By CRAIG YOUNKIN – April 16, 2010
Normal people being superheros. “The Dark Knight” already taught us what a horrible idea that was, but fine, I was willing to give a comedy about it a try. So “Kick-Ass” takes this jokey, cartoonish premise and spends much of its ridiculously long run-time not being funny right before it switches gears into an overbearingly violent second half that doesn’t have a believable moment in it. Based on a comic book series, the movie centers around Dave (Aaron Johnson), a hormonal nerd whose read too many comics and thought “why not me?” So he dons green tights and sets out to fight crime. Also on his side are father-daughter duo Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz). Daddy spends much of his time with his daughter either ordering guns online, or outfitting her in a bullet-proof vest and shooting her at point- blank range to rid her of a fear of guns (or something like that). If you don’t find that funny, then you’re in for a long movie. Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) plays a mob-boss caricature. He enlists his son Chris (Christopher Mintz Plasse) to become a superhero in order to gain the trust of the others, so he can kill them. There is your plot right there. The jokes are lame. Little kids curse, the girl that Dave likes thinks he’s gay, goons under the mob boss act characteristically dumb. Nothing clever ever happens with any of this. It’s hard to tell whether you’re supposed to take the heroes seriously or even care about them. They put on these silly looking costumes and seem like either dead weight (Kick-Ass) or mentally damaged (Hit-Girl especially). Then the second half explodes into bombastic, bloody, and disturbing violence as the “normals” turn into trained killers. I was expecting funny, but this stuff is just silly.