For the past few weeks, my mother has been telling me that she wants to see Kick-Ass and that she wants me to take her. The commercials and trailers for the movie, you see, have been aiming for mass appeal—the kind of marketing that overlooks the fact that this film actually has a very dirty mouth (the 11-year-old girl in it drops the C-bomb [c*nt] early on), an extremely violent streak (a bad guy is microwaved until he explodes into a shower of blood and flesh), and raging hormones (a shot of a trashcan full of post-masturbation tissues says it all). If I had actually gone to see this with my mom, she would've been mortally offended and I would've sunken so far down in my theater seat that I would've all but disappeared.
Yup, it's the sort of misleading advertising that makes people like my mother think that Kick-Ass, which features a trio of teen superhero wannabes, is a family-friendly affair, with acceptable comic-book violence in the vein of, say, Iron Man or Spider-Man. No, this movie is not what she thinks it is. And up until this weekend, I didn't have a clue either. I just knew that the trailers looked a little bit lame.
What I've realized after seeing Kick-Ass—with a group of friends who had a rollicking great time—is that the trailers make the film look like what would've happened if a Hollywood studio tinkered with the filmmakers' (writer/director Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman) vision, which is based on the very adult comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
What Kick-Ass actually is, is a funny, crass, no-holds-barred ride, packed with fight scenes that you'll be talking about for days—the aforementioned girl (played by a dynamic Chloe Moretz) not only kicks ass, but she also shoots, stabs, and kills with abandon and glee. It's a movie with an irreverent, uncompromised voice, which, incidentally, Roger Ebert finds "morally reprehensible." Yes, this might be one of those love-it-or-hate-it films, one that boldly eschews comic-book violence in favor of graphic violence that tries to make each shot, stab, and kill really hurt. In Kick-Ass, ass-kicking has consequences.
By the way, the nerdy lead actor, Aaron Johnson...
...is actually jaw-droppingly hot (click to engorge, er, I mean, enlarge):