Analyzing 2013 CBMs - KICK-ASS 2

The fourth of five editorials looking back at the CBMs from 2013. Mark Millar's 'Kick-Ass' series has always been crude, funny and controversial - but how does this sequel compare to 2010's excellent first film?

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By Minty - 12/20/2013
What up CBM! It's Minty, and I’m back again with my analysis of the fourth of this year’s CBMs. While it’s not the most widely watched movie I’d love to hear your opinions on it. Just for context, I’m a massive fan of the original, and so I was really anticipating this one. As always, there will be SPOILERS. Please read/skim, comment and enjoy!

Kick-Ass 2

Studio: Plan B/Marv/Universal
Release Date (US): August 16, 2013
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Box Office (Global): $59 million

The Good



- Colonel Stars & Stripes: The one thing that both the original and sequel did perfectly was to squeeze one last brilliant performance from a Hollywood star who has perhaps fallen past their prime. After Nicholas Cage’s strangely brilliant turn as Big Daddy in ‘Kick-Ass’, Jim Carrey doesn’t fail to impress as the Colonel, and delivers some truly hilarious lines of dialogue. In the end, his biggest fault is dying too quickly – I for one would have loved to see him steal the show for a little longer.

- The Mother[frick]er: Christopher Mintz-Plasse is possibly one who brings the same over-the-top, nonsensical feel to the party this time around, and does it with such enthusiasm (as Big Daddy and Hit-Girl had in the first). His relationship with sidekick/butler/mental carer Javier was surprisingly touching, and produced some of the best lines of dialogue in the whole film. The rapid descent into full blown villainy is a little rushed, but he always shows glimpses of the goofy and quite idiotic kid inside. He is the other stand out performer in this film.

- The Supporting Cast: In general, the supporting cast for this movie do tend to stand out in this movie. Whether or not it’s because they’re all wearing brightly coloured spandex is a different question entirely. Honestly though, the Justice Forever scenes are my favourite in this film, and I particularly love Donald ‘Turk’ Faison as Doctor Gravity. Clark Duke brings lots of laughs as Marty, and Augustus Prew is hilarious as the inspiringly named ‘Ass-Kicker’. John Leguizamo bounces off Mintz-Plasse brilliantly as Javier, and ‘Game Of Thrones’’ Iain Glen is positively menacing in his brief appearance as Uncle Ralph. Lindy Booth is plain hot… oh yeah she puts in a great performance too.

- 'Dat Action Sequence: I’m never usually the biggest fan of big henchwomen just thrown in to act badly and beat up a few characters. Here is much of the same – except Olga Kurkulina truly owns the screen during her destructive fight with multiple police cars (and the poor souls trapped inside of them). It is a ruthless display of dominance in a scene that rivals some of Hit-Girl’s finest fight scenes in the first film.

The Mixed



- The Lead: I’m not one of those people who found Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s portrayal in the first movie as bland and forgettable. I loved it, and found him both very funny and relatable. In this movie though he was a little… “bland and forgettable”… if you get my drift? I’d probably attribute this to a weaker story more than anything else, as well as a heightened focus on his co-star, Hit-Girl. Taylor-Johnson’s a talent if he has the right people to bounce off (as he does in his few scenes with Mintz-Plasse), so I’m sure he’ll be a solid success in 2015’s ‘Age Of Ultron’ next to Downey Jr, Evans et al.

- Hit-Girl: Despite being the foul-mouthed, quirky and slightly psychopathic highlight of the first film, Chloe Grace Moretz’s expanded role in the sequel ended up being a case of ‘too much of a good thing’ for me. While I understand a lot of people again found her to be the strongest part of this movie too, I didn’t enjoy her overexposure as much. While her struggle to fit in with the mean girls was a nice touch, that fight/dance scene was a little cheesy, and her struggle to put away her costume is an overplayed CBM plot device. Meanwhile her action scenes paled in comparison to those in the first film. Overall, I liked her isolation from the rest of the characters in the middle act – but I would have liked to see her perhaps battling against more hardened criminals, rather than high school bitches and jocks. Finally, on the elephant in the room: Chloe Moretz is cute. And in a few years it’ll be cool to call her smokin’ hot (and that’s coming from someone only a few years older). But at the moment… too soon boys… too soon…

- The Finale: There was nothing inherently wrong with this finale (in comparison to some of this year’s bigger budget CBMs… *bitterly mumbles something about silver robots*). However, like much of the film, it didn’t feel particularly memorable either. The stakes were raised – but it ended up a little unnecessary. Once again the comedy was top notch, but the scale of the action and ultimate conclusion didn’t make much of an impact.

