There’s a reason people don’t go around playing “masked vigilante” on normal days. Halloween excluded, running around in a costume, pretending that you are a superhero is a good way to get yourself beaten up. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) finds this out after he dawns a costume and becomes “Kick-Ass”. He gets beaten up, and is taken to the hospital. Not deterred, and now having significant nerve damage, he continues fighting crime.
He gets beaten up again, but this time, there were witnesses. Instead of calling the police like Dave wanted, the bystanders grabbed their camera phones and videotaped the assault. Kick-Ass becomes an internet phenomenon, garnering more than 22 million views on YouTube. Even Craig Ferguson is talking about him. “Kick-Ass” has become a household name.
This means that he needs both friends and enemies. His friends come in the form of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Moretz). They are other superheroes, who are far better prepared for dealing with criminals than Dave is. They have guns, knives and armored costumes. They meet up with Dave a few times, and tell him that if he needs help, they will be there for him.
The “bad guy” of the film is Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). He’s a drug dealer, and the head of a criminal organization. His son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is initially unaware of his father’s criminal involvement, and doesn’t question how they became and stay as wealthy as they do. Eventually, he acquires a costumed persona as well, and meets with Kick-Ass. To do what, I’m not telling. Go watch the film and find out for yourself.
I suppose that last sentence gave it away, but Kick-Ass is a film that is worth seeing. Adapted from Mark Millar’s comic of the same title, the film plays out as more of a parody of modern superhero films than it does as a straight film itself. It doesn’t shy away from showing the violent nature that would actually take place if superheroes were real, and it should be applauded for that. Kick-Ass feels real, or at least, as real as something like this is going to get.
The characters throughout the film, apart from Hit Girl, all feel like they could be your next door neighbor. They feel real, they act real and they get beat up just like a real person was. There aren’t any quickly healing injuries or the like. People get hurt, and you can feel almost every blow they take.
Hit Girl, on the other hand, doesn’t feel real; she feels like a character in a movie. Whether it be the fact that she doesn’t seem to take much damage, shows no emotion when killing dozens of other people, or because she has the capability to kill all of those people, she doesn’t feel like a plausible character. While her action scenes are still the highlight of the film, the times when director Matthew Vaughn tries to make us feel sympathetic towards her, it falls flat. We can’t care much about a character that has no emotions herself, and who treats everyone else like they aren’t a human.
The other characters, on the other hand, are all people who you care about. When Dave is getting beaten up, you wish to help him. The film does find a good balance between emotional highs and lows, and also stays consistently humorous throughout. There is a real heart behind what it is trying to do, and this comes through in the final product.
Also coming through in the film is the care that went into the action sequences. They are imaginative, entertaining and fun to watch. At least, they are for the most part. There is one at the end that didn’t quite work out like it should have. I think it’s because they tried to go with a large-scale fight for the finale, and something made this fail. Maybe it was the relatively small budget, or maybe it was a lack of creativity, but it didn’t quite gel.
This is actually true about the entire film. When it went for larger scenes, it became less entertaining. There is also a problem of conclusion that the film has. The end of the film is weaker than the beginning, as is the ending to the sub plots scattered throughout the film. Take, for example, Dave’s special “friend”. He has a crush on her, but she thinks he’s gay. He spends time trying to gather up the courage to tell her, all the while becoming closer to her. Then, one event happens, and their story is concluded. It just happened too fast to feel realistic.
Kick-Ass is a very good action film. It has heart behind it, driving it forward, and has some imaginative and entertaining action scenes. The characters are, for the most part, realistic enough to make it feel like the story could be happening in real life. Hit Girl is fun to watch but her character makes the film seem more unrealistic than it strives for. It has emotional spots, both high and low, and balances them out with comedic points. The journey is more fun than the conclusion, but that doesn’t stop Kick-Ass from being a fun action film to watch.