Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

May 21, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass (2010)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Stars: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage and Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Buy the Kick-Ass Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo

When I first saw the trailer for Kick-Ass, I was amped up and ready to go. I was ready for a funny and even cute little action flick. I never would have expected to connect with a movie on so many levels. Yeah, connect. It's not often that I get this kind of pleasant surprise. I remember watching Click, the Adam Sandler film about the magical remote control, and realizing that even though it was marketed as a goofy comedy, it was really a lesson in missing out on the little things. Kick-Ass isn't just a comic book movie. It's a story about a nerd standing up for himself, a single dad and his daughter, and a kid who will do anything for his father's approval. This is real life in a very cool package.

Alright, before we go any further, I'm going to have to throw out the spoiler warning. That should be expected of almost any review at this point, but it's definitely needed here. I'll try to keep things as vague as possible for those who don't know the story, but no promises. First off, I want to talk about Dave Lizewski. He's your typical semi-nerd average kid. He has friends, but he's not popular. He gets pushed around and bullied regularly, and the girl he likes won't look at him twice. He's a comic book fan who has a common thought. Why hasn't anyone ever tried to be a superhero? I'll admit, I've wondered that often. With all of the movies, comic books and other media glorifying the profession, it really is surprising that nobody has ever given it a shot. After being mugged for what he swears will be the last time, Lizewski figures if nobody else will fill the role, maybe it should be him. One scuba suit and a MySpace page later, Kick-Ass is born.

I expect most of the comic-loving audience to identify with Dave. He's awkward around girls. He's frustrated. He needs to stand up for himself. I've been there. Many of us have. What really grabbed me is Dave's turnaround. I've also been there. Confidence is a tough thing to gain. It can take time, or it can happen all at once. It depends on you and your moments. For Kick-Ass, it didn't come right away. As I watched his first attempt at fighting crime, I was excited, and I was rooting for a hero to emerge. It didn't happen. In fact, he almost died trying. This scene sells the movie for me. In real life, Dave would get his ass kicked. He would end up in the hospital beaten and bloody. He'd more likely fail than succeed. The best part is that he gets up and keeps going. His second try leaves him a little battered, but it's a success and a turning point for him and for another unlikely duo.

Our first encounter with Damon and Mindy Macready shows the father and daughter in an open field standing a good twenty paces apart. This is when dad lifts a pistol and shoots his little girl in the chest. Thankfully, her bullet proof vest does the job. I immediately smiled at this scene. This isn't about child abuse. This is a dad protecting his daughter from the world around her. He is making her smarter and tougher. He loves her more than anyone could know. They make a life together sharing a common interest; revenge for the death of Mindy's mom. After being inspired by a viral video of Kick-Ass in action, the pair decides to join the hero ranks as Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Though my own daughter is less than two years old, I could put us in the Macreadys' shoes. The relationship is so close and so unbreakable that I'm not embarrassed to say that there was a moment or two that made me tear up.

Then we come to Chris D'Amico aka Red Mist. This is the school's rich kid. He's so rich that he even travels with a bodyguard. There's more to this than we're initially told. Chris' dad is none other than notorious crime boss Frank D'Amico. I'm sure you can easily figure out how Frank connects to our three heroes, but Chris is a different story. His is the story of a kid doing anything he can to get his father's approval, even if it's the wrong thing to do. Seeking parental approval is something we all try to do at one point or another. My daughter does it. Grown men do it. Even people whose parents are long dead do it on some level. It makes you feel for Chris even when you know he crosses a line.

There is so much for the viewer to absorb, but it all flows together beautifully. I remember the first words I said after leaving the theater were,"Hey, Nick Cage didn't screw that up!" That's not something you can usually offer. The fact that this movie brought believable characters and real emotion to high powered action and adventure makes this the best comic book movie I have ever seen. This is a must watch and I'll definitely be back in theaters again before Kick-Ass finishes its run.

No comments:

Post a Comment