27 August 2013

Try to have fun, otherwise what's the point?

So I saw Kick-Ass 2 the other day and I'm afraid to say that I gave in to temptation. Usually I'm a pretty decent person but after seeing so much violence on screen, I couldn't help but grab a gun and shoot the living shit out of a bunch of people. Oops! Star Jim Carrey claims he can't support this violent film because of the shooting at Sandy Hook which is strange because he filmed it after the shooting at Columbine. Personally I haven't sat down and ranked the tragedy of high school massacres like he apparently has but I guess we all have different hobbies. Obviously I didn't actually shoot anybody and obviously this film wouldn't encourage anybody to do so that wasn't already a lonely, mental fucktard. Occasionally I might punch my friend in the arm but that's only because he'll have hit me first. I'm not sure why he attacks me although I'm guessing it's probably less about the media desensitising him to violence as it is the seven previous hours I spent joyously trying to piss him off.

Kick-Ass 2 takes place several years after the end of the first film despite the characters having not moved on that much in the interim. Although Hit-Girl is now fifteen years old, her story feels like it's only progressed about a week since we left her back in 2010. I suspect that they would have liked to make this a more immediate sequel but Chloe Moretz insisted on being such a diva and stubbornly grew up... Human little bitch! So Hit-Girl is trying to lead a normal school life, Kick-Ass is continuing to fight crime and Red Mist is still trying to be seen as anyone other than McLovin. In at least that last case, I'd say he succeeds with the character this time going under the catchy alias of ‘The Motherfucker’. At first I was thinking that, that is clearly a superhero name designed for Samuel L Jackson but then I realised that he would more likely be ‘The Motherfucking Motherfucker’. The whole concept of Kick-Ass was to explore what it'd be like to be a superhero in reality which bizarrely I actually have some first-hand experience of. When not writing this shiz, I like to blackmail people to appear in little films with one actually revolving around a superhero. As it turns out, the public are fairly accepting of somebody dressed up like a dick in a cape with nobody really questioning him at all. In fact, things only got awkward later on when I filmed a girl eating a banana in an alley and two junkie tramps appeared out of nowhere to watch, dribble and finger their belly buttons.

Kick-Ass is one of my favourite films of all time and so my excitement for the sequel was pretty high. The original may have had violence and swearing but I fell in love with the heart and naivety of the characters. Kick-Ass was a fucking idiot for trying to fight crime but he did it for the right reasons and with the help of a few friends he just about managed to get the job done. The fact that the film also included a performance from a post-stroke Nicolas Cage and a young girl who casually spits out the word ‘cunt’ only added to the joy. For me, a good film can only be improved if it causes The Daily Mail to get its touchy little titties in a twist. With Kick-Ass 2 though, I began to get kind of worried when director Jeff Wadlow was hired. I'd seen his first film Never Back Down and disliked it with about the same amount of hatred that Russia currently has for equal rights and freedom. Still, I tried to keep my optimism which became well and truly put to the test when the wave of bad reviews arrived and started to rape the absolute fuck out of it.

Having now seen the movie I can say with some relief that I actually really liked it. It definitely wasn't as good as the first one but for me not much else is. In honesty I think the biggest problem for this sequel is that what made the first so great is that it was both original and shocking. When you're replicating and continuing what's gone before, 'original' and 'shocking' are two of the things that just can't help but be lost. It's kind of like the first time you toss one off- your brain explodes with confusion and joy, but a week later, a kind of nonchalance has set in that means you'll catch yourself lazily doing it at a bus stop if you aren’t paying enough attention. I guess my point is that the sequel has to go even further than the original to be as memorable because we now take for granted everything that made the first such a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, Kick-Ass 2 simply replicates what has gone before it and continues the story in a completely logical way. Not that I'm criticising the story, rather the fact that we've become desensitised to everything here by the simple fact of having seen it before. Fuck me- that was an effort to explain...

Guns don't kill people. Idiots who own guns do though...
A further problem is that two of the things that made the original so great were the randomness of Nicholas Cage and the threat of Mark Strong's big bald bastard. To try and counter this, they have this time added an almost unrecognisable Jim Carrey as the violent vigilante Colonel Stars and Stripes. Despite earlier taking the piss out of his bizarre distancing of this film, I am generally a fan of the big rubber gurner’s previous work. Therefore the biggest problem with him here is that despite all the controversy, hype and prominent billing, he's hardly in the fucking movie anyway… which actually makes his subsequent comments make a lot more sense. His role is really just an extended cameo but images of him committing acts of violence could potentially cause awkwardness for him in light of his recent anti-gun comments. Personally, I kind of agree that the public shouldn't have access to handheld child-killing machines and so in that regard I'm on his side. By denouncing Kick-Ass 2, not only has he brought attention to his cause but he's also provided some presumably welcome marketing to a film that wants to make money. Either that or he just couldn't be fucked with the boring press junket. Regardless though, none of this really justifies quite how wasted he is here. Nor is his implied link between movie violence and real violence in anyway true. Although having said that, if like him I could train my dog to bite off peoples’ cocks then I definitely would. If Carrey is going to begin denouncing his appearance in comic book movies then I'd strongly recommend he actually start with his performance in the crappy Batman Forever as a bright green twat.

