Kick-Ass (2009 112 min.) [Film4 12.20am sunday &+1]
Action comedy drama starring Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong and Chloë Moretz. In an effort to improve his image, comic-book nerd Dave Lizewski decides to reinvent himself as a superhero, despite not actually having any special powers. However, this doesn't stop him becoming an internet sensation and attracting the attention of some rather unsavoury characters.
There's two ways of making a film based on a graphic novel or long running comic book : you can treat the source work with reverence (but the danger then is that you end up with Wolverine) or you can accept the fact that the concept of super heroes is inherently absurd and make a film that delivers plenty of fun, fighting and frolics while not taking yourself seriously or treating the material as sacred text.
Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman did some impressive work with their previous film, the charming and very funny adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, and they apply the same formula here. There's plenty of laugh out loud moments and sly humour in among the expected fists'n'fury set-pieces.
(Then) rising British star Aaron Johnson leads a cast who are firing on all ironic cylinders : Mark Strong as the baddest of all evil doers equally happy dispatching those in his employ who fail him or attempting to stamp on a child's face! ; Nicolas Cage is superbly wooden as the personification of a traditional comic book hero, complete with faltering Adam West speech patterns.
And the astonishing turn by Chloe Moretz as a potty-mouthed tiny teen one-girl wrecking crew, which is superbly handled by the director and executed by the young actor.
Kick-Ass is two hours of brilliantly constructed fun that everybody needs to see at least once.