REVIEW: Kick-Ass

2 08 2010

I can’t think of many titles that describe their movies so aptly as this one. “Kick-Ass,” the R-rated superhero movie that indirectly spoofs “Watchmen,” hits us with a one-two punch of comedy and action. The punch is pretty much a knockout.

It’s devilish fun when the action is as outrageous as the comedy. The movie follows Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a teenaged New York geek who unleashes his inner fanboy in a way that would make everyone at the comic book store pee themselves with envy. He decides to rise above the common crowd and become a superhero, despite having no actual powers and few confrontational skills. Still, he holds onto the hope that a fancy scuba suit and a cool name, Kick-Ass, will scare off his opponents. But at first, as one of his rivals points out, he should be called “Ass-Kicked” because that’s the only thing that really happens to him.

As entertaining as the adventures of Kick-Ass can be, it’s the other heroes who steal the show. They should really call the movie “Hit Girl” because we’re always waiting for that precocious child vigilante with a foul mouth and impressive combat ability to return to the screen. It’s hard to tell where most of her allure comes from: actress Chloe Moretz or the script. Moretz has shown skill playing adult characters written for kids to play in “(500) Days of Summer,” and she really seems to get how to make them read. The sheer absurdity of hearing the words come out of her mouth is a comedic masterstroke.

“Kick-Ass” also marks a semi-comeback for Nicolas Cage, at least in my book, who has been getting a bad rep for all the abysmal action and horror movies he has been doing recently. When you have an Oscar, it’s OK to branch out and try other genres, but Cage has strayed far from the nest. One more flop and he could have been a laughing stock. “Kick-Ass,” however, was an excellent choice for the actor. It’s a crowd-pleaser, sure, but it requires him to act. He took a supporting role as Big Daddy, father and shaper of Hit Girl, and it shows off the crossover appeal Cage has. The part allows him to be funny as well as an action star, and there’s even room for him to deal with little bit of real human drama.

Matthew Vaughn does a great job directing the riot that is “Kick-Ass,” never taking himself or the material too seriously. One can only wonder how he will handle the “X-Men” franchise, which has an entirely different tone and involves people with real powers. Hopefully he can bring the same fun he brought to this movie, just leaving the farcical stuff on the side.  He directs a superb movie, but the fact that it devolves into “The Chloe Moretz Show” so easily might raise a tiny red flag in your mind.  A flag so tiny, in fact, that you might forget to realize it’s there while you’re laughing so hard.  B+ /


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9 responses

2 08 2010
CMrok93

This got a lot of bad feed back for its crazy, and bloody violence, but that’s what made it so “Kick-Ass”. At times, it does try a bit too hard to be cool, but overall it still works as a hard-hitting action film.

2 08 2010
Dan

Jane Goldman is proving to be a great writer of original and funny films. It’s a wonder Jonathan Ross allows his wife be to more talented than him!

2 08 2010
Simon/Ripley

This was pretty awesome, if you’re not trying to dissect it. Trying way too hard, though.

2 08 2010
Fitz

I was looking forward to a dissection of comic book films but it was good for what it was. Cage was funny.

3 08 2010
Castor

Loved this movie, it was one of the funniest movie in a while. Lyndsy Fonseca is hot!

3 08 2010
Marshall

I’m assuming she was “the hot one” … don’t know her by name, although I should.

And I don’t know if I thought it tried to hard to be cool. Maybe a little bit, but that didn’t strike me.

3 08 2010
Luke

This movie was one entertaining romp. But I do totally understand what you say about the “Chloe Moretz Show.” It was a little silly that the little girl turned out to be the only one of the bunch who was in actually in any way formidable. But… suspended reality is fun too. 🙂

4 08 2010
Andrew

Kick-Ass isn’t really concerned with being cool at all; it just happens to be really damn cool while also being a great deconstruction of the superhero. While I definitely would love to see a Big Daddy and Hit Girl movie, Dave’s a successful protagonist because at the end of things it’s hard not to admire his moral fiber even if his code is incongruous with his relative level of ambition.

8 08 2010
Red

Hit-Girl was easily the best part about this film. I thought the actual character of Kick-Ass was a letdown, but it didn’t really hurt the film that much.

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