The idea of a Kick-Ass sequel — even a good one, even one that might rope in an off-his-rocker Jim Carrey for more than a collective 10 minutes — seemed a bit unnecessary from the get-go. And this is coming from someone who liked the first movie, having delighted in its colorful charm and pitch black wit without the aid of any established fandom from Mark Millar's graphic novel. The 2010 superhero flick felt complete. It neatly rolled its ideas and themes into a standalone feature, notwithstanding the obvious sequel bait of its cliffhanger. So the announcement of a Kick-Ass 2? Yeah, sure, it could be fun. But "worthwhile" is another story.
Perhaps it's the absence of the original film's creative team — writer/director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman hand all duties to Jeff Wadlow for the follow-up — that explains why Kick-Ass 2 feels not only subpar to its predecessor, but lacking in so much of its kinetic energy. Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) slay dozens of enemies, but not with the fresh vigor that kept the first movie from feeling overdone... somehow. Very little is energized in Kick-Ass 2, without a reborn Dave Lizweski's (Taylor-Johnson) booming origin story pushing forth the action, or the haunting vigor of a young Mindy Macready (Moretz) peppering in some highly macabre fun... and a few peeps of genuinely sweet, sad sensitivity. While Moretz's character, struggling to adjust to a new "normal" life as a high school student, does engage in an interesting new story, she isn't given the time to explore it fully, as our attention is diverted to Dave's return to the heroism game (which he does for no established reason, after a hiatus brought on for no established reason) and the ascension of Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) from bratty punk to full-fledged supervillain who calls himself The Motherf**ker.
The connotations of the name are particularly unsettling when you consider Chris' garb: a box full of S&M gear he finds in his mom's closet after inadvertently, though quite unapologetically, killing her in her tanning bed. The whole sequence of events is so mean-spirited and twisted that it just feels off-putting. It doesn't match the dark but earnest ambiance of Kick-Ass; it's as if the new mission statement was, "Let's make this one even more f**ked up!" In this tunnel vision endeavor, you lose the compassion that paddedKick-Ass' morbidity.
But there is fun to be had with the new film, most notably in its secondary players: Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl form a posse, made up most notably of ex-Mafioso Col. Stars and Stripes (Carrey, who reminds us that he's an undeniable hoot and far more versatile than he gets credit for being) and wannabe scientist Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison, launching his endearing goofiness to new extremes). But just as we could stand to have a lot more of Mindy's face-off with her new arch enemies — her high school's popular girls — we would love a chance to get to know these masked folk a bit better. Or at least watch them make more jokes!
Even the dull majority of Kick-Ass 2 never dips below watchable. Lacking in charm and spirit, but always "good enough" to keep us from losing interest altogether, the film doesn't plod along as much as it does just sort of skip in circles. A total failure of a movie? Hardly. But in its will to reinvent and experiment anew with everything we discovered in the original, we'd have to call Kick-Ass 2 effectively powerless.
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kick-ass 2 reunites the titular vigilante and his young associate Hit-Girl in a nonstop quest to fight crime, this time pitting them against former arch nemesis' son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse): a self proclaimed super villain who is trying to avenge his father's death, going by the name "The Mother F**ker".
Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) assemble a team of citizen superheroes, including Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), in order to keep their city safe. In these 5 new clips, the dark comedy continues to bring on the laughs. Watch Moretz beat up a new recruit and go through desperate lengths to keep her identity a secret from her guardian, as well as Mintz-Plasse's hilarious attempts to become a successful evil villain. And don't miss Carrey's gem of a power trip at the end.
Kick-Ass 2 premieres August 16.
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Jeff Wadlow is kicking some serious directing ass! The filmmaker, who helmed the upcoming Kick-Ass 2, is now slated to direct the speedboat action flick Go Fast, according to Deadline. Here's a guy who seems to be making a name for himself as an action genre fixture.
Go Fast, which Sony Pictures has acquired, will be written by Rich Wilkes. The action film will follow a team of DEA agents jetting off in super speedy boats to hault bands of drug smugglers on the water. So, pretty much we're looking forward to Fast And The Furious on the high seas…. but we're trading in cars for high-speed vessels.
The film marks the second huge studio film for Wadlow to direct, the first being Kick-Ass 2, which was handed down to him from rights holder Matthew Vaughn (director of the first installment of the Kick-Ass franchise). Wadlow is also penning and directing Marvel's X-men spin-off X-Force for 20th Century Fox.
