Tuesday, April 20, 2010

POPped Review: Kick-Ass

*Spoiler Alert*

"With no power, comes no responsibility."  That is just one of the lines from Kick-Ass that takes the comic genre and amps it up a notch.  Kick-Ass is directed by Matthew Vaughn, who is also one of the screenwriters.  What Matthew has done here is brought to life an average teenager and placed him in extraordinary circumstances.  That then turns this movie in to one hell of a ride.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a kid who is ignored and bullied at school, and outside of it as well.  He and his buddies (played by Clark Duke and Evan Peters) talk about girls, chat online, read comics and ponder the "what if's," of life.  It's during one of these pondering sessions that Dave wonders why no one has ever tried to be a superhero in real life.  It's this questioning that sets everything in motion.  After an internet purchase, Dave begins wandering the streets as Kick-Ass.

After an internet video goes viral of him beating off some attackers, Kick-Ass becomes a phenomenon.  This catches the eye of Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage in one of his best performances in years) and his daughter.. eleven year old Hit Girl (we'll talk more about Chloe Moretz later).  They are on a mission to end the reign of the crime lord Frank D'Amico.  They do this by leaving a long trail of dead bodies that are D'Amico's men.  It is during the explanation of their reason's for going after him that the movie uses some great comic illustrations.

After becoming a sensation, Kick-Ass is mistaken by D'Amico as the one who is ruining his business and killing off his men.  And when I say killing them off...holy hell!  Let's just say that Hit Girl is aptly named.  (Again..MAJOR spoiler coming up..)  In order to try and catch Kick-Ass, D'Amico's son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) disguises himself as superhero Red Mist to gain his trust.  This leads to the final show down between D'Amico, Big Daddy, Hit Girl, Kick-Ass, Red Mist and all of D'Amico's guards.

Kick-Ass is one of the best comic book movies since Iron Man.  Matthew Vaughn uses his understanding of comics to craft a movie that not only resembles a comic book, but is faithful without going over the top.  Not only do we believe the world, but we can sympathize with Dave's character.  After seeing crime, and experiencing it on a daily basis, he's had enough.  What it comes down to is all he wants to do is help and make a difference.  (He also want's a girlfriend.)  We go with him on this journey and cheer him all the way.

*End of spoilers*

So let's get to the content which has sparked a lot of talk, and some controversy.  Kick-Ass is rated R for a reason.  This movie is incredibly bloody and has a lot of bad language.  While any action movie wouldn't raise very many eyebrows at that, it's the character causing most of this damage that certain movie critics have a problem with, so let us talk about Hit Girl.  Her character is responsible for the best action scenes that are completely enveloped in violence.  She is an expert shot and can do things with a butterfly knife that most members of the mob can't.  Not only that, but this girl can cuss up a storm too.  While the movie is named Kick-Ass, Hit Girl steals this movie.  She is one of the best action hero's we've seen since John McClane in the original Die Hard.  While the joke is that she is only eleven years old, the director treats her character no different than any other superhero.  She can fight like a ninja, kill as efficiently and take a bullet to the chest like seasoned pro.  Chloe Moretz plays this character beautifully.  As Hit Girl she knows no age, but as eleven year old Mindy we also see the kid in her come out through some very difficult things she has to endure emotionally.  We get a glimpse at this when her and Big Daddy's story is explained.  It's in this explanation that we find out why she has been turned in to this killing machine, and it's explained very well.  She's not just there for shock, or to take up space.  She has been turned in to this person there's a reason.  (Permission to speak freely here...) Lionsgate better already be working on their Oscar campaign to have her nominated as Best Supporting Actress.

The one critic who has gained the most attention in their criticizing of this movie is Roger Ebert.  In his review he said that this movie was, "morally reprehensible."  I would like to send this open letter to Mr. Ebert:

Dear Mr. Ebert,
While I understand the shock value of seeing an eleven year old named Hit Girl expertly killing people, you should remember that it is a movie.  It's you prerogative to not like the movie and your job to tell people whether or not you liked it.  But the moment you bring morals in to a review, you are no longer a film reviewer.  You are an activist.  It wasn't that long ago in pop culture history that people said the same thing about rock music.  Maybe if this was a documentary we could get angry and rise up against her dad, but it's not.  It's a movie.  You remember those, right?  They are what you used to enjoy every now and then.

I cannot recommend this movie enough.  With a killer soundtrack, a great story and fantastic performances (even by Nicholos Cage), Kick-Ass is a must see.

What say you?  Have you seen it?  Did the movie offend you?  Leave a comment and let us know if this movie has ushered in the end of all that is good in the world.

Review POPped by Jungle Jesse 


  1. You are right on with Ebert. Does anyone even pay attention to his reviews any more? Even on his old TV show he came across as smug and that everything was beneath him. I loved Kick Ass and I plan on seeing it again and again.

  2. I saw it a couple of weeks ago at Wonder Con and it was awesome! Great review!