways, Kick-Ass reminds me of Watchmen (2009). I liked Watchmen because it took the seventy year old superhero genre and twisted its conventions and cliches into something totally original. In overall quality I think Kick-Ass is a notch below Watchmen, but I got the same feeling as I was watching it. I got the feeling I was watching a turning point in the genre. Maybe "turning point" isn't the right word. A better way of expressing it might be "A major evolutionary step in the development of the genre." To some, that might seem like way too much praise, but no matter what you thought of the film, it's hard to argue that there's never been anything quite like it before.

Exoskeletons In Our Future?

Iron Man 2 poster - Marvel Studios
Fantastic Four 169 - Marvel Comics
I've been fascinated by the concept of exoskeletons since I was a kid. The first time I ever read the term was in a Fantastic Four comic book back in 1976. In issue 169, Ben Grimm reverts to his normal appearance and Reed Richards makes an artificial "Thing" suit for him. I'm not sure when the term "exoskeleton" was first used in a comic book, but that has to be one of the earliest.

Avatar Exoskeleton
Anyway, exoskeletons have been a recurring feature of comics and movies for decades. Of course the plots of Iron Man and Iron Man 2 revolve around the technology, and District 9 (2009) featured an "Exo-Suit", but there were earlier examples. In Aliens (1980), James Cameron used an exoskeleton (referred to as a "powerloader" in the film) in the climactic fight between Ripley and the queen alien. Cameron again prominently featured the technology in Avatar (2010).  

In preparation for Iron Man 2's release on May 2, Marvel Studios released a clip showing a futuristic exoskeleton from the fictitious AccuTech Corporation. The studio also created a website for Accutech which gives even more details on what they call the "Haztech" suit.

Besides being a smart promotional tie-in for the movie, I think the clip gives us a glimpse into the future. Suits that can mechanically enhance human performance are a reality, but the technology is still years away from being the advanced type seen in the Iron Man video. However, I've included another video that shows a real, working exoskeleton being developed for the U.S. military. After watching that clip, it's not hard to see where Marvel got ideas for their superpowered suit .