Simply put, 2010’s Kick-Ass is not for children. You may think that because it stars kids and it’s a superhero movie that it’s appropriate for Family Movie Night, but trust me, it’s not. This film, while enjoyable, is closer to the ultraviolence of A Clockwork Orange than the comic book violence of any Marvel movie.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what’s great about Kick-Ass is that it seems pretty close to reality in that if a real teenager put his mind up to becoming a superhero one day (in this case, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Dave Lizewski/”Kick-Ass”), he wouldn’t take into consideration the fact that, oh yeah, maybe I’ll get shot or stabbed or end up in some other perilous, over-my-head situation of which I will have a hard time getting out (and count my lucky stars when I do).
However, if you’re raised by a psycho ex-cop with a vengeance (Nicolas Cage), then you may turn out to be the whip-smart and trigger-happy Mindy Macready, a.k.a. Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace-Moretz), who was essentially programmed to seek revenge on those that her father, Damon Macready (also known as “Big Daddy”) believes are responsible for her mother’s/his wife’s death.
Hit-Girl’s acrobatics will have you gripping your lower back and longing for your younger days. She may be tiny, but we’d take Hit-Girl as our back-up over Kick-Ass any day of the week. She’s fast, she’s feisty, and she’s simply too good with anything you put in her hand, be it a gun, a knife, or what have you.
Cage, as usual, is his over-the-top self, particularly in one scene (you’ll know it when you see it) which, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t call cut and have him re-shoot it. The scream, while maybe necessary, could have been emitted with a fraction of the ridiculousness. It makes you crack up when you probably shouldn’t.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Chris D’Amico, the son of Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), the head of a crime syndicate. When Kick-Ass gets in the way of D’Amico’s affairs, his son volunteers to dress up as a superhero and earn Kick-Ass’ trust so that he can bring him back to his father. D’Amico subsequently becomes “Red Mist” with a dope-ass ride, and there’s just something about Mintz-Plasse that makes every role he plays an enjoyable romp, even when he’s technically the bad guy (or at least part of the problem).
Keep an eye out for American Horror Story/X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Evan Peters, who plays Todd, one of Lizewski’s best friends. He’s so young and fresh-faced, and while his role here is pretty much unmemorable, it’s a kick in the pants to see him before he made it really big.
There’s just something about Kick-Ass that’s lacking in terms of a superhero film - probably because its characters are intentionally un-superhero-ey. But they do get bonus points for making a reference to the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World series, and it certainly holds its own more as a graphic novel adaptation (original work by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.), rather than as a big-budget summer blockbuster.