Monday, August 19, 2013

Film Review: Jeff Wadlow's Kick-Ass 2

I have to admit that I did not like this film all that much.  It was okay, one could even say it was meh, if one wished to use a more hipstery type of language, but nothing to write home about, as they say.  I also must admit that I was not all that big of a fan of the first Kick-Ass film either.  A bit less meh than the follow-up, but still quite lackluster.  Now the comics, I like.  The comics by Mark Millar are lots of fun, but the film adaptations leave much to be desired.  The hard hitting sardonic, and yes, quite dark and disturbing, humour of Millar's comics are lost in the more, for lack of a more apt term, family friendly  filmic translations.  Yeah yeah, I know, this R-rated film is far from family friendly, but really, it could have gone a lot farther than it did in trying to recreating Mark Millar's scripted comics.  Then again, people like the film's co-star, Jim Carrey, think the film went too far, but more on that in a bit.

As a bit of a background check here, Kick-Ass is a comic book series written by Mark Millar, with artwork by the great John Romita, Jr., and was published from 2008 to 2010 by Marvel Comics' more mature imprint, Icon.  A film adaptation was released in 2010.  The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn, and was a bit controversial for its depiction of violence, especially as it had teenagers, including the then 13 year old Chloe Moretz, in its cast.  As I said, I thought the film just average, and the violence should have been kicked up a notch or three.  Damn the controversy!  With the second series, published in 2011 and 2012, and again published by Marvel's Icon imprint, and written and drawn by Millar and Romita, Jr., respectively, a sequel has been released to the movie going public, and again, the cries of too much violence has erupted, and again, when compared to the comics (which incidentally portrays toddlers being gunned down and teenage girls being gang-raped), said violence is not really all that.  But maybe that's just me.

As I alluded to earlier, after the tragedy of Sandy Hook happened, and those kids were killed (a few months before the film's release), Jim Carrey, who portrays mob enforcer-turned-superhero Captain Stars & Stripes, came out and apologized for making such a violent movie.  Really, Jim?  You act as if Sandy Hook was the first school shooting of its kind.  Like there were no other tragedies, many of them with larger body counts, that happened before you signed up and made such a "violent" movie.  What a hypocritical bastard!  But I digress.  I am not here to talk of some self-absorbed actor spouting off idiotic statements to the press.  Although I will quote co-star Chloe Moretz, now sixteen and playing the murderous vigilante Hit-Girl in the film.  She said of the violence controversy, "It's a movie. If you are going to believe and be affected by an action film, you shouldn't go to see Pocahontas because you are going to think you are a Disney princess. If you are that easily swayed, you might see The Silence of the Lambs and think you are a serial killer. It's a movie and it's fake, and I've known that since I was a kid... I don't want to run around trying to kill people and cuss. If anything, these movies teach you what not to do."  Anyway, I digress once more.

I've spoken so much about the violence and ensuing controversy of the film, but not much on the film itself.  This is probably because I really have nothing to say about the film.  It is a lackluster adaptation of a far superior comicbook series.  Sure, there are some fun moments throughout (Christopher Mintz-Plassse is especially fun as the supervillain known as The Mother Fucker), but overall the film just sort of lays there in a state of self-confusion.  Some say it is too violent, others, like me, say it is not violent enough when compared to the comics themselves, or to other auteuristic action films by the like of Scorsese or Tarantino or Park Chan-wook.  I am not advocating violence, but when it is needed to tell a story, and it is here. The whole fucking point of the story is to show the differences between what is a good guy and what is a bad guy, and how that lined is constantly and rightfully blurred all to hell, and one needs violence to show that.  But then, maybe that is just me.


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