Violence. It’s not a bad word. It’s the cornerstone of what every comic geek in the world, including myself, loves. Anybody who says differently is lying to him or herself or has not really embraced the true themes of a superhero world. Take the greats for example: from Superman to Spider Man to Batman, all of these characters are based on a violent, painful event that triggers their unique needs to fight crime and be what every awkward tween and teen has desired from the first time they experienced Wolverine “snickting” out his claws – be a superhero. Violence is the beginning. And deep down, down in the recesses of our souls, deep in the little crevasses where we hide the drawings of what we would look like as our own kind of superhero, we crave the violence and the ability to put down the bad guy. You know it’s true. Hulk versus the Thing is one of the all-time classics in comic lore and it’s because we got what we wanted. Violence.

It’s OK. The first step is admitting we have a problem.

Punisher, Green Lantern, Captain America, etc., on and on and so forth, all these characters have delivered for years because when the writers sit down and work with the illustrators, they give the fans what they want.


And that is what we have here. Violence. Sweet, super-powered violence. And I’m addicted.

Directed by Mathew Vaughn (“Layer Cake”) and based on the recent, classic comic book of the same name by writer Mark Millar and illustrated by (the always amazing) John Romita, Jr., “Kick-Ass” is the modern tale of a young boy, his love of comic books and the desire to do something right. Dave Lizewski (played by a very likable Aaron Johnson) is just like most of the American teen population of the world. He dreams about girls, he loves fantastic things and most of all; he wants to kick someone’s ass … as a superhero. And one day, he does just that. Dave finds an interesting outfit as his hero garb takes on the name Kick-Ass and steps out on the street to do good. With bad, painful results, but he still does something. Meanwhile, disgraced officer Damon Macready (a ticky Nicolas Cage) is preparing his incredibly adorable daughter, Mindy, to become the most “killer” weapon in his personal war on big, bad crime boss Fran D’Amico (the excellent Mark Strong). Together, as Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, Macready is bringing the pain and destroying the system, one bullet at a time.

Sound a little ridiculous? It’s not really. What really helps this film work is that it’s based on our gritty, fast-paced and sometimes unbelievable society. With current events and pop culture references (some that, unless you’re a comic book fan, you won’t get) oozing out the dialogue, this film delivers in a style that speaks directly to the fans that it’s meant to embrace.
At the same time, along with the action bits, this film is funny. Not just the “weird situations” and you “kind of giggle nervously” funny. Nope, this film is hilarious. Vaughn has clearly understood what kind of film he was making and he is not afraid to allow the characters to comment on what is happening around them. Nice.

OK, now back to the violence. Is it morally wrong to have an 11-year-old girl murder bad guys and speak some of the foulest language caught on camera? Yeah, but it sure is fun. “Kick-Ass” is exactly the kind of hero story that fans have been looking for and the best part is, the characters all are realized out of the violence that surrounds them. Take Strong as DiAmico, he’s not some pretty overdressed prima donna. No, he’s a mean, cynical, tough guy that is a true reflection of the streets that he holds dominion over. Another example — Cage’s character. Macready/Big Daddy is just as much a dork as Dave is, but he has the training, the know-how and passion to do something right. All these characters are reflections of each other and they all share a basic desire and that is what keeps the audience engaged, interested and clapping. Well, that and the violence.

The biggest breakout in this film is Hit Girl. Actress Chloe Moretz (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid,”  “Bolt”) is exceptional as the heroine and steals the show from everyone else. Hit Girl’s high-action and hair-raising language are amazing to watch and the confidence of her character is truly the glue that holds the film together. Every scene she is in is gold and when she’s not on screen, you can just feel yourself asking, “Where’s Hit-Girl?”

Of course, the film’s not perfect. There are a few scenes that could have been edited down and the awkward thing for some, the characters seem to go on and on but overall, it is still nothing I would complain about. Toward the end, there is a sort of silly “hero-shot” that you kind of groan at, but ehh.

Overall, should you see this film? Hell yes! Of course, don’t take your kids and probably leave some of the elderly crowd at home, but if you are looking for a great action ride that’s not as heavy as the Dark Knight and much better than the Emo-centric “Spider-Man 3,” then sit down, grab your popcorn and go Kick-Ass!

4 out of 5 bloody batons.

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