“That’s right, we’re super heroes, you love us.”
And we do. Super heroes have been a cinematic obsession for decades. Superman, Batman, Spiderman, The X-Men Franchise; all comic book adaptations, all successful movie ventures. Kick-Ass, however, heralds a new generation of super hero. Created as a graphic novel by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., Kick-Ass is a relatively new series, published in 2008 by Marvel Comics.
When the adaptation hit our screens in 2010, we could see that this one was something different. Not your typical super hero movie, the main character, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), notes that his powers come not from a cosmic ray, a gamma field or a special ring, nor does he hail from an alien planet, and isn’t some prince sent to continue the survival of his race. He’s just a regular guy, ready to help, wondering why no one has tried it before him.
“At some point in our lives, we all want to be a super hero”
Disenfranchised at society’s lack of faith and inability to act against wrong, Dave buys a scuba-diving suit and dresses up as his super hero alter ego, Kick-Ass. On his first time out fighting crime, he gets himself badly beaten, stabbed and, after being hit by a car and left for dead, hospitalised for weeks of rehabilitation. Left with a body of broken bones, severed nerve endings and an array of internal metal support rods, he finds himself less susceptible to pain and now more adept at crime fighting.
A chance encounter with two professional super heroes, Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), sees Kick-Ass questioning his heroic ventures. Hit Girl and Big Daddy’s escapades land Kick-Ass in deep heat, as drug lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) finds his men dying at the hand of super heroes. D’Amico’s son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), develops a plan to help his father exact revenge, becoming his own super hero, Red Mist, in an attempt to befriend Kick-Ass and bring him down from the inside.
The result is a killer action movie for adults and teens alike. Not for the faint hearted, Kick-Ass contains a variety of blood, gore and torture scenes that would leave most people squeamish, if not for the clever editing and inspiring soundtrack that accompanies them. Despite this, the films fight sequences between Hit Girl and a vast variety of bad guys leaves most people cheering for more. Moretz’s ability to play an adult character in a childlike fashion perfectly suits the mould of Hit Girl, which makes her possibly the strongest asset of the Kick-Ass film. Vulgar language, knife fights, and the ability to cross from girl-with-attitude into girl-with-killers-vengeance combine to leave viewers wanting more of Moretz. If nothing else, Kick-Ass highlights the sheer talent of the young starlet, and will hopefully lead to a very successful career for Moretz.
A frenzied combination of action, comedy, teen angst, and, at times, heart warming family drama, Kick-Ass’s only failing is the occasional drawn out dialogue sequences. Despite this, Kick-Ass transforms the super hero genre into something more. Pop-culture references from the past five years help to bring super hero movies to a new generation of children hooked on Facebook, X-Box and Youtube, a feat of extreme proportions. Great acting, incredible action sequences, and clever adaptation form the original graphic novel will see Kick-Ass and all involved propelled forward to bigger and better things. Four stars.