Kick Ass definitely blew me away (but not all in a good way). It takes the classic story of a nerd transforming himself into a super hero and deconstructs it in a modern, information technology-driven society where reality and real life can be blurred by personas created online. Our hero, to be known as “Kick Ass”, is a normal teenager geek that gets it in him to become a comic book super hero. The transformation begins by ordering a super hero outfit that consists of a diving suit and setting up a MySpace page to handle super hero assignments.
Of course, being a nerd, he’s totally unprepared physically and mentally so his first mission ends with him getting stabbed and beaten unconscious. As a result, his bone structure is fortified with plates and he becomes desensitized to pain. In order to hide embarrassment from being found in a super hero outfit, he corroborates a story with the paramedic that he was found naked. This leads to rumors at school that he is gay. The gorgeous girl he has a crush on takes an interest in him once she “finds out” he’s gay and makes him her bff.
Instead of giving up on the super hero idea, now that he has a high tolerance for pain and a taste of the exciting, crime fighting lifestyle, he clumsily forays back into the super hero business. This almost gets him killed and brings him into contact with real avengers (a father and daughter team) who are not afraid to kill villains.
That’s the setup. Any more would spoil it.
Call me old-fashioned but seeing a little girl cuss like a sailor while slicing mafia gangsters up in cold blood really disturbs me. The trailers, by necessity I suppose, really gloss this over. Artistically, it’s a bold move for the director to be faithful to the graphic novel’s depiction of it. However, with all comic book adaptations you have the problem of translating that into the big screen format. As a cross between a novel and comic book, readers are engaged in graphic novels so much that they fill in the blanks or “scenes between the scenes” and embellishing the artist’s rendition with their imagination. Drawings no matter how masterly executed have a way of softening violence and sex while emphasizing other aspects so when you do a literal depiction on screen, it comes across a lot stronger. The execution was well done though the characters needed a little more depth to me. Luckily the Nicolas Cage and Chloë Moretz (to a certain extent Aaron Johnson) brought that depth with them.
To me it was a cross between Super Bad and Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight, awesome depending on your qualms.