The Bad



- The Katie Situation: By changing the source material to give us a successful romantic ending in the first movie, Matthew Vaughn improved upon the more pessimistic comic book – and gave mainstream audiences the happy ending they needed (even if it was a little unrealistic). To then backtrack on this in one scene seemed completely out of place. I understand Katie’s role needed to be shortened (for both Lyndsy Fonseca’s scheduling conflicts and to give Hit-Girl more focus), but I would have preferred an off-screen split with a solid explanation to this plot device. That said, at least they didn’t stick to Millar’s original comic book fate for the character… *shudders*

- The Direction & Plot: ‘Matthew Vaughn’ Jeff Wadlow is not. While the action scenes are still strong (though not at the heights of ‘Kick-Ass’), the director struggles to put together a balanced and cohesive overall story. Instead we get a mixture of different scenes of entertaining comedy and solid action – filled in by uneventful and quite weak character material. It is during these character development sequences that Wadlow really stumbles – and the middle act is left tiresome and generic.

- The Tone: The original was far more satirical, but managed to come up with the goods during the emotional scenes as well (Big Daddy’s death being one of the most heart wrenching CBM deaths I’ve ever seen). This film lacks in satire, and at times tries too hard to pass itself off as a conventional, mainstream CBM/Action-Comedy, rather than a parody of this. There is also no overall theme – just a confused jumble of several different ones (including revenge, identity, family and teenage insecurity).The end product is an amusing, but altogether quite pointless superhero movie sequel.

Overall

Overall while I enjoyed watching Kick-Ass 2, I feel that the unfairly high expectations I had set for it ruined it a little for me. At the end of the day, it is a very funny and reasonably entertaining R-Rated comedy, which doesn’t deserve half of the abuse critics seem to be throwing at it. However, because the original was so great, it feels disappointingly lacking in some departments – including the emotional weight from the first and the satirical concept of the comic series.

I would rate this movie 2.5 out of 5 stars (to rate it higher would be slightly harsh towards The Wolverine, which I gave a 3). For comparison, I gave the original Kick-Ass a 4.5 out 5, and it remains one of my favourite CBMs to date. The strength of the comedy in this movie will stop me from hating it – even if I didn’t like its overall tone or plot.

Stray Observations...

- “Try to have fun, otherwise… what’s the point?” – The motivational line the coach of every crappy sports team around the world needed to hear.

- When Doctor Gravity first swaggered on screen I couldn’t help from shouting “Turkleton!” as loud I could. Turns out no one in the cinema watched ‘Scrubs’. If looks could kill…

- Between showing that posing as a girl’s gay best friend to get close to her works out in the end, and then discarding said girl for another far younger model, these movies are giving really bad dating advice to their predominantly teenage male audience…

- When Claudia Lee signed on to this movie, was she aware that she was going to get A) a faceful of puke, and then B) be filmed as having fits of violent diarrhoea? Agents nowadays…

- The decision to product place unknown boy band Union J into a very male-orientated film will forever perplex me. They could have at least got One Direction jeez…

- People have been talking about just having a Hit-Girl spin-off film. I respectfully disagree. I would like an Ass-Kicker spin-off movie. It could feature Todd getting into and then somehow surviving some of the most life threatening situations: gang wars, terrorist attacks, living in Metropolis…

- It’s a shame Jim Carrey couldn’t endorse the movie, but the violence was kind of self-explanatory from the comic book… and the first film… and the fact that it’s Mark Millar. Somebody didn’t read the script!

