“At some point in our lives we all want to be a superhero.”
And thus begins the part-farce, part-Quentin Tarantino, part-Martin Scorsese mash up that is “Kick-Ass.”
Dave Lizewski, a Harry Potter look-a-like still in high school, jokes that he has the ability to be invisible to girls.
Lizewski lives in a suburb outside New York City that makes one wonder whether Peter Parker will pop out of a front door.
His two best friends and he read comic books and wonder why no one has ever tried to become a superhero.
As they leave the store one day, a couple of robbers mug them. When he gets home, Dave decides to create Kick-Ass.
In true makeshift fashion, the costume consists of a scuba suit ordered online, complete with a “Nacho Libre”-esque mask and construction boots.
During his training, Kick-Ass shies away from jumping from roof-to-roof, realizing that he isn’t actually a superhero.
Soon after, Dave spots the same muggers trying to break into a car and changes into his Kick-Ass outfit.
Here, the pair laughs at him. And after getting stabbed by one of the men, x-rays at the hospital show that Dave is somewhat of a bionic man.
It’s not quite a radioactive spider. It’s not thanks to a father from Krypton.
Proclaims one of his friends: “You’re Jason-effing Bourne!”
That’s when the “Kill Bill”-inspired absurdity of the film takes over and makes it one to remember.
While Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and his son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), discuss eating Twizzlers at the movies, a man gets tortured and shot in the background.
Here, dramatic action scenes blast a kick-ass musical score and finish with the superheroes struggling to catch their breath.
Red Mist, Chris’ alter ego, and Kick-Ass dance to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” in the car. The superhero gets the girl, but not before he gets pepper sprayed by her.
Much like Kill Bill, there is humorous, graphic violence.
A guy explodes in a microwave because his captives couldn’t hear him over the noise. Another villain gets crushed inside a garbage compactor. A mafioso-like boss karate kicks a tween.
What also allows “Kick-Ass” to stand out from the actual superheroes it spoofs is the sense of reality.
His Myspace page has well over 16,000 friends. When Kick-Ass tries to stop a gang fight, an onlooker records it on his cell phone rather than call for 911.
Suddenly, Kick-Ass is a YouTube sensation, complete with Craig Ferguson monologue jokes and cappuccino flavors.
Though named after the protagonist, Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) steals each scene she’s in.
Despite her pint size, she knows her way around the bad guys and curses like a sailor. Her father, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage), hopes to exact revenge.
The viewer meets the pair when Damon Macready, Big Daddy’s alter ego, shoots three rounds at his bulletproof-vest clad daughter.
What’s on the line? Just a trip to the bowling alley for some ice cream.
As the film progresses, typical superhero occurrences take place: Kick-Ass gets lonely and needs someone to trust, and that’s where D’Amico’s son, also one of Dave’s classmates, comes into play.
During the climactic fight scene when Hit-Girl kicks ass, Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” blares through the stylized violence.
And much like the Spider-Man franchise it often parodies, when Dave decides to give up his life as Kick-Ass, it’s at his mother’s grave.
“I always dreamed of being a superhero, but this was a nightmare. It was time for me to stop wearing the stupid costume.”
Unless, of course, someone with no power actually has responsibility.
With a nice 117-minute run time, the film never seems too long or dull. Maybe that’s the reason for no deleted scenes on the DVD. Still, it would’ve been nice to see some new footage instead of a marketing archive.
A definite must-see: Learn all about the origin of Kick-Ass and its comic straight from creators Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. Who knew that it was based on Millar’s own life?
And with the Art of Kick-Ass, viewers can see storyboards, photographs and production designs used for the making of the film.
Overall, the special features are underwhelming for a must-see film. Luckily, the DVD is worth the purchase just for the movie itself.