This past Friday’s episode of WandaVision had a scene where Wanda and Pietro made a reference to Kick Ass. It was funny because both the actor who played Pietro in the episode, Evan Peters, and the actor who originated the role of Pietro in the MCU, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, appeared in the movie Kick Ass. It had been quite awhile since I saw the Mark Millar inspired comic book movie.
Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. originated the characters of Kick Ass and Hit Girl in a Marvel Comics book (under the company’s Icon Comics imprint), which was reprinted in Image Comics.
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) was a comic book geek who always wanted to be a superhero. One day, Dave decided to order himself a green wet suit and become Kick Ass, posting his adventures online. Since Dave had no specific super powers, his fights as Kick Ass were less than impressive, though the exploits did create an online sensation.
Kick Ass’s efforts drew the attention of vigilante Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his daughter Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), whose revenge campaign against drug kingpin Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) was just beginning. Dave finds himself deep in a violent world of vengeance.
Kick Ass is a remarkably violent and bloody film, anchored by the fun and charismatic characters of Kick Ass and Hit Girl. I have never been a huge fan of the bloody murdering super hero (Punisher type). Growing up with Spider-Man, I have always been of the mind that super heroes do not kill. However, there is no denying the charm of the film and the heroic aspects of the characters, especially Kick Ass, who lacked any measurable skills or abilities for the role. His desire to do good outweighed his own personal danger and that is absolutely what a hero is.
Nicolas Cage was fantastic here. Kick Ass marked a bit of a resurgence for Nic Cage, moving into a different stage of his career. Big Daddy loved his daughter above all else…except perhaps for his vengeance. He is the type of character that could have been fascinating to go into a deeper dive with considering the argument that he is totally off-kilter would not be incorrect. Cage dresses Big Daddy in a Batman-like outfit and the connection to Batman, using his young ward in his fight against crime, is unmistakable. The film touches on, but does not go into great detail, about the moral implications of this partnership.
There are some gay moments and uses in the movie that may not play as well in 2021 as they did in 2010.
Kick Ass does a great job of combining the world of four-color comic books with the brutal world of vigilante heroes. The violence, at times, borders on comical, but there are other times (for example the internet streaming of the torture of Big Daddy and Kick Ass) where the violence was all too real.
Director Matthew Vaughn brings his typical level of style and visual acumen to Kick Ass, overcoming, perhaps, the slightness of the plot. The film was a huge success in the early days of the current renaissance of the comic book movie genre.