“We see someone in trouble and we think we would help. But we don’t.” –Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson)
One can’t help but notice how super hero movies have dominated our cultural landscape. From Spider-Man to Batman, Superman to Iron Man, our comic book heroes have been landing on the silver screen in ever increasing numbers. How many times have we fantasized about being super heroes? About being the one who swoops in and rescues people? About being the one who busts through the doors in the knick of time? About just being extra-ordinary?
Adapting the comic book by Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr., Kick Ass, begins with that desire.
“What does it take to make a superhero? Optimism and naivete.” –Dave
Dave Lizewski is “the last person you’d expect to be a super hero.” He’s ordinary, invisible, and puts on a green jumpsuit with yellow piping to become a masked crime-fighter. His super-power? His ability to get his ass kicked. He has no special abilities or physical … anything. Only a heart in the right place, the will to act where others don’t; to jump in and do something while everyone else watches. So when he strolls down the street in full battle regalia, there is a certain nobility to his ridiculous appearance.
There’s not so much a plot as much as a collection of characters destined to eventually collide together, from a mobster’s son who tries to uncover Kick-Ass’ identity by becoming a superhero himself, the Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) to Hit Girl/Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz), a gun-toting, purple-haired, prepubescent martial-arts expert. The Punisher in a school girl outfit.
“How far would you go to help your fellow man?”
People don’t want to risk. It’s as if we’ve bought into the belief that we’re called to be safe. Yet there’s no such thing as safety. Evil happens. Evil people also have free wills and make their decision to inflict their brand of evil on others. Boils down to whether we will have a life based in assurance or based in anxiety. We can live in a state of freedom in life, having a state of peace, faith, and confidence stemming from the assurance that we have in Christ Jesus. OR, we can continue on our own way, left to our own devices, with fear, doubt, and insecurity, trapped in a cycle of spiritual death. This assurance springs from faith in God as the ultimate protector, that sense that He is the ultimate, faithful judge. It doesn’t mean that He will spare you from every bad thing that could happen to you, but it does mean that we trust in Him ultimately exposing evil for what it is, and avenging us.
“One individual can make a difference.” –Red Mist
We can’t live from a place of fear. We can’t be afraid to love out of fear. All we can do is love without taking one another for granted, pray for one another’s continued safety, and be there for one another when the bad times come. We’re called to radical action. We’re called to protect the “least of these”—the poor, the widows, the orphans, the powerless—and to lay down our lives for our neighbors. Dave is a perfect picture of the Church in becoming a force unlike the world has ever seen. We each have our own gifts and an obligation to use them. We can say all we want, but is what we do with our gifts that define who we are. We may not leap tall buildings, swing on super strong webbing, put on hefty suits of armor, or have expensive toys, but we have the desire and the opportunities.
“With no power comes no responsibility.” –Kick Ass
Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake), Kick Ass knows its audience expects a high octane and ultraviolent romp. For that true “guy-gasm” moment, a movie like this has to be over the top (thankfully toning down some of the excess of the comic), winking at its audience to sit back and enjoy the ride (what separates the exuberant joy of a Wanted from the turgid clip of a Hitman). And it delivers what it promises.