Amid controversy sponsored by some religious and parent organizations, as well as a large movie theater chain refusing to show the film, Kick-Ass emerges gleefully unabashed of its obscenity and, surprisingly, is one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in quite awhile. I do not, however, recommend this movie to everyone.
R for language and violence
It needs to be made abundantly clear that Kick-Ass is rated R; a fact that most of the films detractors fail to mention as they condemn it for language and violence. The movie was never intended for families and children, but for those who want to see a ridiculously, often over-the-top (and politically incorrect), display of debauchery and cartoon hijinx in a live action movie.
Plot: spoiler alert!
Three main storylines run through the film, the main centering around Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) who decides one day he’s tired of living in a world where bullies and thugs push the little guy around (Dave and his small group of geekish friends are subject to bulling everyday at school). Dave dons a bright green scuba suit to become Kick-Ass, the superhero. After a not-too-pleasant first outing, which leaves him in the hospital for weeks, Dave realizes his nerve endings are severed and he can’t feel most pain. This enhances his ability as a crime fighter (it’s his only ‘ability’), and after a chance encounter with some more bad guys he winds up on YouTube and becomes a sensation.
Frank D’Amico (Sherlock Holmes’ Mark Strong), a really bad mobster involved with drug trafficking, racketeering, etc. who’s made aware his business is the target of a masked vigilante bent on bring his operation down. Naturally, he puts two and two together and with the help of his embarrassingly lame son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse Superbad) they hatch a plan to trap Kick-Ass. Little do they know there’s another duo of crime fighters in the city, father and daughter team Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage, channeling Adam West) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) a precocious 12-year-old who curses like a sailor and plays with guns and knives as if they were Barbies.
While this reviewer has not read the source material, the cult-favorite comic by Mark Miller and John Romita Jr., the film’s use of color captures a comic’s look and feel. The performances are universally appealing, but the standout is Moretz who effortlessly renders her very adult and difficult role into a worthy performance few actors would be ashamed to put on their resumes.
The best way to describe Kick-Ass is a hybrid of Juno (2007), 300 (2006) and The Dark Knight (2008). Many reviewers equate the movie to a sugar high, which it kind of is, but it’s an entertaining sugar high that leaves you wanting more (and hopefully will produce a sequel).