So, crime fighting kids, Marvel mutants, and supercharged speedboats? Wadlow's setting up camp quite nicely in the action world.
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Jim Carrey publicly announced that he has withdrawn his support from his upcoming film Kick-Ass 2, and will not be involved with its promotion. The actor, who portrays Colonel Stars & Stripes, an ex-Mafia member turned masked vigilante, has decided that the violent nature of the superhero sequel conflicts with his standing sensitivity over tragedies like 2012's Sandy Hook shooting. Carrey tweeted over the weekend: "I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart."
Although the storyline's inclusion of a violent 11-year-old (Chloë Grace Moretz) has been met with controversy in the past, the nature of the film hadn't prevented the actor from signing onto the project in the first place, nor have any events since inspired any previous vocalization of conflict about his involvement. In March, Carrey opened up to MTV News about the relationship between the film's super-violence and his beliefs about gun control in the aftermath of the devastation in Connecticut:
"...my character is a guy that came from a violent background who is trying to turn it around and he uses a gun with no bullets in it. These are things I am considering now because I just feel like we don't cause the problem, but we don't help it much either. So, I am becoming more conscious of that. And I made Kick-Ass before all the things, the unfortunate shootings happened and stuff happened, and so that's kind of a little interesting blast from the past almost. But it's just going to be a great movie but I'm being careful with choices."
Mark Millar, the writer and creator of the Kick-Ass comic book series as well as the executive producer for the two films, is inevitably astonished about the comedian's sudden transition from big fan to disapproving criticizer. In a statement posted on Millar World a few hours after Carrey's announcement, Millar replies:
"First off, I love Jim Carrey. When producer Matthew Vaughn and director Jeff Wadlow called me up and suggested we do a conference call with him to talk about the sequel to the 2010 original I was genuinely excited. Like you, I love Eternal Sunshine, Man on the Moon and The Truman Show. Carrey is an actor like no other, an unpredictable force of nature who brings a layered warmth and humanity to his work as well as that unstoppable energy he's always been renowned for. He had lunch with Matthew around the time of the first movie and dug it so much he appeared that night on Conan O'Brien DRESSED as Kick-Ass, singing a duet with Conan dressed as Superman. Vaughn and I made a mental note to work with this guy as soon as possible as we're both huge admirers.
Cut to almost three years later and I'm sitting in a screening room in London watching what I think is one of Carrey's best-ever performances. I'd seen Kick-Ass 2 in many forms, but this was the absolute final cut complete with opening titles, music and a terrific post-credit sequence you're all going to love. I couldn't be happier with this picture. It's as good as the original and in many ways BIGGER as it expands upon the universe and really takes things to the next level. There are a lot of stand-outs in the sequel, every actor really firing on full cylinders and an amazing script that moves like a rocket. But Carrey in particular is magnificent. He's never done anything like this before and even from the trailer, with his masked dog sidekick specially trained to munch criminal balls, you can see that something really fun and special is happening here. Colonel Stars and Stripes is so charismatic and all his scenes are up there with Nic Cage's amazing turn as Big Daddy in the original... which made it all the more surprising when Jim announced tonight that the gun-violence in Kick-Ass 2 has made him withdraw his support from the picture.
As you may know, Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion, but I'm baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn't in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us HIT-GIRL was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much. My books are very hardcore, but the movies are adapted for a more mainstream audience and if you loved the tone of the first picture you're going to eat this up with a big, giant spoon. Like Jim, I'm horrified by real-life violence (even though I'm Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn't a documentary. No actors were harmed in the making of this production! This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence, whether it's the ramifications for friends and family or, as we saw in the first movie, Kick-Ass spending six months in hospital after his first street altercation. Ironically, Jim's character in Kick-Ass 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place.
Ultimately, this is his decision, but I've never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life. Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can't be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie. Imagine a John Wayne picture where he wasn't packing or a Rocky movie where Stallone wasn't punching someone repeatedly in the face. Our audience is smart enough to know they're all pretending and we should instead just sit back and enjoy the serotonin release of seeing bad guys meeting bad ends as much as we enjoyed seeing the Death Star exploding. The action in Kick-Ass 2 is like nothing you've ever seen before. The humour, the characters, the heart and the set-pieces are all things we're very proud of and the only warning I'd really include is that it's almost TOO EXCITING. Kick-Ass 2 is fictional fun so let's focus our ire instead of the real-life violence going on in the world like the war in Afghanistan, the alarming tension in Syria right now and the fact that Superman just snapped a guy's fucking neck.
