Movie Review: Kick-Ass

What would happen if a geeky, ordinary high school guy with no powers whatsoever decided to become a superhero?

That’s the question that the movie Kick-Ass attempts to answer, and although I enjoyed the movie and its fun premise, I’m not sure it was entirely successful in utilizing its premise.

It almost seemed to want to be two movies, one about the geeky guy’s quest for superherodom, and one about the quest for revenge of two of the supporting characters, Hit Girl (pictured at left), a profane, adorable, killing machine of a little girl, and her father, Big Daddy, a gentle, loving and vaguely insane mentor figure (played perfectly by Nicolas Cage).

Unfortunately, one of these films is far more interesting than the other, and surprise, it’s not the one you would think. The Kill Bill-esque revenge fantasy featuring Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy was much more interesting than the alleged main plotline about Dave Lizewski journey toward becoming Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson), even though Johnson did a creditable job with the part. And it’s not as if the Kick-Ass premise is faulty, or that the writing was bad, either.

It’s just that watching Moretz and Cage interact in their twisted, but loving father-daughter relationship is fun. And everytime the movie leaves Moretz and cuts back to Kick-Ass, it leaves you feeling ever so slightly bereft. Moretz, in her ultraviolent, ultra-foul-mouthed role as a child trained to do murder efficiently and without a second thought, lights up the screen.

She probably shouldn’t. It should probably be repellent when a kid runs through thugs with a sword like a cuisinart. Heaven knows it would be horrific in real life. But Moretz steals every scene she’s in, except when she’s working with her screen father, Cage. Their chemistry is great, and their scenes are tiny gems strewn throughout the otherwise rather ordinary film.

Don’t get me wrong. The parts with Kick-Ass aren’t bad. They’re pretty okay, actually, poking fun at the Spider-Man and other superhero movies of the last few years while following many of their conventions, often mockingly. But they’re only okay.

And one more thing: this movie is really very violent. I don’t mind stabbings, shootings, that sort of thing. I really don’t. But I really don’t like to see people blowing up onscreen at close range. That’s just gross, and also, unnecessary. So if you go, be warned: this is a violent movie.

There’s also plenty of cursing (possibly a bit more than average for an R-rated movie? or did it just seem that way because it was done by a child?) and some sex.

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