Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 (2013, Theatrical Release)

The only character that matters
Rating: 2 out of 5 Dogs Attacking the Crotches of Accused Human Traffickers

Review:  You know after posting about defending my high review scores I think I may have cursed myself because lately most of what's been in the theaters has been pretty meh.

  Kick-Ass 2 is okay and depending on what you want it may do something more for you.  I didn't hate my time with this movie but in all honesty you could probably avoid this if you haven't really gotten on the Kick-Ass train yet.  I loved the first Kick-Ass movie, I loathed the comic book and I want to you use this opportunity to talk about that a little, but first the movie itself.  Dave, the titular Kick-Ass, really takes a back seat to Mindy who is Hit-Girl.  In the first movie the movie was all about Dave with Hit-Girl and Big Daddy playing supporting roles while also being the major highlights of that movie.  I'd say that the movie is better for focusing on Mindy because it gives actor Chloe Grace Moretz a little more room to, you know, actually act and she does a fantastic job with what she has.  I would say her performance and that of Jim Carrey are the reasons you would go see this movie.  Jim Carrey doesn't get a whole lot of screen time so I wouldn't use that as the sole reason to go see this.  But if you like Moretz and Carrey and the first Kick-Ass then this movie is probably a 3 or a 4 for you.  It will never be anything more than that, no matter how much you like anything Kick-Ass related.

  The biggest negative is the movie lacks the same kind of action scenes that the first one had.  All those awesome, holy shit scenes involved Hit-Girl and while Hit-Girl is the focus we get a rather limp action scene involving some muggers, a pretty decent shoot out on a van and a brutal fight between Hit-Girl and Mother Russia.  The closest anything comes to the two awesome Hit-Girl scenes from the first movie is the final fight with Mother Russia because you have this, maybe, ninety pound, five foot bad-ass facing against what appears to be a seven foot Amazon of unstoppable destruction.  It's a pretty good fight with a kind of underwhelming finish.  You'll notice I haven't talked about Kick-Ass much and that's because, much like the first movie, he's played almost entirely for laughs and by far the weakest character even though he's played really well by Aaron Taylor-Johnson.  Before we move on though I want to point out my favorite character, The Tumor played by Andy Nyman, he has an incredibly small bit part but man I loved him in it, he was a quick highlight for me.  I will buy a Tumor action figure if they make one.

  The second biggest negative is there is a extended scene involving, ostensibly, a 14-16 year girl dancing very provocatively in some rather revealing cloths.  I'm not Roman Polanski so I did not, in fact, immediately start masturbating to it, as I think was the intention.  I was just incredibly uncomfortable for the year and half it felt like it was on screen.  When it was done someone in the theater clapped.  That person is probably registered on a list somewhere.  In it's defense at least the actress (Claudia Lee) is in her 20's but she's playing a class mate of Mindy, Mindy is said to be in 9th grade.  So 15.  I think Mindy is said to be 14, I think they mention it because they also imply that everyone thinks Dave and Mindy are fucking.  So there's that too.

  The ending is pretty open and I think the best thing that could come out of this is a Hit-Girl movie where they drop all the chaff and focus on the one character really worth focusing on.

  So, the comic.  I've hated pretty much every iteration of the Kick-Ass comic.  Kick-Ass 1 and 2 are brought down by it's just brutal, negative, nihilistic tone which is supported by copious amounts of insane, graphic violence.  I thought the Hit-Girl mini-series was confused and pointless on top of the tone and violence.  The Kick-Ass movies, however, lighten the mood considerably and make main character Dave slightly more likable and shit on him way less.  Probably because if people are going to invest in a two hour movie they don't want to see their protagonist constantly shit on and then act shitty in turn because in the comics Dave is a bad person who bad things happen to and then reacts to those things badly.  There's nothing redeeming about anyone in the comics except, maybe, Hit-Girl.  Which makes it incredibly hard to slog through.

  But this movie is better for me having read those comics.  There's a scene where The Motherfucker (big bad played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse) threatens to rape one of the female members of Justice Forever but can't get erect and has her beaten up instead.  Now in the comics he attacks someone Dave lied about dating, so basically a random innocent person (who's underage), DOES rape her, DOES GANG rape her, then kills her, her family, her neighbors, burns down her whole neighborhood and kills a bunch of cops in the process.  At least they changed it to a person Dave has some connection with, the scene is played for laughs on The Motherfucker (which makes it a little better, it's not so much "ha ha you're going to get raped" as much as "look at this loser playing at being something he's not") and she's not beaten that badly (a small consolation I know).

  The other scene I'll use as an example is the death of Col. Stars and Stripes.  In the movie he's beaten up a little and then beheaded (off screen), when Mother Russia offers to kill the dog Motherfucker stops her and says he's evil but not THAT evil.  In the comic he's beaten up, humiliated, his dog is killed then they behead Stars and Stripes, behead the dog and put the dogs head on the body of Stars and Stripes.  That's fucked up.  Those scenes, taken from the comic on which this is based, are fucked up in no special way, it doesn't have a message, it doesn't prove anything and it shows no real character development.  It's just fucked up because Mark Millar confuses fucked up with being creative.  Whatever, he's made a ton of money off that, what the shit do I know, more power to him.  But the comic makes this movie look like a lighthearted coming of age tween comedy.  So I come into it perhaps a little more desensitized to the level of violence portrayed because it's not the level of violence I expected it to have based on what I already read.  So I'm not as outraged as other reviewers of this movie because, honestly, they don't know the depths this movie could have sunk.

  I guess the bottom line is if you feel the need to consume all things Kick-Ass then you won't be disappointed.  If you like the first one, and that's your only exposure, you might be better off sticking with the superior version.

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