A bad way to Die Hard

die5Last night we were over the in-laws, and they put A Good Day To Die Hard on the telly, bless them. Well, I of course saw this once before and as Sean Connery would be amongst the first to remind me, never say never again. So there I was, a captive audience for a study of how not to handle a franchise.

Considering how much of a genuine classic the original Die Hard is, its doubly sad to  be reminded how the mighty had fallen with this entry. Maybe we are all guilty these days for simply wanting ‘more’. Rather than let a great film stand on its own, we always want more; a second, third, fourth film of the same. Perhaps its simply an attempt -usually in vain- to rediscover and re-experience that joy of something great and original, rare such as it is. Naturally as far as the studio is concerned, it has had a hit and wants another.

But its always difficult to rekindle/recapture that magic. You can try put a fresh spin on things, raise the stakes by making it bigger/faster/louder. God knows the Bond franchise, Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator…  Die Hard isn’t alone in having inferior sequels or stumbling fortunes.

So while fans bad-mouth the creative team and studio bigwigs behind the film, and the Crown Prince of Smug, Bruce Willis, phones in another jaded performance, maybe we should examine our own role in ever-declining franchises. If we walked out of seeing a great film without immediately thinking about going to see the sequel, then maybe we would see better, and more original movies. Why, after all, do we think we have a right to another, better, Bond? Does there even have to be another Bond, another Die Hard?

Bring On The Bad Guys

suicid22017.2: Suicide Squad- Extended Cut (Blu-ray)

Hey, Suicide Squad ain’t so bad. Well, the movie is pretty poor, but the squad, well, they ain’t so bad. One of them even refuses to use his powers for fear of hurting anyone. Another is, yes, a killer but she just fell for the wrong guy (shucks, the Joker, whodathunkit) and she’s crazy anyway, so she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she just looks great doing it. Another one is an assassin who is more interested in getting his daughter through college, like any good parent should.

Were these the baddest bad guys DC could come up with? An Aussie bankrobber who throws a boomerang and keeps a pink fluffy unicorn under his coat? What?

Handicapped with a crew of b-list bad guys like that, its no wonder the film comes off feeling rather anaemic. These bad guys are more poor-mans superheroes than kickass supervillains. Even the Big Baddess that threatens to destroy the world in some weird Ghostbusters-knockoff is a good-looking white chick possessed by some evil voodoo priestess, who needs saving rather than killing (her brother who’s possessing some random Black Guy needs killing though, that’s fine, who’s gonna miss a black guy?).

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Who the fuck pissed off my stylist?

In all fairness to the film-makers, maybe they really did intend to make the superhero-genre equivalent of Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. There’s just no way Warners or DC would let them go that far. Superhero films are so expensive, with entire franchises of multitudes of films riding on each and every one of them, that there is no way anyone is going to take any risks subverting genre conventions or upsetting anyone. Even Deadpool, for all its bad-language and violence and under-the-belt humor, is fairly conservative in its structure in the end.

I do suspect that Zack Snyder when he began working on the DC films, from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman to Justice League, and co-producing Suicide Squad, possibly always intended to inform them from a post-Watchmen angle, analysing and subverting genre norms under the watchful eye of a modern contemporary worldview. But each film appears to have been neutered by a nervous studio envious of how Marvel Studios are cleaning up at the Box Office. So they seem to be being made with the best of intentions regards showing a dark and gritty world of heroes but they always seem to falter, never more so than here with Suicide Squad.

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No boys, there aint nothing phallic about my baseball bat…

That said, I did quite enjoy it; its like there was a great film in here once but it got lost in the process of making it. Ben Affleck’s Batman really needs his own movie- Affleck looks fantastic as the Dark Knight. Jared Leto’s Joker needs a film where he’s the central villain so he can get on with being really bad and crazy. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn has passed her audition with flying colours and is sure to get her own spin-off film to keep the pubescent boys interested in DC movies (what’s the odds she gets cameos in several films?). Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller is perhaps the only genuine bad guy in the whole picture, almost out-doing Samuel Jackson as the best badass leader around.

But as a whole, Suicide Squad is something of a shambles. If anything, it repeats the mistakes of BvS. It has to spend so much time establishing characters and motivations that it leaves little space for the actual plot, in just the same way that BvS spends far too much time setting up Justice League.

