Dec 12, 2014

[Movies] Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

So the first Kick-Ass movie was a pretty fun realization of a comic book brought to life as a movie. Sure, the comic will always be a heck of a lot more graphic, gritty and all that fun stuff, but that's just the nature of things. The end result was still pretty entertaining, despite Nicholas Cage being, well, Nicholas Cage.

Then a sequel to the comic came out and a movie adaptation was pretty much inevitable. And thus we have Kick-Ass 2, which could be seen as more of a sequel to the first movie than the comic, but the lines blur with cases like this. To be fair, I wasn't exactly all that impressed by the comic books that inspired this movie, but there was definitely something missing in this sequel.

And I suppose the negative press around the movie didn't quite help things either. I'm not a big Jim Carrey, but him publicly denouncing his participation in the movie so close to its release felt like a low blow. But hey, that's how Hollywood rolls and folks are quick to change loyalties if they think it will help with their public image and such.

Synopsis: Kick-Ass 2 is the 2013 sequel to the 2010 movie as directed by Jeff Wadlow, who also wrote the screenplay. The story was adapted from the Kick-Ass 2 comic along with the Hit-Girl mini-series by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.

After the events of the first movie, Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) a.k.a. Kick-Ass and Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz) a.k.a. Hit-Girl are trying to adapt to "normal" life again. Both are making an effort to stay away from the superhero business, but of course the lure of the fighting crime is a little to hard to resist. And this time around, Dave decides to properly train to be a hero with Mindy's help. Thus the two begin training in secret, hoping to avoid the notice of their respective guardians.

Meanwhile, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) now commands the wealth of his family and is determined to seek out revenge against Kick-Ass. He decides to pour all that money into becoming a true supervillain, complete with a cadre of deadly killers as his team. Around the same time, Kick-Ass meets the superhero team Justice Forever under the command of Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). Now part of a team, he resumes the superhero life, not knowing what Chris has in store for him as the villain The Motherfucker.

Now in term of core story, things remain generally faithful to the comic books. We have Dave training to be a much better Kick-Ass and Aaron Taylor-Johnson doing a tremendous job of filling up his signature green costume. Seriously, the guy has bulked up significantly and the costume department seemed to struggle to hide this fact by having him dressed in multiple layers of clothing during his out-of-hero-costume scenes.

Chloë Grace Moretz remains the fan favorite in this production given just how "cool" and yet also scary Hit-Girl tends to be. She has a complex enough arc in this movie given her promise to be safe and give up her little vendetta in the name of her father but also not really knowing what else to do with her life. After your father spends most of his life training you to be a lean, mean, killing machine, how does one try to live an ordinary life among students and all that?

Beyond these two, a lot of the other characters become mostly background noise that we know little about apart from a quick summary of an introduction and any caricature traits emphasized in the movie. Jim Carrey spends the movie in his tough guy voice which was sort of appropriate, but it also gets rather tiring over time. I suppose the casting generally made sense - he was proficient, but he didn't exactly push the limits of what his role represented.

The action moments were generally cool, but there were also more CGI sequences than needed. It's pretty disappointing when Hit-Girl's biggest fight scene ends with a horrible CGI job for a feat that simply wasn't humanly possible. And given how a lot of the point of the Kick-Ass franchise was emphasizing what it would be like for ordinary people to try and become superheroes, moments like that totally missed the point.

The movie made an earnest effort to remain generally faithful to the comics, but all the way to the point of trying to tackle too much at once. So we get a somewhat bland story with confusing twists and lackluster characters. The movie simply lacked the heart of the first one and it was rather diminished as a result. So I can only rate the movie as 2 weird superhero concepts in the movie out of a possible 5.

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