Take a kid in a wetsuit, team him up with a faux-Batman, a purple-wigged preteen and a dude with too much eye makeup and you have the recipe for one very interesting superhero movie.
Taking the classic superhero story -- a socially conscious nerd sees an opportunity to do good in society and works unrelentingly towards this noble goal -- and melding it with a hormone-fueled tween-age drama certainly proves to have some intriguing side effects.
The marriage between action film bad-assery, teenage romance and amateur costumed heroism is hard to take seriously. Considering that the cursing flowing from the pre-teen heroine (Hit-Girl, played by the 11-year-old ChloÃ« Grace Moretz) is as colourful as her costume, the characters brutality betrays the youthful bubblegum colours of the film's posters.
It's hard to discern whether this is a more realistic superhero film or a more outlandish one. Sure, none of the characters have any real super powers beyond strength of will or depth of pockets and the bad guys act like idiots and screw up, but when a preteen girl can handle a butterfly knife better than hardened criminals the film loses some of the "truth of humanity" that its main character embodies.
Nerdy teen Dave Lizewski likes comics, can't talk to girls and is harassed by bullies, but his character goes deeper than that, addressing the need for the social recognition of wrong doing. Not even the heroes are void of flaws -- one of the first scenes depicts the hero himself, Dave (the titular Kick-Ass) jerking off to a fantasy of his teacher.
Having scenes like this -- though somewhat surprising given that the film might appear to cater to a younger audience -- helps develop character depth, establishing him as a real person. Rather than brush aside the teenage characteristics and focus on the more mature crime fighter, the film embraces teenage sexuality, brazenly displaying it throughout. Were the awkwardness of teenage-hood omitted, it would take a lot of validity away from the characters.
The heroes are real people. They have families, they dance poorly and they are terrible with girls. They trip and fall, and when they get attacked, they sometimes lose -- badly.
While the film flip-flops between tender moments of teen love, hormone-fueled fantasy and laughable hero adventures, the only thing that can be said for certain is that this is one hero flick that doesn't take itself seriously. It's difficult to keep a straight face when Hit-Girl opens her mouth and a stream of cringe-inducing curses follows.
This plays in sharp relief to the sugary sweet performance of Nic Cage as Big Daddy -- you half expect him to take his little daughter out for milkshakes rather than help her slaughter a bunch of gang- sters.
While certainly entertaining, most of the characters -- aside from Kick-Ass himself -- feel as though they are drawing attention to themselves for the sake of drawing attention. The bad guys are cookie-cutter and the ending is predictable from the opening 10 minutes, but Moretz's portrayal of Hit-Girl alone is worth the price of admission.
Irrationalities aside, Kick-Ass is a laugh and a half and delivers some pretty solid action sequences. If you don't mind the colourful language and teenage sex, it's golden.