Kick-Ass (2010) has the title it does because that’s what Dave (Aaron Johnson), the adolescent superhero, calls himself after he immaturely decides that costumed superheroism is what someone needs to attempt and that he might as well be the someone.  So he dons a rubber wetsuit and goes off to help people, often ineptly.

I said the decision is immature, but . . . is it?  Two persons observe the actions of Kick-Ass, now a media star, and they themselves are superheroes–good ones.  They’re a father-and-daughter team, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), the latter only eleven years old.  Big Daddy’s real name is Damon, and he is an ex-cop framed by a drug lord, Frank D’Amico, and wrongfully sent to the penitentiary.  During this time Damon’s wife committed suicide.  Now Damon/Big Daddy wants revenge.  To be sure, D’Amico is an amazingly cruel and homicidal criminal, one of whose vile assistants Kick-Ass encounters since he, the assistant, has a girlfriend on whom Kick-Ass has a crush.  The damsel wants to be free of the assistant, and the teenaged crusader appreciates this.

If all this sounds insane, it is.  Kick-Ass is an insane pop film, in addition to being gutsy, amusing, exciting, violent, deserving of its R rating and, to a minimal extent, politically incorrect.  I loved every minute of it.  Especially insane is the slaughter of all the bad guys which Hit Girl manages to achieve.  With her purple wig and sometimes foul mouth, she seems to embody a troubling notion:  that ours is such an evil world, even to its children, we would be better off with a youngster this powerful, if she existed, than we are without her.  Hit Girl (real name:  Mindy) “lives by a simple code that says evil loses,” writes John Nolte on the Big Hollywood website.

Britain’s Matthew Vaughn ably directed and, with Jane Goldman, penned the movie’s screenplay, which is based on a graphic novel whose plot may well be as uneven as the one here.  Some stale stuff about Dave’s normal sexual longings arises, but in any case it adds to the movie’s general spiciness. . . Initially Aaron Johnson overacts; then he settles down and does a palatable job.  Cage, usually mediocre, is engaging and earnest and virile enough as Damon/Big Daddy.  Moretz is lovable in spite of everything, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse enacts D’Amico’s naughty son, masquerading as a superhero called Red Mist, effectually.

Cover of "Kick-Ass"

Cover of Kick-Ass