Monday, August 19, 2013
F This Movie! - Kick-Ass 2
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Also discussed this episode: Stoker, Contact, Planes, Orphan, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Hatchet III, Pet Sematary, You're Next
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Such a shame. I love the original Kick-Ass, and I think Matthew Vaughn is a great director. It sucks to see how a movie can be destroyed, or at least handled so poorly, by handing it over to a clueless or incapable director. I was really looking forward to the sequel, but I think I'll avoid it like the plague.ReplyDelete
Also, regarding The World's End, I know Rotten Tomatoes is maybe not the best way to judge the actual quality of a movie, but it is trending really well on that site, and displays a positive "consensus." I have a good feeling it will be at least good, if not great. I mean, come on...it's Edgar Wright!
I am trying to think of another series with such an astonishing differential in quality between the first and second installments. Kick-Ass was my #1 for 2010, and Kick-Ass 2 may well be the worst movie of 2013.ReplyDelete
The Matrix series had a large drop-off in quality.Delete
Haven't seen Kick-Ass 2 but listened to the whole podcast anyway, and I have to say you've successfully torpedoed any hope I had for it. You're absolutely right that the first was an impressive, transgressive high-wire act that would be hard to duplicate...I'm sad but not surprised to hear that they crashed and burned with this one. We miss you, Matthew Vaughn.ReplyDelete
I will say this, however. As someone who saw The World's End a few weeks ago at an event in Philly and loved it, I feel I can honestly say you have little-to-nothing to worry about.
Great show guys, Glad to hear the listener/follower bumb you’ve received. One step closer to the Empire of F!ReplyDelete
185 epsiodes! Should hit 200 by end of the year, right? That’s worthy of a celebration!
I havent seen Kick Ass 2, but in relation to the Kick Ass 1 talk and its switching of tones, I see that film as starting out in the real world (i.e. mom dies uncerimoniously at the dinner table, and Kick Ass gets messed up real bad when he first goes out), but as the movie progresses he becomes more and more involved in the superhero world and the movie follows his lead by becoming more and more comicbooky as it goes along. Big Daddy acts as the bridge between the worlds, taking Kick Ass from the real world into the superhero world (kinda makes the choice of modelling him after Batman with an Adam West impression as having a better meaning, as in the Batman TV show was most of our original introduction into the world of superheroes too).
Disapointing about KA2 sucking though, although Im not a fan of Mark Millar I would have liked to see a superhero film be successful with only a budget of $28mil.
Ps, The World's End really struck a chord with me. Its not perfect, and what I did like of it I could have done with a lot more of, but overall it was really good/enjoyable.
I've never been able to quite put my finger on how I felt about the first Kick Ass. I've only watched it once, back when it was first released, so maybe I need to revisit it. But even when the comic was being published before the movie, I wasn't sure what tone it was going for. I still don't know, either. Is it an earnest look at real people living with the real world ramifications of being vigilantes? Or is it Mark Millar's idea of a parody of the super hero genre that he has elevated in the last decade, filled with things intended to shock the audience? Did he write extreme violence and stabbings and foul mouthed kids because he had something to say by using those things, or did he do it because he knew it would draw a crowd and sell comic books and movie rights? It could be both of those things. Either way, it worked, because it DID sell a ton of comics and movie rights and now that first movie has quite a following. And for most of the people who DO love that first movie (not you, Patrick), I wonder if they love it because it's ironic and post-modern or if they love it because it's "adult" super-heroes. What do you guys think?ReplyDelete
I think a little of both. Millar has never been shy about pushing people's buttons, but the part that I find interesting in KICK ASS is the conundrum of Hit-Girl (which is mentioned in the podcast). How can we in the audience take pleasure in watching a little girl dispatch bad guys? Not just that, but one who was *programmed* to do it? It takes me back to other movies that do something similar (not identical), like SUCKER PUNCH or SPRING BREAKERS or THE PROFESSIONAL. It makes me uncomfortable and a little guilty about my exploitative voyeurism as an audience member, but above all, it makes me think a lot. And I think that's art, you know? I think the case could very well be made that KICK ASS is a movie I like for a lot of good little parts more than as a whole, but that's my main takeaway.Delete
