Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Lyndsy Fonseca, Clark Duke, Evan Peters
MPAA Rating: (for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children)
Running Time: 1:57
Release Date: 4/16/10
Review by Mark Dujsik | April 15, 2010
Lifting the veil
on the mystique of the costumed crime fighter, Kick-Ass reveals a frightening, ugly core.
nobody's ever tried to be a superhero," the nerdy, lanky hero of the movie
asks his friends, as he himself is contemplating doing just that. The main answer, of course, is that such a normal individual in the real
world would have his/her ass handed to them on a platter, beaten to a pulp, or
worse. The only one way around such
an outcome, the movie argues, is for a person to undergo drastic reconstructive
surgery, replacing or reinforcing most of the individual's bones with metal. Another aftereffect is that the person is now oblivious to some of the
most severe pain.
This is how Dave
(Aaron Johnson), a regular-old teenager who reads comics, has heightened
hormones, and crushes on the girl of his dreams Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), fills
the absent social niche of the ordinary-man-cum-superhero. His story is one of innocent naïveté, good intentions, and the
importance of social networking sites in spreading one's reputation, finding job
opportunities, and discovering others in the same line of work.
This is the
story Kick-Ass begins as. It takes the common route of superhero origin and twists in a sense of
reality (His mom was not murdered by a future nemesis but died of natural
causes, his neighborhood is full of stealing, assaultive thugs, and crime goes
silently watched by the neighbors). Dave's
story, in other words, is involving for its sense of righteousness with the
proper motivation and fun for its variations on a familiar plot.
Then the story
introduces another loophole to avoiding a massive beat-down from baddies. His name is Damon (Nicolas Cage); his alias is Big
Daddy. Big Daddy is a sociopath.
office/arsenal is full of every weapon one could possibly imagine, a comic he
drew detailing his backstory, and plans for wreaking havoc upon the mob boss
(Mark Strong) who, in his mind, ruined his life. Unlike Dave, Big Daddy did lose a loved one due to
violence. After he was wrongfully thrown in prison on false charges raised by the
Mafioso, Big Daddy's pregnant wife committed suicide. The baby survived, and she is now his sidekick Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace
Moretz). In their introductory
scene, Big Daddy is showing his daughter how a bullet affects a bullet-proof
vest. She's wearing it, and he's
firing the gun (In this world, there's apparently no Department of Child
Both Dave and
Big Daddy wear makeshift costumes (Dave wears a diving suit; Damon looks a lot
like Batman, hence Cage's Adam West impression), assume noms
de guerre (Dave's is the titular Kick-Ass), and search for wrong-doing. Dave wants to help those who are in need of aid (He even goes on the
prowl for a missing cat, before stumbling on a man being attacked by a bunch of
goons). Big Daddy serves his own
sense of entitlement to retribution. Dave
carries batons and, before teaming up with Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, attacks only
after being provoked. Big Daddy
kills anyone and everyone associated with the mob boss he can find.
Vaughn washes the movie in vicious, gory violence. On its own merits, the bloodshed is not problematic, but the motivation
that propels it is. Big Daddy, in
his superhero guise, is meant as a comparison to Dave, and yet there's more
evidence tying him thematically to the mob boss. In one scene, the villain has his henchmen interrogate a possible rat
inside an industrial microwave, and soon after, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl question
one of the boss' hoodlums as he sits in a car that they've placed inside a
compactor. Needless to say, things
don't turn out well for the men in the microwave and car. The methods are similar, as is the expected effect for the audience,
waiting for the inevitable, bloody results.
Dave begins his
career as a masked avenger with a certain purity of intent, but then his
adventures go viral, hitting the web and local news. Even the mob boss' son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) follows the trend but
as part of a plan to ultimately take over his dad's business. Big Daddy and Hit-Girl see potential in Kick-Ass, ultimately manipulating
him to falling into their brand of vigilantism—forcing their warped sense of
justice upon others.
Copyright © 2010 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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