Kick-Ass (2010) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Kick-Ass (2010)

Every time something tragic involving a youth occurs — whether it be unhandled rage or mental breakdowns — it seems that the “prestigious” physicians and psychiatrists employed for the good ‘ol government have an answer. They usually disregard the obvious answer — prior mental or emotional issues — and blame the aggressor’s hobbies for his actions.

By harpooning the most common aspects of modern day youth: video games, music, movies, and of course, comic books, the general public is brainwashed to think that these are the seeds of evil that drive some teenagers and young adults to gun violence, drug-use, and masochism. In actuality, it’s the individual’s mental inefficiency or complete lack of common sense that’s to blame.

Some artists that are affected by this irrational public outrage quit the business due to social pressure. Others tone down on their material while compromising on their ideal works of art. Others just take the protest head on. Mark Miller is one of these unrelenting great minds. Considered one of the greatest contemporary graphic novel writers, Miller, has no doubt a large fan-base. I’m not a fan of comic books, but I’ve heard his name countless times, but this is the first time that I’ve heard so much public out-lash against him.

It all stems from his graphic novel, Kick-Ass, which was published two years ago by Marvel Comics. Just judging from the title, it isn’t hard to imagine this latest of Miller’s endeavors to be light on plot but heavy on bloody violence and looking at the cover of the second issue of the comic series which sports the line “Sickening Violence: Just the Way You Like it,” it seems like speculators were right.

But it’s unfair to judge on a book on its cover (or title) and after seeing Matthew Vaughn’s film adaptation which releases this weekend, I can honestly say that Kick-Ass is much better than I first expected and Vaughn’s big-screen version of the graphic novel features sharp writing, brilliant performances, and of course, indulgent action sequences and story-telling.

Kick-Ass wraps it’s self around realism. The heroes don’t use high tech radios — instead, they use iPhones. They don’t wear bulletproof, light-weight armor — no — they wear cheap spandex that they bought on the internet.

The protagonists include Kick-Ass, a socially awkward teenager who wonders why nobody becomes a “real-life superhero,” even though his friend, Todd (Evan Peters, “The Lazarus Effect”) tells him some words of wisdom that “real-life superheroes would get their ass kicked.” Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Godzilla”) does a brilliant job portraying Dave Lizewski through his metamorphosis from irrelevant teenager to New York City’s famous costumed vigilante. The believable characterization makes Dave / Kick-Ass a very relatable character, even if he does use cheap batons to fight crime.

On the other side of the spectrum there is Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz, “Dark Shadows”) and Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage, “Ghost Rider”) whose superhero personas are Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. Unlike Kick-Ass, who is obviously an amateur at fighting against the city’s underworld, Hit-Girl and Big Daddy are hardened professionals. Though alike in looks, Big Daddy is almost the antithesis to Batman. Instead of fighting for personal vengeance by himself, Damon brings down his daughter alongside him. He trains the damaged Mindy to become a trained killer. Damon is the most selfish of all of the film’s characters (even more than Mark Strong’s character — Frank D’Amico — who is the film’s antagonist). The almost robotic performance by the increasingly unreliable Cage doesn’t help the character’s likability, however, the action scenes involving Big Daddy are easily some of the film’s best.

Mindy Macready is the most questionable of the characters. On one hand, Chloë Grace Moretz’s performance steals the show, but on the other hand, it’s easy to question Miller’s intentions for formulating such a character in the first place. Hit-Girl is sarcastic and brutish and it’s disturbing to see a protagonist as young as Mindy randomly stabbing hit-men and performing close-up executions.

Personally, I believe Hit-Girl is just one long over-complicated joke that is meant to anger the masses. She’s a caricature for what the public believes that comic books can do to young people. Neither Miller nor director Matthew Vaughn cares about their public opinion and actor Mark Strong, who has his own children, had to object to Vaughn’s decision to include even more violence including Hit-Girl, however, Strong’s wishes were granted and Vaughn luckily canned the idea.

The last of the film’s super-heroes is Red Mist, who is played by the usually likable Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“Role Models”). Red Mist, whose real name is Chris D’Amico, is the son of Frank, who is played excellently by Strong. Chris longs to be acknowledged by his father and thus creates his super-hero persona to capture Kick-Ass so that he can one day take Frank’s position as leader of the mob. Red Mist is sort of the Ozymandias of Kick Ass, but Plasse’s performance doesn’t hold up to the likes of Strong and Moretz and his portrayal of a potential villain for the inevitable sequel is incredibly whiny and annoying.

