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I’ve never really been into comic books. The closest I came was Beano and the occasional sneaky peak at my sister’s stash of Judy and Bunty. Nuff said. I saw Kick Ass tonight, a spontaneous choice as Alice In Wonderland was not showing, and I’m glad I missed Tim Burton’s apparently flawed film for something that, well, kicked ass.

There have been hypocritical moans from the media about the extreme violence, especially when coming from a foul-mouthed 11-year old girl. I personally found Bugsy Malone quite violent and there wasn’t an ounce of blood shed. Call me peculiar. Its a thoroughly enjoyable, laugh out loud film from Matthew Vaughn and, aside from the more obvious laughs, its full of equally sidesplitting in jokes. Take, for instance, lead character and wannabe super hero Dave Lizewski, played by Aaron Johnson. A regular high school teenager. A little bit goofy but in a cute way. Not too far from Aaron Johnson himself, who in real life is engaged to the artist Sam Taylor Wood, about twenty years his senior. The classroom scene where Johnson fantasises about his middle aged teacher’s (who also happens to be English) ample bosom is absolutely hilarious on two levels. (a) It is funny. (b) It is funny because its a self-concious wink-wink at the reality of now pregnant Taylor Wood and Johnson. Milfs and Twinks.

The room that leads to bad guy Frank D’Amico’s (Mark Strong) office is like a miniature YBA retrospective. It’s full of artwork (real?) by Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk and co. Then there’s that poster of Claudia Schiffer, Vaughn’s wife. I think this self-referential approach is the film’s saving grace. It feels very personal. As for little girls with guns, well, Leon, anyone? Kill Bill Lucy Liu sequence? Nothing new here. It is a violent film but in a  super-exaggerated way. Just like a comic book. The Britney Spears outfit on the oddly cute Chloe “Hit Girl” Moretz is another example of how Kick Ass cleverly dips into popular culture.

The idea of normal civilians becoming super heroes isn’t totally new though. Who remembers Condor Man? Shame on you if you do!