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Kick Ass (Movie)

A 2010 superhero film based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.

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(3.5/5) Stumbles... But It Still Does Justice

  • Apr 20, 2010
Rating:
+4
As a kid, when it came to the heroes that I liked to watch on television or the comics I read, there was always this sort of sense of wanting to be a superhero.  If you were one of those really dorky kids, you made a cape and pretended you could fly by jumping on your bed when no one was there.  I think most kids who admired the likes of Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, etc. did that sort of thing from time to time.  This is, more or less, the basis behind Kick-Ass.  Based off the graphic novel of the same name, Kick-Ass takes the idea of, "How come no one becomes a superhero," to new levels.  Heroes don't exist.  At least not super-heroes.  But surely it must have entered the mind of one eccentric, right?  Well, instead it enters the head of a teenager.

Kick-Ass waste no time in stereotyping it's main hero.  Aaron Johnson plays Dave.  A kid who wonders why no one has ever decided to become a Superhero.  And he's your typical nerd.  He's invisible to the people around him, the girls don't notice him at all and he even has his moments where he gets picked on like hell (in one moment he even gets mugged).  In one of the movies better moments, there's a man whoh simply stands there and watches as he and his friend are robbed of their money and comics.  One day Dave orders a super hero suit... which actually makes him look like a walking green condom, but remember this is no comic book... and he's no Bruce Wayne either.  Eventually he decides he's going to fight crime.  In his own nerdy way he looks like a stupid kid playing dress up at first, until he sees two robbers breaking into a car and decides to intervene.  The match doesn't go as planned, however and Dave gets injured quite badly.

His second attempt, however, proves successful when he rescues a man from a bunch of thugs.  Only this time his antics have been caught on camera, uploaded to Youtube and have several thousand hits.  When asked who he is, Dave merely replies, "I'm Kick-Ass!" and then runs off.  And he's notoriously popular over night.  Taking on tips through his myspace page.  Ultimately, however, he eventually gets involved in the wrong kind of caper.  And while he does inspire other people, Dave soon learns the dangers of being a hero.  But he also learns that there are heroes out there who do exist.  There's Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage... in the first good movie he's been in in like, ten years) and there's his daughter Hit Girl (Chloe Mortez).  While Kick-Ass is more or less a kid running around in a costume... Big Daddy and Hit Girl are the real deal.  Better costumes and lots of gadgets (not to mention smarts).  That's not to say Kick-Ass is useless.  When he discovers everything that's going on and what he's really up against, he'll prove far more useful to the two heroes than he thinks.

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat.  Kick-Ass is a violent movie.  The amount of violence laden within, however, has been gravely overstated.  Yes, Hit Girl is played by an eleven year old... and yes Hit Girl is a catalyst for most of the violence found within the movie.  On the other hand, Kick-Ass is not as shocking as it thinks it is.  Sure it's violent, but it's hardly as violent as the likes of most Quentin Tarantino movies, Sin City, Watchmen, etc.   Kick-Ass has a higher body count and more blood flying around... but it's hardly all that shocking.  In fact, there are perhaps only three heavily violent scenes.  No surprise that they all involve Hit Girl... and I think that's really the only thing that gets to people.  If it were say... Quentin Tarantino's Bride in Kill Bill it would hardly be an issue.  But no, it raises eyebrows because it's a kid, and because there are some pretty violent moments involving said child.  And yet even THAT doesn't make Kick-Ass that shocking, and the violence (save for the climax) is actually few and far between.  The movie can be sensational in the amount of blood found within... but for the most part it's kind of sad when you watch a movie like Kick-Ass and you're watching as it is trying so hard to be shocking.  The Graphic Novel, I've heard, is quite bloody and violent as well.  I like a violent movie.  One of the reasons I enjoyed Kick-Ass, in fact... but here the amount of blood is heavily overstated, and the amount of shock is heavily overstated as well.  As I said, people are merely paying attention to the fact that it's a child involved in Kick-Ass most violent moments.  But they're only three pivotal scenes in which it happens and, for the most part, the movie makes a lot of quick cuts and has a lot of edit points that it keeps from being so oversensational in these moments.  Oh yes, Kick-Ass is violent with lots of blood... but a lot of it is tempered.  The only thing that would've completed it would've been if they'd used a strawberry-red tint for the blood.