- I can picture Officers Slater and Michaels drunk in a bar somewhere laughing their asses off at the Mother[frick]er’s encounter with that shark. Oh McLovin…


Anywho, hope you enjoyed my latest piece. I’m always grateful for all the comments I get – hopefully you’re all liking my stuff too. I’m back with my last piece on Thor: The Dark World sometime next week. Please comment and thumbs-up if you liked this - thanks!


Also, for anyone who cares about my rating system, this is for point of comparison (bold denotes the CBMs I’ve rated so far from 2013):

1 star = ‘Awful’ – Batman & Robin

1.5 stars = ‘Poor’ – Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer

2 stars = ‘Meh’ – Spiderman 3

2.5 stars = ‘Okay’ – Iron Man 2, Kick-Ass 2

3 stars = ‘Solid’ – Captain America: The First Avenger, The Wolverine

3.5 stars = ‘Good’ – X2, Man Of Steel

4 stars = ‘Very Good’ – Spiderman 3, Iron Man 3

4.5 stars = ‘Excellent’ – Iron Man

5 stars = ‘Outstanding’ – The Dark Knight, The Avengers
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34 Comments
GodzillaKart - 12/20/2013, 8:40 AM
Hmmm. Good review and even better rating list!....although I would swap out Iron Man and Avengers in my own version.
QuestiontheAnswer - 12/20/2013, 8:43 AM
Spider-Man 3 is there twice. I'm guessing the higher rated one is supposed to be Spider-Man 2.
QuestiontheAnswer - 12/20/2013, 8:44 AM
Daredevil should be by Outstanding.
TheRealistStarLord - 12/20/2013, 8:57 AM
Even though Kick Ass 2 felt like a TV movie, the movie was better than Iron Man 3.
DrunkenNukem - 12/20/2013, 9:02 AM
what?????? spiderman 3 and Iron Trevor 3 OLE OLE... over Man of Steel??? oh no you didnt....
Minty - 12/20/2013, 9:06 AM
@Godzillafart - Thanks man glad you liked it! Fair enough, Iron Man was probably a better standalone movie - I just loved the Avengers so much though!

@Gusto - Cheers bud. I agree and would also rate Begins a 5 star movie as well (with Rises a 4.5), I love the whole trilogy. And thanks for pointing that out (along with @QuestiontheAnswer)- the 4 stars is meant to be for Spiderman 2. Thats a massive blunder sorry for that haha!
Mysterion - 12/20/2013, 9:10 AM
you gave Iron Man 3 four stars?!?! well...its your rating system. to each his own.
gaikinger - 12/20/2013, 9:40 AM
I give it 2.5 stars as well though some of his ratings I totally disagree with
gaikinger - 12/20/2013, 9:44 AM
Minty- I love the trilogy too but wish Ledger had lived complete the original vision. With repeat viewings I cringe at a lot of the holes in Rises but still wish wish wish for more sequels.
Alphadog - 12/20/2013, 9:44 AM
Whilst I agree with most of what you said i have 4 things to say.
1) The only movies that i remember having the struggle to put away the costume plot device are Superman 2 and Spider man 2 and even than this mmovie played it in a farely diferent way in my opinion.
2) What do you think is ridiculous about Katie breaking up with Dave? She din't know why he hanged out so much with Mindy and she had every reason to believe in what everyone thought they were doing. Or is it that you don't think that she would break up with him because he's a pervet?
3) I think that the finale is one of the most epic finales in CBMs that I've seen. So many Superheroes adn Villains fighting that i almost thought i was seeing a Justice League film.
4) I really think that Kick Ass 2 deserves at least a 3. Give The Wolverine a 3.5 rating instead. Hell I'd give it a 4 but that's just me.
Gamera623 - 12/20/2013, 9:53 AM
You dont want to give Kick-Ass 2 a 3 because thats harsh to The Wolverine....
But you give Captain America a 3?