Speaking of people who are wasted, it seems that another fault of the film is that it kind of forgets who it should be about. I have a friend who claims to have the dullest possible dreams in which she does menial things such as worry about paying her car tax. In her most exciting dream she was apparently just pottering about like normal when a strange young girl walked past suspiciously carrying a pair of scissors. That was pretty much the end of it. What made me laugh about that was how in her dream-world, her brain had created a story in which she wasn't even the main fucking character. It was inside her head and yet this young girl with the scissors is clearly the focus of the mystery and story. Well that's kind of what's going on here with the title character of Kick-Ass being severely sidelined in favour of the demented little killer imp Hit-Girl. I mean, Kick-Ass is present throughout but the character development and arc is clearly dominated by the violent young bitch in the purple wig. Not that I didn't enjoy spending so much time with her, by the way. One of my favourite things about the franchise is in the fact that it's also a kind of demented teen movie and so seeing her navigate her school life was great. I also can't fault the empowering message of the film that you should just be yourself regardless of whether or not you're a violent tween who kills cunts with a sociopathic efficacy. It's just a shame that this means we have to give up time with Kick-Ass who is less of a superhero and more of a geek who wishes he was. As a single chap in his twenties with Star Wars toys scattered around his bedroom, I find a geek with comic-inspired aspirations much easier to relate to.

So yeah, like I said, the film isn't as good as the first but I still enjoyed it. Maybe this wasn't literally the best film of all time but it's still fun. Curious as to what I'd missed, I thought I'd check out the terrible reviews to see what their issue was, with most just seeming offended at the violence and bad fucking language. There was one thing though that did surprise me and that was a huge amount of complaints in regards to the films’ apparent misogynist tone. A lot of this focused around things such as a dance scene in which a few girls had been sexualised, but the complaints also forgot to mention that when Kick-Ass removes his shirt, he too is gorped at. I guess the real conclusion here is that some people of both genders are occasionally not completely fucking ugly. To be honest, I'd love to go into this in more detail because I read a lot about it throughout the week but fuck it, it'd take forever and we've all got lives. It just seemed to me that a lot of the problems may have originated from the following slightly tactless comment that Kick-Ass author Mark Millar made about rape a little while earlier:

“The ultimate [act] that would be the taboo, to show how bad some villain is, was to have somebody being raped, you know? I don’t really think it matters. It’s the same as, like, a decapitation. It’s just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy.”

He looks like a boy who is good to his mother.
People then complained that he was using rape as a kind of badge to simply represent evil and that rape is actually much worse than chopping of a head. Not to put myself in the firing line but I kind of don't see a problem with what he said. Everything that happens in literature is used to represent something and I don't see why rape should be exempt from that. I'm not saying that it can't be executed in a sexist way but that what he said alone certainly isn't. There's a bit in Transformers: Dark of the Moon in which a woman is physically and aesthetically described in relation to a car which I found so much more offensive than anything here. Also Millar didn't specifically say female rape so to assume he's being sexist is kind of a presumption in itself. As for rape being worse than getting your head chopped off- well, how do I put this diplomatically... Get a fucking grip! Both are horrific things that nobody deserves to ever endure but if I had to choose –trigger warning- I'd rather get roughly beaten and arse fucked in an alley than just get straight up brutally and sadistically murdered. There's no doubt at all that rape victims also go through huge mental and physical trauma afterwards and I think it's horrendous how in many cases the victims get the blame for their own assault. But if you get your head chopped off then that's it. You're dead. End of life. Rape must be a truly terrible thing to endure but getting so mad about it being compared to decapitation seems kind of offensive to victims of that too. In my opinion, people just got slightly up in arms about what Millar said and so choose to look for evidence of any apparent sexism in his work.

So yeah I've been waffling on for way too long now and so I'll try and come to a conclusion. Kick-Ass 2 isn't as mental, shocking, original or simply good as the first but it's still fun and certainly worth a watch. There's no denying that it suffers from a lack of crazy old Nicholas Cage but that's a criticism for pretty much any film that doesn't feature him. It does neglect Kick-Ass in favour of Hit-Girl but for a film that's meant to be misogynistic, there's no denying how nice it is to have a female hero to root for. Before the film was released I'd heard Mark Millar compare it to The Empire Strikes Back in that it was much darker and much better than the original. Well I'd agree with him, but not for those reasons. Sure it's darker but it's certainly not better. The reason it reminds me of Star Wars Episode Five is because there's a scene in it in which a couple who I'd previously thought of as being like a brother and sister share a kiss. I don't know about anybody else, but overtones of incest can sometimes kill a romance for me.

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