3. Nicolas Cage, Burning
I’ve seen the movie three times, and cried a bit each time. The scene in which Kick-Ass and Big Daddy are beaten and set ablaze is horrifying. And the way it plays out – with the fire being struck halfway through Hit Girl’s counter-assault – makes it even more shocking. Hit Girl seems to be taking control of the situation, and we start to think that everything will work out just fine, but then the fire’s lit, and our laughs suddenly turn to shock. Things are not going well. Big Daddy’s death is not only heartbreaking, it fuels the rest of the film in a believable way. Even Kick-Ass, the loser, can’t hold back any more. Too much blood has been spilt because of him, and he owes too much to Hit Girl. So he saddles up for the final brawl, only seconds after Cage utters his final syllable.
2. Hit Girl’s Grand Entrance
Isn’t her introductory shot one of the greatest grand entrances you’ve ever seen? Razul is getting ready to kill Kick-Ass and then, BLAMMO, a spear through the chest, he falls to his knees, and then collapses to the floor, revealing behind him the potty-mouthed little purple-haired warrior. Her presence is totally unexpected, and then completely inescapable, as she systematically destroys the whole room full of drug addicts and goes on to steal the movie.
1. Skyscraper Joy Ride
Most superhero movies can’t quite sustain a full two hours of action. By the time they get to a bloated final showdown, we’re ready to go on our merry way. But there’s something about Kick-Ass that not only keeps us engaged through the jet pack, and the bazooka, but then also through the joy ride that follows, among the skyscrapers of Manhattan. I love that Vaughn pauses here to really bask in this moment: Kick-Ass and Hit Girl have destroyed their enemies, they have proven their mettle, and now the high school loser and fatherless she-devil have their moment in the sunrise, soaring above the Brooklyn Bridge. The fact that this scene can run as long as it does, even after the villain has been killed and the mission has been completed, is a testament to how much we care for the characters, and their moment to relish.
Nine movies out of ten would have seemed gratuitous here, but the fact that we want a moment to celebrate right by their side kind of says it all: Kick-Ass is the real deal. What did you think? Breakthrough? Overhyped? Offensive? Do tell…
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