Must-See Movie Review: 'Kick-Ass' (2010)

Wickedly humorous, brutally endearing and charmingly quaint, these are the characteristics that made up ‘Kick-Ass’, 2010’s best, graphic novel based film. ‘Kick-Ass’ isn’t your typical superhero movie, which might explain some of the reasons for its lack of box office performance when it came out.

Lacking any formulaic, run-of-the-mill plotlines, the surreal and often over-the-top antics of the film are equally balanced with the ordinary, and banal details of a young person’s life. It is for those reasons that ‘Kick-Ass’ feels authentic, genuine and to an extent possible.

Who out there hasn’t thought about themselves or another average Joe (or Jane) putting on a spandex suit, sans superpowers, heading out do good for others? Quite a while before this movie came out; I’ll never forget someone calling into the local radio station to report a guy wearing a superhero costume in a dark ally, saving him from someone.

I can’t be sure if that guy was telling the truth that night but the thought of what he said being legitimate sent my mind racing and excited by the possibility. Upon seeing ‘Kick-Ass’, the bizarre images that had been conjured by that guy were seemingly realized although with much snappier dialogue and heavily laden profanities.

It is true; that this movie is not for the faint of heart or easily offended. It is intense, subversive and profane. The movie plays like a hyper-realized version of reality. Through which, Matthew Vaughn captures a certain earnestness that makes its characters compelling, sympathetic and relatable. The geek that is protagonist Dave, on paper, appears like all other superhero denizens.

However, as played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, he brings something kinder and more genuine to previous nerd incarnations. He gives a fantastic turn as he portrays Dave with a sweet naiveté that sidesteps the trappings of seeming dumb.

He instead uses it to propel the average guy momentum necessary to make Dave feel tangible. Having seen him in a lot of roles since, it is clear that he has a lot of range and is definitely an actor to watch.

Chloe Grace Moretz got most of the limelight when it came out and she was great as the profanity soaked Hit-Girl but the true star of the movie remains Taylor-Johnson. It is highly impressive to see Moretz go toe-to-toe with Nicolas Cage, who plays every aspect of his character to the hilt as Hit-Girl’s father, Big Daddy. Easily, his best role in years, Cage is able to bring his quirky and eccentric persona to a role that he has been dying to play for ages, a superhero.

Another scene stealer of the movie is mischievous Christopher Mintz-Plasse (‘Role Models’) as Chris D’Amico. He brings the laughs as the nerd dying for his father’s approval. Mark Strong is scary intimidating as the big bad, Frank. It is a marvelous group of actors and a casting coup.

‘Kick-Ass’, in a lot of ways, is the movie of a generation. Providing a stark commentary on a generation that is so busy sitting on YouTube waiting for someone to entertain them, or a man in a suit to come save them. 

The absurdity the movie captures, wreaks of an embarrassing truth. It is also an indictment of the kids who have seen this movie and walk away feeling no conviction from what they’ve seen because the movie to them is just that, a movie, a fantasy.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is the closest a movie has come to capturing what’s really going on in the current youth culture. What they choose to do with the knowledge remains to be seen. Rating: 8.9/10

Want to read how the sequel fared?