Who's In It: Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
The Basics: A teenage loser (in that She's All That way where they take a good-looking kid and over-curl his hair and put glasses on him) wonders aloud why people don't help one another and why no one in real life ever tries to be a superhero. It's the kind of question only a kid with too much time on his hands would ask because any adult would just say, "Well because I can't fly and I don't have future-weapons at my disposal, that's why." And because when you're young you think nothing bad will ever really happen to you, the kid goes out in a scuba suit with some batons, tries to fight crime and winds up with multiple broken bones and stab wounds. Enter a real-life father/daughter team of ass-kickers who take him under their wing and teach him the trade. R-rated cartoon mayhem fills the rest of the running time.
What's The Deal: At one point this might have been someone's idea of satire (especially the bits where Kick-Ass is at his happiest when he becomes Internet-famous for his deeds) And then, possibly seduced by the joys of exuberant limb-hacking, bazooka-blasting, face-smashing and microwaving some random guy, the movie just decided that thoughtlessness and splatter was its own reward. I'm okay with that. Thoughts can be overrated in extra-violent, gut-level movies where bad guys are getting annihilated by people who are so cool and adept with weaponry that all you can do is bow to their skill. Especially when those thoughts don't really hold up to any kind of scrutiny. I wanted to see asses kicked and that's what I got. Left happy.
Stealing The Movie Away From Its Star: That's young Chloe Moretz as "Hit Girl," a tiny superheroine groomed into a lifestyle of extreme violence (and extra-bad swear words) by her vengeance-seeking father Nicolas Cage. The movie loves her and is amused by him, especially when he puts on his Batman-like suit and begins talking like Adam West. And when they're on screen you forget about Aaron Johnson. That's bad for him but good for you.
Comic Book People, Prepare To Be Divided: I've never read the comic series this is based on. For all I know this movie is remarkably faithful or else it takes ruinous detours. Regardless, it begins as one thing and ends as another, maybe even intentionally. But as a story about real people considering the logic and consequences of comic book universes which then decides to fly off the handle and be its own comic book universe where there are no logical rules or consequences, it's a little tough to wrap up in any kind of consistent, coherent way.
People Who Freak Out When Little Girls Commit Adult Brutalisms, Prepare To Be Freaked Out: When I say that Moretz has to utter some terrible things and commit terrible acts (like wholesale slaughter of dozens of people), I'm not joking. The movie wants you to see her not as the kind of real human being it gives you in Johnson, but as an invincible force that can stand it when she has to occasionally take it, as opposed to just dishing it out. Still, it's unsettling to watch grown men beating up a little girl. It just is.