Matthew Vaughn does a superb job directing the hilarious action-packed adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book, “Kick-Ass” (2010). The film is narrated by Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) as he recounts how he went from being a high school loner to becoming the costumed superhero, Kick-Ass.
Tired of being mugged by high school thugs and standing by as innocent people are robbed, assaulted, and murdered, David wonders, “How come nobody ever tried to be a superhero?” Dave soon learns the hard way that trying to intimidate thieves while wearing a ridiculous green wetsuit/superhero costume only results in laughter followed by a life threatening trip to the hospital. Despite his discouraging first attempt at becoming a superhero, once back on his feet David returns to his crime fighting mission. Except now he has damaged nerve endings and steel bone reinforcements, thus minimizing his ability to feel pain. Kick-Ass quickly catapults himself to stardom as his heroic antics are captured on a cell phone camera and posted on the internet and televised.
This video attracts the attention of father-daughter vigilante team Big Daddy and Hit Girl (Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz) and arouses the enmity of crime lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), whose son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) sees as an opportunity to learn his father’s business while dabbling in the superhero game himself.
Matthew Vaughn takes on the project with a Quentin Tarantino style of directing. The scenes are ultraviolent and the superheroes are not without their faults, thereby blurring the line between good and evil. Big Daddy is an ex-cop-turned-ex-con. Once released from prison he gained custody of his five year old daughter and trains her to be proficient in all forms of weaponry and combat in order to kill and rob drug dealers and gangsters. He is obsessed with taking down Frank D’Amico, the man that framed him for dealing drugs, and is putting his daughter’s life in jeopardy in order to get to Frank. The now eleven year old Hit Girl, robbed of her childhood, has a very foul vocabulary and takes pleasure in playing with weapons and killing people. Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz deliver spectacular performances in their roles as these two unique and disturbed individuals while still able to portray themselves as the good guys.
Although, unlike any other superhero movie, “Kick-Ass” contains lots of references to other films, particularly other superhero films like Spiderman and Batman. “Kick-Ass” pays tribute to the Spiderman franchise with the scene of David attempting to jump from one building to the next and with the line, “With no powers comes no responsibility.” Likewise, in the closing scene Red Mist’s statement, “Like a great man once said, wait till they get a load of me” is a reference to the Joker in Batman.
This last scene is not only paying homage to the batman franchise, but it is also indicative of a sequel. Matthew Vaughn will return to direct “Kick-Ass 2” expected to be released in 2012. In this movie Kick-Ass and Hit Girl team up to take on Red Mist and his team of supervillains. “Kick-Ass” is a remarkable action/comedy superhero movie and I have high hopes for the sequel.