Kick-Ass is an irreverent pulp-style movie you’ll either get extremely offended by or like… a lot. It’s in-your-face, non-pc, and ultra-violent. So basically, if that’s not your bag, stay well clear. The film was independently produced by Matthew Vaughn alongside Mark Millar’s creator-owned comic book, so there is bags of creator input and cross-over with zero interference or censorship.
Unfortunately in some countries Kick-Ass was rated PG-13 and promoted in trailers as a light-hearted teen flick. This is outrageously misleading and I don’t know who in their right minds would classify it as anything less than an 18. We’re talking graphic violence and something like 250 hardcore profanities. It’s adult content; kids should not see it. Period.
“What if Superheroes were real?” is the premise that starts the whole thing off: Dave Lizewski, your average, rather pathetic fan-boy, fantasises about being a Superhero, but “like every serial killer already knows, eventually fantasizing just doesn’t do it any more.” So he pimps out a wet-suit and naively goes out to confront hardened criminals figuring ‘it works in comic books.’ Yeah… Thus occurs (literally) a collision between fantasy and reality, the formula for the whole film.
We know the Superhero clichés and Kick-Ass panders to them, then throws in some hard-hitting doses of reality. It’s this mix that makes it a fresh, funny yet sobering experience. It subverts the Superhero genre and you’re not quite sure what rule-set is being played. This perspective gives it the power to comment both on the medium and society.
There’s comic-book references and easter-eggs galore for fan-boys and fan-girls alike, so keep your eyes peeled. Nichols Cage as Big Daddy does an impression of Adam West’s Batman, whilst Aaron Johnson does a passable Tobey Maguire (Spiderman). One of the fight scenes is straight from ‘The Matrix’ whilst another apes the style of a first-person shooter (probably DOOM).
But there is little doubt that the controversial Hit Girl steals the show. She’s simply an adorable, foul-mouthed killing-machine (and far more interesting than the title character)!
One of the films major criticisms is that it is nothing but gratuitous, consequenceless violence. Whilst I agree there is a lot of violence that may have blinded some to the rest of its charms. There is more depth than may be evident upon first glance, actions do have consequences, and the humour is a cushion to cope with a difficult reality.