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April 19, 2010

An entire semester of slacking off and finals crunch time have kept me busy from finding the time and energy to review movies for the past few weeks. However after viewing Kick-Ass and reading Roger Ebert’s damning review of it along with an older gentleman in my theater being shocked by the film, I feel it’s my duty to emerge from the papers and assignments with some of my bad education to justify how awesome Kick-Ass is. Once the credits started rolling, the aforementioned older man walked in stride next to me and asked “did you expect it to be like that?” I replied by saying “yeah pretty much I guess” and asked did he. He looked shaken up and responded “no I didn’t expect to be like THAT.” He then clarified that “that” meant “violent” and “serious.”

Apparently the film’s unapologetic violence is shaking up many older viewers who obviously expected a fuzzy bubblegum superhero film with a few f-bombs. I guess the TV spots and naivety are to blame for that. Thankfully Kick-Ass spits on that notion early on in the film, just as its R-rating would suggest. Instead the film utilizes the harshness of reality to tell its story average people attempting to fight crime.

Dave Lezewski (Aaron Johnson) is a typical high schooler in New York. He’s not a loser, not a jock, not a brain, just there. His school isn’t an impressive private institution with spotless corridors, instead it’s grimy, littered with graffiti, and metal detectors are installed at the front door. Dave lives his life like most average Joe’s his age; he spends his time masturbating, reading comics with his friends, and trying with no anvil to avoid muggers. Through a random train of thought he questions why no one’s ever attempted to be a superhero and decides to pursue his dreams of becoming one. With the purchase of a scuba suit and a tragedy that works in his favor, Dave becomes “Kick-Ass” and an overnight celebrity thanks to a viral video of him fighting a group of thugs. Citizens soon start to look up to and admire Kick-Ass while a father/daughter assassin team, Big Daddy and Hit Girl, become enticed by his gonads and potential. However all aren’t in love with Kick-Ass. The city’s coke-snorting, high strung, crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), begins to seek the head of Kick-Ass after his drug dealers and operation have become threatened since Kick-Ass’ appearance.

Dave/Kick-Ass is far from invincible. He has no powers or even witty skill. He’s just a naive kid who grew up on too many comic books and decided to put on a costume to fight crime resulting in him constantly getting his ass kicked throughout the film. While the film is overall humorous, Kick-Ass is serious in its theme of human apathy and the bystander effect. In one scene after being beaten by thugs but still attempting to fight back, Kick-Ass is asked by a man what is wrong with him to drive him to fight somebody else’s battles. Realizing a crowed diner has stopped to watch the fight but not help, Kick-Ass replies “three assholes lay into 1 guy while everyone else watches and you think there’s something wrong with me?”

However while serious and at times heartbreaking, Kick-Ass keeps a good balance of comedy even in its most horrific parts which makes the film overall just a great movie going experience. There’s a true heart to Kick-Ass that most superhero films today have lost. Aaron Johnson perfectly embodies who Dave is, a good kid who just wants to help his fellow man but gets in over his head. Nicholas Cage does an impressive job as the awkward vengeful hero Big Daddy and Chloe Moretz has shocked fans and critics alike as the foul mouthed brainwashed child assassin Hit-Girl.

is innovative in its style and narrative and takes the audience on a fun roller coaster ride of emotions throughout. Although a superhero film with fantastic elements like jet packs and insanely choreographed fight scenes, it still holds on to realistic elements and the humane aspect of being a “superhero” plus it’s one of the only films where it’s acceptable to laugh at a person being stabbed or a man beating the hell out of an 11-year-old girl because Kick-Ass reminds the viewers that it’s only a film and an escape. The problem that many may have with Kick-Ass is it’s unclear genre. It’s a bit too serious to be a comedy, but it’s too silly to be a drama. It’s too eccentric to be fully realistic yet it’s too down-played to be a classic superhero film. However anyone who enjoys schadenfreude will enjoy this brainchild of a Tarantino film mixed with Superbad and damn does Kick-Ass mix those elements well.


One Comment leave one →
  1. May 17, 2010 9:46 PM

    >Agreed. At times Kick-ass does not know what it wants. Is it a action/comedy or a serious Superhero adventure. Still though a very good film. I love the scene where Nic Cage starts screaming. "Now switch, to Kryptoniiiiiiite!"

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