Even the premise doesn’t bend to genre conventions: ordinary teenager Dave Lizeski decides to fight crime as a superhero. Without superpowers, without a desire for revenge, just because he was inspired by comics. Matthew Vaughn’s darkly humorous superhero comedy Kick assproduced by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B, among others, smugly peruses the genre and is just plain fun.
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A merciless 11-year-old and a pleasingly controlled Nicholas Cage: this is Kick-Ass
Normal New York teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is inspired by comic books and makes a superhero costume out of a bright green diving suit and two batons. On his first mission, Dave is stabbed and rammed by a car. In the hospital, some bones are replaced with metal, which allows him to endure severe pain.
Nevertheless, most adventures end with him having to take a beating. That changes when he meets the grim ex-cop Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage) and his eleven-year-old daughter Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), who, as a cold-blooded avenger, is stirring up the New York underworld with her father and supports him.
Similar to the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., the film adaptation also balances between Lizewski’s coming-of-age story and the parody of superhero transformation. The latter, however, is the real strength of Kick-Ass, which discovers new standards, dimensions and sides of the superhero film with its over-the-top action.
Above all, the young Chloë Grace Moretz as a hit girl regularly steals the show from the rest of the cast with her dry one-liners. But Nicolas Cage, unlike usual, is also tolerably cool and hardened and rarely loses his temper.
FILMSTARTS chief critic Christoph Petersen complains in his review that the clever superhero satire, including social criticism, hardly plays a role in the action-heavy second part.
Nevertheless, he summarizes that “Kick-Ass is completely satisfied with his title promise [einlöst] and conservative Hollywood with a running start [tritt].” Friends of crazy action and dark humor can’t go wrong, only those of a delicate disposition should perhaps look elsewhere.
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