Thats harsh to Cap man!
CA:TFA deserves a 4.5 minimum!
gogeta5 - 12/20/2013, 10:22 AM
I can only disagree on the rating list,Batman & Robin is beyond awful,in fact I 'd rate it as a -5:outstandingly awful stars,or 5 batclooneys...
Minty - 12/20/2013, 10:25 AM
@gaikinger - Yeah I wish he had too of course - the trilogy would have definitely ended differently (not to mention Ledger was so talented - it was such a shame). But while Rises is the weakest imo, I still think its a great film.

@Gamera623 - I liked parts of Cap but didn't like the period setting or Red Skull - I know i'm in the minority there though, its just my opinion. Looking forward to TWS though

@Alphadog - fair play, you've got some good arguments.

1)Technically there have been a lot of hero identity crises in CBMs, including TDKR, which tends to often pop up in sequels. Plus Spiderman 2 handled it so well, it reflected bad on this film. But it was unique to have a female character take that role.

2)In the end I didn't like the rapid way they dealt with it - after making her such a big deal in the first. It wasn't all their fault though thanks to Fonseca's busy schedule. I re-watched the scene and the actual justification makes sense - its just you would think Katie would have at least listened to Dave trying to explain it.

3) The finale was fun but I got bored a bit. I guess thats just subjective opinion - same goes for our differences in ratings. Thanks for the comment though!
Minty - 12/20/2013, 10:26 AM
@gogeta5 - haha fair enough! That movie is so horrifically bad! I'd give it 5 bat nipples :P
gulducati - 12/20/2013, 10:59 AM
You've got Iron Man 3 twice in your rating system.
themidnightking - 12/20/2013, 12:20 PM
Union J is actually a REAL band? What the [frick]!?!
themidnightking - 12/20/2013, 12:21 PM
On a sidenote, Jersey Shore Mother[frick]a!
Minty - 12/20/2013, 2:09 PM
@Gusto - Haha thought you'd enjoy the nipples reference you old nutter ;) I'd give the first one a 4.5 - i loved it!

@themidnightking - apparently they're meant to be big here in the UK - i'd never heard of them either lol
GuardianDevil - 12/20/2013, 2:57 PM
2013 CBMs IMHO:
Man of Steel (9/10) > The Wolverine (8.5/10) > Red 2 (8/10) = Iron Man 3 (8/10) > Thor 2 (7.5/10) > RIPD (3/10)

I actually haven't seen KA2, I'm not a fan of the character or the series anyway though.

Great editorial.
Steelmatic - 12/20/2013, 3:15 PM
Very enjoyable read, and pretty much my thoughts exactly on K-A 2. I also really enjoyed the first movie, and I think the change in directors is the main difference between the two films. Like you stated, Wadlow's take was lacking in some places where Vaughn's film excelled.

Going by your (sweet) ratings system, I'd give Kick-Ass 2 a 3.5, myself.

Steelmatic - 12/20/2013, 3:29 PM
I am with themidnightking, I had no idea Union J was real, lol.
hawkeye2012 - 12/20/2013, 5:13 PM
I hope they make Kick Ass 3 and put Matthew Vaughn back in the directors chair.
gurugeorge - 12/20/2013, 6:55 PM
Excellent review, my thoughts exactly. It was ok, I don't regret watching it, but it just felt cheaply put together, "phoned in" as the saying goes.
MightyZeus - 12/21/2013, 2:54 AM
Good review on the film. I saw Kick Ass and thought it was okay and i understood as to what the film was trying to convey. Although in my opinion i thought it was a little too late for the sequel being released in 2013.
yingyangpalms - 12/21/2013, 3:31 AM
You gave Iron Man 3, 4 stars and Iron Man at 4.5. You really think IM3 was that close to Iron Man and as good as Spider-Man 2??
And you think Avengers was as great as The Dark Knight??

Minty - 12/21/2013, 4:23 AM
@JJ63 - Thanks man! Fair enough on your ratings, even if we may disagree on a few. RIPD looks like one to avoid!

@Steelmatic - Cheers bud! Yeah Matthew Vaughn is one of my favourite directors around, absolutely loved Stardust and First Class as well.

