Kick-Ass (2010)

Note: I’m writing this before I go see The Dark Knight Rises, because I’m totally stoked for that movie and you read the review for it yesterday, probably, so you already knew that.

When Kick-Ass first exploded onto the scene, I knew next to nothing about it.  I had seen some footage that was released and was trying to figure out exactly what kind of a movie it was going to be.  It seemed almost like satire, over-the-top, balls out action.  Of course, that was just the scene of Nicolas Cage firing a gun at Chloë Grace Moretz’s chest after calling her “baby doll”, so you can see how I may have misread it.  I wasn’t even aware that it had only been released as a comic book series several months prior.  I wasn’t stoked about it or anything, though I generally wish success for comic book movies so I can have more of them.  Just no more Spider-Man or Fantastic Four movies, please.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn (responsible for the surprisingly excellent X-Men: First Class last year), Kick-Ass is another in the gritty vein of comic book movies.  However, the production/art design on it is more Batman Forever than The Dark Knight, and that works well for it because it celebrates its comic book nature.  In my Avengers review I said that it was probably the greatest comic book movie of all time, and I still stand by that.  However, I don’t classify Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies as “comic book” movies, and every time I re-watch Kick-Ass, it gets better and better in my mind, so watch out Avengers, I might have to revise my opinion!

The strength of Kick-Ass lies in the fact that it pulls no punches.  It is dark, it is violent, it is filled with foul-mouthed characters who do Bad Things, it is a comic book come to life, although admittedly a bit filthier than your standard Marvel and DC fare.  The origin story behind the hero Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) is fairly believable and not condescending to the audience at all.  There’s a lot more to this movie than just the action and bad words, as a genuine romance buds between Kick-Ass’ alter ego Dave and his schoolmate, Katie (the always gorgeous Lyndsy Fonseca) and that leads to Feelings.

That’s not even more than the surface of Kick-Ass, as there are several other stories being told as well.  Damon Macready (Cage) has a vendetta planned for crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong at his movie heaviest) and has raised his daughter, Mindy (Moretz) to be a highly skilled vigilante in her own right.  D’Amico’s son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), wants to get into the family business despite his somewhat nerdish nature.  All of these storylines come together in amazing ways, and Cage gives one of the best performances of his career as an avenging husband hero type.  My words are failing me now, I just want to gush about how great this movie is.

It’s not a movie for kids, okay.  Do not sit down with your little ones to watch this little comic book movie, because you will be shocked and have to explain so much to them and unfairly resent the movie for that.  It’s not the fault of the movie that you didn’t do your homework!  Kick-Ass is an awesome and worthwhile movie watching experience.

5 / 5