Just so you folks know, this movie is not for kids. Teenagers should be able to hadnle it, but under 13 is pretty much a no-go. On with the review
Once upon a time, in 2008, we were young, and foolish. With the release of Iron Man, we felt that the perfect not-too serious, non-stop entertainment superhero film had been achieved. We were wrong. Now, it is 2010, and the bar has been set yet again. And more than that, the bar hasn’t just been set higher, the bar has been raced out of the old building into a new one with 5000 more floors and placed at the very top. Such is the new film by director Matthew Vaughn starring new comer Aaron Johnson, Kick-Ass.
The film tells the story of Dave Lizewski, a nerdy teenager with an astoundingly unexciting life. One day, out of sheer boredom, he decides to become a superhero. He dons a painted wetsuit and mask and becomes Kick-Ass. However, things don’t go very well for him the first time out, and he contemplates quitting. But he figure he ought to keep on keeping on and tries it again, this time with some semblance of success. Through his adventures, he comes into contact with professional vigilantes Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage, in a truly amazing career turnaround) and Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz, proving there are still great child actors out there). They’re out to stop drug kingpin Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and Kick-Ass—in a way only an untrained buffoon like him could—gets involved. As for all the rest of the plot and various sub-plots: you’ll have to see the movie to find out.
First off, let’s get out some things that could be considered problems. One: the violence. Don’t let the kid-friendly trailers fool you, this movie is brutal. Blood splatters, bodies explode, and limbs get hacked off. The more touch types aren’t going to be fans, and it might throw off people who just saw the trailers. Two: the juxtaposition of said violence with raunchy, zany comedy. This is another thing that might throw people off. Seeing a guy pretending to be gay to hang out with a girl he likes isn’t something you expect to see in the same movie wherein drug dealers explode a dude in an industrial-sized microwave. It’s another thing that a lot of people won’t be expecting, and it could cause confusion. Make no mistake, even tough the violence is graphic, it’s still over-the-top, and should not be taken seriously.
That’s pretty much it for potential problems. So, do either of those things actually detract from the film’s watch ability? No. Not even a little. The movie just works, plain and simple, it works. And it works beautifully. It manages to be a great satire of superhero movies while at the same time being a great superhero movie itself. Every single frame oozes visual style and reminds the viewer why they go to the movies: to be entertained. To be entertained and to be entertained in a way that doesn’t involve you making fun of bad characters’ actions or turning your brain off. Pure cinematic escapism, dare to say, on a par with the original 1933 King Kong. It’s serious when it needs to be, funny when it needs to be, and incredibly exciting when it needs to be. This brings us to another great thing about this film, the action sequences. Some of the most mind-blowing, pulse-pounding action you will ever see, you will see in Kick-Ass. It’s a brutal ballet. Think if Dancing with the Stars involved chopping opponents into ribbons. Let’s see Robert Downey Jr. do that with the Iron Man armor.
Finally, we talk about the absolute best part of this film (although saying anything is “best” in this film is like saying there’s a “best” part of eating the world’s greatest ice cream), the characters, and by extension, the actors. There is no such thing as a weak character in Kick-Ass. Everybody here is fleshed out and fantastic to watch. Even Dave Lizewski’s girlfriend, whom one would think to be boring, and yet she’s not, you actually get attached to her despite her limited screen time. The same goes to Dave’s friends, who provide some of the best laughs in the film. That’s thanks to both a great script and great acting. Everybody here brings their A-Game. Johnson does a great job portraying the title character, and Christopher-Mintz-Plasse (Superbad’s McLovin’) is quite entertaining as Red Mist. But the two characters that everybody will love come in the form of Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. Already, I established that Chloë Moretz and Nicholas Cage do a great job in their respective roles, but on top of that, both characters are the perfect blend of loving father and daughter and awesome crime-fighters. There’s something inherently hilarious about Nic Cage impersonating Adam West as Batman, and who doesn’t want to see an 11-year-old girl spouting profanities and committing acts that would make John McClain green with envy? And of course, this film goes the extra mile to give us glimpses into these character’s back stories and gives the audience something more to latch onto than a few laughs.
So, in short, Kick-Ass knows exactly what it’s doing: creating a well-told tale that makes you wish all superhero movies were like it. It’s exciting, emotional, hilarious, and overall incredible. A perfect five Godzillas. You must see this movie.
Oh, and in case you were wondering: it does, indeed, kick ass.