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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Rumors of a kick-ass Kick-Ass sequel have been floating around since the original's 2010 debut, but until Universal's confirmation last May, nothing seemed substantial. In fact, weeks before the announcement villain Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Red Mist) told Hollywood.com that even he wasn't sure if it was happening. "You know, we don't know," he said. "Chloë [Grace Moretz] just booked Carrie... it's just really hard right now with everyone's schedule. So it's up in the air."
Even after Universal's announcement, some (like Hollywood.com's own Matt Patches) had doubts about the sequel, due to the middling success of the first film, and the subsequent breakout success of its stars. Then things remained quiet on the Kick-Ass 2 front all summer, until this week — when news blew up like that guy in the giant microwave. Moretz, Mintz-Plasse, and titular star Aaron Johnson are all returning (with rumors of Nicolas Cage making a cameo), and several other notable stars have joined the mix. Below, find the fix biggest reasons why this was a kick-ass week:
1. Donald Faison, Robert Emms, and Morris Chestnut are our new heroes.
Last Wednesday, it was announced that Donald Faison — best known as Turk from Scrubs, (or Murray from Clueless if you're a '90s fan) — had joined the cast as Dr. Gravity, that dude in the puffy purple coat. In the comics, Gravity is a copy-writer who teams up with Kick-Ass and Hit Girl to take on Red Mist (who apparently changes his name to Motherf***er). Gravity comes equipped with a "Gravity Pole" (a baseball bat covered in toil foil) that he says helps him float off the ground. Of course this isn't true, so it looks like Hit Girl may have to pass on some of her extensive martial arts training. Faison is a bone fide hilarious goofball, so adding him to the mix should bring some great comedy.
Then we have Robert Emms (War Horse) and Morris Chestnut (American Horror Story), who have signed on as Insect Man and Hit Girl's guardian, respectively. Insect Man is a policeman-by-day who joins Dr. Gravity in the newly-formed "Justice Forever" group, designed to destroy Red Mist/Motherf***er. Less is known about Chestnut's character, but if the story stays true to the comics then he'll be taking on the role of Sergeant Marcus Williams, who was played by Omari Hardwick in the first movie.
2. John Leguizamo is Red Mist's new bodyguard.
Since Kick-Ass and Hit Girl basically slaughtered Red Mist's entire family, as well has his mobster father's vast criminal empire, he'll be in dire need of some assistance. Thankfully, as announced late last month, he'll have some help in the form of a new bodyguard, Javier. All Super Mario Brothers aside, John Leguizamo can do no wrong, so we're particularly excited about this bit of casting. But there's more — Universal has announced that Red Mist will assemble a new team of villains as he transforms into Motherf***er, so we'll be on the lookout for even more casting news in the near future.
3. We have a release date!
On Wednesday, Universal announced that June 28, 2013, will be the big day. Mark your calendars!
4. Christopher Mintz-Plasse teased a script-pic.
On Tuesday, the Tweet-happy actor shared a photo from his Instagram account of scribe Jeff Wadlow's latest draft. It doesn't give away anything, but it looks pretty damn cool.
5. Wow, look at Chloë Moretz!
Okay, so this isn't exactly news, but the first film's murderous tiny tot has morphed into a beautiful young woman before our very eyes. She's currently up in Toronto shooting Carrie (playing the titular role), and it will be interesting to see how Kick-Ass 2 tackles the challenge of Hit Girl not being much of a girl anymore. She killed 41 people in Kick-Ass, and the spectacle of an adorable child brutally taking down mobsters was one of the film's major selling points. Is the world ready for Hit Woman? Stay tuned!
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Marvel/Instagram/Wenn.com]
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Roberts has already signed to star in cult director Tarsem Singh's retelling of the classic fairytale, and Phil Collins' daughter Lily will play the lead.
Now its been revealed that Broadway legend Lane is in the last stage of negotiations to play the wicked queen's bumbling man-servant, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Newcomer Robert Emms has also signed on for the film.
'Steven Spielberg' is one of those names that has such cachet that we sit up and take notice any time he does, well, anything. Although Spielberg's last project was 2008's disappointing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, his latest, War Horse, looks to hearken back to the tone of his 1987 Empire of the Sun with its war-torn setting and human drama.
War Horse - the story of the friendship between a boy (Joey) and his horse, who is sold to the British army during the First World War (the horse, not the boy) - boasts an impressive international cast, with Jeremy Irvine (formerly of the National Youth Theatre) playing the young horse owner, Emily Watson (Gosford Park, Cold Souls) playing his mother, and Peter Mullan (Trainspotting, Children of Men) his father. Niels Arestrup (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) plays the grandfather of a young French girl (Celine Buckens) who takes Joey in.
Other renowned members of the cast include Tom Hiddleston (to play Loki in Thor and the upcoming Avengers movie), Rainer Bock (Inglorious Basterds), Patrick Kennedy (Atonement), and Stephen Graham (Baby Face Nelson in Public Enemies and Al Capone in the upcoming HBO series Boardwalk Empire). Rounding out the ensemble are Nicolas Bro, Leonard Carow, Robert Emms, and David Kross.
War Horse is being adapted by Lee Hall, the writer behind Billy Elliot, and Richard Curtis from the novel by Michael Morpurgo. Expect War Horse to hit theaters August 10, 2011.
Source: Empire Online