Written By: Jane Goldman (screenplay) & Matthew Vaughn (screenplay), Mark Millar (comic book) & John Romita Jr. (comic book)
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Clark Duke, Mark Strong, Sophie Wu, Lyndsy Fonseca.
Geren: Action / Comedy / Crime
Reviewed by: Mike Huntley (The Dark Knight)
Most of us in our childhood have thought of how cool it would be to be our favorite superheroes in comic books, movies, television, and animation. Imagine having super powers and being able to fly. Imagine having endless amounts of money, a mansion, and your own secret Batcave with your own high tech Batmobile. Imagine having the ability to run faster than anything on this planet. But, when you stop to think about it, what kind of life would you have? You couldn’t have a good relationship with the opposite sex in fear that your enemies might hurt or kill them. You would have to constantly lie to your friends and family. At some point, your secret would take a great toll on your body and soul. Still, it doesn’t stop us from wanting to dress up like a superhero and pretend we are fighting crime. The key word in there is “pretend”. Unlike our logics on why being a superhero in our real world is a very bad idea, there are some characters in a popular comic book who actually give it a try and turn our world into the world of the theatrical and heroic. Their names are Kick-Ass, Big Daddy, and Hit-Girl and this is their origin story off the comic’s page and into the wonderful world of cinema.
Dave Lizewski is a High School outcast who long wishes he was as cool as his favorite comic book superheroes. One day while in a comic book shop with his two buddies Marty and Todd, Dave gets the idea to give it a try. He orders a ridiculous costume and mask online. His first mission? To stop the two thugs who keep robbing him and his friends. Well, things don’t go great as he is stabbed and hit by a car. At the hospital, he tells his Dad that two guys robbed him and stole his clothes. This of course starts a rumor around school that he is gay, which Dave uses to his advantage when his crush Katie is all the sudden wanting to hang with him. Even though he should have quit his try out as a masked superhero when he almost got killed, Dave decides to give it another chance, this time saving cats out of trees. Oh and he stops a group of low lifes from killing some guy by pounding on them with two night sticks. This captures the attention of a huge crowd and is filmed by someone and posted online where Dave calls himself “Kick-Ass”. Now Kick-Ass is a New York City icon with costumes, comic books, and the like. Meanwhile, a former cop named Damon Macready and his daughter Mindy are killing off bad guys who work for NYC mob boss Frank D’Amico under the personas of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl due to D’Amico framing Damon and causing his wife to commit suicide. The costumed vigilantes take notice of Kick-Ass and want him to join them. Meanwhile, Frank D’Amico’s son Chris wants to prove himself worthy of his father’s empire so he hatches a plan for Frank to capture Kick-Ass and Big Daddy, which will change their lives forever.
Bottom line is I love Kick-Ass. I loved this movie when I first saw it in the theater a few years ago and I still adore it today. It did something unique with superheroes by just having an average dude with no money or powers be a superhero. A superhero film that feels like it belongs in a comic book yet is set in the real world with real consequences. Now, would people act like these characters in real life? Probably not. But, this is a great satire on the superhero genre. We all love superheroes and Kick-Ass is us, but also shows us why people don’t wear masks and capes in real life. Would it be cool to be saved by a masked caped crusader with cool gadgets? Absolutely. But, heroes in real life wear badges or military uniforms. Or they just do the right thing by risking their life for another Human Being. The badge of being a hero is a rewarding feeling. Just knowing that someone is safe and out of harm’s way because you had the guts to act, now that I’m sure would be overwhelming.
So, why does Kick-Ass work? While I love Spider-Man/Peter Parker for just being a kid yet doing extraordinary things to make this country’s most well-known city a better place, Kick-Ass/Dave Lizewski has zero powers. Peter Parker has spidey sense, fast reflexes, and the ability to climb walls. Dave doesn’t. He’s just us in a costume with two sticks ready to kick someone’s ass even if it means getting his own ass kicked or stabbed. The kid’s a hero because he has overcome the one obstacle that differs a casual person from a masked crusader: the fear of death. If we didn’t fear death, then there would be nothing holding us back from being a superhero. Death is one of the most primal fears us Human Beings have. Take that away and we become more superhuman. That’s what I admire about Kick-Ass. This kid is not afraid. He just goes out and sticks up for the underdogs. In fact, Dave is a lot like Peter Parker but minus the science fiction elements. He lives with his Dad and the two aren’t close since his mother died.
And then there is Damon and Mindy aka Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. Mindy is an 11 year old girl who hasn’t had a childhood due to her father training her to fight the criminal underworld. This is the coolest little girl you’ll ever meet. She swears a lot, kills bad guys, and will basically kick your fucking ass. Damon used to be a cop till he was framed and imprisoned for years vowing to destroy Frank D’Amico. Gotta love the almost Batman and Robin reflection of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. That classic Dynamic Duo type of partnership.
But then there is the father/son relationship between Frank and Chris D’Amico. Frank is basically the Lex Luthor or Norman Osborn of New York City and Chris wants to join that big empire that his Dad has set up. So, Chris disguises himself as a fellow superhero named Red Mist to lure Kick-Ass into Frank’s trap because Frank wants to kill Big Daddy as well as teach NYC that being a superhero will get you killed.
Like all superhero stories, there’s the love interest. In this case, Kick-Ass’s Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson is Katie Deauxma. Although I find it kinda messed up that she doesn’t start talking and flirting with Dave until she thinks he is gay. But then the two become really close once she finds out that he is Kick-Ass. That is til the sequel.
Kick-Ass is NOT a family superhero movie! This film is violent and bloody as Hell. Bad guys get dismembered and not to mention by a little girl. The gruesome comic book violence is part of Kick-Ass’s charm. Because let’s face it, superheroes in real life wouldn’t be PG or PG-13, they would be a hard R and this film is a pretty hard R!
The direction by Matthew Vaughn who went on to direct X-Men: First Class is top notch. Vaughn is a director that I’m quickly becoming a fan of and he shows his love for superheroes in his work. Hoping he steps back into the superhero world someday.
The acting is top notch. Aaron Johnson is great in the lead role as Kick-Ass. Nicholas Cage looks like he’s having a blast playing Big Daddy who’s obviously a Batman knockoff. Mark Strong was great as villain Frank D’Amico. I really hope this dude gets Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman, especially after he got screwed as Sinestro with Green Lantern. McLovin was decent as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist who will be the villain in Kick-Ass 2. Lyndsy Fonseca did okay as the love interest Katie. Unfortunately, her character sucks in the sequel. Clark Duke and Evan Peters were hilarious as Dave’s friends Marty and Todd. And then we have Chloe Grace Moretz who gives the excellent stand out performance as Hit-Girl. Moretz has become a much bigger star thanks to this film and I think this girl has a bright career ahead of her!
Overall, Kick-Ass kicks a lot of ass! In fact, it was in my top movies of 2010. I love this film so much and am super excited that it got a sequel. To be continued….