Plot: Dave Lizewski’s (Aaron Johnson) only real passion is comic books. Wondering why no ordinary person has ever tried to become a superhero, Dave takes on the mantle of ‘Kick-Ass,’ whose only real power is taking a beating. Despite getting his ass kicked, he gains a YouTube following, meets other vigilantes, and becomes the target of a mob kingpin (Mark Strong).
Kick-Ass manages to achieve something that I rarely enjoy: the melding of genres. And we aren’t talking about just combining a couple…this is like five of them mixed into one movie. It’s funny, dramatic, action-packed, and even has its fair share of high school antics. Director Matthew Vaughn is the true star of this movie. Even with all these genres, he manages to find the right tone. A lot of other directors would have crashed and burned with this project. The perfect example of this is the first scene between father and daughter Damon and Mindy, played by Nicolas Cage and Chloe Grace Moretz. This is a scene where Damon shoots his young daughter while she’s armed with a bullet proof vest. On the surface, that’s a little unsettling. Yet, the scene comes off as not only funny, but the bond between the two characters is illustrated perfectly. It’s actually a touching moment. That’s saying something for a scene where a dad shoots his daughter in the stomach. I’ll give credit to the writing and actors, but it’s ultimately on the director to make that work. But make no mistake: the acting in this movie is also up to par with Vaughn’s directing. Aaron Johnson carries the film well as the lead. His best moment comes in his first successful outing as Kick-Ass. He gets pummeled, but just keeps fighting through it, never giving up. The music is really cool as well. It’s just a great scene. Nicolas Cage is awesome, and toned down for Nicolas Cage. He’s like a darker Adam West Batman. He says stuff like ‘let’s get back to headquarters’ but is also seen later crushing a human being in a trash compactor while in a car. Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist is another well done character, and of course Chloe Grace Moretz steals the show as Hit-Girl. Her first appearance as Hit-Girl is just insane. Even the smaller roles played by Clark Duke and Lyndsy Fonseca are a lot of fun. Mark Strong really impressed me though as the cliché generic mob boss villain, yet he somehow managed to give a fresh take on it, and that’s really hard to do. And even though it’s technically a parody of the genre, Kick-Ass is a legitimately great superhero movie compared to any other of its kind. There’s a really cool animated comic book back story sequence, the villain’s plot at the end is truly comic book in its most villainous form, and there’s even a great throw back to the 1989 Batman film at the very end. Kick-Ass is just pure fun. I love this movie.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Chloe Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl
-Aside from the action and all her hysterical lines, she’s equally as good with the dramatic moments. She’s got a great chemistry with Nicolas Cage. This is just a very well rounded performance, really impressive.
Worst Performance: Evan Peters as Todd
-There weren’t many options for this category, but this is Dave’s other friend besides the Clark Duke character. He just doesn’t really bring anything to the table, and barely has a personality when compared to the other characters.
Best Line: “But not half as much as the idea of leaving everything behind…and all the things I’d never do, like learn to drive, or see what me and Katie’s kids would look like, or find out what happened on Lost.” –Dave on his deathbed
-The line about Lost is pretty damn clever.
Worst Line: “My only superpower was being invisible to girls.” –Dave’s voice over
-This is just such a cliché and overused line as we get the likable loser voice over from Dave.
-The only one-on-one fight we see is between Hit-Girl and Frank D’Amico at the end. It’s pretty brutal and climactic.
-Dave flying in on the jet-pack at the end was a little much. The movie had been ridiculous all the way through, but this may have been taking it a little too far. While it looked bad ass, it made the movie a little more like a cartoon.
-Hit-Girl storming Frank’s apartment is flat out awesome. Aside from Hit-Girl doing 25 bad ass things like using a rope to latch onto a guy’s gun and making him pull the trigger on himself, the tension is directed really well. At one point Hit-Girl hides behind this counter as countless guys wait with guns cocked and ready to fire. You’re just salivating at what she’s going to do.
-This harkens back to the ‘Worst Line,’ but it’s the opening voice over narration as we get a look into Dave’s life in high school. It’s the typical ‘I’m invisible, nothing really special about me, I have a crush on my hot older English teacher’ speech. Aaron Johnson sells it fine, but we’ve seen it a hundred times.
-This is kind of a dumb one, but for some reason it just had me laughing really hard. One of Frank’s mob guys has to be a doorman and he’s complaining about the get-up. Frank’s right hand man Big Joe makes the comment, ‘You look sharp. Look at all them buttons.’ There’s just something about the way he delivers ‘look at all them buttons’ that had me in stitches.
Bad Ass Moment:
-We see Nicolas Cage’s alter-ego Big Daddy kick ass only once, but boy does he ever. He just rips apart this room of mob guys, and is just relentless. There’s a moment where he tosses a grenade through a door, and the shot was just pure bad ass. This was an epic scene.