In my mind I was in love with Kick-Ass before I’d even seen the film. I love superhero films and I love awkward, black comedies, and this movie sounded like a perfect marriage between the two. Sadly Kick-Ass has an amazing premise, but fails miserably to capitalize on it.
Kick-Ass (played by Aaron Johnson) is in reality just a geeky, relatively normal kid who one day asks the question, “why doesn’t anyone try to become a super-hero?” He receives his answer very quickly after he gets knifed and then run over by a car on his first outing as a masked avenger. The scene itself and really any scene involving Kick-Ass trying to become a hero is fantastic. The film pulls no punches for the first 30 or so minutes and really had me captivated as Kick-Ass trained and fought to become a real live superhero. I really thought that this film might be something special. That is until Hit Girl and Big Daddy are introduced. The basic story behind Big Daddy is that he has become a vigilante because something terrible happened to him in his past that ruined his life and his daughter’s life as well. Hit Girl (10 years old), who is the daughter whose life was ruined, is just an awful character (as is Big Daddy). She basically was brainwashed by Big Daddy at an early age to become a killer and do his bidding. Now I’d be okay with this if the film didn’t treat the two of them as really cool characters who deserve recognition for their good deeds aka committing mass murder. As soon as these two characters are introduced the film goes off the rails. The intriguing premise is totally abandoned as Hit Girl and Big Daddy mow their way through villains with more ease than any Marvel superhero. Kick-Ass himself becomes embroiled in teenage angst and falls by the wayside as he pretends to be gay to woo the woman of his dreams in a fairly laughable romantic sub plot.
So what started off as a really funny and interesting film about one nerdy kid fulfilling a childhood fantasy all of a sudden turns into the very thing that I assumed Matthew Vaughn was lampooning. An over the top, violent, and ridiculous superhero film. While Kick-Ass, who I assumed was the main character, falls by the wayside we end up seeing more and more of Big Daddy and Hit Girl. I honestly wished Hit Girl would die. She’s a little girl, shouldn’t she be playing at the playground or attending elementary school? Instead she’s killing guys because her dad is telling her to. This is also where another one of my biggest issues with the movie occurs. Kick-Ass is a movie that acts like it doesn’t care. It has a 10 year old girl mowing people down, swearing, and has it’s main character graphically beaten to a pulp in the first 20 minutes. However, when push comes to shove, it’s really a tame movie. Yes it has a 10 year old killing people and swearing, yes it has some very graphic scenes of violence with a lot of CGI blood, but in the end it’s just as predictable as any Pg-13 superhero film. The good guys win, the little girl survives, the hero gets the girl.
While all this sounds satisfying it ultimately rings hollow. We see Kick-Ass try to become a superhero and fail in a very realistic way in the first 30 or so minutes of the film. Then, all of a sudden the film tosses anything realistic away in favor of a schlocky, over the top, and epic tone that fails to convey anything new or interesting about the genre. Add in the fact that Hit Girl and Big Daddy are awful characters with no morals or redeeming values and yet are revered as heroes in the film and what do you have? A run of the mill, over the top action film, that is offensive just for the sake of being offensive. It wastes an awesome premise and just falls back on old cliche’s and idolizes terrible people. Honestly just re-watch Spiderman or the Dark Knight.