Jim, I love ya and I hope you reconsider for all the above points. You're amazing in this insanely fun picture and I'm very proud of what Jeff, Matthew and all the team have done here."
It seems like Carrey's sudden change of heart is a reflection of his dual personalities in Me, Myself & Irene. Regardless of how he's feeling, Kick-Ass 2 will fire into theatres on August 16, with or without the star's support.
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After Kick-Ass did middling business at the box office in the Spring of 2010, few thought a sequel to the comic book adaptation was a possibility. Except for creator Mark Millar.
“We’re probably about nine months away from production starting, at the earliest, because Matthew [Vaughn]’s got to do X-Men: First Class," Millar told MTV back in August 2010. “Matthew just wants to get X-Men done next year then hopefully we’ll just go straight into Kick-Ass 2. That’s the plan.” Years passed, and the only word on Kick-Ass 2 came from Millar, who kept hungry fans of the series indulged with possibilities of production (he even suggested a subtitle for the sequel: Balls to the Wall). Amazingly, wishful thinking seems to have paid off. The long-gestating follow-up is finally a reality: Kick-Ass 2 moves into production in August.
The move suggests that Universal sees power in the Kick-Ass brand, but Kick-Ass 2 will have visible hurdles to jump in the journey to screen:
Director Matthew Vaughn Is Out. Post-Kick-Ass, Vaughn quickly moved on to the X-Men prequel — which turned out to be a massive success, comparatively. Due to commitments with First Class' sequel, he won't be returning to helm Kick-Ass 2. Instead, Jeff Wadlow has been secured by Universal to write and direct the sequel. One of the strengths of the original film is Vaughn's balance of action storytelling and satiric bite, a skill he honed producing the crime films of Guy Ritchie and in his own previous work, Layer Cake and Stardust. Wadlow is a big question mark. His resume includes the horror slasher Cry Wolf — which doesn't scream "comic book director" — and followed it up with the MMA fighting film Never Back Down, closer to the mano a mano fighting on display in Kick-Ass. Wadlow worked with Millar on the script, so there's obvious confidence there.
The Cast Has Continued to Rise... and Age. The stars of the original film are all in negotiations to return for Kick-Ass 2, but will they? Aaron Johnson didn't take off after the original movie, but his roles have taken a turn for the mature. He'll star in Oliver Stone's trippy crime pic Savages this summer and star opposite Keira Knightley in this Winter's Anna Karenina (which already has a scent of Oscar potential). Christopher Mintz-Plasse continues his momentum sparked by Superbad with comedic roles and a new TV deal. His schedule is packed and his character, Red Mist, plays a major villain role in the follow-up. Time could be an issue.
The biggest breakout of Kick-Ass was easily the young Chloë Moretz as the foul-mouthed killer Hit-Girl. In the wake of her unique role, she picked up everything from Oscar-friendly parts (Hugo) to summer blockbusters (Dark Shadows; her next is a remake of Carrie that she's headlining; if Kick-Ass 2 follows its comic sequel source material, Hit-Girl plays an even bigger role in the titular character's heroic journey. Moretz returning for the film, with a new director no less, seems iffy. There's also a major physical change: she's all grown up! Is Hit-Girl as effective as a teenager?
Audiences Didn't Rush to Theaters the First Time. In the interview with MTV, Millar defended the box office gross of Kick-Ass. "Kick-Ass made $100 million at the box office. Everyone was expecting it to make Avatar money, I would say people said maybe twice Iron Man money, that type of thing, but Iron Man had a budget that was like eight times our budget. They were like $300 million and we were $28 million. So they made $100 million on a $28 million movie.”
Millar's description is accurate: Kick-Ass took home $96 million worldwide, with a domestic total of $48 million. But slash that total in half and you have a number around what original studio Lionsgate ended up taking to the bank. Compared to its PG-13 friendly superhero brethren, the R-rated Kick-Ass was unable to muster broad audience interest. With a lukewarm performance behind them, Universal has their work cut out for them amassing interest in a sequel. They obviously know something we don't know.
The keystone here is Mark Millar, whose passion kept the possibility of Kick-Ass 2 alive for two years. In a landscape that's overloaded with superhero movies, that's an incredible feat. His enthusiasm sold Universal on the sequel which their near greenlighting — even with all the obvious hurdles. If anything, that's the hook of the new movie: taking a risk on a movie that didn't go so well the first time. Balls to the wall, indeed.
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