**** (out of 5)
April 16, 2010
Aaron Johnson as DAVE LIZEWSKI
Clark Duke as MARTY
Evan Peters as TODD
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as CHRI D’AMICO
Mark Strong as FRANK D’AMICO
Chloe Moretz as MINDY MACREADY
Nicolas Cage as DAMON MACREADY
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
“Kick-Ass” is one of those films that is in danger of being a victim of its own buzz. As awesome of a movie that it is, the crazy fanboy excitement surrounding it has a real “Grindhouse” or “Watchmen” feel to it. While I like both of those films, they just failed to click with the mainstream audience.
And I’m okay with that. “Kick-Ass” isn’t a mainstream movie. It shouldn’t be a mainstream movie. And it never was intended to be a mainstream movie. “Kick-Ass” has its roots in geek lore and comic book love, and as someone who spent plenty of hours getting my fingers inky from pulp magazines, I loved what it did.
The story is actually pretty typical of a superhero flick. A high school kid wonders why there are no real superheroes. One day, he buys a masked costume and uses it to fight crime. Along the way, he teams up with a few other vigilantes, including the ultra-violent Hit-Girl and her big daddy Big Daddy. As a fractured team, these costumed crime-fighters set their sights on taking down a local drug lord.
Like “Watchmen” and “Mystery Men,” “Kick-Ass” is a superhero movie for grown-ups. There have been plenty of family-friendly movies out there from “Spider-Man” to “Fantastic Four.” Let the adults have one for themselves, please. With that said, you don’t want to take a six-year-old to see “Kick-Ass”… unless you really want an uncomfortable ride home answering a bunch of awkward questions.
Like last year’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” this movie is more for grown-ups who remember reading comics as a kid. (Of course, a lot of those grown-ups still read comics, and there’s nothing wrong with that.) It’s not a real solid depiction of what a real-life superhero could be like. Rather, it’s a wink and a nod to the comic book industry. The humor is very introspective, and the movie plays to an audience that will get all the inside jokes.
I also can’t forget to mention that there’s a brilliant use of color and composition with the film. Moments of the plot stumble into awkward cliches, but that is all saved with vibrant, saturated colors that leap off the screen and give you the real sense of a graphic novel. And speaking of graphic elements…
A lot of hubbub has been made about the violence and language associated with Chloe Moretz’ character of Hit-Girl. But let’s face it, people. It’s only a movie. A real eleven-year-old girl isn’t really killing people. And the young actor isn’t an idiot. She knows the difference between a movie and real life. Anyway, I doubt half of her killing action on screen is really her, but probably a thirty-year-old stunt double who happens to know martial arts and fits in her costume.
“Kick-Ass” is just plain fun. It may not be for everyone, but it’s a blast, and it’s everything that fans should hope for. There are times when it goes a little too far with the comic book knock-off jokes. For example, the love interest for the main character is such an obvious spin on the Mary Jane character in “Spider-Man,” which takes a porno movie style plot twist that this is where I found it to be gratuitous. Still, that’s all forgivable in the film’s ass-kicking glory.
After watching very safe PG-13 and PG superhero movies – which I love dearly, by the way – it’s refreshing to see a film that’s made for us chubby, bearded thirtysomethings that still crack open the polyurethane bags and flip through their comic book collection now and then.