Movie Review: Kick Ass (2010)

I predict a lot of people heading to the theaters to see this little gem known as Kick Ass, not knowing exactly what they are in for. Based off the tv spots and green band trailer they will not expect a 12 year old cussing like a sailor, or the over the top violence she inflicts on her victims. It is the fact that most are unaware of these aspects that could leave people cold and stunned to the experience, which is sad because had they been more aware they might have reveled in the bloodshed that’s mixed brilliantly with action and humor. They could have left the theater having witnessed one of their favorite movies of the year.

Kick Ass is the story and superhero character of Dave (Aaron Johnson), who is an unnoticed high school kid who wonders why no one has ever tried to be a superhero. Despite his friends dismissive remarks Dave orders a green and yellow wet suit and gives it a go, with disastrous results. Dave refuses to give up and after a fight with a group of thugs that’s recorded on a cell phone camera, he becomes an internet phenomenon, complete with merchandising and his own comic book.

With Kick Ass’ fame comes a mix up that puts him in the cross hairs of Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), who is in the cross hairs of the more effective father and daughter team of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz), who have a personal vendetta with the D’Amico crime syndicate.

I won’t give anything else away as part of the magic in watching Kick Ass is how satisfying it is to watch the story unfold. My initial complaint was the time it took for the story to build, but realized that without the initial character development, and later the growth of characters, the later scenes wouldn’t have had the maximum impact.

Hiding behind the graphic bloodshed and genre mocking humor is a great amount of heart that sneaks in later on in the film. Many times leaving me conflicted to how you should actually react to the violence you’ve just seen or are about to see. It’s the uncertainty that left me first thinking I didn’t love the film as much as I wanted to, then after reflecting back I realized that aspect actually made me grow to love the film.

I believe the tv spots and green band trailer are quite misleading, which to those not realizing what the film is maybe be very turned off to the film. I have not read the source material and I believe that the misleading trailer actually helped me enjoy some of the characters more. Specifically, while trying to avoid spoilers, the portrayal if certain characters in the trailer is vastly different to what actually happens in the film, which I found as a pleasant surprise and much more enjoyable.

The performances are very good and work perfectly with the film, but are far from being Oscar material. Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl easily steals the show. Nicolas Cage turns in a gleefully over the top and cheesy performance as Hit Girl’s father and crime fighting counterpart Big Daddy.

The movie is full of very thrilling action sequences and a very high sense of tension in a couple of different scenes. For many reasons the action packed and tense scenes are a big draw to the film for how well they are done. The film is also full of some very funny nods to comics and movies of the superhero genre, including a very well placed Batman line that Nicholson would be proud of.

Overall, Kick Ass is an uber violent entry to the hero genre that’s chock full of amazing action sequences and laugh out loud moments. The action, level of characterization and story telling make for an unforgettable movie going experience that quite simply kicks ass.

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