Kick-Ass


Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by:Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz
Released: April 8, 2010
Grade: A-

“How come nobody as ever tried to be a superhero?”  Teenager Dave Lizewski (Johnson) puts this question to his friends while they’re hanging out in a comic book store.  The answer is pretty obvious.  Superheros belong in comics and movies.  If anyone tried to do it for real then “they’d get their ass kicked”.

That’s not going to stop Dave.  He’s got an idea and he’s prepared to follow through with it.  He orders a ridiculous looking green costume on the internet and comes up with an appropriate name – “Kick-Ass”.  The plan is to roam the streets and fight crime like a vigilante.  He’ll no longer be that nerdy kid at school.  This is going to make him cool and popular.

Dave’s first chance to see a hero arrives as he walks through a car park.  He sees two guys trying to break into a vehicle.  The thieves laugh at his green “wetsuit” but Dave pulls out his night-sticks and is ready to give them a beating.

So how does he go?  Well, it’s actually Dave who gets the living hell beat out of him.  He ends up in hospital for several weeks - bruised, bloodied and broken.  The grand superhero experiment seems to have come to an abrupt end.

Not so.  Dave’s determined to give another go.  When he helps save a guy getting bashed outside a diner, Kick-Ass becomes a media sensation.  Videos of his heroic deed are being watched by millions on the internet and on television.  Everyone is now asking the question… who is this Kick-Ass?

Dave is about to become caught up in things beyond what he could imagine.  It turns out there are two real superheroes in the city – Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit Girl (Moretz).  They try to conceal their existence and are not happy with Kick-Ass’s amateurish antics.

Also out to stop Kick-Ass is the ultimate bad guy – mafia kingpin Frank D’Amico (Strong).  He mistakenly thinks Kick-Ass killed some of his goons and he wants revenge.  Frank gets his son (Mintz-Plasse) to pose as a superhero himself so that he can become friends with Kick-Ass and learn his true identity.

Kick-Ass is going to be one of the cult hits of the 2010 film year.  It’s based on the comic books from Mark Millar which only started two years ago.  The cinematic rights were picked up quickly and now I can see why.  There are plenty of laughs with many revolving around a running gag involving Dave’s sexuality.  There are also a few surprises.  The strong language and brutal nature in some scenes caught me off guard (although it explains the MA rating).

This may be hard to believe but the film’s strongest element is its plot.  The ending gets a little silly (although it is a comic after all) but there are a lot of intricacies in the storyline and its characters.  It’s more than just a superhero spoof and there’s seldom a dull moment.  It’s easily a film I could watch a second time.

I wasn’t a fan of Aaron Johnson in Nowhere Boy (released in December 2009) but he’s terrific here in the leading role.  I loved the high-pitched voice and insecure nature which he brings to the character.  Hollywood churns through young actors so quickly these days and it’ll be interesting to see if Johnson builds on the success of great roles like this.  Chloe Moretz (500 Days Of Summer) also deserves a mention as the awesome Hit Girl.  I can’t believe she’s just 13 years old.

I’m a little tired of traditional superhero movies like Spiderman and Batman.  It’s nice to see a film give the genre a “shake up” and I hope Kick-Ass does strong business.