Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Superhero Media: Kick-Ass 2

I try not to do series out of order, but this one kind of ended up this way. I don't care much for Kick-Ass (the film, I've yet to read the graphic novel), it was sold to me as "the gen-y Watchmen", but I found it to be no better than a gen-y Blade. It was ok, just lacking any of the real substance that it was going for, nothing original was added to the Superhero genre and it couldn't be as postmodern as it needed to be. More on that when I get to it though. Kick-Ass 2 is better than it's predecessor, the story makes more sense, character development is more rational and the villain is... still shit actually, but shit in less annoying ways. The big problem with both films is that Kick-Ass is not the protagonist. Sure, the film is framed around him, but he doesn't undertake the major events of the plot; in the first film, Big Daddy is the hero, he as the motivation, his is the nemesis and he drives the plot. In Kick-Ass 2, it's Hit Girl that is undergoing changes and finding her place in the world; it's not always about fighting either, she has to negotiate the adolescent world that her father never prepared her for. 

If "Hit Girl vs Puberty" doesn't sound all that interesting to you, I don't blame you, I wouldn't have thought that I would enjoy it as much as I did before I saw it. However, it is the moments where Hit Girl is trying to negotiate a situation as mundane as the High School Cafeteria, with no social markers or concepts of how to do so that are not related to violence and combat that the character truly shines. Yes, some of it is played for laughs, but that fits the style of the film; the scene where Hit Girl uses a martial arts routine to audition for gymnastics is inspired and probably one of the greatest moments in the series. Also, the erstwhile mentor figure of the film, Colonel Stars and Stripes, is later revealed to be a former Mob hitter looking for redemption; yet another character more interesting that Kick-Ass. I know Jim Carey distanced himself from the film, but even without him a spin-off Colonel Stars and Stripes origin film would be great to watch.

I know that Kick-Ass has its fans and that I'm in the minority, but I can't say that it's won me over. The possible Kiss-Ass 3 tease at the end of this film promises something that I'm not sure I want, with the focus on Kick-As' continuing journey as a superhero, I'd rather explore the other characters in the setting and build a bigger and more interesting world. I'd rather see the origin story for Big Daddy or Colonel Stars and Stripes, or what Hit Girl ends up doing with her life and the skills she possesses. There is room to move away from the original film and I feel that the opportunity should be explored, rather than just build on Kick-Ass' lack of character. 

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