Kick-Ass (2010)
January 5, 2023 7:14 AM - Subscribe

Using his love for comics as inspiration, teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to reinvent himself as a superhero -- despite a complete lack of special powers. Dave dons a costume, dubs himself "Kick-Ass," and gets to work fighting crime. He joins forces with the father/daughter vigilante team of Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloƫ Grace Moretz), then befriends another fledgling crime-fighter called Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), but a scheming mobster soon puts their alliance to the test.

Also starring Mark Strong, Clark Duke, Lyndsy Fonseca, Evan Peters, Michael Rispoli, Omari Hardwick, Sophie Wu, Craig Ferguson, Elizabeth McGovern, Deborah Twiss.

Written and directed by Matthew Vaughn, based on the comics by Mark Millar.

76% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I need to revisit this. I remember it being a lot of fun but I don't really remember it very clearly. I even forgot Nicholas Cage is in it! How does one forget Nicholas Cage!
posted by miss-lapin at 7:20 AM on January 5

I remembered this wrong. In my memory, it was kind of bro-y and silly, but on rewatch, it has hilarious contempt for performative masculinity, and presents a view in which superheroes would need to be deluded, unhinged, or both.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:28 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]

It is interesting to compare this to the original comic. In general, I think Mark Millar's work has a lot of toxic elements in it, and the Kick-Ass comic is no exception to that. There's some thinly veiled racism -- Dave doesn't get the girl he's after, instead she goes off with a black guy, and it's pretty clear that it's the race issue that really gets to Dave, especially when she sends him a pic of her blowing her new boyfriend. On the other hand, in the comic Big Daddy's whole story about being a former cop trying to take down organized crime is revealed to be a lie -- he's a lonely accountant who made it all up and paid for his equipment by selling his comic book collection. The movie instead takes it seriously, making BD a legitimate "hero" of sorts. But in general, there's a lot of frustrated young white male resentment in the comic -- sexual frustration, resentment at "undeserving" types, etc. The movie is a lot more fun and generally speaking more positive.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:46 AM on January 5 [6 favorites]

And yeah, Nic Cage is amazing in this. Jim Carrey plays a similar, but much less entertaining, character in the far less enjoyable sequel.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:47 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]

I don't think Mark Millar is a good writer -- his idea of "satire" appears to be saying sexist, racist, homophobic and otherwise toxic stuff that it sounds like he actually believes -- but he does come up with good concepts. More talented people are able to turn them into good movies sometimes. This is one.

That said, John Romita, Jr., who's for my money one of the best superhero comics artists of all time, is the co-creator of the comic, and does a genuinely fantastic job. Millar, for all his faults as a creator, seems incredibly aware of the value of artists to comics (seemingly obvious but you'd be surprised), and would probably the first to say the book is as much or more Romita's project.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:49 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

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