Drama/Comedy, 96 Minutes, 2010:
This is an incredible film if you’re able to accept it. If there’s a problem with it (and there isn’t) it’s that it assumes a lot of its audience. So if you think there’s a problem with it (you’re wrong) then it’s really just you. My guess is that you’re an idiot. That’s really nothing to be ashamed of – lots of people are – but you may not enjoy this movie. Everybody else: you’re in for a treat.
That’s not to say that you’ll leave this movie happy. Many people (and all the idiots) will continue to consider this movie a comedy long after they should. They’re missing the point and will leave the movie guilt-ridden and uncomfortable. This movie is harsh and often brutal. What you laugh at in the beginning turns sour and dark as the story progresses and you’re forced to constantly reevaluate your acceptance of the situation.
The amazingly good “Kick-ass” tried to tell us what it would be like is real-people tried to be super-heroes but was unable to completely escape the comic-book clichés. Here we see a much more believable portrayal. What kind of personality would take such a role on? (Hint: a deranged one.) What would happen when they start to enforce their morality? (Hint: nothing good.) What would happen when they begin to attract other, like-minded people? (Hint: even less good.)
The story attacks our motivations head-on and the choice of Rainn Wilson as star is inspired in this respect. His quiet certitude transitioning in a beat to passionate demand for respect is perfect. Ellen Page as his impish (but equally broken) confidant provides a tremendously apt counter-balance and a frenetic energy near the end of the film that feels like nothing less than a schizophrenic break. Kevin Bacon leans a bit too far into ham territory but it works well for the purpose.
This is a movie that unabashedly challenges its viewers. If you’re up to the challenge it’s completely rewarding. If not you’ll end up embarrassing yourself by telling your friends that “it started out funny, then got really weird”.