Mr. Movie

'Kick-Ass' kicks ass

The era of comic book super heroes began in the late 1930s.

We’ve all been influenced by them and the message of truth, justice and the American way. I can’t speak for women but what guy hasn’t — at one time or another — fantasized about being a super hero?

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Even after comics began a slow evolution to darker material in the 1960s and when graphic novels began appearing in the mid-1970s, some of us still dreamed of doing the super-hero thing. The reality: most of us are motivated one way or another to save the world.

That’s what happens to ordinary high school teen Dave Lizewski. Unable to resist the temptation to make a difference, he dons a dorky green costume, calls himself Kick-Ass and tries to fight crime. The venture is a disaster that nearly gets him killed — twice. After becoming an Internet phenom, Kick-Ass meets real-deal crime fighters the Batmanish Big Daddy and their version of Robin, Hit Girl.

They’re out to do in a vicious mobster.

Translating the two-dimensional characters of comics and graphic novels to a three-dimensional world is tricky. So is re-creating the chaos and gimmicks to make the violence believable. Director Matthew Vaughn and his writing partner Jane Goldman (Stardust) — who, by the way, should do more movies — get the job done with punchy dialogue and pitch-perfect sets and stunts.

One criticism of Kick-Ass. Violence and gore is expected in comics and graphic novels and few parents pay attention. Movies are a different story. The industry has a rating system. Enthusiasm to remain faithful to the chosen material often causes producers, writers and directors to forget a big part of the target audience. In the case of Kick-Ass, the audience is teens.

Most will not be able to get into the film without mom, dad or a supervising adult. That’s ironic. Comic book creator and legend Mark Millar probably didn’t see the dysfunctional family themes in Kick-Ass becoming a family bonding tool.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated R for language, violence and mature themes. It opens Friday, April 16 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.