The answer, of course, is that in the real world there are consequences: sometimes lethal. Sometimes, others die as an indirect result of a super hero’s actions. Some die by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Several movies have been made with this idea in mind: Defendor, Special, Super, Boy Wonder and Griff the Invisible. All of these movies deal with the ramifications of fighting crime with no super powers, no huge trust fund, little or no training. Some of the characters are even delusion about their abilities.
Kick Ass is the story of high school student Dave Lizewski (played by Aaron Taylor-Jonson) whose only super power is “being invisible to girls.” What he lacks in talent, he makes up for with determination. Soon after becoming a costumed vigilante, he almost dies after being stabbed in a confrontation. But instead of giving up, he doubles his training efforts. Later, he interrupts a beating-in-progress, which is captured on video and posted on YouTube. He adopts the name “Kick-Ass” as his super hero handle, due to his brute-force crime fighting style.
After becoming an Internet sensation, he captures the attention of self-trained super hero Big Daddy and his 13 year old, foul-mouthed daughter, Hit Girl (played by Chloe Grace Moretz.) Unfortunately, Kick-Ass also comes to the attention of a ruthless gangster, Frank D’Amico (played by Mark Strong), and his son, Chris (played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad fame) who later becomes Red Mist.
Ostensibly set real world, no one has super powers. There are serious consequences: people die, often horribly. The film is very violent, in fact overly so during the final showdown.
As Kick Ass 2 opens Kick Ass continues to fight crime. He feels exposed as he patrols and fights crime by himself. He calls upon Hit Girl to help him improve his skills. They do train for a while, but Hit Girl’s guardian catches her ditching school and helping Kick-Ass, she is grounded and made to promise that she will attend school and stop her crime fighting activities. She tries to be just a regular girl. She tries to fit in and seems to be adjusting well when a popular girl takes her under her wing.
The popularity of Kick Ass had caused a rash of regular people donning costumes to fight crime. Kick-Ass joins in with a group lead by Colonel Stars and Stripes (played by Canadian Jim Carey.) Red Mist becomes a super villain whose name cannot be repeated here. Ultimately, Kick-Ass confronts his old nemesis the former Red Mist. The end leaves room for Kick Ass 3. If you watch this movie, make sure you watch the credits until the very end, there is an Easter egg for those who are patient.
These films are dark yet very humorous at the same time. Hit Girl (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) has been trained by her father to be lethal; she kills several people during the course of the movie. But she also has an extremely foul mouth, which is used to great comedic effect. She usually dispatches villains after delivering a funny (but very foul-mouthed) quip. Just about everything she says is sarcastic, foul-mouthed and mean-spirited but very funny. It is hard to say if she is one of the “good guys” or not due to the shear amount of homicides and maiming she commits. Her father, Big Daddy, is a borderline psychopath; he warped his daughter by making her into a killing machine. Kick Ass is definitely in way over his head, but seems to have lots and lots of luck. Red Mist, who later becomes Kick-Ass’s nemesis, is a spoiled brat, but has lots of money. His weakness and intellectuality are played to great comic effect.
These are definitely not children’s super hero movies. There is lots of foul language (much of it uttered by an underage girl) and lots of extreme violence.
Worth a look if you like dark comedic movies and don’t mind hyper violence.
Skip them if a foul-mouthed teenaged girl puts you off.
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MDE’s Self Appointed Movie Critic