In the last decade, the floodgates were opened in the Superhero film genre. Some of them were good (The Incredibles, Hellboy, Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight) and there were plenty bad (Daredevil, Catwoman, Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider). Most of them were the same though, person gets powers, slowly starts fighting crime, big bad villain shows his head, person with powers struggles to continue what they’re doing, big bad villain comes after superhero, big bad villain is defeated, end. Kick-Ass knows how these films work and knows that it has something that those other superhero films didn’t have, Hit-Girl.
Those other films also didn’t have as much fun as this one does. Honestly, I love The Dark Knight and I loved Watchmen, but those movies feel like a chore, even though I absolutely love them both. Kick-Ass is the complete opposite from both of those. It also helps that Kick-Ass isn’t trying to be like The Dark Knight or Watchmen, it knows that it’s just trying to entertain, nothing more and nothing less, and entertain it does.
Dave Lizewski, played fairly well by Aaron Johnson, is the cliche kinda geeky high school student, he’s got his friends, played to hilarity by Clark Duke and Even Peters, but he’s nothing in the eyes of everyone else. Dave wonders why no one has ever tried to be a superhero and after he sees someone just watching while he gets mugged (again) after leaving the comic book store, he decides to take things into his own hands. One day while fighting crime, he actually comes across two guys trying to break into a car, he confronts them, and proceeds to get stabbed…and then hit by a car. Two negatives make a positive and he comes out of the hospital with steel all through his body and severely screwed up nerve endings. Oh and after convincing the paramedics to get rid of his bloody costume and thus being naked after getting mugged, there’s a rumor going around his school that he’s gay…but at least he gets the girl now!
One night while taking a help call, he comes across Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, played by Chloe Moretz and Nicolas Cage, respectively. Like Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Big Daddy are superheroes, albeit more professional ones. This is where one of my few and I mean few problems come into play. Hit-Girl, a 12-year old, and Big Daddy, her father, absolutely steal the show, Hit-Girl is pure badassery and Big Daddy has the interesting story and reason to do what he’s doing. Now as much as I feel this to be a nitpick, I don’t mind it because they really are good characters.
Big Daddy not only has the revenge aspect to his story but he also has Nicolas Cage. I’d dare to say that Nicolas Cage has never been better (or at least on par with Stealing Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas). He does this thing that takes his performance to the next level, when Big Daddy is on screen, he talks like Adam West playing Batman. It seems like it would be an annoyance, however, it’s quite the opposite. I feel like he would have just been a Batman rip-off without the voice. Nicolas Cage is best when going crazy, look at Bad Lieutenant, and this is no exception.
Hit-Girl also, and more so than Big Daddy, steals the show away from the title character. Now right now, you might be asking how can a 12-year old steal the movie? When the first major scene you see her in is her stabbing a man in the back, telling the remaining people in the room a simple statement “Okay you c***s, let’s see what you can do,” and then proceeding to wipe out the whole room, it’s quite simple to steal the movie. She has the greatest setpieces in the film, one of which is one of my favorite scenes from any film (If you’ve seen it, I’ll name a couple of things, Hit-Girl and strobe light), and she has the best lines. Through Chloe, some humanity is brought into the role so that she isn’t just a 12-year old killing machine. When Hit-Girl is taking people down, we cheer and laugh, but whenever Hit-Girl is hurt, we cringe. Is that Chloe’s work as an actress or just because she’s so young? I don’t know but I’m giving the credit to her as she proves that she isn’t gonna fade away like most child actors.
Another thing I have to make mention of is the use of music in this film. Most of the major setpieces in the film are accompanied by music, for example, the first major action scene for Hit-Girl is accompanied by Banana Splits by The Dickies, a punk version of an old 60s cartoon theme song. The film also uses remixed versions of “In The House – In A Heartbeat” and “Adagio in D-Minor” from 28 Days Later and Sunshine, respectively, and both by John Murphy. Both of them are memorable pieces of music and serve their purpose in the film to heighten the emotional impact of both scenes perfectly. Same goes for a scene near the end that has a western feel to it that uses “Per Qualche Dollaro in Più (For A Few Dollars More)”.
Now that I’ve showered praise upon the film, I guess it’s time for my nitpicks. I’ve already made mention of how Hit-Girl and Big Daddy steal the film from Kick-Ass but I haven’t spoken of how things go down with Dave’s (Kick-Ass’) love interest. I didn’t like how in such an unconventional film they went the conventional route but that’s just a minor thing in the big scheme. The pacing slows a tad bit in the 3rd act but that act also holds one of my favorite scenes in a film, so really that nitpick doesn’t exist.
Honestly, the film isn’t perfect but there are more then enough pros to defeat the cons and is an insane amount of fun. Depending on how well Inception and Toy Story 3 hold up by the end of the year and seeing how the rest of 2010’s releases go, this might just end up as my favorite film of 2010.
Cinema Rush Rating: 9.5 out of 10
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