This is a film that definitely divided opinion when it was first released. People did not like the idea of a little girl swearing like a sailor, because ‘what about the children’. I was able to get past this boring piece of political correctness and enjoy this film for what it was, a dark, but still fun, comic book film.
Kick-Ass is the story of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a nerdy high school kid who gets fed up with the assholes in his life, so he buys himself a green wetsuit and becomes the superhero Kick-Ass. Kick-Ass becomes an internet sensation, attracting the attention of actual superheroes Big Daddy (a brilliant Nicolas cage) and Hit-Girl (an equally brilliant Chloe Grace Moretz). Father and daughter team, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl eventually take Kick-Ass under their wing and help him become competent enough to be a real superhero. The three of them attract the attention of mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). The heroes antics are eating into his bottom line. D’Amico son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), eager to impress his dad and be accepted into the family business, comes up with a superhero moniker of his own with the intention of infiltrating Kick-Ass’s team and bringing it down from the inside.
This is just a fun film. Don’t get me wrong, it is not for children, but has been rated accordingly. If parents don’t want to pay any attention to the ratings system, there isn’t much the film industry can do about it. My favourite part of this film is Hit-Girl. The fact she is played by a then eleven year old girl is irrelevant to me. Moretz is the best thing about this film, and ever since this film was released I have watched her career closely. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders and, even at this early age, knew she was playing a character in a movie. I remember reading when this came out that she wasn’t even allowed to see the finished product because of its rating.
I also loved Nicolas Cage. He is clearly doing his best Adam West as Batman impersonation and he is one of the film’s highlights for me. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is fine in the title role, but this film is owned by Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, their performances do somewhat overshadow his. I did think it was interesting that both big screen version of the X-Man/Avenger Quicksilver appear in this film as best friends. Johnson will play the character in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, while Evan Peters played him in this past summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Kick-Ass is a comic book film for grown-ups. There is bad language, awesome action and colourful characters that light up the screen.
Kick-Ass has definitely grown on me since my first viewing. I absolutely hated it. Now I can see its merits, though it’s still not my favorite take on the superhero genre.
What I didn’t really care for was the excessive violence and language. The fact that some of it was coming from a child didn’t bother me, just that there was so much of it. It quickly becomes overkill, no longer shocking or making whatever point it was included to make. It’s odd, because I would never level the same criticism at a Quentin Tarantino film, but for some reason the violence and language in Kick-Ass strikes me as trying too hard. It’s as if the filmmakers (and the comic’s writers, I guess) decided that since most superhero/comic book movies are kid friendly, they were going to make one that was the polar opposite.
On second viewing I can see that this is probably done to emphasize the satire and cynicism that builds throughout the story. In the beginning, Dave (Aaron Johnson) is just an average teenage wondering why nobody ever tried being a superhero in real life. He starts his adventure with the best of intentions, but is soon beaten down by reality, both literally and figuratively. By the end of the movie he is cynical about his superhero mission. He’s lost friends and family members because of his “hobby.” The violence inflicted on and by Dave increases throughout the film, matching the character’s growing cynicism and realization of the danger associated with being a real-life superhero.
It is an interesting concept. What would the world be like if people did dress up in costume and fight crime? I think the results wouldn’t be too far off the ending of this movie, especially if one the heroes actually happened upon a large crime. And maybe that’s why I don’t like Kick-Ass that much. It’s over-the-top and stylized, but also feels a little too real. Kids are killing each other far too often in real life. It’s hard to really get excited about it on the screen.