Looking back over the last three decades of superhero movies, it’s interesting to note the successes and failures. Batman (both Burton and Nolan)? Your basic box office gangbusters. The Hulk and Superman? No so much. It seems like, more and more, audiences like to be able to identify with their caped crusader, be it brooding and darkly knighted, or spidery and adolescently geeked. While the traditional comic book bad-ass with his x-ray vision and sonic speed gets relegated to a second slot in the cultural conversation, we keep cheering and cheering for the everyday masked vigilante (with exceptions) who look and talks like us - or how we wish we were.
This week, Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Kick-Ass will unveil yet another layer in this ongoing social saga. The story centers on a young comic nerd named Dave Lizewski who longs to be like his favorite pen and ink crusaders. Deciding that he will be the first “average guy” to actually emulate his obsession, he dons a line green wet suit and christens himself Kick-Ass. A popular MySpace page and one epic fail later, and he is teamed up with the vendetta-driven duo of Big Daddy and his daughter Hit-Girl. Both have taken the notion of homegrown interpersonal justice to decidedly deadly ends. The target of their secret ID wrath? The crime kingpin Frank D’Amico and his entire redolent racketeering organization.