The Way of the Word

26. April 2010

Review: Kick-Ass

Filed under: movies,review — jensaltmann @ 18:57
Tags: , , , , , , ,

USA 2010. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Starring Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage. Based on the comic by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. Runtime 117 minutes

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a relatively normal teenage boy.  who decides to become a superhero. Which, considering he doesn’t have any powers or training, doesn’t work out very well: he barely survives his first outing. After his release from the hospital, he gets back into the fight. When he saves a man from some gangbangers, the incident is recorded by the patrons of a nearby diner, and Kick-Ass, as Dave calls himself, becomes an internet celebrity. When he takes on a mission for his friend Katie, he almost gets killed by drug dealers. Only the timely intervention of Hit-Girl (Cloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) saves his life.  Crime boss Frank d’Amico believes that Kick-Ass is responsible for the death of his men, so he tries to have Kick-Ass killed. Frank’s son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) convinces him that the best way to trap a superhero is to become his friend. Chris takes on the superhero identity of Red Mist in order to find, befriend and trap Kick-Ass. When the trap goes wrong, Mist discovers the existance of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. He tricks Kick-Ass into revealing the pair’s location, so that Frank can capture and kill the superheroes. This doesn’t quite work as planned: Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass survive. Now it’s payback time.

First things first: I haven’t read the comic book. I don’t like Mark Millar’s work. That means that when I saw this movie, I watched it both fresh and still biased.

The trailers for Kick-Ass indicate that the movie is a comedy. Well… It’s mostly funny, but I wouldn’t really consider it a comedy. It’s too over the top cartoonily violent for that. The cast works quite well in their roles. People consider Chloe Moretz the movie’s breakout talent, and I’m inclined to agree. Also, if you (like me) have little love for Nicolas Cage, you’ll love his death scene.

Did I mention the over-the-topness? The comic book’s premise, to my knowledge, was “What if superheroes existed in the real world.” Well, they certainly wouldn’t be like this. I don’t think Dave would go out again after almost dying the first time around, and while there are abusive psychotic fathers like Nic Cage’s character in the real world, I don’t think they could turn their 11 year old daughters into this kind of super-ninja. Never mind what the story wants to be like, this is really a parody of superheroes.

It is the mix of the movie’s quirky sense of humor and the likable cast that make this movie work. There is a certain wink-wink-nudge-nudgeness about the entire movie. The actors don’t even try to play believable characters. Rather, they seem to enjoy laughing with the audience at the two-dimensionalness of their parts.

It’s really more like a slightly more serious and very much more foul-mouthed and violent episode of the 1960s Batman series.

I don’t feel I’ve wasted my time watching this, but I don’t think I’ll get the DVD.

Verdict: mildly recommended.



  1. Taking all of it together, I think this ends up as a strong recommendation for me. 🙂

    Comment by Anders Gabrielsson — 26. April 2010 @ 19:44

  2. It’s safe to wait for the DVD, though. Kick-Ass doesn’t need a big screen. Actually, come to think, it might even work better on a smaller screen.

    Comment by jensaltmann — 27. April 2010 @ 19:48

  3. I might just spend my movie ticket money on Iron Man 2 instead in that case.

    Comment by Anders Gabrielsson — 27. April 2010 @ 20:33

  4. That’s what I would do.

    Comment by jensaltmann — 28. April 2010 @ 17:05

  5. […] month, two comic book movies opened essentially back-to-back. One of them is Kick-Ass (which I have already reviewed). With a budget of $30 million, it earned back (so far, it’s still in cinemas) $66 million. […]

    Pingback by Are Comic Book Movies Doomed? « The Way of the Word — 29. April 2010 @ 09:48

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