Dave Lipewski decides to become a superhero, and orders himself a costume off the web. He’s motivated by nothing really strong in particular, apart from a sort of general desire to do well. Unfortunately, his first outing ends disastrously, but he tries again, and bumbles his way into success, aided by a bemused public that sticks up videos of his first real fight with gangbangers on Youtube. And his superhero name, Kick-Ass, is sort of what a teenage boy with superhero delusions – er, sorry, ambitions, would call himself.
But there are real and more competent superheroes out there, fighting a real war against a crime cartel and Kick-Ass gets mixed up into the entire drama. This movie uses the awkwardness of high school, geek culture and modern media to good effect. In a way, Kick-Ass is like a response to Spiderman. Spiderman got his powers, used them for his own benefit and Uncle Ben died, so he had to use his powers responsibly. Kick-Ass wants to become a superhero, doesn’t have powers, but tries anyway, even though he’s not ‘obligated’ to. The more competent heroes, Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, were fun, especially with Nicholas Cage doing a performance even hammier than his Ghost Rider one. It works much better in this film because it doesn’t take itself all that seriously.
The movie starts of grounded in awkward, teenage reality and then, gradually drifts into a proper sort of superhero universe, with characters driven by superhero tropes and dramatics. It’s like Dave created a Donnie Darko-like tangent universe where he could live out his fantasy. Hmm, since the tone shift occurs after Dave gets beaten for the first time – could he have died and shifted into some sort of tangent afterlife? (Maybe I’m reading too much into this or something.)
Anyway, four out of five villain-beating batons from me.