By: Marielle (Two Beers) –
Based on a comic book of the same name, Kick Ass is the story of a young guy, Dave Lizewski, who wonders why no one has tried to be a real superhero–so he becomes one himself. In a predictably disastrous first attempt at heroism, he emerges from the hospital with screwed up nerve endings and several metal plates, rendering him able to take ample beatings and fight back. After becoming famous on the internet as Kick Ass, he meets Hit Girl and Big Daddy, two extraordinarily skilled vigilantes and a father-daughter duo. Intersecting circumstances cause them all to face Frank D’Amico’s gang and hired goons, as well as his son, an about-to-be homemade superhero of his own, Red Mist. Kick Ass soon learns why regular people don’t try to be superheroes.
To a movie that takes the superhero genre and makes it feel simultaneously real and fantastic. New York is the perfect, gritty ground level for the conflict to build upon. Dave and his friends feel authentic, and his relationship with his father isn’t too melodramatic nor particularly emphasized to pull any obvious, cheesy strings (mmm… cheesestrings.) To contrast, we have Big Daddy and Hit Girl with their unique dynamic of loving father-daughter running parallel to strict teacher-student (which is born from the love. If your teacher loves you this much, please tell someone. Unless he or she is a fox, then let it ride!)
Hit Girl is the highlight of the movie. Her action sequences are not only the best of the film’s, but the best I’ve seen in recent years. Her young age makes her crassness and incredible combat skills all the more delicious. She’s an iconic female superhero because she’s not old enough to be merely sexualized and popping out of a skanky costume and heels; consequently, the writers can’t pull the tired move of making her cool because she likes the things boys like!…while wearing a skanky costume and heels… and always needing to be saved. They’re always into video games (not Wii Fit) and scrapping (not scrapbooking) until they need you to save their troubled vaginas. Mindy/Hit Girl’s a bit of a puppet in the sense that she was raised and programmed to be a vigilante (so, a robot puppet) but her strong will still bursts through the seams.
Nic Cage, who never seems to stretch beyond two type of characters: mild mannered and spacey, or slightly rebellious and spacey, is perfect for the role of Big Daddy. He reportedly plays the character like Adam West. Do I need to go on?
Kick Ass himself is a bit lacking. I don’t mind that he’s kind of a ‘lame duck’ (to use the script’s phrase) because it suits the authentic vibe they have going. And I have no problem with the actor being a Zac Efron type who they nerded up with some glasses and poofy hair (why can’t pretty boys be socially awkward, too?)
He’s just a bit boring for a feature length viewing. His lameness doesn’t translate to jokes as much as I had hoped. And it isn’t just him. Chris/Red Mist is basically McLovin’ again. Don’t pull a Jon Heder. Even Jon Heder doesn’t recommend it. I don’t want to be too harsh, because both characters are great for the purposes of the story.
Wherever the movie may lack, it is well made up for in action and a fresh perspective vs. the blandness of many of Marvel’s comic adaptations. It also pulls at the heartstrings–I’ll admit I had tears in my eyes at one point. Then again, I’m one of those chicks who needs someone to save my vagina.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time Hit Girl owns a bitch
Take a drink: every time Kick Ass fails an attempt at something
Take a shot: whenever Big Daddy dork-chortles