Kick Ass – 4.5 stars

A high school boy (Aaron Johnson, who played a young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy) decides he will simply purchase an outfit and proclaim himself a super hero.  One modest success leads to a knife-in-the-belly and being run over by a car, but he does not lose heart, and returns to the streets with steel-reinforced bones.  Soon, he’s a web-hero, attracting not only the attention of cruel mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and his wannabe son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) but of the more accomplished super-duo, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage, doing an Adam West impression), and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), Big Daddy’s foul-mouthed, lethal 10 year old daughter.

Funny, clever, and hyper-violent, this is a comic-book movie that engages rather than slams you into a stupor.    Yes, we get some nice, brutal, inspired fight scenes.

But we also get the softer, gentler side of super hero bonding

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