Admittedly, after seeing “Watchmen” & “Batman Returns”, I am a superhero snob. I will not stand for a return to the old superhero films because…well…they’re lame. Compared to the kind of violence and darkness that can be portrayed in films today, there’s no going back. And “Kick-Ass” sees to it that we don’t go back. Rated R and every bit as violent as most comic books and video games nowadays, this independent film is maybe not as heavy-handed as “Watchmen” or “Batman Returns”…but it’s a lot of fun, like “Wanted”, and that is good enough for me.
In the beginning, we meet Dave Lizewski, a normal teenager with normal issues. He likes comic books, hanging out with his buds & choking the chicken. It’s an average life where no girls will look at him and everyday he is mugged by the same guys in a parking lot on his way home. As teens are apt to do, he begins to wonder…why hasn’t anyone actually become a superhero? There has to be someone who is willing to step out of norm and fight for justice, right? Obviously…that is his calling. So he makes himself a suit and becomes “Kick-Ass”. Well…he GETS his ass kicked quite a bit through most of this film, but he is a determined dude and, after joining in a fight with a 3 thugs, his video gets posted on the web and he becomes an internet superstar.
Meanwhile, in another storyline, 2 REAL superheroes are devising a plan to stop a NYC crimelord. Big Daddy & Hit Girl are taking out the crime boss’ goons and taking his drug money, but the kingpin Frank D’Amico doesn’t know what is going on so he blames all of the losses on Kick-Ass, assuming he is killing his men and taking his money. From there, D’Amico (Mark Strong, in another great villain role) sets out to rid the city of Kick-Ass once and for all.
As I said…this movie is less “Watchmen” and a little more like “Wanted”, with it’s hyper-violence and fast pace. It’s well-directed and the editing and flow of the film is all good. The actors are all excellent, especially the new “It Girl”, Chloe Moretz, who plays “Hit Girl”. Whenever she’s onscreen, this movie is hers. As the fast-talking weapons master, she takes down anything in her path and this movie is 100 times better because of her. Nicholas Cage plays “Big Daddy”, a Batman-ish type superhero, and he manages to make his role somewhat unexciting. What is it with Cage lately? I used to LOVE him in so many things but lately? Eh…not so much. Our hero is played by relatively unknown Aaron Johnson. It’s a great starter role for him and this will more than likely put him on the map for more teen roles. His average looks put him on par with Michael Cera and his charisma and charm make him the perfect choice for this role.
The only character I didn’t really care for was Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico, the mob boss’ son, who later becomes “Red Mist”. He seems miscast in his role as the “fake” superhero who sets up Kick-Ass to get his father’s love & affection. After being in “Superbad” as McLovin I just have a hard time seeing him in this role. But whatever…
If you like comic book violence and lots of action, “Kick-Ass” is about as much fun as you’re gonna get. It’s got a great soundtrack, lots of action, a big heart and a great cast to back it up. In this pre-summer season, that will carry it a long way.
Overall Rating: A-