Movie Number– 107
Title– Kick-Ass (2010)
Running Time– 117 minutes
Director– Matthew Vaughn
Writer– Jane Goldman (screenplay), Mathew Vaughn (screenplay), Mark Millar (comic book), John Romita Jr. (comic book)
Starring– Aaron Johnson, Lyndsy Fonseca, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage
Comic book adaptations have been getting more and more popular at the theatres these past few years, with 30 Days of Night, 300, Hellboy, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Punisher: Warzone being at the top of this long list of quality movies. I guess it should have come as no surprise that Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass series would eventually be made for the big screen: it’s funny, filled with violence, and focuses in on the average Joe, the guys and girls that actually read the damn books. It has a great combination of elements to make for an exciting action film, but could director Matthew Vaughn (of Stardust) pull off the execution?
Short answer: hell yes.
For the long answer, keep reading.
Kick-Ass asks the question that everyone who has ever read a comic book has wondered: what if I could be a superhero? Now most of us realize how ridiculous that statement is the second we ask it, but Dave Lezewski (Aaron Johnson) decides he has had enough, purchases a wet suit costume, and is then transformed into Kick-Ass, New York City’s own superhero. Of course, Kick-Ass doesn’t have any superpowers (other than courage), so he readily gets his ass kicked when his crime fighting begins. This only helps his case, though, as Kick-Ass becomes an internet sensation, even grabbing air time on the local news. Once Damon Macready and his way-older-than-her-age daughter Mindy see Kick-Ass on TV, they decide he needs some help: enter Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage). These two are very skilled in weaponry and help the untrained Kick-Ass survive one of his encounters. Unfortunately for Dave, they also help push him into the sights of a big crime boss, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), and now Kick-Ass is forced to fight for his life as the cities meanest boss searches for him. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (of Superbad fame) co-stars as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist.
Aaron Johnson has seemingly found his breakout role with Kick-Ass, and I expect to see a lot more of him as time goes on. He does an excellent job, mixing a realistic humor with hopeless humanity. His character is written well, so all he had to do was live the role, which he has done nicely. Christopher Mintz-Plasse has also done another bang up job, even if his role was less humorous than his Superbad or Role Models stints. I think this is one of Mintz-Plasse’s finest roles to date, second only to Role Models. I really enjoy this actor, and I look forward to seeing how he progresses with age. Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz do an interesting job as father and daughter. Cage starts out stiff and unnatural, but as the movie progresses, I was able to see that this was a character choice, and found it fit his role well. Moretz, a mere 13 years old, was fantastic, and stole the show. Her role is the most interesting, seeing as she is so young, but swears worse than I do, and is able to handle a gun and knife better than 98% of the adult population. She is an excellent young actress with a very bright future, and this movie further proves that. Co-stars Clark Duke and Evan Peters are funny, and help contrast the violence that comes later in the film. The ever-beautiful Lyndsy Fonseca (of Hot Tub Time Machine) plays the love interest with ease. In fact, it is hard for me to find something negative to say about the acting in Kick-Ass. All the actors, most of them under 30 years old, did some excellent work. Fortunately for them, Mark Millar has written one of the most intriguing comic books around, and Mathew Vaughn was competent enough to see that transfer from the glossy pages of a comic book to the thick pages of a finished script. Though some actors stood out over others, there were no weak points that I am able to point out.
Kick-Ass seemed to get better as it went on. It started out as a comedy, and then quickly transformed into a badass action film, while never forgetting that it is, at its heart, comedic. The cinematography of some of the action sequences had me smiling and on the edge of my seat: I would even call it beautiful at points. The story is human, real, and draws viewers in. How long will we stand by and watch our money get stolen from the bullies in the alley? When will we decide enough is enough and do something about it, even if we don’t don a superhero costume? Kick-Ass is able to do what all of us want to do: stand up for what’s right. My favorite quote from the film comes when Kick-Ass steps in to help a guy who is getting beaten up by three men. He jumps in to help, proceeds to get pummeled, but is able to hold the guys off for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, there is a crowd of people sitting inside the restaurant behind him, watching and filming instead of helping. As he hovers over the beaten man, the leader of the pack asks him what is wrong with him, to which Kick-Ass replies “three assholes, laying into one guy while everybody else watches? And you wanna know what’s wrong with me”. If that isn’t a statement on human nature, what the hell is? It’s moments like this that have made me fall in love with this movie.
With top-notch directing, one of best scripts of the year, and great acting to boot, Kick-Ass will find its way to the top of my 2010 movies list. As it stands right now, Kick-Ass is my favorite film of the year. I know this movie won’t appeal to everyone, but comic book fans and action movie buffs alike will find a whole hell of a lot to enjoy about Kick-Ass.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.