SXSW Film: Kick’s-Ass

At some point in our lives we all want to be a super hero, the same goes for Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson). He spends his days at Atomic Comics with friends contemplating the future and what it might be like to be a super hero, or at home on the computer having fun with himself and what ever random images stimulate him, all while just existing at school and elsewhere. One day, he decides to take a leap and order a costume and see what it’s really is like to at least look like a super hero.

When he receives the package in the mail, it is every boy’s dream to don a mask and fighting sticks and practice his tough guy routine in the mirror of his bedroom, Taxi Driver style. After doing what every teenage boy would do in this costume: pose, fight the mirror, take cool pics and start a Myspace page for yourself as Kick-Ass, he decides to take it out to the streets.

While strolling the streets one day with his hero suit on under his clothes, he spots a crime happening, he first hides, then realizing he is now a super hero, decides that imagining just isn’t enough anymore and pulls off the street clothes to face them. It doesn’t exactly go well, and he gets stabbed, which then leads to getting hit by a car and ends up in the hospital. After the hospital stay, he thinks he’s done with the silly idea that almost got him killed until he realizes he just can’t give up on his dream; especially now that half of his bones have been replaced with metal and his nerves are so messed up he can hardly feel pain anymore.

Kick-Ass back on the job one night was just trying to find a lost kitty, just doing his part to clean up the streets, when some bad guys fall right in his lap. Now that he can’t feel pain and feeling confident in his costume, he fends off three guys from beating up one man, it is all caught on video and soon, he is an internet sensation. From there, the news gets word and before long, more masked heroes start to flood the street, not all have good intentions like Kick-Ass.

Here we meet Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage), probably the best characters of the story. They, together, have a great back story that I won’t ruin for you. They are sweeping through the town, taking out the gang of unruly mafia members that are terrorizing the city and accidentally making it seem that Kick-Ass did it, which only adds to his awesomeness. With these characters is one more, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the son of the mob boss and with the motive to look cool and try to help his Dad find out who these guys are that are knocking off their crew, he is introduced as the Bruce Wayne of the crew, having all the money, but lacking any sort of talent.

The characters are what drive this film. Kick-Ass is such a sweet guy and from the beginning you feel for him and want him to succeed. Unfortunately, he is outshone by a 12 year old, Hit Girl. With her mega fighting skills and one-liners that will knock you on the floor, she is easily everyone’s favorite. Nic Cage really reels in the laughs with his character. As the father to Hit Girl, he would look like a school teacher to anyone else, but when he puts on an actual Batman suit, he finds that he must speak to others in only an Adam West style, which really got a lot of laughs in the theatre. Red Mist was so fun and he had the coolest outfit and faux hair to go with it. He had been trained in some karate-style combat from his Dad, but was so lanky, he could easily get knocked over.

The direction of the film keeps it light and colorful, which would mislead some to think that this film is for kids, they would be wrong. This is a straight up R rating, with the blood and gore throughout the film, not to mention the violence and cursing, it’s not for kids, but shouldn’t be missed by anyone else.

Director Matthew Vaughn really shot the film the way he wanted and if a studio told him to remove part of the film, he found another studio. This movie is exactly like you would want it and will instantly be a fan favorite. The theatre really lit up with laughter through out most of the film and clapped at various homages paid to other comic artists and super hero movies. I will definitely be seeing this again, and not just because the laughter was so loud I missed a lot of the jokes.

If you are sitting on the fence about whether to see this fun flick, I can assure you, it meets all the standards that comic nerds would require, while also being just as fun for the rest and not missing a beat. This movie truly lives up to it’s name, it kicks ass.

I give Kick-Ass 4.5 “Big Daddy’s Guide to Parenting” out of 5.

by Angela Davis

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About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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