Kick-Ass is one of those movies you'll probably either love or hate. If you take something like this film out of the realm of satire and try to look at it from a real world perspective, you will probably find it not only offensive, but a horrible influence on younger minds. But if you do that, you're missing the point entirely and I'd suggest that you skip it. Nobody is forcing you to see it. And you can object in the comfort of your own home by changing the channel when you see a movie trailer. If you're old enough to understand what Kick-Ass is about, but too old to see it the rampant violence as anything but rampant violence… again, I recommend you skip this film.
Obviously this isn't a movie for kids under a certain age. I suspect that age may be the middle teenage years, but your mileage may vary based on the kids involved. If you don't think your kids can handle separating fact from fiction and reality from satire, then this isn't a movie for them. It's that simple. We don't need any kids running around thinking they can fight crime in costumes. The results would vary from minor injuries to death, and it's kind of tough to recover from that.
That said, what is this movie about? Kick-Ass is a movie based on a comic book series written by Mark Millar and illustrated by John Romita, Jr. that was published by Marvel Comics under their Icon imprint back in 2008. The story focuses on teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) who decides he'll take a crack at becoming a real life superhero called "Kick-Ass." Lizewski manages to get his butt seriously kicked his first time out, but that doesn't deter him from doing it again. And when he gets caught on amateur video, he's an overnight sensation.
Lizewski is enjoying his new fame so much he doesn't notice he's getting pulled into a bigger war between a crime kingpin, Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong, Sherlock Holmes and the upcoming Robin Hood) and an ex-cop turned vigilante, Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage, National Treasure and the upcoming The Sorcerer's Apprentice). Macready has donned the persona "Big Daddy" and dressed himself up as a wanna-be Batman while taking out parts of D'Amico's operation a bit at a time. Along the way, Macready trained his 11-year-old daughter Mindy (Chloe Moretz, (500) Days of Summer) to be a lethal killing machine herself, donning the persona of "Hit-Girl."
Add to that D'Amico's son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad, Role Models, and Year One), who wants to become part of the "family business" but is still considered a kid by his father. To get his dad's attention, he comes up with a plan to help stop the costumed crime-fighters causing his father trouble by becoming a costumed hero himself and calling himself "Red Mist." But will Red Mist help his father stop Kick-Ass, Big Daddy, and Hit-Girl permanently or help the heroes stop crime in the city?
The only way to really describe Kick-Ass is as an orgy of violence and gunfire. There are enough weapons in this film to stock a National Guard armory and enough ammunition fired for a small war. And watching young Moretz as Hit-Girl is both disturbing and entertaining as she attacks this role with unsuppressed glee. It's obvious this was a role she was born to play.
For me, the only weak spot in the cast is Cage as Macready. I just didn't buy him as an ex-cop focused on a vendetta. Sure, the costume is there and the cool room with all the firearms — but he never sold the role to me. Maybe it was because the majority of the cast appears so much younger than Cage on screen. I really don't know. But it isn't enough to spoil the raw entertainment of watching things develop as the movie progressed.
Kick-Ass has been compared favorably to Zombieland, and I can see the comparison. But Zombieland worked a bit better for me as a whole, even though I absolutely loved Moretz as Hit-Girl. Though Johnson's Kick-Ass gets top billing, the movie should have been called "Hit-Girl," 'cause that's who you end up watching on screen.
So I'll reiterate that if you can't get past the idea of gratuitous violence, gunfire, and an 11-year-old girl committing some serious carnage, I'd skip Kick-Ass. But if you can get past that, be sure to leave the kiddies at home and enjoy this amazing display of comic book destruction. And if you get a chance, be sure to read the original Kick-Ass comic book series as well — I'll be ordering mine soon!