There's something thematically appropriate about a movie telling the story of a butler who quietly influenced the United States taking the number one spot at the box office over its flashy, bigger rivals. Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' took multiplexes by storm this weekend, taking down last week's competition as well as a handful of seemingly strong newcomers.
The first 'Kick-Ass' film was praised for its depiction of miniature crime-fighter Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz), whose origin story satirized traditional comic book origin stories: her father (Nicolas Cage) is a delusional vigilante and has stolen her childhood, training her to be a tiny killing machine. Audiences relished in the gleeful, hyperactive sequences in which the foul-mouthed Hit-Girl completely wiped out rooms full of weapon-toting adult men, and for good reason.
Unfortunately, Hit-Girl has lost her magic appeal in 'Kick-Ass 2,' but the even bigger disappointment is the film's horrible issues with gender.
Reverence for comic creator Mark Millar runs through the veins of 'Kick-Ass 2.' The affection is often on the nose: One minute, crime fighting high schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is seen in front of a poster for Millar's 'American Jesus.' In a later flashback, his Dad hangs a piece of 'Superior' art on Dave's wall. The tips of a the hat are a blockade for writer/director Jeff Wadlow, whose passion for Millar's source material disables him from streamlining 'Kick-Ass 2' into a functional action movie.
There are too many moving parts, from Kick-Ass' attempts to form a DIY Justice League, to vengeful mob son Chris D'Amico's (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) emergence into New York's first supervillain, to the awkward high school story of Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz). Balancing the schizophrenic story is a chore for Wadlow and the audience, and yet 'Kick-Ass 2' still manages to deliver a smattering of fun, living up to the tonal roller coaster ride of the original.
With its release only a few weeks away, 'Kick-Ass 2''s marketing machine has shifted into high gear with the release of four new NSFW clips from the film. Although the sequel sees original director Matthew Vaughn replaced by Jeff Wadlow, fans of the first film will probably be happy to see that this looks to be very much in line with its predecessor. As for people who didn't like the first film ... well, you should know better.
The summer may be entering its final weeks, but as this new 'Kick-Ass 2' clips reminds us, there are still plenty of geek-friendly movies on the horizon. Are you excited for the return of Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and their motley band of allies and enemies? If so, this scene will undoubtedly please you. For better or worse, it looks a lot like the original.
Picture this scene: Playboy and Universal Pictures host a wild party outside at Comic-Con the other night. There are stuntmen on ziplines, Playboy bunnies, lots and lots and lots of alcohol. Now imagine showing up to that party the very next morning at 9am. There are no stuntmen or models and the only alcohol left are the many random bottles still strewn around. This is when and where I meet 'Kick-Ass 2' director Jeff Wadlow.
We both look and feel a little...worse for wear. A member of the cleaning crew is nice enough to cover over with some Windex and clean off a small area for us to sit. I feel hungover. I feel like I'm back in college. It all feels very...'Kick-Ass.'
And with that, we're off and talking Comic-Con, the challenges of making a sequel and casting Jim Carrey.
The panel for 'Kick-Ass 2' at Comic-Con 2013 has just begun. We'll be bringing you a thorough update this afternoon with all the details from that panel, but until then, Universal has just released an extended red band trailer for the upcoming sequel, with plenty of Kick-Ass and ass-kicking, and your favorite miniature hero, Hit Girl, as well as Jim Carrey's Colonel Stars and Stripes.