But Kick Ass is getting the most attention for its shock-value. The violence is amazingly stylish and the pacing never misses a beat. The entire movie is one-hundred and seventeen minutes, but for the first time in months, I can honestly say that I haven’t look at my watch throughout the entire viewing and once the climax was reached and the credits rolled, I thought to myself — “Wow, I can’t wait for the sequel.”

Audiences won’t be disappointed: Kick Ass is a surprisingly well-made film that warrants multiple viewings. Though it sounds cliché, this film is absolutely kick-ass.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
5 Star Rating: Fantastic


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'Movie Review: Kick-Ass (2010)' have 7 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 18, 2010 @ 3:58 pm J. C. Adams

    04/18/2010 (Sunday)

    Hello Critical Critics Editor –

    This film needs a good review — but I am not the person to do it. Lack of time and experience — it would take me forever to do a mediocre job. And this film and your blog deserves better

    Before I go to a movie I check your “poop-meter” and the comments from the viewers who post comments on the NYTimes Website. (The NYT readers give “Tatoo Girl” a phenomenal 4.5 out of 5.0.) Forget about the NYT staff reviewers like “Manholer” Dargis. The paid NYT staffers just write formulaic and tedious reviews. The ratings and brief comments kind of people who read the NYT and go to see films are much more important to me. And the fact that CC uses reviews from readers and lay-people makes those assessments much more real and important.

    [Below is my NYT reader comment posted on the NYT movie blog.]

    “Tattoo Girl”

    I rated it a five. [Out of 5 on the NYTimes website for reader’s comments.] And I live in Berkeley where we have lots of diverse and good film choices. I see a fair number of films and read the reviews before I go. And I compare notes with others afterward. This “Tattoo” is as good as “Hurt Locker” — but it is a totally different plot category. But like “HL” it was interesting and kept me totally engrossed. To the point where I didn’t want it to end. That’s what I want in a film. And the female lead character — all you male chauvinists out there wouldn’t want to cross her! This Swedish director is one to watch.

    — J. C. Adams, California

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 18, 2010 @ 4:07 pm J. C. Adams

    I left off a heading and “lead in” on the above comment — which has nothing to do with the “Kick Ass” film or its competent review here. My apologies for the confusion. I am suggesting the need for a review of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. Your reviews are good — except you need to have more of them.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 18, 2010 @ 7:25 pm Mariusz Zubrowski

    Hello. If you are interested in a review for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” you can read the review @

    I’m also an author for the other site so if you’re interested you can read that review. But since I’ve been added as a writer for, I have been adding reviews for the newer releases.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 20, 2010 @ 1:24 pm M. Carter @ the Movies

    “Personally, I believe Hit-Girl is just one long over-complicated joke that is meant to anger the masses.”

    We’re of one mind about that. Hit Girl is meant to shock and awe. She’s not supposed to be gentle or subtle; that’s why she’s the most shocking character of them all, I think.

    I really like Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass because he’s such an average, non-special guy: average height, average looks, average hobbies. The only thing remotely above average about him are his ambitions.

    And let me say that I’m loving this trend toward superhero movies when the superheroes are not the least bit “super.”

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 27, 2010 @ 10:07 am Encore Entertainment

    Good review. I agree that Johnson is good, he stands out for me doing good work even when the script doesn’t really help him. I’m not sure why it’s gotten such backlash, I don’t LOVE it but it’s a valiant effort.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 7, 2010 @ 3:39 am Gemma

    I’ve heard that this one is hilarious. And poignant. And really true. The question is, as someone who’s head-over-heels in love with such comic book movies as Dark Knight and V for Vendetta, would I appreciate a comic book movie focused on realism?
    I do love the whole point that video games and mass media don’t create a generation of violent crime commiters, although they may contribute to it. C’mon, people – take responsibility!

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 11, 2011 @ 8:06 am AdamJohnson

    This review of kick-ass a 2010 superhero/action-comedy film based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr is awesome. Somewhere in the review I support the author for it critics and good points about the story. But along with this I ‘ll also like to share some extra information about producer Vaughn who was educated at Stowe School in Buckingham, England. Taking a gap year between Stowe and university, he travelled the world on a Hard Rock Cafe tour and landed in Los Angeles, U.S., where he began working as an assistant to a director. He returned to London, attending University College London where he studied anthropology and ancient history.

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