Kick Ass 2 Is Finally Upon Us – But Will It Be Any Good?
Kick Ass is one of my favourite comic book movies of all time. Directed by Matthew Vaughn from his own script co-written by Jane Goldman, it was a brave movie that Vaughn had to go outside of the studio system to get made. An R-rated comic book movie is not the easiest thing to get made in this economic climate, and yet Vaughn and co. made it on their own terms and were extremely successful. The original played better in Britain than it did in the US (due in no small part to Vaughn and Goldman’s barbed script, full of British witticisms), making the chance of a sequel in Hollywood slim after it plummeted due to overwhelming controversy stateside surrounding the portrayal of HitGirl i.e. an 11 year old girl graphically murdering people whilst saying the “c word” seemed to offend a number of people’s fragile sensibilities.
However, a sequel is now upon us, based on the graphic novel sequel called Kick Ass: Balls To The Wall by original comic creator Mark Millar. The original film was a massive improvement over Millar’s tasteless and puerile original, injecting some much needed intelligence, satire and tonal balance into a comic that frankly just tried to hard to be offensive, yet unfortunately was a dull and unfulfilling tome. While I haven’t read Balls To The Wall, I doubt it’s much of an improvement on the original, and I feel that the necessary changes that Vaughn made to the original set a sequel to the film on firmer ground than a sequel to the novel. The new film has dropped the childish subtitle, instead choosing to stick with the decidedly safer title of Kick Ass 2. It’s likely that 20th Century Fox is allowing this film to go ahead to appease Millar, who is running their own mini-Marvel universe that consists of X-Men and Fantastic Four related properties.
Kick Ass 2 will see the return of the original cast, (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz reprising their roles as the eponymous Kick Ass and Hit Girl respectively) now older and better trained, continuing to “kick ass” on the streets. Their high profiles have concurrently inspired others to take on their own roles and join them in the fight against gangs and villainy, including Colonel Stars & Stripes played by an insane and almost unrecognizable Jim Carrey.
Christopher Mintz Plasse returns as the villain, this time adopting the catchy moniker of “The Motherfucker”. In this instalment he brands himself as the world’s first true “super-villain” and inspires a large following of loons. Judging from the trailer we’re likely to see a lot of action from this sequel, although for some reason they’ve decided “Red band” trailer in this instance means that they’re going to be some sex jokes and swearing, which is obviously not really why a Kick Ass movie would gain a certificate like that.
The trailer looks fun, though it does massively highlight my largest concern which is the lack of involvement from Vaughn who left the production to pursue other projects (he seems genuinely allergic to sequels as he left the production for the sequel to his other comic book hit, X-Men: First Class). Jeff Wadlow has been the man to replace Vaughn, which unfortunately is hardly the most confidence inspiring move. He’s had limited success in the past with Cry Wolf and Never Back Down, and clearly visible from the trailer the film seems to be lacking the delicate and sharp tonal edge that made the original so special. For one thing the visuals look decidedly more average, as if all of the nuance and inspiration have been sucked out of them, making it look far less comic booky and stylish, instead now it looks like a slightly awkward realistic low budget movie. Also, the CGI van chase sequence looks fucking awful. Green screen at its worst.
Saying that, you know, the hook of the trailer is kinda funny. Jim Carrey being unsettlingly crazy and weird plus dog chomping on balls equals comedy gold right? If it seems like I’m being overly harsh, I apologize, it’s just disappointing to see a film with so much promise be reduced in such a way. There’s also reports that the film will be significantly watered down, compared to the source material, removing the most controversial scene (a gang rape) completely. I really hope that the film turns out to be a good enjoyable romp, I’ve made my peace that it won’t compare to the original, but let’s at least make this one good? Ok, thanks.