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Who’s Ready to Kick Some Ass!?

A Movie Review

By: Andrew Sanford

 It doesn’t take much to light a fire under family advocacy groups. Having an 11-year old girl cut up prostitutes and drug dealers with the greatest of ease while swearing as comfortably as a sailor will light the fire, poor gasoline on it and toss in a few fire crackers for shock value. From the moment Kick-Ass climbed into pre-production, by independently gathering a 50 million dollar budget from various supporters, it was destined to stir up a little controversy. Gun shots, sword and knife play, rocket launchers, people set on fire while hand cuffed to a chair after being beaten to a bloody mess. Mass Hysteria! Lucky for us it’s just entertainment. Beneath the beatings, shootings and the occasional hit and run lay a story that resonates with any audience; a young boy who finally decides to stand up for not just himself but the people around him. Finding out that achieving your dreams may turn them into nightmares.

   Kick-Ass benefits heavily from its wonderful cast. Aaron Johnson is a face to watch. The young actor takes a very real and grounded teenager and takes him through an emotional and physical roller coaster without losing that kid in a candy store aspect of a young boy going from a run of the mill life to one of sex, violence and viral popularity. Mark Strong and Christopher Mintz-Plasse deliver villainous performances as the Patriarch and Heir of the D’Amico crime family. Nicholas Cage plays the heroic Big Daddy nerdy charm. His Adam West influence while in his super garb and his snarky laugh are topped off with an emotionally driven character consumed by his search for vengeance. The movie is stolen however by little Chloe Grace Moretz. Her performance shows true natural talent as she takes to the heavily R rated material with more ease than most seasoned vets would.

    The film also benefits from a very easily accessible story which is not easy to say for most comic book films. Kick-Ass does not stray from the comic’s excessive violence and language nor does it deviate from the story. The idea of standing up for yourself and taking your life into your hands is pretty universal and we have seen it before. This film manages to give it a bit of freshness. Giving us an everyman type character that all of us who felt awkward, unimportant and lost in high school, show of hands, can relate to. Don’t get me wrong, like all comic book films, Kick-Ass can walk the fine line of absurdum, but does so with total awareness. What makes Kick-Ass great is that it embraces what makes it sometimes campy and over the top.

    Unfortunately, like last year’s Watchmen, Kick-Ass has been given to us ahead of its time. Garnering only $19 million at the box office it’s opening weekend shows that the general populace just isn’t ready for “fanboy” films. I love comic books and read Kick-Ass while it was on the stands, but what about those that didn’t? In a world where Batman and Iron Man rule the silver screen with instant recognition, is there room for Kick-Ass? With characters that are already burned into the general consciousness that works so well, it’s hard to introduce something new. However exciting and intelligent it may be. I hope that the film may catch fire, and inspire more like it. With cult followings for movies like the underappreciated Superman Returns, hell I’ve even met people who like Batman and Robin, so I can defiantly say that Kick-Ass has a future. Just not in the present.

    It takes a lot to get me into the movies. As a Manhattan frequent, a trip to the Megaplex can end up costing me a pretty penny, so I am very critical when I do shell out the bucks. I want my $12.50 worth. Kick-Ass gave me that. I walked away with a smile and a stride. I won’t say Kick-Ass is the greatest comic book movie ever, but it is defiantly an important one. It takes all the things that make it special and different and waves them around with confidence usually reserved for the captain of the football team. Living up to its title, Kick-Ass does just that. It delves right into the deep dark violence loving psyche of the human being and exasperates it, leaving you wanting so much more.

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