Monday, August 23, 2010


Directed by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn.
2010. Rated R, 117 minutes.
Aaron Johnson
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Mark Strong
Chloë Grace Moretz
Nicolas Cage
Omari Hardwick
Michael Rispoli
Clark Duke
Garrett M. Brown
Dexter Fletcher

Like a lot of boys, Dave (Johnson) wonders what it would be like to be a superhero. He even carries the fantasy one step further and tries to act it out in real life. He gets his hands on a green wetsuit, names himself Kick-Ass and takes to the streets looking like a jade ninja. From there ensues a wild ride full of perfectly just over the top violence and fueled by an absolutely wicked sense of humor. It’s based on the graphic novel of the same name.

This isn’t Batman Begins so there’s no real training for superhero. Things don’t go smoothly. They go about as good as if you yourself decided to don tights and become a crimefighter. Actually, they go better because he doesn’t wind up dead within the first few minutes. Despite becoming a media sensation, he’s not a very good superhero.

Closer to the real deal, but more homicidal than most, we learn, is Hit-Girl (Moretz), a pint-sized killing machine and her father Big Daddy (Cage). Like everyone else who’s watched this movie I have high praise for Hit-Girl. She totally steals the show. We need more Hit-Girl. However, I’ve not seen anyone give Nicolas Cage his just due. I get that there’s a lot of Cage hatred out there. He’s done a lot of dreadful movies. I also understand that most of KA’s audience is too young to remember what Cage is making fun of. His parody of Adam West’s version of Batman is just dead-on and completely hilarious. Well, it’s hilarious if you have the old TV series as a reference point. If so, you’ll recognize everything he does and might laugh yourself to tears.

This brings me to my next point. KA isn’t just an action-comedy. It’s a brilliant spoof of all things superhero. It’s simultaneously reverential and irreverent. It lovingly skewers the genres of literature, television and cinema that birthed it, holding their feet to the fire even as it gives them a hug. Comic book fans will notice the subtleties that make KA special. For instance, notice the unspoken joke of our hero wearing glasses in his regular life but not when dressed as his alter-ego. What makes it great is that even if you miss those little touches you can still have a great time watching it. This is because the best spoofs use the genre they’re spoofing for inspiration, making fun of that genre’s absurdities while also working within its confines and stand alone as narratives.

In those dreadful “____ Movie” (Scary, Date, Dance, etc) flicks there appears to be no love for whatever they’re trying to parody. It’s all mean-spirited and void of creativity. They merely reenact a scene from some other movie and add something gross to it. When they’re over, you can’t really remember the story it’s trying to tell. Here, you needn’t have seen any specific movie to get most of the jokes. You only have to be familiar with a certain type of movie. This is why Young Frankenstein works for people who’ve never actually seen the original Frankenstein or Scream for people who aren’t necessarily fans of slasher movies. Kick-Ass is one of the best spoofs.

The Opposite View: Stephen Himes, Film Snobs

What the Internet Says: 8.1/10 on (#183 all time as of 8/20/10), 76% on, 66/100 on

MY SCORE: 10/10

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