Review: Kick-Ass

Posted March 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 am

As most every movie fan can attest to there are times when high levels of anticipation can lead to eventual disappointment. Having read all the great early buzz for Kick-Ass I entered with the concern that this would be the case here. Those high expectations though turned out to be far exceeded. Kick-Ass is a fantastic blend of a comic book vibe with heavy action and explicit violence,  plenty of laughs, and genuine emotional pull.

Kick-Ass, based on the Mark Miller comic book series, focuses on a teenager who wants to make a difference by becoming a superhero. This is the real world though, he has no training and there are no super powers involved. Aaron Johnson takes on the role of Dave aka “Kick-Ass” who gets into crime fighting. He discovers there are more people out there like him but he is in way over his head.

Nicolas Cage is the biggest name involved in the film and he is terrific as “Big Daddy” both in how he delivers his lines and in his relationship with his daughter “Hit-Girl” played by Chloe Moretz. I really enjoyed her in one of my favorite movies from last year 500 Days of Summer but she is even better here in a much more significant role. Their back story and motivations drive much of the events of the film. Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays “Red Mist” the son of a mob boss and Clark Duke appears in a subdued secondary role as a friend of Dave.

Early on in Kick-Ass I was actually feeling a little concerned. It began in a juvenile-like comedic direction in setting up the character as he decided to become “Kick-Ass”. Had it continued down that road it probably would have been enjoyable but nothing special. However it didn’t take long until it really took off and I was hooked the rest of the way. The movie was able to remain funny while at the same time adding a gravity that captivated the audience.

Much has been made of the extremely violent and very graphic nature of the film. Despite knowing this going in I was actually caught off guard on numerous occasions. Even after the first few instances it kept getting me and based on the crowd reaction it seemed to be the case for everyone. There was often a unique mix of laughter and surprised response at what had actually happened on screen. Throughout there is a very unpredictable nature which is incredibly refreshing. I enjoyed the absence of the usual cliches and in many cases events occured that I immediately noted as things that just don’t happen in other movies. It accomplished a very real feel which fit perfectly with the general theme of the film.

One of the scenes that culminates in an action sequence in the final third of the movie may be my favorite ever. I tried to temper my reaction to it but it was incredible and given my affection for action movies that will tell you the regard in which I’m holding this. The scene was extremely intense, creative,¬†very well directed and edited. There was a great deal of emotion involved given the situation at the time that I was literally on the edge of my seat. The music during the scene fit perfectly and really added to the tense nature of what was happening. The score throughout film really stood out to me as exceptional.

I felt a strong connection to the main character and his desire to do something more with his life. Who hasn’t wanted to be a hero in some form or fashion? This emotional attachment to not just the characters but their plights was totally unexpected. In addition to that there was the distinct realization that these were all vulnerable people and that anything could happen at any time. The movie was actually really powerful and had that emotional edge that I had no idea would be present.

Rarely would I push anyone to see a movie but with Kick-Ass I will actively campaign for it. Go see it. It is gruesome, action packed, funny and powerful. I waited to write this review thinking I would come down off the high I exited the theater with. However my feeling on the movie has only solidified and I now count it amongst my favorites of all time.

Rating: ★★★★★

Kick-Ass is rated R and slated for release on April 16th. Click here to return to the Entertainment website or join the discussion in the forum.