19 April 2010

Kick-Ass



Living Up to Its Name = Good

As it is customary for me to do, I geeked out and delved into the people associated with Kick-Ass. I do love comic books, I went and attempted to purchase the Kick-Ass comics, but they proved hard to find or too expensive when I did find some. Anyway, the director, Matthew Vaughn, has really only directed Layer Cake and Stardust before embarking on this journey. I love Layer Cake, and believe that it is underseen.  So, that made for an interesting beginning.  The titular actor is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, a relative nobody. Throw in McLovin from Superbad, the little sister from (500) Days of Summer, Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong as the villain, and I was sold. The trailer looked good. So, off I went, with the wife in tow, curious to see if the movie could live up to its name.

It opens with a voice over of why ordinary people are not superheroes. We then meet Dave (Johnson) and his two comic loving friends Todd (Evan Peters) and Marty (Clark Duke) at the comic store/soda jerk. We briefly meet Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who later becomes Red Mist. From there, we get a glimpse into the life of Dave. He is a nobody at school. His only friends are the ones we have already met. One day, after leaving the comic shop, they get “held up” by some thugs who threaten physical violence if they do not surrender their money and other valuables. A man witnesses this, but does nothing to help them.

This is the changing point for Dave. He decides he is going to become a superhero. His first attempt does not go well for him. On his second attempt, he is made into a YouTube sensation. From here, the story really takes flight. We are introduced earlier to Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Damon Macready (Cage), but now we meet their alter-egos, Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. They are a father-daughter duo reminiscent of Batman and Robin. They have an ulterior motive to warn and help Kick-Ass. Red Mist enters the scene as yet another superhero. The main bad guy is a villainous mobster/drug dealer Frank D’Amico, played to perfection by Mark Strong.  He just plays evil so well.

As the story unravels, there is plenty of violence, more than enough profanity, and not a shred of dignity. The movie’s other turning point occurs in time to ramp up the action one last time for a final assault on the villain’s stronghold.

Throughout the movie, the actors play their roles solidly. Nic Cage goes a little out there with portraying Big Daddy like Adam West did Batman. It kind of works, but it was not given enough time to really work. McLovin was great in his role. Chloe Grace Moretz tore it up as Hit-Girl. As a warning, if you are not a fan of children cussing and using offensive language, this is not your film.

Kick-Ass had enough plot twists to keep you guessing, but not too many to where it became tiresome. It was a nice balance of action and story. As the title suggests, the movie did indeed kick ass. This movie officially opens the summer movie season for me. It is the first of three comic book movies in four weeks. Next week is The Losers. Two weeks later is Marvel’s Iron Man 2.

RATING: 7.5/10

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