Kick Ass

Kick-Ass starts out as a clever action movie with good humor interspersed throughout the first half, but by the second half the jokes trail off as the movie takes a blacker turn toward a mindless and confusing tale of morality.

Viewing this movie as a mindless action flick, it is impressive and at times humorous, albeit that humor, in the immersive first half, is deadened by the much darker scenes toward the end of the film. But if you’re trying to find a deeper message hidden behind the motivations and actions of the characters on screen, you perhaps would be better served by reading the comic first. The violence was surprisingly graphic for what started out as a clever and somewhat endearing highschool drama about not fitting in and trying to change the world for the better.

As the director of Layer Cake and Stardust, Matthew Vaughn has shown before that he knows how to do action and fantasy, and in this movie, the action scenes are tight and gripping and slightly surreal. You may even recognize a few cameos if you’re familiar with Guy Ritchie films.

Aaron Johnson, as the title character, brings a smart vulnerability to his part. As an overly ambitious, but well meaning comic book fan, his stabs at super-heroics were quite believable.

This movie may be titled Kick-Ass, but the most interesting character is Hit-Girl, played by Chloë Grace Moretz. Quite a few child actors come across as precocious, and Moretz is a welcome change. She shares some great scenes with Nicolas Cage, a vengeful father who has turned his 11 year-old daughter into a killing machine. Cage’s deadpan humor as Big Daddy matches surprisingly well with the giddy, foul-mouthed, black humor of Hit-Girl.

In a way, I may be doing the movie a disservice if I were to dwell on the plot holes, morality, and thematic elements of this movie which are clearly not the focused intent of the director. Not every movie is intended to be a deep and meaningful reflection on life, so in that regard, this movie is simply a blood-drenched charmer.
Three stars out of five.