Good call on the comparisons to those other movies, especially The Professional. That one has always caused a similar conflict for me as well in which I like the action/violence and the interesting idea of a little girl hitman (Hit Girl?!) but a kid's life has been destroyed while we watched cool stuff happen and while Gary Oldman chewed the scenery. That movie draws you in with its French-y-ness then hits you with some heavy stuff. You're right, that's exactly what the first Kick Ass did.Delete
We'll just say that Kick Ass is good art, because you're right that art makes you think and this movie has definitely made me think. This is where Patrick's metaphor of a high-wire act comes in to play. But part of what made me ask that question in the first place is that I know too many people who watched the first Kick Ass on that surface level and loved it because it was extreme (X-TREME!)and seems very easy to view from an ironic standpoint. But talking about it now reminds me that art is subjective and most people aren't watching movies to think, they're watching them to escape; what people do or do not take away from Millar's original story about these characters doesn't reflect on him (because there's clearly enough there for us to discuss and dissect) but on the person watching it. I shouldn't judge Kick Ass because it's popular with d-bags who like to see Nicolas Cage on fire (I like to see Nicolas Cage on fire).
Thanks for responding to my question. It's helped me to finally put Kick Ass into a category in my brain instead of it floating around without a home.
And sorry to hear that the sequel doesn't push us to any of the questions or ambiguity of the first one.
I have lots of floaty things in my brain, too, Heath. It's mostly chunks of Spam.Delete
I'm not in a position to defend anything from douchiness (doucheyness?), but there is ultimately no barrier or obstacle for people to think however way they want to about art, even if their choice is to refuse to engage in it above any level beyond the immediately visceral. My hope is that places like FTM can be a voice advocating for everyone to think a little bit more deeply about movies and why we like them.
Jesus, I always kinda hated that her name was "Hit Girl" - never thought of it being a play on "Hit Man" until you brought it up just now. Sigh...I really need to stop drinking Listerine.Delete
Well, since I'm the jerk of the group who hated Kick-Ass, which I thought was hateful and hideous, I'm glad to know I can skip this one. I'll just watch Super again, a movie that actually understood the subject and had something interesting to say.ReplyDelete
BTW Patrick, I played Toon as well in high school Not a bad game. Now Paranoia, that was the game we all loved back then; a great mix of Marx brothers and Karl Marx.
Orphan...let me just recommend the Gawker article about the twist from back then. Google "You'll Never Guess Orphan's Surprise Ending, Because It's Completely Ridiculous."
(And since I'm being contrary, so far in 2013 Stoker is my #2 movie of the year, pending the fall of course.)
I would not try to change your mind about the first Kick-Ass, because I understand how you could feel that way. I think it's a movie that's polarizing in the best possible way, because both reactions have a point. Kick-Ass 2, on the other hand, isn't smart or skillful enough to allow for different readings. It's only garbage.Delete
I have not seen Kick Ass 2, but when I heard the film was announced and that Matthew Vaughn wasn't directing, I knew the film was going to suck.ReplyDelete
Not because I'm a HUGE fan of Matthew Vaughn, or that I LOVE the first film all that much (though I do enjoy it quite a bit), it's because the film, like Patrick said, is a highwire act.
Much like Paul Verhoeven's Robocop was.
Remember how everyone was excited for Robocop 2 and then when people saw it, they realized it was another director (Irvin Kershner, no less) trying to impersonate Verhoeven's style... and it was embarrassing.
The tone was off, the satire was forced, the violence became mean spirited and even more extreme and the film fell flat.
When I saw the trailer for Kick Ass 2, that's what I thought. Oh, this is going to be the modern day Robocop 2.
From this podcast, it doesn't sound like I was wrong either.
