“Kick-Ass” Movie Review

     “Kick-Ass” immediately has the title character introduce himself and the scenario which is about to unfold.  Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an “American Pie / Super Bad” type high school kid with raging hormones and an almost too normal life.  He is nearly invisible to girls in school, drinks a lot of coffee, and hangs out with his buddies at comic book stores.  One day, he asks his friends a question.  With so many superhero movies and comics and millions of people within their fan bases, why has no one decided to become a super hero themselves?  His friends argue the need for actual super powers, but Dave counters with the fact Bruce Wayne didn’t have any powers and carried on as Batman just fine.

     Dave then secretly orders a green scuba suit and invents his alter ego “Kick-Ass.”  After several missteps, he is videotaped taking on a gang of thugs in an effort to save a guy from a brutal beating.  He truly is without any kind of powers.  As Dave says early in the film, he was never bitten by any radioactive spiders!  All he has at his disposal is a set of batons, which he clearly is not skilled in using.  He fights the gang members with pure heart and determination and successfully fends them off.  The video ends up on YouTube and gets over 20 million views, thus sending Kick-Ass to superstardom.

     There’s a lot more going on in this movie than just Kick-Ass and his posing as a superhero.  In fact, Kick-Ass isn’t really what this story is about, he just happens to get caught in the middle.  There are real super heros fighting crime in the city.  Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage) and his daughter Mindy Macready (Chloe Moretz) are Big Daddy and Hit Girl.  Their superhero exploits are much more legitimate.  Damon is an ex cop who was framed by a mob boss, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), and put in prison for a crime he did not commit.  Damon and Mindy’s reasoning for being super heros is purely for revenge.

     And so the plot goes into motion after about 45 minutes of set up.  The framework for this film reminded me a little bit of my all time favorite “Aliens” in which it starts at a slower pace for about an hour, but when it picks up, it is relentless.  That describes Kick-Ass perfectly.  The film is just simply relentless.  If you saw the trailer, hopefully you keyed in on the fact, the film is indeed rated “R” and for good reason.  This is not a kids movie.  So don’t go in thinking your going to see a cute 11 year old superhero and have her acting accordingly.  Her first line as a superhero in the film is as raunchy a line as could be said by the most foul mouthed adult!

     I really liked Kick-Ass and there are a variety of reasons.  If you saw “Zombieland” last year, then you know it was probably the most fresh and creative zombie film since the 1960’s.  Kick-Ass is very much the same as a superhero movie.  The plot has a nice twist  and the characters are multi layered.  The material doesn’t come off as a run of the mill superhero movie, rather it has a new feeling to it.  Even though the conventional super hero movie cliches are mentioned by the characters several times (kind of like the Scream films), they are never adhered to in this movie.  Because of this you never really know what to expect.

     As I already stated, Kick-Ass is an adult oriented film and is extremely violent.  Because she seemed so original to me, I loved the “Hit Girl” character.  I don’t know where the filmmakers found Chloe Moretz, but she stole every scene she was in and I had constant thoughts of Kill Bill as she gracefully took out bad guys with butterfly knives, a knife edged staff, and lots of guns.  She was so good that Big Daddy often sent her in alone to handle a dozen armed gunmen!  If you think back to Superman 2 when Superman has given up his powers, but then comes back to save Metropolis and fight the three super villains, you may remember having a few goosebumps when Superman says “General, would you like to step outside?”  There are several parts in Kick-Ass which gave me the same feeling.  I didn’t get that in any of the recent Spiderman or Batman films.

     I wasn’t particularly impressed with Christopher Mintz-Plasse appearance as the “Red Mist” character (I guess the McLovin thing has worn off), but the rest of the cast comes together well.  With dialogue being a weakness of so many films this year, I was happy to see Kick-Ass come through with flying colors in that department.  Many of the conversations the characters have are genuinely funny and there seemed to be so many memorable characters.  I was also impressed with the integration of the internet into the film.  The use of YouTube and live internet feeds was very 2010.  Overall, the film is a genuine good time!  All I know is if they make a sequel, they’re better off naming it “Hit Girl” and if they do, I’ll be first in line. GRADE: B+