Canister X Review #57: Kick-Ass (2010)
Review by A.P. Fuchs
4.5 out of 5
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), comic book geek and nobody-at-large, always wondered why no one stepped up and became a superhero. People aspire to be doctors and firemen and policemen, so why not also want to be someone else who helped his fellow man?
After ordering a green and yellow wetsuit off the Internet, Dave dons the outfit and hits the streets as Kick-Ass, a superhero without powers, training or even a proper motivation to fight crime other than “what if?” The first few weeks are uneventful, and after his first attempt at stopping a car robbery nearly kills him, Dave returns more determined than ever to rid the streets of crime. Soon, after stopping the mugging of a fellow from a gang, Kick-Ass is all over the Internet and soon becomes a citywide celebrity.
Little does he realize he’s not alone. Enter Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz), a father-daughter team of real-deal vigilantes with a thirst for blood and matching guns to boot. Their mission? Take out the D’Amico crime family, their leader, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), having been personally involved with Big Daddy long ago and robbing him of the one he loved.
Soon Kick-Ass, Big Daddy, Hit Girl and newcomer Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are locked in a war that, hopefully, only the good guys survive.
It’s guns, action, comic books and bubble gum in this adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s graphic novel.
This movie is crazy. A good crazy. A special kind of crazy. I knew from the previews I was in for a different kind of superhero flick and, man, that was what I got. This was fresh, exciting, fun and new. Most superhero movies stick to a formula (origin of the good guy then the bad guy, a few tussles along the way leading to a big fight in the end, the stuff in between usually dramatic bits starring the hero in his personal life). With Kick-Ass, though there were those basic elements to it, the one thing that was really hammered home over and over again was the idea that, yeah, Kick-Ass was functioning in the real world. One with guns, knives, average fighting skills and no body armor. Some folks might think the violence in this film was overdone. Personally—despite a few exceptions—I didn’t think so. You try doing the superhero thing in real life in a place like New York and see what happens.
I also really liked how they dragged that fantasy of being a superhero into our reality and proved, really, that it wouldn’t work. Kick-Ass went up against real bad guys. Ones without mercy. Without care. They’d kill their own mothers if they had to.
The lack of a costumed supervillain also helped this movie and ensured the focus was kept on the good guys. I particularly liked Big Daddy’s and Hit Girl’s origin. It was simple, yet bittersweet and, if anything, really showed that despite being off his rocker, Big Daddy really loved his little girl and only wanted the best for her.
In terms of the non-costumed scenes, Dave Lizewski’s real life was extremely relatable (especially for this comic book nerd) and his high school years and mine seemed to have a lot in common. Except for the girlfriend part. I wasn’t cool enough to have one of those.
This movie was fantastic start to finish. The writing, the action, the realism—true cool.
My only thing was the profanity. I don’t live in New York, but that was a lot of swearing and if people really talk like that in NYC, man, I feel sorry from them. (But, hey, I’m just a Maple Syrup-guzzling Canadian so what do I know?) If they don’t, perhaps the writers can pull back a bit on the wagging tongue for the next one.
Looking forward to the sequel.