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