Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 Redux

Andy Nyman as The Tumor, one of the very few reasons to see this movie.
  I have found myself thinking about Kick Ass 2 quite a bit.  I don't really understand why that is really but I have found that the more I think about that movie the more I dislike it.  I don't think I covered all the negative points in my review but I think the score is accurate for my experience that day but if I were to rate it again at this point I might give it a negative score.

  Here is what is positive about Kick Ass 2.  Andy Nyman, Lindy Booth, Chloe Grace-Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carey, Donald Faizon, Olga Kurkulina and John Leguizamo.  That's it.  Those actors really work hard to make the film because they are given nothing as far as character meat.  There's nothing in the way of consistent characterization for anybody except maybe Andy Nyman as the Tumor but probably because they don't spend a lot of time with him and the most he gets is a description that he's "small but deadly".  But holy shit does he take what little he has and he runs as far as he can with it.  Chloe get's a pass because she's playing Hit-Girl and what little Hit-Girl we get more than makes up for what's missing.  Mintz-Plasse does a pretty good job walking the line between goofy dumb ass and deadly bad ass and has some pretty intense moments.  The last real note worthy reason is Olga Kurkulina as Mother Russia and that's because she turns up the bad ass to 11 and never let's up.  Those not specifically mentioned here and now I either mentioned in my review or do well with their small parts and make the movie watchable.  Beyond the performances there's the character of Hit-Girl that has earned some leeway mostly due to how great the character was in the first movie and really one part of one action scene.  That being Hit-Girl vs. Mother Russia.  The neighborhood shoot out was less an action scene and more a one sided squash match between Mother Russia and the cops and the car chase was only OK.  In the moment it was enjoyable but in retrospect it feels tedious.  I certainly don't feel the need to see it again like I did with scenes from the first movie (those scenes being Hit-Girl in the apartment, Big Daddy in the warehouse and Hit-Girl in the penthouse).

  Now that bad (in list form, in no particular order):

--There is no message to the film.  I shouldn't say that, there are a ton of messages in the film but none of them are consistent and are frequently contradictory (be yourself, be who others what you to be, be who others want you to be unless they are dead, bitchy or get in the way of your fun then be yourself).

--Kick-Ass is a still a whiny impotent bitch.  They make this huge deal of Dave working with Hit-Girl, training, becoming all muscly and it get's us nothing.  A limp wristed climax battle between Kick-Ass and Motherfucker that solves nothing.  He wants revenge for Motherfucker killing his dad and seems to have every intention of killing him until Motherfucker basically kills himself and Kick-Ass jumps in to save him.

--There are a dozen retirement moments.  "I'm done with being a super hero."  "Who else can save them but me?" "I told my dad I would give it up." (said by two different characters) "Wait, my dads dead so I owe him nothing." (the conclusion drawn by those same two characters).

--There is a 2 minute sexualized dance scene done by a woman playing a 14 year old girl.

--Hit-Girl also has a dance scene but in her mind she's Hit-Girl fighting ninjas.  I appreciate more Hit-Girl but did we need to couch it in this "outcast get's embraced by the populous at the expense of the popular girl" trope?

--There is another, probably 2 minute vomit gag that climaxes with projectile vomiting AND projectile diarrhea.  That's what payback looks like, I guess.

--Hit-Girl get's invited to the cool girls house and they watch a music video of a boy band.  First off the video, while a somewhat funny send up of current boy bands like One Direction, is so over the top that it passes "funny satire/parody" pretty early on and flies uncomfortably close to "video found in a pedophiles closet".  After the video ends one of the 14 YEAR OLD GIRLS mentions that she is "soaking wet".  While there might be a time and a place for a movie to address the sexuality of under-age girls, you, Kick-Ass 2, are not that movie.  You have not have not earned the ability, in anything you have done in this movie,  to aspire to show us the "reality" that takes place among a group of underage girls in an unsupervised environment.  Especially when THAT SCENE LEADS NO WHERE AND DOES NOTHING FOR ANYBODY.  Why is it there?  Who is it for?  Is it to feminize Hit-Girl?  Because that's probably the only reason I can see for it's existence.  The video seems to trigger puberty in Hit-Girl.  WTF!?!

--They don't want to do anything compelling with Katie (Kick-Ass' girlfriend from the first movie) so they just have her accuse him of cheating on her with Hit-Girl and she then reveals that she's cheating on him with some guy from the NEEDLE EXCHANGE she works at.  Then she's just gone.  Then Night Bitch becomes the defacto love interest.  At least Lindy Booth, who plays Night Bitch, takes what few moments she has to emote and uses them to project a sympathetic character.

  60% of this movie is plot contrivance to get us from one place to another.  Motivation, when established at all, isn't established until almost half way through the movie for the main characters.  A good example of this is during the first meeting of Justice Forever everyone has these touching stories for why they do what they do.  Kick-Ass and Battle Guy do it for fun and to be cool (it isn't until almost the end when Kick-Ass' dad get's killed that he summons the motivation to do something).  What makes it worse is they are terrible at it.  They don't do it for any greater good (although that get's lip service it isn't obvious in anything that happens), they want to raise their social cache a little bit or have some excitement, it's unclear which one it is for sure.  But they are basically useless in any confrontation that happens in the movie.  I think this movie is a lot like the character Kick-Ass, whiny, has no clear direction or motivation, overly concerned about being "cool", focused of style over substance and terrible at it's job.  In the case of the character that is being a decent super hero/human being in the case of the movie it is being entertaining.

  In the theater I found myself making excuses for this film and even up to the review but the longer this movie sits in my brain the more it festers and rots and the less I like it.  I'll probably still buy it when it comes out, because I have a problem, and maybe when I rewatch it I'll find things I like about it that redeem it but after sitting on this movie for a bit I've come to really dislike it and the parts that were good have become soured by the memory of the rest of the movie.  I stand by my original conclusion though, unless you are a Kick-Ass fan, and god help you if you are, the tone of that comic is so dreadful I don't know why any one likes it, you should avoid this.  This movie should only be consumed by the fans or by the troubled, such as myself in the case of the latter.

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