REVIEW: ‘Kick-Ass’

Director:
Matthew Vaughn
Cast:
Aaron Johnson
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Chloe Moretz
Nicolas Cage
Rated: R

Bar none, “Kick-Ass” is one of the best comic-book films ever made.

The film tells the story of Dave Lizewski (Johnson), a high school student and avid comic book reader who eventually decides to become a superhero himself. After some stumbles along the way, Dave establishes himself with a suit and the name Kick-Ass and ends up becoming an internet sensation.

Initially, Dave enjoys the newfound fame, but trouble shows up, too. By being a superhero, Dave get the attention of the mafia as well as a father-daughter vigilante duo who go by Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit Girl (Moretz). This all leads to Dave feeling in over his head.

The story arc featured in “Kick-Ass” is told extraordinarily well, developing all of the characters in a way that perfectly builds into the movie’s final act.

As the movie’s story is told, multiple themes are also brought in and explored, making for something deeper than just an average action-comedy. For example, the movie satirizes comic-book tropes while also paying homage to them and also delves into the aspect of people turning the other way in times of trouble instead of helping. These subjects make the film a much more enjoyable experience.

That’s not to say the action and comedy aspects are lacking, either, as they are really on point. The writing for the humor, for example, is smart, topical and ranges from high school awkwardness to meta jokes about superheroes.

The action, meanwhile, has a ton of variety, which help keep things fresh. The picture features the more over the top, brawling type fighting Dave does along with the more expert martial arts from characters like Hit Girl, making for a great balance.

In terms of characters, Dave makes for a great protagonist, being a fairly average high school geek who happens to also want to legitimately help people. This make the character both relatable and likable, since an audience can respect his reasoning for trying to be a hero.

Dave also has a fantastic character arc, too. Over the course of the movie, he transitions from a naive kid who wants to help people but comes off as a guy in dress up to actually being a true hero who has some bravery. His evolution is one of the most compelling parts of the film. All of the praise for Dave’s character has to of course be credited largely to Johnson who nailed the role.

Moving on to the side characters, they were fantastic as well. Big Daddy, for example, provides for Cage’s best performance in years. The guy manages balancing a vengeful vigilante while also being a caring father. The other veteran performer, Mark Strong, also delivered a fantastic performance as the skeptical, cynical mob boss.

A pleasant surprise was seeing Mintz-Plasse, who was able to bring both his more well known comedic persona while also lending some dramatic acting to the mix, too.

Of course the most charismatic performance of the film came from Moretz, though. Her character could have either just been an over the top violence lover or a cold hearted killer. However, despite being a vigilante in every sense, the movie and Moretz’s performance actually manages to humanize the character. This manages to make the character both a fighting machine while also being another engaging factor to the overall story.

Few movies get it as right as “Kick-Ass” got it. Thanks to brilliant direction from Matthew Vaughn, memorable characters, strong acting, clever writing and amazing action, “Kick-Ass” easily pulls off a 5 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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