Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Real superheroes are so overrated. Superman is super fast and strong, Batman’s smart and has a serious stash of cash and Spider-Man can scale walls and sling webs, but do any have the geeky innocence of Kick-Ass, a mouth as foul as Hit Girl, an equal affection for firearms and hot chocolate with extra marshmallows like Big Daddy or a Mohawk as out of control as Red Mist’s? Kick-Ass creates a connection between fan and hero like never before. There’s no supernatural prowess, just one average Joe showing another what he can do with a secret identity and two sticks to whack people with.
Who doesn’t walk out of a superhero movie wishing they could don a cape and fight some crime? I’d like to say the large majority, however nobody acts on the impulse. That all changes in Kick-Ass. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides the time has come for the average teenager to go incognito and kick some ass, or, in his case, get his ass kicked. Clad in a green and yellow scuba suit, Kick-Ass ventures out into public to save someone’s day. After a considerable mishap, he returns for another go-around and winds up triumphant. An onlooker videos the entire battle and Kick-Ass becomes the latest YouTube sensation.
From there it’s a merchandising frenzy making Kick-Ass the hottest fad. With his newfound confidence in tow, Dave decides to take on the big boys, but winds up being rescued by the real deal, Hit Girl and Big Daddy (Chloe Moretz and Nicolas Cage), a father-daughter team seeking vengeance on the villainous Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) for denying them the chance to be a complete happy family. Soon after, Red Mist gets in on the action and all four find themselves in some serious danger.
Kick-Ass is all-around fantastic from beginning to end. David earns your sympathy as the typical geek incapable of being noticed by his crush, Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca). Once he transforms into Kick-Ass the pity remains, but for a new reason; David suffers some intense blows. However, this makes room for a new sentiment towards our hero, respect. He’s not some crazy kid just trying to be cool; he’s doing it because he genuinely wants to help people.
Johnson is the titular character, but Big Daddy and Hit Girl steal the show. Not only is their back story particularly well-developed, but the characters are downright fascinating. Between their unusual father-daughter relationship, Big Daddy’s intense rage and Hit Girl’s potty mouth, there’s never a lull in their magnetism. And forget just being an absurdly fun character, Moretz is a damn talented actress. Kids play kids for a reason; they’re able to connect and relate. Yes, Hit Girl is a pint-sized superhero and flaunts the gimmick quite well, but when the time comes to get serious and go for your heart, Moretz delivers big time.
The storyline and acting makes Kick-Ass a good film, but it’s the fine-tuning that makes it truly remarkable. The editing is spot on creating an impeccable pace. There isn’t a second of fluff footage and every scene is worthy of your full attention. Vaughn assembles the perfect balance of character development, fight scenes, laughs and more dramatic moments. The cinematography and choreography are particularly impressive. On the serene side, there are a handful of gorgeous views of New York City. By shifting the attention to the action, you’re consumed by fast fists, spewing blood and an abundance of weaponry, yet always have a handle on exactly what’s going down. Keep an eye out for a particularly impressively coordinated and novel clash involving a strobe light.
There’s really nothing better than walking out of film having had an absolute blast with a massive grin on your face. Forget kicking ass, Kick-Ass has the power to turn even D’Amico’s nastiest goon into your new best friend. Another excellent thing about Kick-Ass? The doors are left wide open for a sequel. Forget Thor, Captain America, or anyone else the superhero movie craze has coming our way; I want more Kick-Ass!
By Perri Nemiroff