year’s film adaptation of the beloved graphic novel Watchmen was a
morose and somber (and insanely overlong) misfire.
also based on a similarly-plotted graphic novel about not-so-super
superheroes – and the film works in just about every way that the more
highly anticipated Watchmen did not.
not a perfect film – it gets way too violent in parts and the story kind of
loses the thread in the final act – however for the most part the movie is a
fun and funny hoot.
Watchmen, Kick-Ass is a bit of a parody of the genre in which normal
people with no particular superpowers decide to become caped crusaders and
take on crime with nothing to protect them other than ridiculous costumes
and beyond-dumb crime-fighting names.
yet this time the plot idea works where Watchmen (and the decade-old
Mystery Men before it) failed miserably – in being an exciting and
surprisingly funny devolution of comic book clichés.
fact, Kick-Ass could be considered a low-rent Spider-Man
wannabe if not for the frenzied violence and offbeat humor.
Also, Kick-Ass has a wild superhero that the brains behind Spidey
would never even imagine. It is not the title character, who is essentially
a good-hearted and somewhat inept kid who is way over his head in fighting
Kick-Ass is the alter-ego of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a pretty common
high school nerd. He’s bullied in school, hangs at the local comic store
with his two loser friends and is in love with the gorgeous girl whose locker
is by his. Dave starts wondering why normal people don’t become superheroes
– and orders a skin-diving suit to be his costume. He is nearly killed the
first time out and doesn’t do much better next time out, however he is
filmed and becomes a viral sensation on YouTube.
like I said, he is not the most interesting crime fighting character here.
the rather shocking crime fighter has the somewhat innocuous name of Hit
Girl. She can move like a ninja, handle weapons like a paratrooper, swing
blades like a fencer and curse like a sailor. She single-handedly takes out
more bad guys in five minutes than Kick-Ass will in his entire life.
yeah, and she’s only eleven years old.
Chloë Grace Moretz (she was the younger sister in
 Days of Summer) plays the character with an astonishing
range – violent, nearly psychopathic killer one moment, sweet and innocent
little girl the next. It’s certainly an arresting character – and
undoubtedly a huge reason that this film is so oddly memorable. Many people
might find the idea of a small child acting and talking like this disturbing
– and honestly, they would have a valid point – but if you give in to the
campy world view of Kick-Ass, then she turns out to be an endlessly
Nicolas Cage plays her father – a former cop who was framed and sent to jail
by a local gangster and now is teaching his daughter to be a crime-fighting
duo. His moniker is Big Daddy and his uniform looks so much like Batman’s
that DC Comics might want to look into a trademark infringement lawsuit.
However, no one can do this kind of crazed character better than Cage and
unlike many of his recent films the actor does not phone in the performance,
instead finding the weird middle ground between nerdy dad and unhinged
vigilante. In fact, we are introduced to Big Daddy as he is shooting blanks
at his little girl to show her what it feels like to be shot while wearing
Kevlar – a scene that could be horrifying if not for the tongue-in-cheek way
that Cage and Moretz play it.
However, first things first: Despite the facts that Kick-Ass is a
film about costumed teenaged superheroes and one of the main characters is
an eleven-year-old girl, this movie is most assuredly not appropriate for
adults, though, it can be vile and somewhat inappropriate but unquestionably
fun – as long as you can get past the idea of seeing that eleven-year-old
girl swearing like a teamster and violently mowing down bad guys like a
one-girl wrecking crew.
be bothered with your bourgeois hang ups. It is in your face in its
pushing of the envelopes of cartoon culture and up until the over-the-top
final act it mostly pulls it off.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: July 23, 2010.