I'm starting to understand what people must've felt like when the heard that there was "bad language" in Gone With the Wind.  You sat there only to hear Clark Gable use the word "damn" and then everyone freaked out over it.  I imagine even more people were thinking to themselves, "That's it?"  The same thing happened to me when I saw Kick-Ass this past weekend.  The violence was played up to be more distressing and disturbing than it actually was.  Let us be honest and clear:  The buzz surrounding the Violence in Kick-Ass isn't actually about the violence.  It's about how bloody it is.  That's all.  If some of the more violent moments had lamented blood or there had been editing tricks done so that you didn't see much of it, no one would be talking about it.  And no one would care.

Kick-Ass also isn't all that unpredictable, either.  There's little wrong with a predictable movie.  In fact, the predictable nature of the movie is, at times, more helpful than not.  I've always said that an audience will hate feeling like they've been tricked more than a film being predictable.  Kick-Ass almost proves that.  The story really comes together through what can only be described as the only means for it to come together.  Despite being "unlike" a superhero movie, it still manages to handle many of the checklist themes.  For example, there's the love interest who, at some point, has to knkow the heroes identify.  There's the classic hero wanting to hang up the costume but something compels him to push forward.  The bad guys wanting to know who the hero is... betrayal... even the mentor thing gets played out to death with Big Daddy and Hit Girl.  If there's ANYTHING in Kick-Ass you haven't seen before it's because you've been under a rock for the past decade filled with Hero movies.  Except this all plays into things that make Kick-Ass so damn good.  It's got a lot of black humor that satirizes all these things... and other parts that make it quite (strangely enough) heartfelt. 

So yes, Kick-Ass is quite predictable and formulaic in its approach.  But did you really expect a movie about a kid who wants to be a hero thanks to the comics he's read to eventually NOT take on a Superhero formula?  There's also some good humor, although like the violence, Kick-Ass isn't quite as funny as everyone makes it sound either.  But it's definitely got edge.  It's an enjoyable movie on the whole.

On the other hand, it is quite sad that the main hero is the least interesting character.  Big Daddy, Hit Girl and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and the bad guys... are all far more interesting characters than Kick-Ass himself.  It's rather sad.  he begins as an intersting character... but only because we've hardly been introduced to the rest of the cast.  In the second half of the movie, I found myself dreading the moments when I had to sit through Kick-Ass being on screen.  I get that beneath he's this dorky kid and all, but the movie itself seems to leave him in the dust at some point.  At least they do let him be the #1 hero in the end, it's just that he never goes beyond being, I'm sorry to say, the least interesting character of the main cast.  By the time the movie ends, it's actually rather sad that the main hero is reduced to being a sidekick.  Hit Girl saves much of the entertainment valule.  She's by far the most interesting character in the movie.  Those who enjoyed Tarantino's Kill Bill movies have already drawn numerous comparison's to The Bride.  Rightfully so... she kicks more ass and takes more names than anyone in the movie. 

That may have been the strangest part about Kick-Ass.  The main character seems to be there only to set things in motion and then to sit and be the observer of the events which unfold rather than to be an actual participant.  If anything, the movie is more about how he ISN'T a hero than how he is.  While he gets to be #1 in the end, even that's all part of a plan divised by Hit Girl.  Who, exactly, is the star of the movie supposed to be?  In short, the movie might've been painful to watch if it hadn't been for much of the supporting cast.  The only time Kick-Ass is intersting happens to be when he's getting his start.  And that's because he's making the stumbles that heroes make.  The movie doesn't spend too much time on the "Legend" of Kick-Ass, at least.  Some may be captivated by Aaron Johnson's nerdish charm.  There aren't very many standout performances in Kick-Ass (Dave's girlfriend in particular is laughably bad) but Aaron Johnson does happen to be one of the actors that stick out.  Nicholas Cage stands out as well, but only because of his over-the-top speech pattern, which is sure to remind you of Adam West and possibly William Shatner.  It's really nice to say that the main cast just goes along with the bizarre premise in such a fun way.  Aaron Johnson's Dave/Kick-Ass may not be much of an interesting character, but Aaron Johnson plays the part really well and breathes some life into him.  In the first half of the movie you're delighted to see him on screen.  In the second half you're much more delighted to see Chloe Moretz who plays Hit Girl incredibly well.  For the most part, the actors actually do a relatively good job in their roles because so many of them are just going with the flow.

