I need to preface this by saying that the advertisements for Kick-Ass were absolutely brilliant. What little was shown about the film gave viewers the decision whether or not to see it rather than make a judgment on the trailers themselves. These days, most trailers seem to offer up their entire plot on a silver platter, but Kick-Ass worked around it — even with character introduction — and in the end was able to deliver more than your average entertaining film.
That said, Kick-Ass is, for lack of a better phrase, kick ass. Many apologies for the redundancy reflected by the many reviews out there. Allow me to explain.
Considering the number of drug busts, prostitution scandals, and murders mentioned in the news every day, it is of real wonder how any prominent news station can go without television content rating systems. Is it because it’s a report on real life? Is it because life, in actuality, is rated R? Indulge yourself by sitting in front of the television one of these evenings and ready yourself for the most depressing 22 minutes of your life.
Our protagonist, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is more than aware of this fact. Being that he is a superhero-obsessed teenager, he can’t help but wonder why with the massive popularity of superhero comics no one has yet tried to become one. Naturally his friends dismiss his quandary as a reason to get beaten up or killed. But that doesn’t stop our hero — er, Dave from placing an online order for a loudly-colored scuba diving suit, the closest, most affordable outfit resembling superhero status. Completing the look with a pair of yellow gloves, work boots and batons, Dave is set to intimidate the ne’er-do-wells of his neighborhood into leaving unsuspecting civilians alone. After a harrowing encounter with a bunch of thugs attacking an unarmed man – in which Dave succeeds, bloody nose and all, documented on video – Kick-Ass takes center stage in the hearts and minds of the public. His MySpace page (what, no Twitter? Is this a crack at ancient technology?) allows him to help out more than ever and to converse with fans. Kick-Ass costumes are flying off the shelves, Dave gets laid; all is right within the universe. Still, Dave is an amateur. For the most part, he has merely gotten lucky.
Lucky for him, the pros have been watching – although made of flesh n’ blood like dear ol’ Dave, Hit Girl/Mindy Macready (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy/Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage) actually know what they’re doing. Also like Dave, they’re not afraid to do what’s necessary to get things accomplished — they just happen to do so with a lot more swagger and fancy gadgets. After Dave is thrown headfirst into amateur status during an encounter with a drug dealer, Hit Girl and Big Daddy attempt to straighten him out, expletives, gizmos and all. It’s when drug lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) muddies things up even further than expected that things start to turn — interestingly, various shades of red — and our hero wonders just what the hell he has gotten himself into.
Performances are endearingly imperfect but stellar: Christopher Mintz-Plasse as a sly Red Mist — son of D’Amico and wrench in Kick-Ass’s endeavors as hero — shows a world of promise outside Superbad‘s McLovin’. Johnson’s hair might as well be a star of its own, it’s so delicious. Cage, the big-name star of the bunch — donning a Batman-inspired suit and Adam West frame of speech — takes names better than expected with the best of them. However, it goes without saying that the breakthrough star of the film is Moretz — see-you-next-Tuesdays, “giant cock”s and all. She is no Pippi Longstocking, and yet I’m asking the same question — what isn’t there to love?
Sure, critics are panning the film because of the violence and obscene language involving a young girl, but taking things in context is the only way to go with this one. Kick-Ass is equipped with a number of tough scenes to get through, but when viewed in context it is in fact possible for them to be deemed appropriate (as “appropriate” or “in context” as young girls hurling swears and killing people can get). Along the same vein: parents, keep in mind that this is an R-rated film. Do not bring your children. Bright colors and punk rock music do not translate to a children’s film. If you have already taken your child to see this movie, you deserve to be out of sixteen bucks times how many were in your party – many times over.
So believe it when I say that when this film comes out on DVD, I will neither Netflix or borrow it. I will be buying it for keeps. In this day and age, that’s as good as going steady.