By Amelia Blevins
Every kid has dreamed of dressing up as their favorite super-hero to kick some ass and take some names. But no one was ever dumb enough to try it, because—let’s face it—it just wouldn’t work. Right?
Wrong. Comic-book junkie and all-around high school nerd, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), has spent one too many evenings wacking off to his English teacher and imagining what it would be like to be more than just an invisible nobody. What does it take to change that image? A turquoise wetsuit and a few pushups later we have Kick-Ass, the amateur crime-fighter, loaded with only a couple of ass-kicking batons, a tazer and his determination to prove all the non-believers wrong.
Featured in the virtual limelight of YouTube with even his own comic book series in the works, Kick-Ass has made a name for himself that catches the attention of the experienced crime-fighting, father-daughter duo, Big Daddy (a hilariously awkward, yet badass Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Moretz). However, the less than innocent pair is already caught up in a plot of their own: to take down drug kingpin Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). With too many not-so-super heroes running rampantly through New York City, D’Amico becomes convinced that Kick-Ass is involved in the sabotage of his cocaine dealing and is determined to take him down, with the help of his son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
Where Kick-Ass could oh-so-easily be riddled with comic book super-hero cliches, it successfully dodges them with its mature rating. Though the film has received complaints for gratuitous violence and coarse language—in part performed by a young girl—the fun plot twists and smart script keep the audience rooting for the underdogs and itching to take up torches of their own.
Though he’s still a relatively unknown actor, Aaron Johnson impressively takes a few pages from awkward lovable nerds Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg without becoming too stuck in a comedic typecast.
An awesomely varied soundtrack does wonders to define the film’s action comedy genre. From Mika to Ennio Morricone, from The Prodigy to John Murphy, the mix of songs and thoroughly epic score keep adrenaline pumping and breaths bated while the audience watches Kick-Ass duke it out.
With a smart mix of comedy and action, Kick-Ass can stand proud next to his fellow Marvel comic-book successes as a dreaming underdog. Though he probably can’t beat Tony Stark’s ass, he can still beat ours, and we’ll welcome him because, hey, he’s Kick-Ass.