Kick Ass 2

And every child a superhero


Not very violent, and that violence was the only thing that people talked about, should give us an idea how boring the film is.
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Reported on 2nd of October, 2013

I’ve said it before, but should I bother with Kick Ass 2

Kick Ass 2

2 October 2013 @ Cineworld Fulham Road


-$7.50 or, if one must be quotidian, and one must... 
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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I saw it because of all the controversy re: violence is bad unless I like it, and was hoping for some classic style jump the Ron Perlman style weirdness, but it’s really just a film that happens in order, capped somewhat memorably by the line: ‘Eventually it had to end‘.  Don’t say something like that in your film.  And if you do, say it at the beginning, so I can leave.  Which I would never do, but say it at the beginning so I can blame myself for not leaving.

We don't have fantasies about how terrible it is to be a superhero, any more than we have fantasies about a prolonged and nasty divorce with the cute girl we just met. Oh, you have those do. Well stop making movies about it!

But what got me on my ass to say something was simple, which is trying to figure out what the hell these films are about.  Kick Ass existed on the funny premise that what if superheroes tried to exist in the real world, while Kick Ass 2 exists on the greenlit premise that what if a movie about superheroes existing in the real world tried to exist in the movie world inhabited by super hero movies.  In other words, it’s no longer a real superhero movie, it’s a real superhero movie.   As such, there is, and I’m just realizing this now since I was bored out of my mind, a character who begins by saying, ‘I don’t want to be a superhero, and now I do’, just as the other one says, ‘I want to be a superhero and now I don’t’.

This is the inevitable, and ever so dull, arc of all superhero sequels, I’m hanging up the cape (what passes for) drama that is just crappy writing.  Real conflict is conflict we can relate to.  We relate to superheroes because they’re embodiments of our fantasies.  We don’t have fantasies about how terrible it is to be a superhero, any more than we have fantasies about a prolonged and nasty divorce with the cute girl we just met.  Oh, you have those do.  Well stop making movies about it!

Look, violence is awesome; we love and we’re ashamed of loving it, so it’s a win/win pleasure-wise.  The fact that Kick-Ass 2 isn’t actually very violent, and the violence was the only thing that people talked about should give us an idea how boring the film is.  There are two contributory factors to my writing in the notes how many minutes are left every ten minutes (no doubt some type of formula then, interval over boringness squared.  If I’m really bored, I’ll make the formula), the first being that it was shot like a TV movie.  The one potentially decent set-piece, occurring, let us be clear, very late in the proceedings, of Ms. Moretz jumping around a van full of bad guys, was ruined by the fact that the guy has no idea where to point the camera.  It’s like watching a photography student take a picture of a crumpled piece of paper ‘because of the way the light caught the metaphor of texture’.  It made me miss the shakycam of the unwatchable Elysium.

No it didn’t!  No more shakycam!  I was being rhetorical!

Here's the sad bit: I love, love LOVE Cineworld Fulham Road.  In the brief time I was in London, it was a four minute walk, empty on a Saturday night, and four levels and three café.  I would live there.

Here’s the sad bit: I love, love LOVE Cineworld Fulham Road. In the brief time I was in London, it was a four minute walk, empty on a Saturday night, and four levels and three café. I would live there.

The second is the bland unbelievable motivations, like superheroes who don’t want to be superheroes, and then they do.  This is probably less about Kick-Ass 2, and more about the detestable three act structure writers gravitate towards when they’re utterly out of ideas. In act one, he has a motivation!  Then, in act two, he must face a decision!  This can work, but only does when those involved have some kind of subconscious talent telling them to ignore it.  Which means, naturally, that it can never work.  This is because what matters is the motivation itself, not the resolution.

Let me explain what I mean.  Very, very far into the film, after pretty much nothing has happened, Motherfucker’s friend is killed by his uncle.  The uncle’s motivation is vague at best (it is, naturally enough, in the ‘I don’t want you to be a superhero vein’.  Is this something that I don’t get because I’m not a parent?  Are parents all worried that their children are just too great?  Hmm, starting to make sense), but having killed his friend, suddenly, out of nowhere, an actual motive: revenge.  Motherfucker will use his crew to take over the crime family and, well, no.  That doesn’t happen.  It’s never referred to again.

The point being, revenge is a relatable motivation.  If we don’t connect to the characters, we start making formulas and winning Nobel Prizes.  Some in no way relatable motivations: 1) Boo hoo, the weight of my power is too much to bear, or 2) ‘I just want to be normal’ (for audiences made up of people desperate to be famous, that’s right I’m talking about you…me).  Weirdly, Motherfucker’s motivation to kill Kick-Ass – revenge –  would be relatable, kinda, if it hadn’t happened in the other film.  As such, we’re led, I want to say surrealistically, but I don’t want you to see it, to a warehouse for a brawl.  The motivation?  Well, this is where the movie ends.  Oh, you meant the character’s motivation.  Yeah, we don’t do those.

Having discussed this previously, let’s name this >_ chmotivate.  Why shouldn’t we make UNIX jokes, if the characters are programmed from the same place?  This is the kind of shit that sunk Man of Steel and is just death in narrative.  I think it should surprise and depress us: people making movies don’t think being or doing good is a relatable motive.  This may be true in real life, given that we think all our children are already superheroes.  But couldn’t this also be a fantasy: that we might be better than than we think, that we can revel in what it’s like to stop looking out for number one for a few hours.  After the break, I promise, you can get back to making movies.

Profits!

Though completely directionless and belonging in another movie, Ms. Moretz’s bitchy friends had some moments.
$3.00
Motherfucker’s origin story was not poor.
$1.00
Total Profits
$4.00

Losses!

It’s the end now. Right this way. Heroes on the left. Ready? Fight!
$4.00
Liking the queen bee subplot, the girls then change their motivation. Sigh.
$3.00
The fact that my telling you he’s eaten by the shark in the end is not a spoiler.
$2.00
What violence there was, as it happens, was unnecessarily sadistic. If Tarantino still can’t pull it off…
$2.50
Total Losses
$11.50

-$7.50

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