By John Michael Simko, contributing reporter
Star rating: 5 out of 5
In recent years, graphic novels and comics have captured Hollywood with successful moneymaking films like “The Dark Knight,” “Sin City,” and “300.”
As a result, dozens of graphic novels have been developed into highly-anticipated films such as “The Losers” (due out April 23) and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” (scheduled for August). However, some films have become too hyped and too artsy for mainstream audiences like last year’s “Watchmen.”
Hype does not necessarily generate a gratifying movie (consider “Snakes on a Plane”), but try telling that to director Matthew Vaughn and the cast and crew of “Kick Ass” for creating the first fabulous film of 2010.
“Kick Ass” is the motto and alter ego of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a nerdy Manhattan high schooler, who is obsessed with comic book culture and hungers to rise out of anonymity/ social obscurity.
Unlike previous comic book/graphic novel adaptations, this film was constructed simultaneously while the graphic novel was being completed.
Thus, the film enhances its poignancy and social commentary with the creation of instant celebrities thanks to the Internet.
After being mugged and observing crime go unpunished, Dave and his two faithful friends Todd (Evan Peters) and Marty (Clark Dunne) wonder, “how come no one has ever tried being a superhero?”
Overcoming his insecurities and to prove his worthiness for his crush, Katie Deauxma (Lyndsy Fonseca), Dave dons a green and yellow scuba outfit to combat crime and stop injustices in Manhattan. Dave’s first heroic endeavor ends with him getting his ass kicked, but that doesn’t frustrate him — even after an extensive hospital stay.
Fully recovered, Dave stubbornly suits his green and yellow outfit once again and unexpectedly becomes an Internet sensation when his heroics are captured on a teenager’s cellphone.
From YouTube to MySpace, “Kick Ass” evolves into a trendy sensation as everyone capitalizes on his image via comics, mugs, t-shirts, etc.
At the same time, eccentric former cop Damon Macready (Nicholas Cage) is training his spunky daughter Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) in the art of war and to master weaponry.
The Macreadys present a new twist on the meaning of “daddy’s little girl.” Instead of Barbie dolls, Mindy discovers bulletproof vests and lethal weaponry. Inspired by “Kick Ass,” the Macreadys create their own alter egos: “Big Daddy” with his Batman-like costume and “Hit Girl” with her purple outfit that includes a wig and cape.
The father-daughter duo prove more effective superheroes and deliver their own brand of justice. The trio unites to fight crime albeit “Big Daddy” and “Hit Girl” are the ones who are truly “kicking ass.”
Their effectiveness in repressing crime has started to affect criminal Frank D’Amico’s (Mark Strong) drug trade.
“Kick Ass” is attributed to dismantling the drug business of D’Amico, who doesn’t understand how “some superhero” is doing all this damage. At first, D’Amico doesn’t believe the rumors of some “Batman like” guy stopping crime. Dozens of his men are killed and contributes to “Kick Ass ” popularity which continues to soar, even making his son Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) a fan.
“Kick Ass” concerns itself with being more outrageously action-packed than applauding social commentary.
Moretz’s performance as “Hit Girl” delivers unparalleled dialogue and the film’s pre-eminent action sequences.
Nothing is considered off bounds because Kick Ass prevails unlike any adapted film you have ever seen and tosses out all standards.
“Kick Ass” opens in theaters Friday, April 16. For more information, visit www.kickass-themovie.com