Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kick-Ass 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Why wasn't Phoenix Jones given a cameo in this movie?

Kick-Ass 2 – 4 out of 5

Okay, so I really enjoyed the first Kick-Ass film and I’m a fan of the comic book. I was more than excited when they decided to adapt the comic’s sequel and the Hit-Girl book into a follow-up to the film and that excitement only reached critical mass levels when I went to San Diego Comic-Con this year and got to meet the comic creators Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. and the director of this film Jeff Wadlow. I even have an autographed poster of the movie from them hanging proudly on my wall.'s not on the wall here but...

I didn’t get to see the film in the theaters (because seeing movies in theaters gets fucking expensive) and a large portion of the movie discussion group I belong to on Facebook all gave the film a raspberry-enhanced thumbs down. Recently I got to see this and, while I was still anticipating something as racy and fun as the first film, I was trying to set myself up for heartbreak. But, as you can tell from the score, no heartbreak found me.

Or, thankfully, Hit-Girl's left hook.

After the events of Kick-Ass, Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz) have given up being superheroes and hung up their Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl costumes. Meanwhile, new heroes, inspired by their actions, have started to spring up. Eventually, the lure of costume crusading becomes too much and Dave puts on the costume again and joins a team started by a man calling himself Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) called Justice Forever. The team; consisting of Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison), a husband and wife team inspired to take up vigilantism after their son went missing, Insect Man and Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), sets out to do the community good with community service and shutting down criminal organizations…but yet, Mindy stays steadfast in her attempt at leading a normal life and refuses to become Hit-Girl again. 

Now...imagine Hit-Girl in the role of Carrie in the remake of Carrie...

However, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is still a little sore with Kick-Ass—what with the whole “killing your father with a bazooka” thing—and is looking for a measure of revenge. He quickly adopts a new, dominatrix-based look and takes up the name The Motherfucker and quickly puts together a team of super-villains and sets out to kill Kick-Ass. He quickly gathers his forces—The Tumor (Andy Nyman), Genghis Carnage (Tom Wu), Black Death (Daniel Kaluuya) and the imposing Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina)—and they set to work on destroying everyone in Kick-Ass’s life. Now Kick-Ass must muster his forces and enter the war that The Motherfucker has started but will Hit-Girl be there to back him up?

"He's still mad at me for killing his dad?!?  Let it go, bro!"

I really enjoyed this one just as much as I enjoyed the first one. The movie is vulgar, ultra-hip and super-cool, funny, über-violent and just as amazingly entertaining as the comics are. The spirit of the pages and the spirit that was established in the first film is still here even though the shock of hearing a little girl use swear words like “cunt” and other colorful swears is no longer here thanks to Moretz growing up and the film did get super dark during the film’s second act but, this aside, I had just as much fun watching this follow up as I did when I saw the first movie.

The guy-liner is essential for a modern day villain.

Justice Forever really like DX apparently.
The film, of course, gained some controversy when Jim Carrey decided to not endorse it because the violence within it and the recent Sandy Hook shootings. While I am a big fan of Jim Carrey and think he’s an extremely funny and talented man—he was also really great in the film as Colonel Stars and Stripes—I couldn’t help but think the man was being a little foolish (if he was still with Jenny McCarty I would have thought she pushed him to do it). I’m sure he read the script and understood the film is intended to be extremely violent to the point it becomes near-obvious satire but he just suddenly had a change of heart because of Sandy Hook? Or was he trying to distance himself from a project he predicted was going to fail because of the tragedy since it has happened in the past with 9/11 and Columbine having a negative impact on the Box Office for Donnie Darko and The Boondock Saints respectively? Or maybe he just really and honestly had a change of heart. Either way, I still found Carrey’s performance very entertaining in the film but I don’t agree with Carrey’s condemning of the movie (mostly because it felt like, at least to me, a publicity stunt by the guy).

His desire to not create any attention for the film just created more attention.
Nice job, Carrey.

The violence in the film is intense and brutal. It’s not for the faint of heart. However, that’s the point. Like I already stated, the violence already feels like satire as it is insanely over-the-top. There’s tons of blood and brutality but it’s presented like a cartoon or…a comic book (see what I did there?). Carrey felt the film was too violent but has he read the comics? The violence thrown into those pages will make a crowd of over-protective mothers simultaneously have their faces melted off like they looked into the Ark of the Covenant if they made a 100%, panel-for-panel adaptation.

Some people dress like this without plans of revenge killings.

The violence is part of the entertainment of the film. It’s often shocking, sometimes fun and, occasionally humorous. The violence fits with the universe of Kick-Ass and director Jeff Wadlow really knew how to take what was on the pages and bring it to the screen in a way that was still as horrifying to see in the comics but not to the point that everyone and their grandmothers would be joining Carrey in his damning of the film.

"Behold, pigs, gaze upon the crotch of your destruction!"

Like the first time around, I thought this movie was very funny and the performances were fantastic. It was nice to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson grow a little more as an actor and see his character have some growth because, let’s face it, Moretz stole the first movie. Not to mention that the rest of the cast is just fantastic. Everyone from Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity to John Leguizamo as The Motherfucker’s bodyguard to every member of Justice Forever and The Motherfucker’s gang. Granted, many of the characters in these two gangs are not developed really well but, at the end of it all, the story was really about Kick-Ass and The Motherfucker’s rivalry and Hit-Girl trying to be a normal kid.

John Leguizamo's short performance almost made up for
the Super Mario Bros. movie, The Happening and pretty much most of his career.

Are those things real?
One thing that I was really taken back by was how dark the story got in the 2nd act. Once The Motherfucker learns Kick-Ass’s identity and sets out to make him pay, the film hits a stride where everything is crumpling around the character and all the funny and fist-pumpingly awesome moments were replaced by very disturbing violence that was no longer fun, outrageous stuff (however, once again, the comic is even more disturbing; it's just hard to see it adapted to the screen). But, this didn’t ruin the film for me. It was just classic superhero/comic book stuff where the hero loses everything and is forced to become more than what he once was. I’ve seen it a million times in fantasies and stories and it keeps working for me every single time.

"We're here to chew bubble gum and kick ass...we still have some bubble gum
if anyone wants any..."

Kick-Ass 2 proved to be a great follow-up and a great adaptation of the comics for me. I was entertained the entire way through with its great action sequences, ridiculous violence, offensive humor, fun antics and great characters. My only real complaint was that Evan Peters wasn’t able to reprise his role from the first movie and it would have been just a great geek moment for me to get to see the man who is playing Quicksilver in the new X-men movie share a film with the man playing Quicksilver in Avengers 2…and that’s barely a complaint. It’s just something cool I would have liked to see.

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