(2010) ★½

Film4: Saturday 27 June, 9pm

Highschool dweeb Aaron Johnson decides the time is right for some costumed crime-fighting on New York’s streets, even though his only ‘super-power’ is ‘being invisible to girls’. Chloë Grace Moretz shows him how to play superhero dress-up for real in potty-mouthed playground action that’ll seem pretty dang cool to Taranteenies. For grown-ups, not so much. In the manner of Jumper, Gamer and Wanted (another dubious comic book by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar), the screenplay is at pains to pander to teenage fanboy fantasies. Of course, cutting-edge humour was bound to be at a premium in a picture from the writer and director responsible for the witless British panto Stardust. In any case, Woody Harrelson’s Canadian comedy Defendor got there first with this particular vigilante schtick – and did it better in what seemed like half the time. (James Gunn’s 2010 comedy Super is likewise superior, and it follows on Film4 at 11.15pm.) In Kick-Ass, none other than Nicolas Cage is Chloë’s Big Daddy. He dresses like Batman and does a really lame Adam West impersonation. All part of the ‘deconstruction’ fun. The big climactic showdown is exactly the kind of setpiece handled with more panache by the likes of Smokin’ Aces and The Punisher. And using Morricone’s Dollars music… that’s cheap (or possibly not, depending on the royalties). Much more of the same can be seen in Kick-Ass 2 (Sky Movies Showcase, Monday at 10pm) since everyone repeats all the mistakes of the first film. Except Nic Cage. He bailed. The Boston Globe put it best: “Kick-Ass 2 is a special kind of crap: the kind smart people make for audiences they think are stupid.” Vaughn, undaunted, intends to make a prequel, because people didn’t show enough love to the sequel (he means at the box office, presumably). Maybe the Boston Globe’s wrong. Maybe the film-makers aren’t so smart.

Certificate: 15

Duration: 117min