It’s possible for attitude to be at the expense of context and recognizable behaviour. Kick-Ass is a not-quite-there filtration of Daredevil, Mystery Men and the first Spider-Man (just given less genuine personality and more graphic and racist content). Peter Parker-style high school nerd Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to reinvent himself as crime fighting superhero Kick-Ass because...he suffers some mental illness, I guess? A couple colourful moments, creative deaths and funny references abound (one of the best being Dave’s assertion that the true drawback to death is not knowing the ending of Lost). But its tone is so artificial that it’s tough to find much shocking about comic writer Mark Millar’s and director Matthew Vaughn’s calculated controversies. As a commentary on superhero movies, Kick-Ass isn’t nearly imaginative enough. Vaughn doesn’t know how to turn his mirror beyond insular genre to the culture that demands it. Having characters say “this ownz” a dozen times shows the filmmakers did their research by reading message boards in 2007. At its snarkiest, Kick-Ass plays like a parody that isn’t parodying anything. Be wary of anyone saying it isn’t made for kids.