Starring Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, and Chloë Grace Moretz
When the studios recognized billions of dollars could be made by raiding comic books, most of the films that followed used the same blueprint: Throw $150 million at sets, effects, and big names, and line up merchandising deals. Some are great, most are average, but only a few are built around the experience of the audience. Kick-Ass is ahead of the pack, probably because it doesn’t follow that formula. In fact, director Matthew Vaughn had to finance this movie outside the system because the studios all wanted to avoid a violent, profane R-rated comic book movie with kids killing bad guys left and right. But a funny thing happened on the way to Comic-Con: Audiences saw footage from Kick-Ass last summer and couldn’t stop talking about it. The studios, which had so badly missed the mark by passing up the opportunity to make this movie, climbed over each other for the chance to distribute it. This is not the sort of superhero movie Hollywood makes, but hopefully it will be now. Kick-Ass doesn’t just happen on a screen in front of an audience, it deeply involves them. Based on Mark Millar’s comic, Kick-Ass actually has no superheroes. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) asks his friends why nobody has ever tried to become one. Surely, some guy would’ve put on a cape and tried to save the day. The answer, as one of his friends puts it without looking up from an issue of Marvel’s Runaways, is “because they’d get their ass kicked.” But Dave has nothing else going for him, so why not? He buys a ridiculous-looking scuba suit, commits himself to helping the little guy…and proceeds to get his ass kicked. Trying to ward off three heavies beating an unarmed man in a parking lot, Dave – having adopted his alter-ego, Kick-Ass – takes his fair share of punishment but just keeps fighting. A camera phone recording of his exploits becomes a viral video sensation, attracting the attention of Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage) and his young daughter Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz). As a cop, Macready had been set up by Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), one of New York’s most ruthless gangsters. After his release from prison, sensing he needs help to bring down D’Amico’s entire crime family, Macready trains his daughter to become the ultimate fighting machine. Lesson number one: How to take a bullet to the chest.