I'd say that's a really good comparison. But I also liked RoboCop 2 more than Kick-Ass 2, because RC2 at least had a couple of good ideas in it.Delete
Wait, what do you mean, "won't forget us"? I've always assumed that once you guys hit the big time, we'd all move into a giant mansion together and I could be your pool boy or cocaine-shoveller or something like that. Now I'm concerned.ReplyDelete
And bummed that Kick-Ass 2 seems to be quite the stinker - I haven't listened past the spoiler warning as I still might catch this on a Tuesday night or something but as a pretty big fan of the first one, I was looking forward to this, albeit with lowered expectations that were apparently justified.
Oh well, hopefully You're Next and The World's End will cheer me up this weekend!
Doug - In reference to your gaming history, I have never played Rifts but am somewhat familiar with it thanks to the good people at "WTF D&D?" It's a web site devoted to all that is silly, crazy, and nonsensical about role-playing games, run by 2 guys who clearly love role-playing but know how goofy it can get.ReplyDelete
I don't know if you're still into gaming, but if you are and like giant robots I would respectfully suggest Battletech. It has giant robots (called "mechs") and a backstory so detailed and convoluted as to give the history of Middle Earth a run for its money. It's as if someone looked at the crazy history of English monarchy (with its tangled family trees, succession wars, and endless machinations) and decided "You know what this needs? Giant robots blasting the crap out of each other!"
Steve- are you talking about the WTF D&D column on "Something Awful"? That is all I can find.Delete
Battletech is a great universe. I have read a couple of the books though never played the tabletop game. I came into it via the old Infocom C64 title "Battle Tech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception". And the great Mechwarrior franchised sealed the deal. And yeah, holy crap what a fleshed out universe, I enjoyed all the clan stuff.
Yes, it's from the Something Awful site - I apologize; I should have been more precise.Delete
I used to think that you could make an awesome TV series using the Battletech universe, but then I thought it would take about 12 episodes of exposition just to get everyone up to speed (imagine the opening of Dune times 1,000).
Battle Tech did have a short lived animated series in the mid 90's.Delete
This is now my weekend rabbit hole. THANKS GUYS.Delete
@Steve, no, I don't still game, but I will occasionally look at my old Rifts book (because it's so cool), which I made my then-girlfriend (now wife) buy for me from a bookstore in Berkeley while we were on vacation (I didn't have enough money on me [thanks honey!]). And Battletech sounds ... interesting? Not sure if what I was missing from Robotech was a convoluted back story, but I'll look into it.
@ Tom, that cartoon looks like garbage (featuring some very early CGI garbage). No wonder it was short-lived.
Wow, thanks for name-dropping me in the podcast, Doug! :-) Makes me kind-of embarrassed that I haven't listened to the podcasts or posted as often as I used to. Too busy at the office and frankly, trying my darnest to meet new people (which is hard to do with the crazy hours I work) before it's too for me to make new friends at my age, which is considerably higher than everyone else I work with. :'(ReplyDelete
Just saw "Kick-Ass 2" today (yes, it's still playing in a few theaters around Gotham) and, while a considerable step down from the transgressive and sure-footed direction of the Matthew Vaughn original, it has its moments. I really wasn't comparing to the first "Kick-Ass" and took it for what it was, an inferior take on the original's better beats watered-down by sequelitis. Really bad idea to constantly remind us of Nic Cage and Big Daddy. Jim Carrey is wasted but when he's truly on his character is pretty memorable. Chloë Grace Moretz carries the film with her star chops but Patrick is right, even though they're playing essentially the same characters Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse look so much worse and out of their element than their younger co-star. Lastly, as it was pointed out in the podcast, the photography and color were garish and had a 'TV flat' look. I'd blame the Canadian and UK filming locations, except Vaughn shot the first "Kick-Ass" under the same conditions and made that movie look marvelous.
Glad I saw "Kick-Ass 2" though, if at least just to remind me how awesome the 1-2 punch of "Kick-Ass" and "Super" on the same year was in 2010 was.