Masked heroes with no superpowers? Check.
No-holds-barred violence? Check.
Profanities and F-bombs? Check.
If you have not heard by now, Kick-Ass is not your usual superhero movie. It is the most politically incorrect, family unfriendly comic book adaptation since The Watchmen. But it is also one of the coolest fanboy flicks to hit the screen this year.
After being mugged one day, an epiphany hits the geeky comic-loving teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson). He wonders, “Why has no one in real life ever decided to be a superhero?” He sets out to become a superhero called Kick-Ass, only to find himself in more trouble than he can handle. Dave meets Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and his 11-year-old daughter Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and becomes embroiled in their personal vendetta against drug lord Frank D’Amico and his son, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
What makes the movie believable is that the cast features real teenagers. Aaron Johnson was 17, Chloe Moretz 11 and Christopher Mintz-Plasse 18 at the time of filming. Not to be overshadowed by them, Hollywood veteran Nicholas Cage performs a star turn as the jaded and vengeful Big Daddy who trains his daughter to be a ruthless killer. Watching him dispatch a roomful of goons with consummate ease, you can’t help wondering why directors have such a hard time casting Batman when Cage is a natural.
The real star of the show is Hit-Girl. Truth be told, if this film was ever renamed, it should be called Hit-Girl. You will find yourself talking more about the little bundle of violence than the protagonist Kick-Ass. Director Matthew Vaughn’s decision not to water down the violence and profanity that Hit-Girl dishes out has garnered both critical acclaim and controversy.
Apart from that, the plot does enough to engage the audience and to keep them anticipating. The pacing is excellent, culminating in the inevitable showdown and a twist that is disturbing—or hilarious, depending on your sense of humor.
If you can stomach all that, this show will put a smile on your face. Given that (the far safer and likeable) Iron Man 2 opens this week, Kick-Ass gives the stereotypical comic book genre the kick in the behind that it needs.