Kick-Ass may initially appear as a family friendly type of superhero film that is stylistically similar to that of the Spiderman films, however it isn’t long before we see that it is nothing of the sort, it is the exact opposite to be precise.
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a wimpy teenager who creates an alter ego for himself, the superhero known as ‘Kick-Ass’. With no powers and no clue, Kick-Ass manages to establish himself as a major internet celebrity, bringing him to the notice of the crime fighting father and daughter duo, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloë Moretz) as well as mafia boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and his geeky son Chris a.k.a. Red Mist (Chris Mintz-Plasse). Kick-Ass realises he is in over his head with the whole superhero gimmick when boss D’Amico accuses him of killing his mafia henchmen and places a hit on his head.
The film starts off addressing the typical adolescent struggles that Dave has to face and that theme is prevalent throughout the film, however once we are properly introduced to Hit-Girl, the film begins to focus on ultra-violence and bloodshed. Director Matthew Vaughn manages to keep the balance between the plot, character development and brutality in check and the film moves along at a snappy pace, keeping the audience hooked to the very end. There are a few shock-and-awe moments in this film that will probably upset some of the older movie-going audience but will make its prime, teenage audience rejoice (some may find the representation of a 12 year old girl as a violent killer a bit over the top).
The plot is basic, but the variety of characters keeps the film interesting. Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy, The Greatest) does a good job and carries the film as the lead character and hero Kick-Ass, up until we meet Chloë Moretz’s (500 Days of Summer, Not Forgotten) Hit-Girl. Hit-Girl is by far the best character in the film and Moretz’s performance is fantastic, stealing the scene from any other character when she is on the screen. Nicholas Cage (Knowing, Ghost Rider) plays the role of Hit-Girl’s father Big Daddy well and the chemistry between the two is achieved with ease. The only disappointing character in this film is Red Mist. The comedic Chris Mintz-Plasse (Role Models, Superbad) is not really given a chance to portray his comic ability in this film, with very few lines or scenes that draw a laugh out of his character.
Kick-Ass is not your average superhero film. It is bright and colourful on the outside, but savage on the inside. It is funny without being too ridiculous and equal parts distressing, pushing the boundaries for this type of film. The film will be enjoyed by most people but will probably send the more conservative types packing. Overall it is a great watch and one of the better comic-book/superhero films to date.
After being rejected by every studio they approached, Matthew Vaughn raised the budget at a dinner party and made the movie independently. Vaughn ultimately sold the movie to Universal for more than he had originally asked them for.