It can be hard to decide just how good Kick-Ass is.  There's nothing here that really makes it a bad movie.  But the stuff mentioned above actually sticks out like a sore thumb.  The amount of bloodshed feels like it's been included to see how shocking the movie can be more than anything else.  Yet it's that part about the movie that's enjoyable.  The main character is disturbingly uninteresting and yet he's played really well by the actor picked to play him.  The main character is also pretty much just an observer of the action... but with Hit Girl there you don't really mind.  It's strange, actually.  For just about everything that I can pick at the movie for, there's something that saves it from said nit-pick.  In the end, in spite of an uninteresting character, overstatements about the violence and shock value and the fact that movie feels a little long, there's no reason not to see Kick-Ass really.  The story, while simple, straightforward and VERY predictable, blends itself together so well, reducing the number of lingering questions you might have.  When we're wondering just why Nicholas Cage's character is training his daughter... we're soon hit with our answer.  There are a lot of convenient things that happen in Kick-Ass as well, but I've never been bothered by "convenience."  Would you rather have a story that never ends or have one that moves forward?

For the most part fans of Superhero Comic Books and Movies will probably get a lot of enjoyment out of Kick-Ass.  It's a very entertaining movie for the most part, and one that perhaps you should all head on out to see at least once.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, obviously, but if you've got a hankering for some action, black comedy, clever wit and violence... Kick-Ass is worth the time.

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April 20, 2010
I liked this quite a bit more than you did, I'd say. I felt that the film was predictable in terms of you know that the story is going to follow the same structure of a superhero origin story, but it was also very subversive and cleverly misleading at times, particularly the dialogue and the humor. I also thought it was funnier than you did, but that might just be because I have a sicker sense of humor than you do, so I won't go into that. One area where I agree with you completely is the main character. "On the other hand, it is quite sad that the main hero is the least interesting character." "That may have been the strangest part about Kick-Ass. The main character seems to be there only to set things in motion and then to sit and be the observer of the events which unfold rather than to be an actual participant." To me this is part of what made it so great. The guy was a loser before he became a hero and he was a loser after he became a hero. To a certain degree Spider-Man follows that formula, except that while Peter Parker remains a loser, Spider-Man becomes a real hero. In "Kick-Ass" Dave and Kick-Ass are still losers and they only ever succeed because of external forces helping them, be it Hit Girl and Big Daddy, Red Mist, or just the media in general. The torture scene was also pretty unexpected. You knew that Hit Girl would come in and save them, but I didn't think that it would go on for so long or that Big Daddy was going to be toasted.
April 20, 2010
I found Kick-Ass to be all too terribly predictable.  But I've never been bothered by predictability in a movie.  And some of its misleading moments only made what was already obvious... more obvious.  I think I'm the only one who didn't find the torture unexpected.  I didn't guess Big Daddy would be torched, but I guessed he would die.  Just about every movie has the power to be predictable in some light, but Kick Ass might as well have been a bulletin board announcing many of its twists.  But I still rather liked them, what was important to me was that the movie wasn't going for "surprise" but rather "something that works," and that only made it more enjoyable for me.  The way the story all came together... it was pretty cool stuff.  I'm not saying there were no unpredictable moments.  Only saying that much of what was on screen never came off as a surprise.  For me it's not about what happens but about how characters deal with it.  The "how" was usually right in front of my face.  I wasn't exactly surprised at anything that happened.

