This weekend I finally got a chance to see Kick-Ass on BluRay, as I'd missed it when it was in theaters, and have been catching up on some television shows for the last few weeks on Netflix. This is easily one of the best superhero movies I've ever seen.* While I have not read the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., I can only imagine that Matthew Vaughn was the perfect choice to direct this material. There was such a strong hint of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch, two films produced by Vaughn, in the hyper-violent yet comic story of Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, and Red Mist.
Surprisingly hot Aaron Johnson (remind me to rent Nowhere Boy when it comes out on DVD) was perfectly charming as Dave, the chronic masturbator with a yen to finally stand up for the downtrodden in the style of his comic book heroes. Where another actor might have made Dave's relationship with Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca) kinda creepy, pretending to be gay in order to get close, and then breaking the news to her, instead I was always rooting for him. Clark Duke turned in another funny supporting performance as Dave's friend Marty.
Nic Cage wonderfully channeled all of his rage at having never been cast as Superman into his role as Big Daddy, a sort of bizarro- Cameron Poe from Con Air, seeking vengeance on his former employer while training his preteen daughter to follow in his vigilante footsteps. A lot was made of Chloë Moretz's performance as Cage's daughter Hit Girl, a foulmouthed killing machine who loves her dad and wants to make him proud. If you ask me, a strong 11-year-old female character who happens to swear and know how to fight is far less troubling than a hypersexualized female character of the same age (see Blue Lagoon, Return to the Blue Lagoon). Moretz is an excellent young actress and I am really looking forward to seeing her in her upcoming roles. Looks like Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin have company in the young-actresses-who-don't-depress-me club.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse played to type as somewhat-accidental villain Red Mist. I would have liked to see more interaction between him and Kick-Ass. There's so much great material in the well-meaning loner who might not have turned evil if only he'd had some friends, so maybe we'll get more of that in the sequel.
I personally thought the amount of violence and gore was just perfect in this movie. Sometimes you just want to see the good guys actually bring the pain, and Kick-Ass delivered. All too often no one ever gets vengeance in a truly satisfying and silly comic book way, so it was especially worthwhile in this movie about teenagers pretending to be superheroes.
*Those of you who know me have probably already heard my belief that Batman is not a superhero. He's just a rich dude who wears a costume, knows how to fight, and has a ton of gadgets. He is a hero, no doubt, but it is my belief that one must be superhuman in order to be a superhero (or -villain). It's unclear to me if Kal-El has any superpowers that other Kryptonians do not. If he does, then yes, he is a superhero. If he doesn't, then he's just an alien. It was refreshing to hear my opinion validated by the characters in this movie when they differentiated between "guys in suits" and real superheroes. So no, I don't think this is a movie about superheroes, but it still gets quantified as a "superhero movie," due to the nature of its content.