Now Playing Review – Kick-Ass

If I have learned anything from all the years of loving superheroes, I know this: it is pretty stupid to even consider emulating your favorite caped crusader.  Well, good thing there are certain individuals who ignore their brain’s hazard signs, because it sure makes for a fun and highly entertaining movie.

In Kick-Ass (sorry mom), Dave Lizewski is a dorky, unpopular high school student who decides that he would like to be a superhero rather than just reading about them in comics.  Unfortunately for him, he is not so skilled in the beat ’em up department, but what he lacks in superpowers he makes up for in persistence and good intentions.  And what that doesn’t accomplish, well, there are others for that.  Doing more than their fair share of the crime fighting thanks to their vengeful path of justice, the father/daughter team of Hit-Girl and Big Daddy live up to Kick-Ass’s name.

The story isn’t the most original for a superhero film, but early on it is made clear that this isn’t the usual genre film that has come out of the past decade.  If anything, it actually starts out mocking the Spider-Man set up with a slow motion run on a roof, some self-love in the mirror, a ridiculously amazing origin story (or lack-there-of), and Kick Ass’s hit-and-(more often than not)-miss fighting style.  And just look at Lizewski’s home; I swear that Peter Parker and MJ are probably in the backyard talking over the trashcans.  Luckily for us, Kick-Ass loses the cheesiness of that film franchise.  Instead of going the route of the loser wannabe to an awesome crime fighter in a short period of time, this kid takes his fair share of painful beatings and continues to do so throughout the entire film.  Because of this, Kick-Ass is a slightly more realistic hero film that manages to remain as entertaining as any other with great comedic bits and amazing action sequences.

Speaking of these action sequences, though the title is named after Kick Ass and he plays a very important role to the story, this film is what it is thanks to Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.  Let me just put it this way: I am not a fan of Nicolas Cage’s acting and his annoying habit of showing up in pretty much every movie out or on its way to the theatre, but I actually really liked him in this movie.  He was great as the caped crusader seeking revenge, and even stronger in his father/daughter scenes with Chloe Moretz.  Their relationship is completely ridiculous and adorable, and provides some of the best moments in the film.  Just look at their intro scene, which is easily one of the greatest intros I have seen in a long time.

In addition to the strong performances of Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong as the drug boss, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist, Aaron Johnson’s as Kick-Ass, and from the strong supporting cast, including Clark Duke and Evan Peters as Dave’s best and only friends, this film is completely stolen by Moretz’s portrayal of the well-trained child-of-death, Hit-Girl.  She is a complete beast in the film and though it is slightly off-putting at first to watch a little girl brutally murdering people, I am not at all apologetic for how much I enjoyed the dichotomy of her “innocence” and violence.

Overall, Kick-Ass is a hilariously entertaining film mixing the incompetent wannabe hero with those who are better at their chosen career path, bringing about some really impressive action sequences for Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, with the added bonus of a great soundtrack playing over these moments.  With the slew of superhero films coming out in the next couple of years, it is nice to see that some of them will keep it more on the reality-based side of things, while still taking advantage of the graphic novel origins.

Final Grade: B+

2 thoughts on “Now Playing Review – Kick-Ass

  1. I was thinking about doing a review of Kick-Ass too, but after reading yours… what’s the point?

    The Spider-Man parallels were strange. Why not pay homage to several comics instead of focusing on one?

    I was very glad to see that Kick-Ass never becomes an effective crime fighter, he just gets lucky and tries hard. I feared a montage of him working out and learning karate. But instead we saw a more realistic film in that regard.

    And as you said, the warped father/daughter scenes and the comedy were the highlights of the film. Once you add all the action and all the other characters, you have a pretty good film. I would recommend it to almost anyone under 40.

  2. There were some audible references to other superheroes in the very beginning before the camera catches up to the swan diving man because I know I heard some Superman stuff, and then there were the Batman jokes, but I am assuming they stuck to Spider-Man because he would be the easiest one to make the connection to for audiences if you don’t assume most are fanboys and only really know about superheroes through the recent slew of films. I mean, everyone probably knows the “with great power comes great responsibility” line by now. And then if you consider the age of the character in Kick-Ass it makes more sense because Spider-Man is more of the everyman/dork-to-superhero for that age demographic and far easier to relate to than the older superheroes who have had time to figure themselves and what they are trying to accomplish out.

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