Year of Release: 2010
Date Viewed: December 27th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Every year, we seem to get a new movie that sets out to redefine the superhero genre. This is one that actually succeeds.
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is the realistic version of Peter Parker. He's young, has a generic personality and desires justice. Nobody cares about him. Not even the audience is given a reason to care about him until his alter ego is created, an identity inspired from Dave's lifelong obsession with comic books. (Aren't we all?)
The name: Kick-Ass.
The Costume: Green and yellow colored wetsuit.
The Mission: Fight crime and protect the innocent.
The Skills: Um, let me get back to you on that.
The reason Kick-Ass is created: Sheer boredom. Dave is tired of leading a boring life. He can't stand the fact that nobody (especially females) seems to notice him. And he finds it ironic that life never seems to change even when it does. So Kick-Ass is born and then irony finally happens. He gets his ass kicked.
But someone is there to show him the way. Turns out he's not the only Joe Schmo superhero in town. Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his eleven year old daughter Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) are the real rulers of the streets. The pair have a personal vendetta against the organization responsible for most of the street crime. Kick-Ass is taken under their wing so he can realize his potential and to grow the team's dominance in making their enemies tremble in fear.....before getting their brains splattered.
What makes this different than other superhero movies? Find any plot synopsis. Then replace the word "superhero" with "vigilante." There's your answer. These characters have no real superpowers nor do they have access to a lot of things gangsters can't find. They simply have enough gumption to take the law into their own hands when nobody else does. So they are superheroes only in their own minds. If one reads enough newspapers, it can be clearly seen why this scenario is very plausible.
Before sitting down to watch this film, I had been bombarded by other movie review sites with comments about the over the top violence. Some even complained. It was enough to ignite some personal fear. Violence itself doesn't scare me. I was more nervous by the idea that the violence would be the only thing remembered, a fear confirmed by the time the movie's third act rolled around. It's normally a sign of no inspiration or creativity. Kick-Ass is far from being uncreative, but there was a leftover void that needed to be filled. Perhaps it was the lack of real world applications, a common misgiving I have with certain college courses. The main idea felt very real. The rest belonged in an alternate dimension where the ridiculous is accepted as typical. (I.E.: Any David Zucker film.)
To be more positive, there are plenty of amusing moments that come from this dimension. In one chapter, Kick-Ass is mistaken to be homosexual. This results in the first time that his dream girl expresses interest in a friendship. So close to getting laid yet so far. Comic fans would probably be entertained by Nicolas Cage's antics. He looks like television's Batman but does not act like him. Remember the Caped Crusader's "no killing" rule? Big Daddy basically says "screw that."
Kick-Ass is moderately entertaining, yet in the end I didn't really have enough affection for the movie to vow for a second viewing. Is it fair to criticize a movie for provoking thoughts but not as many as it should? Let me think about that for a while.