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Review

Reviewers divided about characters in newest superhero film

Michael Brun

April 23, 2010

Although “Kick-Ass” certainly lives up to its title, i think that it was named after the wrong character. The real star of the film is 13-year-old Chloe Moretz as the pint-sized assassin Hit-Girl. Forget Pretty Pretty Princess; all this diminutive dynamo wants for her birthday is a pair of imported butterfly knives. She swears constantly, kills without mercy and delivers gut-busting comedy with the timing of an old pro. “Kick-Ass” is consistently entertaining, but it truly shines when Hit-Girl is on the screen.

Based on the comic book by Mark Millar, “Kick-Ass” follows average high school student dave lizewski (Aaron Johnson). While sitting around with his nerdy friends, dave ponders why no one has ever tried to become a superhero. With nothing better to do with his life, he sets out to do just that. Donning a turquoise scuba suit and calling himself Kick-Ass, he hits the streets to, well, kick some ass.

Dave’s first attempts at being a hero end with him getting thoroughly thrashed, but news of his exploits soon reaches Damon and Mindy Macready, a father/daughter vigilante team dedicated to bringing down the mob. inspired by Kick-Ass’ costumed antics, the duo get their own ridiculous outfits and begin knocking off criminals.

“Kick-Ass” is comparable to such adult-oriented comic book adaptations as “Sin City” and “Watchmen.” it’s funny, stylish and incredibly violent. The gore is disturbingly graphic, but what’s even more disturbing is that the bulk of it is committed by a preteen girl. in one of the more over-the-top scenes, Hit-Girl spins around a room with a double-bladed sword, slicing off limbs with wanton abandon. As i sat there watching this unfold, i almost couldn’t believe that they got away with showing it. But by the time she flattens a mobster in a car crusher, I was having too much fun to care.

Clearly “Kick-Ass” is a violent film, but the bloodshed is mostly of the cartoonish variety. The overall tone of the film is very lighthearted, with narration by Aaron Johnson that had me cracking up from the get-go. The film also features Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who should just change his name to Mclovin already) as a mob boss’ pampered son. He basically plays his same character from “Superbad,” but I still can’t help but laugh at him.

director Matthew Vaughn doesn’t have too many films under his belt, but if “Kick-Ass” in any indication of his talent as an action director, I’d say we can expect great things from him in the future. There are too many awe-inspiring action sequences to describe them all here, but the one that stood out to me as the most memorable featured Nicolas Cage dressed like Batman shooting up a warehouse full of goons to that Godspeed You! Black Emperor song from “28 days later.” Very cool stuff.

My biggest gripe with the film is how quickly it abandons its initial premise. What starts out as a what-if story about a normal kid trying to do the right thing soon turns into just another superhero movie when Hit-Girl and her Big daddy show up. The movie feels torn between Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass, and unfortunately, most of the screen time goes to the less interesting Kick-Ass. The ending sets it up for a sequel, but what we really need is a Hit-Girl spin-off.

If you’re a fan of comic books and superheroes, then “Kick-Ass” is a no-brainer. Even if you’re sick of these movies, it pokes enough fun at genre conventions to feel witty and fresh. it’s overly silly, frequently offensive and the ending is the hokiest that i’ve seen since “RoboCop 3,” but it’s definitely worth checking out.

Michael Brun is an alumnus of UW-River Falls.