SXSW FILM 2010
By Dave Campbell | March 14, 2010
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman (screenplay), Mark Millar (Comic book), John Romita, Jr. aka JRJR (Comic book illustrator)
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage
Coming of age teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a geeky comic book nerd who wonders why, in all the years of comic books and superhero movies, no one has ever suited up and become an actual super hero. After deliberating with his two best friends Marty (Clark Duke) & Todd (Evan Peters), and getting jumped one too many times is the alleyways of the city, Dave decides to become Kick-Ass; a green modified wetsuit wearing masked vigilante with dual chucks in hand. Dave has zero training of any kind, including the most important one of all…hand-to-hand combat. This leads to his first criminal encounter landing him in the hospital with major injuries over most of his body.
After recovering Dave isn’t ready to hang up the mask just yet and attempts to give it another go – nerve damage and all. With camera-phones in hand, bystanders shoot away capturing Kick-Ass as he battles three thugs who were jumping a lone victim. The result is Kick-Ass’ hero status as he becomes an overnight online celebrity via YouTube and MySpace.
Because of this new fame Kick-Ass attracts the attention of the much more proficient father / daughter vigilante team of Big Daddy / Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl / Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz), who take him under their wings to work together.
Their collective work cleaning up the streets also captures the attention of local crime lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) who believes Kick-Ass is responsible for killing all of his men. D’Amico’s attempts to track down Kick-Ass fail so he turns to his son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who only wants to impress his father by offering some new ideas and show that he can be involved in the family business.
What an opening night for SXSW FILM 2010. Just as there wasn’t a more entertaining film than Zombieland in 2009, Kick-Ass will be the film to beat as the most fun you will experience in the theater in 2010. Kick-Ass has the endearing charm of Spider-Man, the gritty violence of Watchmen, and then a lot of (excuse the pun) kick ass-ery that other superhero movies fail to capture (I’m looking at you Fantastic Four). It’s over the top insanity combined with brilliantly written witty sarcasm make Kick-Ass a comic book superhero movie that stands out from all the rest.
I immensely enjoyed Aaron Johnson as Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico / Red Mist due to the realism that they both portrayed as inexperienced teenage superhero wanna-bees. Johnson truly embodies the spirit and ambition of a kid who grew up reading comics who is living the dream, and Mintz-Plasse gives us a fully developed reason to stop calling him McLovin’. Mark Strong has really nailed down the villain roles with the precision of a true artist. After already giving us very defined baddies in Sunshine and Sherlock Holmes, he pulls out another character vastly different yet equally wicked…but let’s be honest here, Moretz and Cage are the standouts that push the limits of Kick-Ass to 11.
Mark my words, Chloë Grace Moretz will be a household name after the world sees Kick-Ass, and I can’t wait to see the future performances that she delivers. Her daughter/father relationship with Nicolas Cage is fascinating, and incredibly believable in an otherwise unbelievable setting. Dear sweet prince Nicolas Cage, you are back my friend! This is the Nic Cage that I love and remember. I was starting to think that you had forgotten the great things you once did like, Raising Arizona, Vampire’s Kiss, & Wild at Heart, and I’m happy to see that you’ve returned!
The originality of Kick-Ass is not only refreshing but welcomed in the modern world we live in filled with remakes and disposable cinema. Along with the Comic Book creators Mark Millar and John Romita, Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman have put together an extremely satisfying movie that is guaranteed to be a staple in 2010’s top 10 lists.
Buy your ticket, go forth and Kick-Ass.