The difference between Peter Parker and Dave, though, is that I was still interested in who Peter Parker was even when he took off the costume.  His personal life and his personal struggles still amused me.  I never expected Kick-Ass to do everything on his own, either, I just didn't find him to be much of an interesting character in the slightest.  Dave was just... not interesting to me.  His narration at the beginning had me hooked, but that was about it.

When I say the mvoie isn't as funny as everyone makes it seem... I didn't mean that any of it was offensive or somehow not funny or even that there was anything wrong with its humor.  I just meant that when people are doubled over laughing... I'm just laughing.  That's usually how I am, though.  When people are clutching their sides I'm usually just standing off to the side smirking or laughing a bit more subtlely.  My friends looked at me a couple of times and said, "Oh, come on, you know that's funny!" and it was.  I just wasn't laughing as hard as they were.  I found that to be funny in and otself, though... there has to be a degree of laughter in order for someoen to dictate if I find it funny or not.  I'm not allowed to dictate for myself whether I find something humorous or funny.  Irony.

I liked Kick-Ass, though and if someone wanted to see it again, I'd tag along.  It's entertaining and that's good enough for me.
April 21, 2010
Actually, I took a moment to think about how he was a loser before he was a hero and a loser after... that probably actually helps set the movie in a real world.  He never goes beyond his abilities... which I think actually probably works for the movie as a whole.
April 21, 2010
Exactly. And perhaps I didn't explain the predictability thing as well as I meant to, but "For me it's not about what happens but about how characters deal with it.  The "how" was usually right in front of my face.  I wasn't exactly surprised at anything that happened." pretty much sums up what I meant. You knew that the bad guys were going to bite the dust, but you didn't know that it would be because Kick-Ass had that jetpack, which probably got the biggest laugh from me.
 
April 20, 2010
Nailed it! Wonderful review, Buddy! I am so with you on your review though I scored it a little higher (3.88) at a weak 4- stars. I just wished it preserved the main point of the book as in loneliness and alienation for comic fans. Excellent review! I am sending Trashie and Orlok to this review... Wish me luck, I am watching LOVELY BONES tonight....
April 20, 2010
Heh, if you're watching The Lovely bones I won't say Count and I didn't already warn you! 
April 20, 2010
you know I managed to sit through and review Twilight New Moon...so how bad can it really get? Bad movies can be educational LOL!
April 21, 2010
I was shocked to read your review.  I just kept thinking to myself, "It's very rare when William finds a movie to be worse than I do!"  Then I laughed and was so proud that you actually clicked on +1!
April 26, 2010
LOL! By the way, I've decided to feature this in the community homepage....
 
