Kick-Ass may be the name of the titular hero, but Hit-Girl is the real star of this super-cool, uber-violent comic book movie adaptation.
Kick-Ass is really a superhero origin story about a seventeen year old, nerdy hormonal teenager who poses the simple question, "Why are there not any real-life costume wearing superheroes with the amount of comic book fans out there?"
So with the aid of the internet to protect his anonymity, Dave Lizewski buys a green ski-suit and mask with bright yellow piping and embarks on his crime-fighting and super-heroic activities, like jumping tall buildings in a single bound and rescuing lost cats.
Coming across some thugs trying to steal a car, who have previously bullied and robbed his teenage alter-ego, he tries to dole out his own brand of justice, but the attempt leaves him with a knife in the gut and the victim of a hit and run accident.
I can't fly. But I can kick your ass.
Surviving the experience with nerve damage and skeletal supports resembling comic book hero, Wolverine, he's undeterred and ventures back out into the night to right wrongs.
I can't see through walls. But I can kick your ass.
Stumbling on three hoods pursuing a lone victim, he steps in to protect him and even though he's almost beaten to a messy pulp, his heroics are captured on film and he becomes an overnight internet sensation. He even spawns a wave of vigilante imitators and that's when the movie gets interesting - enter 'Hit-Girl' and her father 'Big Daddy'.
I can't be invisible. But I can kick your ass.
Overall this is the super colourful spandex world of Spider-man and not the grim and gritty visual world of The Dark Knight, so it's amazing that it's more a vigilante-themed movie than traditional superhero fare. In fact Big Daddy is more the embodiment of Marvel Comics 'Punisher' than any of his own big screen outings.
I can't read your mind. But I can kick your ass.
Aaron Johnson plays a more than believable nerdy teen turned hero, and Nicholas Cage is a bit of a revelation as Big Daddy (he's surprisingly good), Christopher Mintz-Plasse adds humour and broadens his acting repertoire beyond his 'Superbad' origins as the double-crossing 'Red Mist', but the foul-mouthed eleven year old Hit-Girl is the most 'kick-ass' thing about the movie.
Whereas the titular hero plays at being a superhero, she's the real deal with her ninja and gun-toting skills and her character is played so convincingly buy the superb Chloe Moretz.
I thought that she had a maturity as Joseph Gordon-Levitt's sister in 500 Days of Summer, but she's simply a joy to watch as Hit-Girl and has a real intensity and great acting range.
She reminds me of a young Uma Thurman from 'Kill Bill' with her fighting prowess, in fact the whole movie kind of is reminiscent of Tarantino's cult epic, especially by interweaving the animation style comic book flashback.
So she does steal the show, but the movie really does have a lot going for it. It's ultra-violent but the brutal stabbing and beatings just add to the realism of Kick-Ass' transformation from high school kid to costumed hero.
There are brilliant stunts and superbly choreographed action set pieces that make you go 'wow'. It has great observations of teen and pop culture culture and modern day relevance.
There are raging hormones, teen rites of passage, sex, swearing and the antipathy of youth. Rather than call 911 for help they stand around recording everything on their cell phones. But with all this said, it still feels like a real-life superhero tale and that's part of its charm.
There's a few things I could have done without. Does being gay always have to be the worst thing a teenage boy worries about, does cinema really have to reinforce these negative stereotypes? Would the geek really get the hot girl? I'm not so sure.
The end of the movie also seems a bit over the top with the reveal of what was in the box that Hit-Girl ordered for $300k off the internet, after the real-life build up to the movie.
However I think it still works as jam-packed action movie and deserves five ***** stars for pure entertainment value.
I can't fly, read minds, walk through walls or turn invisible, but I sincerely hope I can kick-ass too (or at least get to see a sequel)...