Over the course of his long comics career, "Kick-Ass" co-creator Mark Millar has scripted the adventures of a wide variety of superheroes. Still, the newly minted Splash Page Guest Editor revealed that much of the inspiration for his creator-owned hero's ass-kicking tale came from the big screen, not the comics world — which is sort of fitting, given Dave Lizewski's upcoming live-action debut.
In Millar's own words, here are the movies that inspired him while creating "Kick-Ass" the comic and factored into director Matthew Vaughn's live-action adaptation of the series, as well as the role each movie played in making the series' everyman hero a star on both the page and the screen.
MILLAR: "Oldboy" changed the way I thought of fight scenes — not because of the wire work, like you see in a lot of Asian movies over the last few years, but they had a fight scene in "Oldboy" where the hero is fighting a gang. He fights maybe 20 guys, and he just keeps fighting and fighting until he eventually succeeds — no special effects or anything.
The fight scene lasted for something like four minutes, and it was actually the most exciting fight I’ve seen in a movie because it seemed like a real fight. Sometimes he would get hurt, sometimes he was hurting them, and he eventually triumphed against impossible odds. I remember thinking, "I’m going to use that in a superhero comic."
A few days later I was writing "Kick-Ass," and I wrote that scene in issue #2 before I started writing issue #1 — the scene when Dave is fighting a gang of muggers. The whole time, I had "Oldboy" in my head and I told Matthew [Vaughn] to watch it before he started directing "Kick-Ass." He loved it, and he thought that scene was amazing. He referenced that in the movie, too.
So, yeah... "Oldboy" is huge.
MILLAR: Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" was a very obvious influence, and I think it’s because we can all identify with Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker. There was a real humanity that Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi brought to that character. I watched all those Spider-Man movies before I started writing "Kick-Ass."
Matthew even shot the movie kind of like "Spider Man." A very obvious way to go with the movie was to make it all Paul Greengrass-style, with handheld cameras and such, because it’s supposed to be realistic. But Matthew came up with the great idea of shooting it like Sam Raimi shot "Spider-Man." That way, it’s all the more shocking whenever you see terrible things happening, because your guard is lowered by the color palette that’s being used.
It’s not like a Paul Greengrass movie, it’s not like Jason Bourne. It looks like a PG-13, family-friendly movie, and then you’re horrified when you see certain things happening. It’s great the way it plays with your sensibilities.
3. "KILL BILL"
MILLAR: "Kill Bill" is another massive influence, just in the sense that [Uma Thurman's character] is the most kick-ass female character ever created in cinema. She’s absolutely amazing.
What amazed me with those fight scenes was that Quentin Tarantino was a guy who had done three previous movies that were famous for the dialogue, and then his fourth movie breaks off in a whole new direction and does a movie with almost no dialogue. "Kill Bill: Part 1" had very little dialogue and there's so much cinematic action in it. It’s just... It's beautifully choreographed action.
When it's become fashionable to do lots of fast cuts and closeups where you can't tell who's hitting who and so on — which is a real problem for things like "Batman Begins" or Jason Bourne movies, because the fight scenes are a little boring — to see a fight scene as exhilarating as the one in "Kill Bill" when she's fighting that gang with the masks, that was amazing. That was in my head when I was writing the Hit-Girl scenes.
Keep it locked to Splash Page all week for more from Splash Page Guest Editor Mark Millar throughout "Kick-Ass" Week here on the site!