“Like every serial killer already knows, eventually fantasizing just doesn’t do it anymore.” With these words, the titular character Kick-Ass (played by Aaron Johnson) captures both the tone and premise of the movie. In a parody of comic books and action films, casts “normal” people living out their fantasies of being superheroes. Needless to say, as we see in the film not everybody is cut out for the job.
Adapted from the same-name comic series by Mark Millar, delights in being unconventional. Heroes strike dramatic poses before tripping and falling over. Villains argue for five minutes over whether or not a costume more closely resembles Batman or Superman. A poorly managed torture scene in the film ends with a man exploding inside of a giant microwave. To list any more of these moments would simply spoil the movie because they are its greatest strength.
For the most part, the plot is pretty irrelevant. Instead of being plot heavy, relies on moment-to-moment jokes, gags and shocks to keep the energy levels high without giving the audience too much time to think. With the opening scene, picks up momentum (literally) and never loses it thereafter.
While it would have been amusing enough to see the incompetent “superhero” Kick-Ass bumble through his attempts at vigilantism, the introduction of the lethal, street-smart Hit Girl and her Big Daddy (played by Chloe Moretz and Nicholas Cage, respectively) adds a hilarious contrast. After all, anything with Nick Cage is bound to be excellent.
It’s a testament to the absurdity of the movie that an 11-year-old girl repeatedly delivers the best violence. Although the casting of a young girl as a cursing, murdering superhero doesn’t seem to be in the best of taste, isn’t the kind of movie that cares.
The film isn’t for everybody, but anybody who already wants to see the movie based on the title alone won’t be disappointed. The movie is exactly what it seems like it should be: violent and over-the-top.
Despite the overall lack of a complex plot, there is surprising depth in a scene halfway through the film that explores the backstory of Hit Girl and Big Daddy, attempting to explain why a father would raise a girl to be as trigger-happy and unaffected by violence as Hit Girl.
One character briefly condemns Big Daddy for his perverse upbringing of his daughter, claiming that “You owe that girl a childhood.” However, nothing more is made of this point. The issues it raises are cast aside by the rest of the movie in favor of more bloody action. In doing so, the scene falls just short of having any real significance.
Lack of emotional depth is the biggest weakness of the film. The characters are amusing, but they aren’t necessary complex. Even the main character is a fairly standard “clumsy dork” stereotype. His antics as he tries to get closer to the girl he likes by pretending to be gay are silly, but not very endearing.
While the movie’s approach to superheroes is fresh and unique, its characters are not. Instead, it relies on its wit and its action to entertain. This is not necessarily bad, though, as those two aspects are the movie’s two greatest strengths.
The original comic version of was actually darker than the movie. While still a parody, it adopted a pessimistic tone, sporting even more gore than the movie. The did well to diverge from these origins and embrace the comedy facet of its nature. Instead of trying to milk drama into melodrama, it spoils some of the twists early on.
In its attempt to be lighthearted and funny, still maintains a slight semblance of believability. After all, much of the humor of the movie comes from the fact that the main character is a normal guy who just might be able to pull off that superhero thing.
However, Hit Girl spoils the illusion, demonstrating strength, accuracy and acrobatics that should be impossible for a girl her age. The climax of the movie is also the climax of believability, introducing a plot device (another change from the source material) that tips the balance from “plausible” to “ridiculous.”
In the end, there are only two responses to this film. Some people want emotional depth and maturity, and some people just want to see bad guys blasted out of a window with a bazooka. For those of the latter group, is the perfect movie. The movie is called “Kick-Ass”—you already know what to expect.