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More Kick-Ass (movie) reviews
review by . April 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
You Wanna Be A....WHAT??!!!!!
   Let’s get one thing out of the way; there is no way Hollywood can ever match the awesomeness that is Mark Millar’s and John Romita Jr.’s comic book mini series titled "KICK ASS" (see my review here). The comic series was just a different the way it was successful in mixing black humor, action and a dark premise about isolation and loneliness that made me doubt my insanity why I read comic books. But since Hollywood is one major money-making machine, (as …
review by . December 19, 2010
I just saw this not an hour ago and I can safely say that it is one of the best comic book films of all time. The acting is great, the story (essentially about an amateur superhero's days in crime-fighting) is great, the action is great, and it has some great humour mixed with a fair amout of gore and swearing. That being said, this movie is definitely not for everyone, especially those who aren't comfortable with a young girl swearing and killing people. There are also some reasonably …
review by . February 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     "Kick-Ass" pretty much kicks ass in every way possible. It's profane, slightly irrelevant, and equally as entertaining to watch as it was to read when it was a comic. Despite the typical art style, I personally loved reading the "Kick-Ass" comic. It isn't extremely deep, but hey. It kicked ass. Well, now there's a film adaptation, and it kicks more ass than a horse in the stable. While it will certainly not appeal to everyone (looking at you, Roger Ebert), …
review by . April 29, 2010
A friend invited me to see Kick Ass and I went knowing nothing about the movie besides it was a comedy.  I love seeing movies that way.      I was drawn into the plot until the introduction of Hit Girl and the level of violence.  This 13-year old girl single handedly kills numerous grown men using a variety of weapons, laughing much of the time.      On one hand, sure, it was pretty cute to have a super hero girl.  On the other, it was too …
Quick Tip by . June 03, 2013
If you enjoyed the film I recommend reading the graphic novel, its brilliant
review by . April 21, 2010
Kick-Ass: It's Watchmen minus emotional drama and Dr. Manhattan
I've had my fair share of watching comic book based movies (Spider-Man, Fantastic 4, Iron Man, X-Men, Watchmen, Batman) and each of them have unique ways of presenting the super hero and their heroic actions. But Kick-Ass kinda veers the opposite and kinda reminds me of seeing Watchmen (even the promotional posters kinda relate).      The reason why I reference Watchmen is that both relate to having costumed vigilantes taking down crimes on a daily basis. Kick-Ass twists things …
review by . July 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What Pompted You to write a Review?   I was prompted to write this review because never has any of the comic movies I have seen in the last 5 years or so have realistically resembled the actual comic book. Most big hollywood comic book movies do not closely follow the actual storyline or have characters that are far from physically looking like the actual comic book characters this movie followed the book well.      How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?   …
review by . August 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Have you ever wanted to be a superhero. Kick-Ass is about four very different people who take very different paths to become superheroes. With a few exceptions, they do provide some innovative fighting scenes and hilarious moments.      First, the great. One of the superheroes, Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz), is a adorable 10-year old girl who has a passion for guns and slaughtering bad guys the way other young girls get excited for jewelry or dolls. Chloe is a great actress and gives …
review by . August 09, 2010
A cheesy fun violent comic book movie that was strangely marketed as a lighted hearted teen film.
Kick-Ass is a cheesy fun comic book movie based on a "graphic novel" of the same name.  The story revolves around some goofy teenage (Aaron Johnson) who decides to become a real life superhero (after donning a wet suit) named Kick-Ass.  After a rough start, he becomes an internet sensation when he gets involved in a brutal beat down in front of a cafe.  His actions and a near fatal attempt in trying to fight a local drug dealer catches the attention of a real crime fighter …
review by . April 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
At the start of "Kick-Ass," I couldn't help but feel somewhat excited, as I was introduced to the title character, who, when not dressed as a superhero, I found both engaging and amusing. While his thought process is not something I pretend to understand, the situations he finds himself in as a typical high schooler were somewhat relatable, and they got a chuckle or two out of me. But then we meet eleven-year-old Mindy Macready (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz) and her father (Nicholas Cage); they stand in an …
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #5
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Kick-Ass is a 2010 superhero action thriller based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who co-produced the film with actor Brad Pitt, and co-wrote the screenplay with Jane Goldman. The film's general release was on 26 March 2010 in the United Kingdom and on 16 April 2010 in the United States.
 
The film tells the story of an ordinary teenager, Dave, who sets out to become a real-life superhero calling himself Kick-Ass. Dave gets caught up in a bigger fight when he meets Big Daddy, a former cop who, in his quest to bring down the evil drug lord Frank D'Amico, has trained his 10-year-old daughter to be the ruthless vigilante Hit-Girl.
 
Kick-Ass has generated some controversy for its profanity and violence, particularly for the character Hit-Girl. The film received mostly positive reviews.
 
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a normal teenager who wonders why nobody has ever decided to become a superhero like the ones in the comic books, so he decides to become a real-life superhero, despite having no superpowers  or training. During his first attempt to fight crime, Dave is beaten, stabbed, and hit by a car. Some of Dave's nerve endings are damaged as a result, giving him an enhanced capacity to endure pain, and metal plates are placed in his skeleton to support his bones. After a painful recovery, Dave returns to school only to find out that his longtime crush, Katie ...
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Details

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama
Release Date: April 16, 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: Plan B Entertainment, Marv Films, Lions Gate Films
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