Noah Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
You don't get it, do you? This isn't good cop, bad cop. This is fag and New Yorker.
One of the main characters in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, played by Val Kilmer, is named Gay Perry. Gay. Perry. That's the greatest fucking name for a film character I've ever come across. It's the kind of name I'm not smart enough to come up with, and even if I somehow did, I wouldn't have the balls to use it. Shane Black's got the wit and the balls. This is a great movie. A film that loves to bullshit, but in the proper way. It does that thing where it goes "It sucks when a movie does this, right?", then does it, but it does all of it far better than the films it's making fun of. It's all hilarious, sharp, acted wonderfully, and great to look at. Oh, and it's set around Christmas. What more can you ask from a movie?
I could leave it there, but I'll go a little further. Though I can now only see and hear Tony Stark whenever he's on screen, Robert Downey Jr. gives what's likely his best performance. (If anything, second only to his turn in Tropic Thunder. That's an underrated Hollywood romp too.) Downey ramps up the charm, hones his snark, and comes off as deeply charming even when his character seems like the biggest douche in L.A. I'll mention Val Kilmer as Gay Perry again because of course I should. What on Earth did we do as a society to neglect an actor this gifted? The name is still the best thing about the character, but the character himself ain't that bad either. Oh, and the chemistry between Kilmer and Downey is to die for. Shane Black must have a gift with finding odd duos of actors that work perfectly together. Alongside the boys of the flick, Michelle Monaghan fits the role of femme fatale, and brings a special twist to it. Her past has tragedy, but she's not drowning in it. She's sexualized, but sex appeal isn't her main attracting factor. A duo is made even better as a trio.
Even halfway through the flick, I lost track of how many times I laughed. Jokes, spoken and visual, come a mile a minute and most of them hit square on. You know the comedy in a movie is working when you have trouble picking the quote you want to start your review with. I'm sure many folks have compared this to The Nice Guys. Their styles and story beats are very similar, and even though I'd say I prefer The Nice Guys, this stands on itself as a strong action comedy, not relenting on either. If this does have one advantage over The Nice Guys however, it would be the dramatic moments. Though not as strong as its comedic elements, whenever the film wants to get vaguely serious, it works very well. When a certain character is seemingly offed, I felt something. When you can insert actual emotion and investment into your wacky crime comedy, you're doing something correctly.
That being said, if I have a distinct complaint, I found the ending of the flick to be somewhat flaccid. It was still good, and it had a clear intention, but it didn't hit as well as it likely thought it was doing. However, when the rest of the flick is as fantastic as it is, that doesn't matter all that much. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is an instant favorite crime comedy, and I do love me a good crime comedy. This also makes me want to rewatch Iron Man 3, since that's more or less a Shane Black film masquerading as a Marvel movie. Shane Black shines as one of the most incredibly talented writer and director working in Hollywood today. I would say I want him to crank out movies like this yearly, but maybe it's because he gets to take the time to develop his work over a few years that makes it all so damn tasty. If so, every once in a while, when a Shane Black movie rears its head, regardless of the time of the year it comes out, it's a very special Christmas.