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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Teenagers become superheroes

Dave Lizewski, played by Aaron Johnson, gets dressed up as his alter ego Kick-Ass to fight crime. Although the movie is an action flick, it portrays an anti-violent message. Photo courtesy Lionsgate Entertainment
Dave Lizewski, played by Aaron Johnson, gets dressed up as his alter ego Kick-Ass to fight crime. Although the movie is an action flick, it portrays an anti-violent message. Photo courtesy Lionsgate Entertainment

By Joshua Knopp/reporter

Television spots hail Kick-Ass as a combination of Kill Bill and Superbad. And, for once, they’re exactly right.

Kick-Ass centers around Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), an average, well-adjusted teenager who decides to buy a costume and some nightsticks and fight crime. As “Kick-Ass,” Lizewski descends from high school into a mad world of drugs, violence and vigilantes who are far more zealous than he.

This movie, on the surface a high-flying action film with a lightning wit, brings up multiple points about violence in society. In early scenes, it points out our society’s tolerance of violence — as long as the victim is someone else. As Lizewski says after defending a man in a gang-related assault, “You three gang up on one guy while they (an entire restaurant full of people) watch, and you ask what’s wrong with me?”

While certain critics pan this film for its violence and language, particularly from an 11-year-old girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), if one looks deeply at the film, it seems to be against violence. As Hit Girl (Moretz) gleefully kills handfuls of small-time drug dealers at a time, her smile betrays not only her enjoyment but also the deep psychosis behind it, planted there by her father, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage). At one point late in the film, Lizewski looks at his beaten-beyond-recognition face in the mirror and seems to wonder how he went from a naïve high-schooler with a fancy set of pajamas to full-on involvement in a gang war.

Kick-Ass puts violence on display, yes, but it is never displayed in a positive light.

The unhealthy relationship between Big Daddy and Hit Girl also runs much deeper than what is caught on camera. Big Daddy, an ex-cop, was framed and put in prison by Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), a regional drug lord. Enduring his wife’s subsequent suicide, along with the general prison experience, drives Big Daddy over the edge to the point that he teaches his daughter, Hit Girl, how to fight and kill with him in his bloody vendetta against D’Amico. This relationship displays not only the madness and violence inherent in hard-core vigilantism but also a child being obligated to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Covering violence, parental loyalty, young sexuality, early relationships, revenge and madness, Kick-Ass somehow maintains its action pedigree and keeps audiences entertained on the basest level with its high-octane action sequences while still forcing audiences to think. This is the first movie of its kind since The Dark Knight and is easily the best movie to come out this year. Daybreakers is the only thing that even comes close.

Final take: A violent, funny and indescribably dark window into society and high-school life.

Those who will enjoy it: Anyone who doesn’t have an irrational hatred of violence and profanity will enjoy this movie.

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