Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.
There has been a lot of controversy brewing over Kick-Ass, but this is absolutely no surprise. Like so many envelope-pushers before it, the things that make it great are invariably the things that many an average Joe can’t swallow. Whether or not you’ll come out of it glowing or disgusted is going to be a matter of your personal moral code, but I can firmly say this: The film is incredible in a way that transcends good filmmaking and makes it innovative and important.
If the critical reviews are anything to go by, Kick-Ass is firmly polarizing—You love it or you hate it. Roger Ebert in particular called it “morally reprehensible” and went on to conduct one of his infamous rants about how the film is doomed to corrupt the young and unsuspecting home video market. While I normally hold Ebert in the highest regard, I take serious issue with the idea that as a viewer I need my decisions made for me in any way. There is no halfway with censorship. I have the critical thinking skills and moral fortitude to discern fantasy from reality. If you want to be concerned with the influence upon children, you should worry less about the movie’s existence and more about the shitty parenting that would allow them to see it without guidance.
Kick-Ass is about comic book superheros but it is NOT a movie for kids. One does not automatically equate with the other.
On the surface, the film is extremely violent almost to the point of excess. Going in, you should understand that a lot of that violence involves an 11 year-old girl, who also has a mouth that could make a sailor blush. Kick-Ass is pure satire, a wry send-up of a genre that it both loves and understands. Violence is inherent, taken for granted on the pages of comics, and here it is: Both awesome and grotesque. And yes, much of the violence is wrought or inflicted upon Hit-Girl, but in the process she single-handedly takes every preconceived notion we’ve got about gender roles and obliterates them. It’s really something to see.
The film has a relentless and utterly unapologetic sense of humor as it dissects cultural mores and tropes. It is as laugh-out-loud hilarious as it is shocking, and utterly engrossing the entire way through. If you can get past the aforementioned violence, you will be entertained from beginning to end, I guarantee it.