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Movie Review: Kick-Ass (April, 2010)

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay: Jane Goldman, pharm Matthew Vaughn
Release Date: April 16, website like this 2010
Actors: Aaron Johnson, Clark Duke, Evan Peters, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Lyndsy Fonseca
Based on the comic of the same name by Mark Millar

Chloe Moretz completely steals the film as a 12 year old martial arts and firearms expert that also happens to be a superhero. I mean, even writing that seems kind of kick ass, you know? Kick-Ass quite possibly might be the best superhero movie since the Dark Knight, but in a completely different, almost endearing way.

Aaron Johnson plays Kick-Ass, the alter ego of plain and geeky (and apparently invisible to girls) high school student Dave Liezewski. Thin and timid, Dave with his two friends Marty (Clark Duke, from the recent hilarious Hot Tub Time Machine) and Todd (Evan Peters) enjoy comic books, fooling around all the while finding themselves being taken advantage by the “mean guys” in the neighbourhood. Dave, wondering why no one ever decides to become a superhero after reading and watching so many superhero stories, decides to become and invent his own superhero…. “Kick-Ass”! In the meantime, in another part of New York City, a seasoned superhero by the name of Damon McCready (Nicolas Cage) is training his 12 year old daughter Mindy (Chloe Moretz; I won’t mention how). Seeking revenge for the death of crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and the rest of his cronies, Damon McCready has prepared himself and his daughter to fight the evils of their gang. Frank D’Amico’s son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) meanwhile, in trying to impress his father, decides to suit up himself and work on his father’s crime dwelling side.

Walking into the theatre, I wasn’t sure what to expect, except for a young kid kicking some serious butt, and a boy trying to dress up as a superhero. Honestly, the trailers made it look – average – and I wasn’t sure what to make of it, because it looks targeted towards young kids, or young teenagers. Truthfully, the movie is targeted to adults. Here is one of those rare instances where the trailer falls very short from the quality of the movie. What caught my eye? First of all, the story. Reading the summary, one might think it was campy, but in fact, it’s smart, it’s witty, full of satire and contains countless homages to other movies by way of the music (I think I must be the only one who noticed one segment of the music being similar to The Dark Knight), costume, style (Kill Bill) and of course, quotes (like Jack Nicholson’s Joker.) The references are not in your face, ala Scary Movie type, but in a much more subtle manner. If you enjoy British dry humor, the jokes in this film will be hilarious. (This is a British/American film). The jokes are not your typical jokes, as the film contains a lot of dark humor and many scenes that we should not be laughing at yet is hilarious anyway.

The heart of the story surrounds Dave, in his belief that people should stop just standing by and when he sees an injustice being done to another person. That even though Dave is weak, has had no training, he believes can make a difference. It is his journey as a person that we observe and relate to. The average person, with average skills, talent and power, aspiring to make a difference. I wasn’t sure what to make of Aaron Johnson at first, playing Dave, but I warmed up to him eventually as the movie went on.

And Nicolas Cage playing “Big Daddy” with Chloe Moretz playing his daughter “Hit Girl”, brings on most of the hilarity of “this shouldn’t be funny but it is” comes to play. Bordering on a level of abuse, Nicolas Cage plays Damon “Big Daddy” perfectly, spending all his time training his daughter, teaching her how to kill (and kill amazingly well.) “Hit Girl” on the other hand, seems to love being surrounded by all sorts of weaponry and does not find it one bit odd to being trained to defend herself and to kill. What would be considered scary and frightening to a normal kid, is like time on the playground to Mindy. On a deeper level, this is disturbing when you think of it, and is referenced in some of the undertones in the scenes between father and daughter. However, if you don’t watch for it, it might be missed completely.

After watching the film, I thoroughly enjoyed myself more than most superhero movies I’ve seen. It’s hard to pinpoint what I felt was lacking in previous movies that, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed too, but not too the level that Kick-Ass offered. Spiderman, both Hulk movies, Iron Man to name a few – were all highly entertaining, but I think it lacked emotion and heart. Their aim was to wow you, which they succeeded. But Kick-Ass, through the twist of realism and unrealistic moments, was able to pull me in like none of those other movies (save The Dark Knight). It was evident by the surrounding cheers and laughter of the crowd I was with that they felt the same as well. It’s really difficult to put what I think about this movie into words, so you should go see it yourself. In fact, I want to see it again! In my opinion, between How to Train Your Dragon and Kick-Ass, these are the clear two winners for 2010 so far (not that I haven’t enjoyed many, being a complete crazy person for chick flicks myself, but they are the standouts so far.)

Kick Ass. Highly Recommended. Not for everyone though, as it contains a lot of violence and language, which is definitely NOT appropriate for young kids or family viewing. Otherwise, run, don’t walk. 4 Green Suits / 5 Green Suits.

Links:
IMDB
Trailer via TrailerAddict (remember, NOT indicative of the movie as a whole – the trailer makes it way cheesier/campy than it really is when in fact, it’s a lot more dark and satirical. But this gives an overall idea of what the film is about, but on the other hand, may spoil the fun quite a bit.)

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