@hawkeye2012 - I'd love to see that too, but he's in pretty high demand at the moment
SkaarJones - 12/21/2013, 4:24 AM
1 star = ‘Awful’ – Batman 1st franchise except 1. Fantastic Four, Hulk-Ang Lee, Priest

1.5 stars = ‘Poor’ – Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Green Lantern

2 stars = ‘Meh’ – Spiderman 3, 1st Batman-Keaton, Superman Returns, Wolverine origins, X3

2.5 stars = ‘Okay’ – Iron Man 2, Captain America, Iron man 3

3.stars = ‘Solid’ – Kick-Ass 2, Thor, TASM, Super

3.5 stars = ‘Good’ – X2, the Incredible Hulk

4 stars = ‘Very Good’ – Thor 2, The Wolverine, TDKRises, Superman I&II

4.5 stars = ‘Excellent’ – Iron Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Blade 1&2, Constantine, Batman begins

5 stars = ‘Outstanding’ – Man of Steel, The Dark Knight, The Avengers, X-Men FC, Kick-Ass
Minty - 12/21/2013, 4:26 AM
@gurugeorge - Thanks man, yeah Wadlow's take was a step down in quality

@MightyZeus - Cheers bud! Yeah I agree they left it too late - especially all the buzz the original generated back in 2010. A 2012 release date would have been wiser

@yingyangpalms - Yeah I really enjoyed Iron Man 3 (I know a lotta people here didn't) - I do think Spiderman 2 is a little better, but they're both very good films to me. I also find the The Dark Knight slightly better than The Avengers, but think they are both amazing movies
Minty - 12/21/2013, 4:31 AM
@SkaarJones - nice! I like a lot of those there. I only put the rating thing in as a small reference but it seems to be interesting quite a few people. I'll start thinking about rating the other CBMs i've seen!
SkaarJones - 12/21/2013, 12:00 PM
@Minty, great rating system and great article! I had to jack it and place the majority of CBM's on there in what I felt was the proper place. There is a little wiggle room for a few of the flicks, especially in the 5 - 4.5 range. I think your system allows for a more honest analysis of where we think a movie stands.
Minty - 12/21/2013, 4:13 PM
@SkaarJones - Thanks brother, glad you liked the article! And yeah definitely, I agree with the majority of your ratings there, I'm glad you liked the rating system too!

@fangz - Thanks very much man, I'm glad you liked them! Yeah I tried earlier but I think I can't edit my articles that made main. As long as people understand it was a typo I dont mind haha. Yeah great point, the film was enjoyable but lacked quality. Ah okay, that's the problem with some of the big-budget ones - they are long which is bad if you're not enjoying the movie. Give Thor 2 a watch though, I really enjoyed it (I'll put up my final piece on that soon)
Battabing - 12/21/2013, 5:50 PM
I guess it's your rating system, but I question your sanity for putting IM3 and Spidey 3 anywhere near the top.
RobGrizzly - 12/22/2013, 12:34 PM
Kick-Ass 2 was a major.disappointment. Their emphasis on being "the real world" while scene.after.scene got more cartoonish really frustrated me. I thought The MotherFker was a terrible, annoying villian that wasn't a viable threat, so the.stakes of the movie are basically nill. And that cafeteria scene... I damn near walked out of the theater.

Too many missed opportunities, especially with Hit Girl's new life, and it overall lacked the tact and charm of the original. Rape scenes played for laughs and glorifying the murder of cops.
Kick-Ass 2 is straight garbage, and likely the worst thing I saw this year.

Good review, though, and I love your rating system!
Minty - 12/23/2013, 3:52 AM
@Battabing - Hey bud, maybe read some of the comments (or even just the full ratings) before whipping out the insanity card. The Spidey 3 thing was a typo. But thanks. And I really liked Iron Man 3...

@RobGrizzly - Cheers man, glad you liked em! Yeah the Mother[frick]er was never going to be taken seriously, which did ruin the overall level of threat in the film. I'm still recovering from that cafeteria scene haha!

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