First, I saw the graphic novel at a comic store for Kick Ass 2. I stood and read the whole thing, cover to cover. It was *awesome*. I was stunned that they took the story so far.
As someone that loathes unnecessary violence and ultraviolence, it might be surprising that I enjoyed this comic. But Kick Ass 2 answers the question, "What if people were really superheroes or supervillains?" And the answer is -- lots and lots of bloody mess.
Didn't buy the book that time, though. Then I saw the movie was coming out. Very exciting.
Now I wanted to buy the graphic novel, but guess what? Sold out! I asked a comic store owner & they said, "Yeah, it was selling slow until the movie was announced and then it flew off the shelves."
Just before I saw the movie, I was in a comic store & off-handedly asked if they had the graphic novel. They had 1 copy left. I grabbed it on an impulse buy.
Then I heard it was in the theaters. I heard a few positive reviews, and decided to see it that night.
The movie was entertaining, funny, immature, and had a lot of references to that comic (and a lot of lines & references from the comic), but it didn't have the grit of the comic. It didn't have the heart of the story. I wasn't sure why, so I re-read the comic. And there it was ...
The comic book was ~ 200x more violent than the movie, including the villain shooting innocent children for no reason, rape, animal mutilation, and beheadings.
The comic book did not have the silly 'happy ending' sequence of the movie. The comic book was hardcore, the movie was a 'feel good' movie with no core.
There were scenes in the movie that didn't make any sense to me:
Kick Ass dressing like a pimp & getting beaten was not in comic. Didn't make any sense. Hit Girl beating them to a pulp wasn't in the comic either.
In the movie, Motherfucker's uncle kills Chris' last remaining gangster friend, his 'Alfred', while in jail. (What was the point of that?)
The pseudo-rape / comedy scene with 'Night Bitch'. This was adapted from the comic's harsh gang rape of Kick Ass' dream-girl. I found it impossible to chuckle at a rape scene, depite the deliberate attempt for a laugh.
The movie has a lot of reminiscences of Big Daddy, which weren't in the comic. And Mindy/Hit Girl had an awkward line of dialogue about her promise to Big Daddy to defend the city...?
In the movie, Markus was an authoritarian & Mindy / Hit Girl always obeys. Pretty hard to swallow. But in the comic, Mindy's mother is barely sane & Markus uses the guilt of her mother's fragility to keep Mindy in-line -- and Mindy explains how her Dad taught her to be obedient. Comic made slightly more sense here.
The movie made up the "last defense" adrenaline needles -- not in the comic. Not necessary.
Movie had Kick Ass dating Night Bitch -- not in comic. The comic has Kick Ass unable to score with anyone -- makes more sense, no?
Comic has Hit Girl as a 14 year old. In the movie she seems like a high-school senior (~ 17?) but she looks like a 19-20 year old, and she's supposed to be a freshman (15?). All of the 'annoying cheerleader' scenes were not in comic, nor was the 'shit & puke' stick. (I admit I LOL'd at that scene and also wondered if that's a real weapon. Hard to know what's real & what's comic book fantasy nowadays!)
Comic has a no-name baddie knocked into the shark tank, then Hit Girl tortures him to spill the beans. Movie has Motherfucker go into the shark tank, which actually made more sense to me & was 'normal cinematic forshadowing' -- but it was preposterous.
Movie shows Motherfucker in an unnecessary 'legless & helpless in hospital bed' end scene.
Here were the 'toned down' violent scenes I can recall from the top:
Kick Ass' Dad was beaten to death in the movie, but in the comic he was beaten & hanged from a noose. (Different feel.)
Hit Girl is beaten brutally by Mother Russia, her face disfigured by a brass knuckle beat-down.
In the movie, Mother Russia finds Hit Girl's 'last option' adrenalin needle & assumes it's poison, so she injects Hit Girl, resulting in an upbeat/contrived 'adrenaline battle' where Mother Russia is stabbed to death with glass (same as the comic).
In the comic, Hit Girl then decapitates Mother Russia in the comic, "just to be sure".
In the comic, the General (Colonel?) is beheaded and his dog's head is left on his corpse. In the movie, he's shot & beaten to death.
The final battle with Red Mist/Motherfucker was pretty different in the comic, but the ultimate point was the same: Kick Ass wins & proves himself to be a good guy, while Motherfucker is weak to the core & loathable.
Comic -- Kick Ass continually attacks, Motherfucker constantly retreats & uses every dirty trick in the book; hitting Kick Ass from behind a door, begging for his life, whining about getting a painful nut-shot, throwing nails into Kick Ass' eyes, etc.
In the comic, Kick Ass knocked Motherfucker off the top of a building and he lays in an alley with broken body & broken neck, and Kick Ass (the hero) calls an ambulance for him.
And lastly & most significantly to me, the comic's final scenes feature Hit Girl and Markus both going to jail. Hit Girl pays a rough price for being a heroine, and Markus for 'aiding & abetting'.
In summary, I was disappointed that the movie didn't 'hold true' to the comic