Kick-Ass (out in cinemas 26th March) tells the story of average teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic-book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. As any good superhero would, he chooses a new name — Kick-Ass — assembles a suit and mask to wear, and gets to work fighting crime. There’s only one problem standing in his way: Kick-Ass has absolutely no superpowers.
Kick-Ass is not the first, and most definitely will not be the last, to try his luck against this dark world with nothing other than crazy ambition and a little bit of naive stupidity. Balls, brawn and little else.
But where does this character’s inspiration come from? Who else has before him has dared to challenge society’s ills, with no actual super power? We share with you our top 5 of the best and worst super powerless super heroes that have made the transition from comic book to silver screen…
Catwoman has appeared in varying forms and with various backgrounds over the years – in TV, comic, books and films. Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt both portrayed Catwoman in the 60’s Batman TV show, but she’s only has had 1 movie outing, in 1992’s Batman Returns, played briliantly by Michelle Pfeiffer. In the film she’s portrayed as a shy woman in her everyday life – but with a deadly alter ego. When Catwoman comes out to play she takes on the persona of a cat- strong, sleek, stealthy, speedy, agile and brimming with intuition. But she treads a thin line between good and bad – because like any wildcat, she’s dangerous, elusive and untamed.
But what about that movie called Catwoman i hear you say? Well, in a car crash of a movie which deservedly won Halle Berry the worst actress Razzie, yes, there was a superhero called Catwoman… but there the similarily ends… The film bore no resemblance to the comic book version. Not only did they change the name of the lead character (Patience Phillips not Selina Kyle), the film’s plot has no relation to Batman or even Gotham City. She actually gained cat like superpowers from an Egyptian cat goddess, rather than just being awesomely kick ass under her own steam.
4. The Punisher
The Punisher is a vigilante who considers killing, kidnapping, extortion, violence, and torture to be acceptable crime-fighting tactics. Driven by the deaths of his family, who were killed by the mob when they witnessed a gangland execution in New York City’s Central Park, the Punisher wages a one-man war on the criminals of New York, using martial arts, stealth tactics, guerrilla warfare and a wide variety of weapons.
The Punisher is currently on his 3rd movie outing, each with different actors playing the lead (Dolph Lundgren in ’89, Thomas Jane in ’04, and Ray Stevenson in ’08). Unfortunately, none of these versions have manage to set the box office alight.
3. Judge Dredd
Judge Joe Dredd is a law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. He is a hugely popular figure among comic book fans. Dredd and his fellow Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence and even execute criminals on the spot.
The 1995 Judge Dredd film starring Sylvester Stallone, like so many other adaptations, took the original comic book source and mangled it into a shadow of it’s former self… Not only did Dredd remove his helmet for most of the film (a cardinal sin to most Dredd fans), they added a ‘love interest’ in the form of Judge Hershey, when relationship are banned for Judges in the comic book.
They are about to take a second stab at bringing the Judge to the big screen. A new Dredd movie was green lit in Dec ’08, and is being written by Alex Garland (The Beach novelist & 28 Days Later screenwriter).
What Iron Man (Tony Stark) lacks in superpowers, he makes up for in engineering genius. After being kidnapped and suffering a severe heart injury, his captors try to force him to use his engineering know how to build a hugely destructive weapon. Instead, he creates a powered suit of armor, which not only helps save his life, but helps him escape captivity. Using his contacts as a multinational industrialist, and money made from his company Stark Industries, he builds a more advanced version of the suit, enabling him to fight crime and protect the world as Iron-Man.
Iron-Man has currently had 1 movie outing in 2008, with a 2nd on the way later this year. Robert Downey Jr. was an inspired bit of casting for alcoholic millionaire Tony Stark, and in Iron-Man 2 he’s set to face off against the might of Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash!
The story of Batman is well know. Bruce Wayne sees his parents gunned down in front of him at the age of 10. From that moment he dedicates his life to ridding Gotham City of it’s criminal elements, taking the form of a Bat to scare the cowardly criminals that prowl in the night. With no real superpowers, and only his honed martial art skill, and an array of gadgets, Batman heads into the Gotham night to battle the forces of evil.
There have been many films over the years. Adam West’s campy 60’s version. The 2 gothic Tim Burton versions (1989 & 1992). The rather less gothic Joel Schumacher versions in ’95 & ’97, which caused the franchise to go on hiatus for 7 years…
Then, in 2005, the cape and cowl are picked up by and handed to Christian Bale by Christopher Nolan for Batman Begins, putting Batman back on the big screen in explosive style. Dark, gritty, and everything Batman should be. This was followed in 2008 with The Dark Knight, producing a truly epic performance from, the now tragically passed, Heath Ledger as The Joker. Batman is truly the most kick ass of super-powerless superheroes.
Kick-Ass, out in cinemas on the 26th March, stars Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl, Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist, and Mark Strong as Frank D’Amico, the local mob boss!