Review: Kick Ass

The opening frames of Matthew Vaughn’s Kick Ass – a homemade hero’s ill-fated leap of faith from a huge building, only to crash hard onto a parked car tells us straight up that this isn’t your average comic book movie. And thank god. The credo of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s big screen adaptation “with no power comes no responsibility” is apt, Kick Ass will literally kick your ass, and make no mistake, you’ll love every second of it.

Dave Lizewski is average, super average in fact. He’s no Peter Parker or Clark Kent, he’s not destined for greatness and he’s sick of it. Inspired by his love of comics and perplexed at why no one has tried it before, he suits up and hits the streets, one brawl in front of a camera phone wielding crowd later and he’s an overnight sensation.

Pretty soon he attracts the attention of the lethal father/daughter vigilantes Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Bordering on the psychotic and bent on taking down mob boss Frank D’Amico, these guys are the real deal. As reality begins to hit home so do the consequences of his actions and before long he finds he’s in over his head.

A return to form for Nicholas Cage playing two sides of the same coin, the dweeby Damon Macready and the take-no-crap Big Daddy. From the Adam West inflection in Big Daddy’s voice to his sweet yet anarchic relationship with his daughter Mindy, the film picks up pace whenever the two hit the screen. Meanwhile Mark Strong provides a real villain, a Tony Soprano type who’s determined to send a message to any other potential caped crusaders, aided by his son Chris who’s desperate to prove his worth.

Unlike stars of the Marvel or DC universe, it’s not always happy endings for Mark Millar’s costumed heroes, the fact that Kick Ass could bite the big one at any moment creates a unique tension within the film. But where Kick Ass really lives up to the hype is during its high voltage fight sequences. Limbs are lost, bullets fly, blood squirts ­– all set against kicking tracks like Prodigy’s Omen and The Hit Girl’s Bad Reputation just to name a few – creating an awesomeness the likes of which you’ve never seen before.

It’s multiple references to comics; from Wolverine to Scott Pilgrim reinforce its real world twist, a nice change from the done-to-death textbook superhero movies we’ve come to expect. Kick Ass sports memorable turns from supporting cast Clarke Duke and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and seals Chloe Moretz status as one to watch - as the deadly, foul mouthed Hit Girl, she owns the film. Kick-Ass could be the Watchmen for a new age but definitely is 2010’s best film so far.

Kick Ass is in cinemas now.

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