Kick-Ass (2010)

Being a superhero is as close as a fictional character can get to becoming a celebrity. Many people forget the names of actors and actresses, but nobody is going to dig through their mind trying to remember who the guy in the bat suit is. This easy notoriety is the reason so many of us fantasize about having superpowers (and don't pretend that you don't). So, how come nobody has tried to be a superhero? This is the exact question Kick-Ass' protagonist Dave Lizewski asks his two nerdy friends as they hang out in their local comic book store. If you ask me, it's to prevent movies like Kick-Ass from being made.
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a textbook nerd. He has big glasses, a cracking voice, and is utterly invisible to the popular crowd at school. His favorite hang out spot is a comic book store with his two friends that do nothing to improve his image. Fed up with being useless in a world run by crime, Dave decides that what we really need is a superhero. Equipped with absolutely no combat skills, a green wet suit, and some clubs, Dave assumes his alter-ego as Kick-Ass. Little does Dave know that he is not the only superhero on the block. After narrowly being killed by thugs, Dave is saved by Big Daddy and Hit-Girl (Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz), a father-daughter team set on seeking vengeance for a past atrocity by crime lord Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong). Soon after, Dave discovers that being a superhero may not always be worth the fame.

Kick-Ass is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Mark Millar. I have not read the graphic novel, but I have no doubt that it was much better than this film. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Kick-Ass because of Chloe Moretz's role as Hit Girl. There is apparently something about a 13 year old sporting a trucker's foul mouth and a tendency towards bloody violence that just did not sit right with most parents. Well, I'm no parent. Hit Girl was one of the only good things about this movie. As a source of several of the few laughs to be had, Chloe Moretz does an apt job of keeping this otherwise lackluster film afloat. But the real treat was seeing her interact with her character's father, Big Daddy, played brilliantly by Nicolas Cage. Cage and Moretz bring undeniable chemistry to the screen, and are an absolute delight to watch. The best scene in the entire film comes when we first meet Big Daddy and Hit Girl as their plain clothes selves, Damon and Mindy Macready. Former cop Damon is teaching his daughter how to deal with shooting her in the chest while she wears a bullet proof vest. This scene gave me hope that this movie would have many more brilliant scenes to come. Unfortunately, this movie was not called Big Daddy and Hit Girl. It's Kick-Ass. So let's discuss the titular hero.

Do you know how fun it is to watch somebody who cannot fight, try to beat up a group of criminals? You may think it's kind of funny for a few minutes, but after a while it just becomes kind of sad. Well that is how I felt watching Kick-Ass. First of all, the character of Dave Lizewski was one that I had no feelings towards. Aaraon Johnson was not doing enough to create a main character that was worthy of my sympathy. I did not care about him. Because of this, my interest in the character was void. There may have been some hope when he became Kick-Ass, but I soon discovered another problem. It is just no fun to watch somebody flail their arms around in a green wet suit. I understand that his inability to fight was the point, but that doesn't make it a good point. Every film has two basic sides: the point (message, theme, etc) and the entertainment (emotional responses). You can have effective entertainment without having an effective point, but you can NEVER have an effective point without effective entertainment. You can make a film about the most important subject ever, but if I don't like the way you tell the story, than why should I care? Sadly, Kick-Ass does not gain fighting skills throughout the course of the film, so any scene with him is just as monotonous as Johnson's voice over.

Well maybe Kick-Ass shouldn't be graded on its performances. After all, it has been advertised as a high-octane violence fest. Surely, the action sequences are top notch and worth the films downfalls. Well, don't be so sure. There are actually relatively few fight scenes in Kick-Ass, and there are even fewer that are actually fun to watch. The best fight in the film belongs to Big Daddy. It was well choreographed and excellently filmed. Unfortunately, it lasts only about 20 seconds. The majority of the fighting in the film is done by Hit Girl, and though her moves are eye-poppingly exciting the first few times around, they became rather stale near the end. I felt like I was watching the same scene over and over again.

Kick-Ass is a movie that should have remained a graphic novel. It's protagonist did not transfer well to the screen, and neither did it's style. Perhaps if the film focused more on Big Daddy and Hit Girl it would have been a lot better, but that probably would have upset the fanboys of the graphic novel. I cannot recommend this film to anybody over the age of 30 or under the age of 17. This film is perfect for the college crowd but will not sit well with anyone else. And I have a feeling that in a couple of years, not many people will even remember it. My rating (4/10)

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Movies given a 10/10

  • Milk
  • In Bruges
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange