Kick-Ass 2 Is A Comic Book Movie Done Right
I finally got around to watching Kick-Ass 2 and I’m so glad that I did. I’m also a little upset at myself for spending my money watching films the likes of Iron Man 3, Man of Steel (twice) and The Wolverine this year, all in 3D, and passing up on Kick-Ass 2 in cinemas. But that’s alright because Blu-Ray costs more and the movie is so damn worth it.
There are two really big reasons for why I think that Kick-Ass 2 is a comic book movie done right.
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The first is that it doesn’t spit in the faces of its fans with the liberties it takes in the move over from comic to movie. And there are some massive liberties taken. The entire tone, for example, but we’ll come back to that.
The second is that it’s an R-rated extravaganza that doesn’t even dare to hold back. It comes at you hard and treats you like a grown-ass adult who is capable of understanding everything presented to you, so unlike those PG-13 ‘attract ALL the audiences’ tame-by-comparison movies I mentioned above, so hot on the tail of The Avengers that they would sacrifice core tenets of their characters for a bit more cash… looking at you, Logan.
The thing that really differentiates the Kick-Ass movies from the comics is that the movies are a lot more light-hearted by comparison. See, the comics are dark. Really dark. They’re actually a very condescending sort-of ‘fuck you’ to other comic book superheroes and comic book readers alike, where they paint the picture of what it would be like to be a superhero in today’s day and age, and how practical it would be, if at all. It highlights the fact that people die and unlike in a comic book, when they’re dead, that’s it.
Truth be told, I never even cared about the Kick-Ass comics until I watched the first film. It wasn’t that mindblowing for me at the time but got me interested enough to check out the comics. I was slightly disappointed by that constant tone of despair that is most easily comparable to The Walking Dead in that everyone is actually fucked and your attempts to do anything about it will end in tragedy as well. Okay maybe that’s overstating it a bit, but while they are brutally visceral and quite heartily colourful, there is an unmistakeable condescension present. It’s different to, say, Invincible, which is another Image Comics / Robert Kirkman creation, same as The Walking Dead.
Kick-Ass 2, the movie, is based on the Hit-Girl prelude comic leading up to the comic sequel, and the comic sequel itself. The Kick-Ass 2 comic deals mostly with the concept of escalation and introduces readers to a wider world of superheroes, whereas the Hit-Girl prelude basically shows how completely inept she is at assimilating into a regular life after her dad had brought her up to be a superhero(ine?).
In many ways, I feel that the movie does both of these comics perfect justice. Heh, justice, superheroes. Anyway. The story moves between Dave, the protagonist of the Kick-Ass comics whose superhero name is actually ‘Kick-Ass’ in case you’ve not yet caught on to that, as he discovers a rag-tag group of superheroes led by Colonel Stars (who quite ironically is played by the Canadian comedian Jim Carrey, an actor I adore to bits), and Mindy, or Hit Girl, as she deals with the death of her father and makes a promise to her now step-father, her dad’s best friend, to relinquish her life of crime-fighting and attend school as a regular kid.
There are a few differences between the comic and the movie, as befits most adaptations. For example, Hit Girl is slightly older in the movies, which is kind of alright even if it then introduces the thought that Dave should be done with school by now if they aged equally. However for the purposes of plot progression, we’ll roll with it. Then there’s Dave’s so-called ‘girlfriend’ who wasn’t even supposed to be there in the first place, though thankfully that plot hole fixes itself up as the movie progresses. Finally, there’s a certain gang rape scene from the comics (I did say it was darker, right?) that thankfully doesn’t carry over to the movie, at least not quite in the same way. It’s still a little disturbing but done with more a comedic effect in mind… my word that just did not come out right. Look, there’s no rape scene in the movie. Let’s just go with that.
I don’t want to spoil the entire movie for you guys, so I’m not going to talk about plot points or highlight any other key changes (because let’s face it, you won’t really know unless you’ve read the comics) besides those that might leave you wondering WTF happened after the first movie. Just know that it has a really interesting take on a superhero teenage female who is incapable of dealing with other teenage females, and a teenage male who is fighting himself to try and figure out whether he wants to be a superhero or a teenager. It’s a story of struggles for certain, but it’s also a story about just how fucked up life could be if people up and decided to be superheroes one day.
Also, it’s got one of the best portrayals of a supervillain that you’ll ever see, insofar as hysterically well-played, as the guy we all know as McLovin takes on the role of The Mother-Fucker, formerly Red Mist, sworn arch-enemy of Kick-Ass after the latter killed the former’s mob boss father with a bazooka. Yes, seriously, the bad guy is called The Mother-Fucker. Apparently, you can make this shit up.
Kick-Ass 2 is a brutal, R-rated comic book adaptation that goes one better than its source material. It’s more than a fan service, too. It is pure, unadulterated entertainment value for anyone who has ever picked up a comic book. And you should definitely watch it. It’s a comic book movie done right. And it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen this year… if that’s not high enough praise.