I used to be ashamed to like things like sci-fi movies and comic books and fantasy novels. But geek is chic in 2010, and I’m so glad.
Last night I went to the late opening of KICK-ASS. Most people who’ve heard of it don’t really know much about it. It’s part satire, part comedy, part drama, and all awesome. It’s the story of a world where a normal kid named Dave buys a wet suit, tries to be a superhero, and gets his ass kicked. The world is populated by other heroes. Big Daddy and Hit Girl being two.
I read some of the comics and fell in love. Like Kill Bill, Kick-Ass doesn’t take its own violence seriously. Hit Girl is an eleven-year-old girl who uses language so foul my mom would walk out. Big Daddy spends her childhood teaching her how to take a bullet to the chest and giving her knives and guns for her birthday. There’s a brilliant scene in which Hit Girl takes out an entire room of bad guys that plays like a video game. That scene sums up what the writer is trying to say about violence. It’s not real. The blood, the death, it’s nothing kids haven’t seen in “serious” hero movies or in video games.
Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass gives us a hero we can relate to. His is a positive message that says: if normal people stick their noses where they don’t belong, they’re likely to get killed, but sometimes you have to step up and be extraordinary. Yeah, we’re all laughing at his antics because as kids, most of us played at being a superhero at least once. But Kick-Ass takes it a step further.
But the real stars are Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl and (and I shudder to say this) Nicholas Cage as Big Daddy. I would go so far to say that this was Cage’s best performance ever. As a loving father who turns his girl into a crime-fighting sociopath, he was brilliant. Chloe Moretz is going to be a star. And it’s really the relationship between Hit Girl and Big Daddy that becomes the core of the movie.
Now, there’s a lot of controversy about the language and the violence–and I’m not saying that there isn’t a TON of both–but it’s meant to shock. It’s not gratuitous in the way a horror movie is. It’s there to make a point. Sitting in the row in front of me last night was a guy who looked to be about 15. He was there with his mother. I wanted to high-five that woman. Especially when I heard her laughing at all the right parts.
Did I actually review this movie? I’m not sure, I’m at work and exhausted. The movie rocked. It fell short in the same way that most super-hero origin story movies do. Too much background, not enough bad guy. But if there’s a number two, I’ll be there on opening night again.