By: Grant Vance
The recent popularity of superhero films is all but subtle in the film industry of this generation. With crossovers, reboots (the very occasional original film) and sequels-galore, it is hard to be ignorant of this trend as a filmgoer. The “Kick-Ass” franchise is important to this genre. The first film (“Kick-Ass”)— directed by Matthew Vaughn—was brilliantly crafted with just enough heart, comedy and action to make it an enjoyable film upon multiple views. Some liberties were taken that strayed from the comic book, but Vaughn did the book justice and created a great “real-life” superhero film.
The same cannot be said about Jeff Wadlow’s adaptation of Kick- Ass 2. While he did create an enjoyable popcorn flick, what Wadlow neglected to bring to this film was everything that made the first adaptation a good film. The comedy and action was handled well. However, the heart and weight that is supposed to be present in a dark film about the realism of vigilantes is nowhere to be found. There are indeed several points in this movie that draw attention to this realism, but they’re handled so lightly that some of the darkest moments in the film come off as jokes, or simply small details put in place to drive the plot.
The performances in the film were enjoyable, albeit cheesy at times. The returning cast of Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Dave Lizewski/ Kick-Ass, Chloe Grace Moretz as everyone’s favorite foul mouthed pre-teen Mindy Macready/Hit- Girl, and Christopher Mintz- Plasse as Chris D’Mico/super -villain-name-unable-to-print all bring their brilliant acting chops to the table, despite some contrived dialogue at times. Although Mintz-Plasse’s supervillain was portrayed as more of a laughing stock than a menace, he did have some funny moments throughout. The supporting cast, including Jim Carrey (Colonel Stars and Stripes) and Donald Faison (Dr. Gravity), also brings a lot of fun and talent to the film.
While there is a lot to like about this film, there is no essence of realism which was captured so brilliantly in the comic book. The scenes are there, but the cinematic presence is missing everywhere except for the bare minimum of the action and comedy. Hopefully this will be a lesson for future directors of comic book adaptations (or any adaptation, for that matter). If you are going to adapt something, don’t forget to add what made it so great in the first place.
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