Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book series is a hilarious, hip twist on the superhero genre. Gone are the superpowers, the 100 inch chests and holier than thou attitude. Instead our hero is an awkward teenager, Dave Lizewski (Rising Brit star Aaron Johnson), who decides to don tights and fight crime just because he thinks it’s cool and, more importantly, it might impress a girl. The desire to be a superhero and escape the humdrum of everyday existence was a feature of 1999’s disappointing Mystery Men, and director Vaughn, to his credit, recognises that the concept alone, (funny as it is) is not enough to carry the movie. So he gives our protagonist and his school chums a brash misplaced attitude that’s airlifted from Greg Mottola’s Superbad, a point that is emphasized by the casting of Christopher ‘McLovin’ Mintz-Plasse as the son of the villainous crime boss (Mark Strong) with a desperate desire to one day take over dad’s criminal empire. These are not even the best characters, that particular accolade has to go to Nicolas Cage (who, with this and Werner Herzog’s forthcoming Bad Lieutenant, is enjoying something of a mid-career renaissance) who plays a false moustache-wearing ex-cop training his daughter up to fight crime. It’s Cage in Raising Arizona mode, while 13-year-old actress Chloe Moretz is the best assassin prodigy since Nathalie Portman in Leon. Successfully celebrating a teen boys idea of ‘cool’, Vaughn has a feeling for characters and story arcs that his Lock, Stock... collaborator Guy Ritchie has long since forgotten. Quite frankly, Vaughn kicks ass.
General release from Wed 31 Mar. See feature.