Search This Blog

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why Kick Ass 2 Can Tell Us All We Need To Know About Superhero Movies

Recently, Universal Studios released a full length Red Band trailer for the film Kick Ass 2 (release date August 16, 2013). Earlier this year, I had the film ranked as my 6th most anticipated film of 2013 without knowing anything about it. After seeing an official trailer now, I might have to move the film higher on my list. You can watch the trailer here:

I was initially excited for Kick Ass 2 because I am such a huge fan of its prequel. Kick Ass was so good because it was a violent, filthy, and incredibly fun roller coaster ride. The reason superhero movies have become that much more popular and just better overall films is because they have been set in a reality that seems plausible. Of course you are going to have to suspend your disbelief to believe in the notion that superheroes exist in the first place, but once you get over that hurdle, the rest of the world needs to be believable.

Aside from The Avengers (which kind of blows the hinges off of this notion. Sort of), the best superhero franchises (in terms of movie quality) of the past decade, have been Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, and Iron Man. Half of the reason these films were so damn good is because we actually believe this could really happen. The limitations of the world as we know it seem to affect the people in this superhero world the same way.

The recent superhero films that flop critically are the ones that are just too cartoony and have one foot in the real world, but also one foot in the cartoon, comic book world as well. Films like the Fantastic Four franchise and Green Lantern are just TOO goofy. To be honest, their biggest problem is that their comic book source does not lend themselves to this "real world era" of superhero movies that it tries to be. 

However, Kick Ass is not one of those films. In fact, its initial premise (why can't an everyday person become a superhero?) lends itself perfectly to this era of superhero films that we are now living in. Plus, director Matthew Vaughn added his own inventive and delicious take to the original Kick Ass to make it a fun movie all on its own. It is not as deep as The Dark Knight or Spider-Man 2, but it doesn't try to be. In fact, it has a lot of the same goofy and fun elements that The Avengers had and which made The Avengers a huge freaking success. 

However, just because an original superhero film is great does not necessarily mean that its sequel will be any good. For every Dark Knight you have three Iron Man 2's. Even though it is tough for any sequel to live up to the hype and wonder of its prequel (especially if a sequel was never planned), I believe Kick Ass 2 will live up to the hype.

In order to have a successful sequel, you need to keep the core characters that we grew to love in tact, but place them in a different, yet believable scenarios. That's the reason it is so damn hard to create a sequel to a comedy and you just end up with a pile of crap like Hangover 2 or Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. Superhero movies and action movies lend themselves better to sequels because you can create a completely new set of circumstances, yet still retain the same core characters.

That's what Kick Ass 2 looks like it is doing. In fact, it is following the story line of Nolan's first two Dark Knight films to a tee. In Batman Begins, Nolan adds a superhero into a city which didn't know what to do or how to react to one. The world certainly didn't know how to react to Kick Ass. However, once each superhero steps up and saves the day, the world grows to love and want the superhero.

What made The Dark Knight so amazing is that is asked, "What would the city do next?" The answer is obvious: escalation. Batman is better than the mob, so the mob needed to turn to a villain that's better than Batman. Kick Ass 2 seems to ask the same question, "What would the city do next?" The city sees Hit Girl and Kick Ass, two ordinary citizens standing up for justice by becoming "superheroes," and they decide to do the same. 

However, this in turn will create escalation. Kick Ass and Hit Girl create a small army of superheroes, so what would happen next? A small army of supervillains arise. Red Mist becomes the next Harry Osbourne and needs to exact revenge on our hero. We are now playing by the rules that the original film created, but now we must expand our world. We must see where the limits of the rules are. Kick Ass 2 looks to go farther than what its predecessor did and that in turns looks like it is going to be one helluva film.

Are you excited to see Kick Ass 2? Let us know on our Facebook page! 

P.S. Also, like TDK, we have a familiar face get lost in a fantastic and (almost) unrecognizable role. Batman had Heath Ledger (which I still will contend is the greatest acting performance of the past 25 years) and Kick Ass as Jim Carrey. While you can still tell that Colonel Stars and Stripes is Jim Carrey (unlike with Ledger's Joker), you kind of get lost briefly of who the actor really is. If I need to tell myself that I'm watching Jim Carrey is a three minutes clip, I'm sure I will be mesmerized by his performance in a 2 hour movie. Carrey looks like he actually gets lost in his superhero character which in turns looks like it will create an incredible performance. 

If you would like to comment on this post, please visit our Facebook page