Suicide Squad needed to follow a Batman film with the Dark Knight battling the Joker and Harley Quinn, so that we knew all that background from the start. Suicide Squad needed a film with Deadshot being an evil deadly assassin so that his shot (sic) for redemption (and his daughter) actually meant something to us. Imagine if that first Avengers film had to introduce every member of the Avengers, who they were, their origins/histories, before it could get on with battling Loki and the alien invasion. It would have seemed a horrible clunky mess, like all these DC films seem to.

Oh well. There’s always Wonder Woman to save the day, DC…

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Remembering Batdance

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The news this past few days has been dominated -Brexit hysteria and Royal birthday here notwithstanding- by the sudden death of Prince. Like Bowie’s death a scant few months ago it has been a terrible shock to the music world and his fans, and whatever your own views on Prince and his music, it has to be agreed that his impact on pop culture is immeasurable. I’ve been listening to Prince’s songs since 1999 in 1982, and have bought pretty much all his albums since then, and the last few days have been pretty brutal to be honest.

So I thought I would just mark his passing by remembering the summer of 1989 and Batdance. Tim Burton’s Batman was a huge media event that summer- what the studio guys call a “movie event”. Thinking back on it, I wonder if it was the last really big summer blockbuster of the pre-internet era. You used to get news/previews in magazines but that was about it. I remember seeing stealthily-taken, off-set pictures of the new Batmobile in newspapers during the filming (the film was shot over here in England).That was no Batmobile anybody had ever seen before.  I remember the news that that thin guy from Beetlejuice was gonna play the Caped Crusader and how everyone thought how nuts that was. The news that Prince was writing the soundtrack (not entirely the truth, as it turned out) was worrying even for a Prince fan. There was talk of Prince onset and actually acting in the film. We were all wondering just what the hell kind of film Tim Burton was making.

Batman was released in America in June amidst a huge marketing push by Warner. That clever Bat-logo (as reinterpreted by the film’s production designer Anton Furst, I believe) seemed to be everywhere; posters, tee-shirts, badges. The merchandising for the film was inescapable. It was the summer of Batman. I remember when it became a Stateside sensation and was featured on evening news broadcasts over here in the UK. Usually they’d show clips of Batman swooping down on criminals in the chemical factory. Reviews seemed favourable, the box-office triumphant. This was in the days of delayed releases internationally, and we didn’t get the film released over here until mid-August. We did, however, get teased by Prince’s Batman album.

I don’t know how true it is that Tim Burton didn’t want Prince involved in Batman- I guess Burton wanted Danny Elfman’s score to be the musical identity of the film, but Warner had Prince signed to their music division and they were the money men after all. As it turned out, the amount of Prince music actually in the film was fairly minimal, maybe two or three songs in all. It certainly wasn’t a situation anything like Queen’s music so central in the Flash Gordon film. But you cannot deny how clever it was from a marketing perspective. In those pre-internet days, the media attention on that album (Prince still in his peak popularity at the time) and all the airplay on MTV and radio of the single Batdance was just pure gold from a marketing perspective. I recall the album got rather savaged by critics at the time. I’ve always had a fondness for it, Prince channeling the film’s darkness into his funky songs.

atm2And yep, Batdance seemed everywhere. It got to number one in the US, number two in the UK. It shouldn’t really work, mixing the pop-culture sensibilities of the 1960s Neal Hefti tv show music with the ‘current’ Prince-funk . So many snippets of songs from the album, and unreleased stuff like Prince’s song  Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic (released many years later) were thrown in amidst dialogue snippets from the film. Its really similar to the approach that Queen took with their Flash single years before. That video, with Prince in purple guise, part Joker, part Batman. How weird was that video? That song seemed to be playing on the radio all the time, really cementing that summer as the summer of Batman. It wasn’t just a movie. It was something akin to a cultural behemoth; nearest thing I can compare it to is Star Wars and Jaws. For all the blockbusters we get these days, they don’t feel as ‘big’- they are here and gone so quickly now (ironically thinking of Batman vs Superman in particular). I think Prince’s album and its subsequent singles like Batdance was a big part of that summer belonging to the Caped Crusader.

Batdance actually was built from 200 Balloons, a song Prince had written for the scene of Joker’s parade where he threw money at the crowds while intending to gas them with his balloons. The lyrics directly referenced the scene but Tim Burton rejected it.  It was replaced by Trust, a song whose only link was the Joker asking “who do you trust?” at the end of the song. 200 Balloons only turned up on the Batdance single where its closeness to the Batdance song made it seem like a remix track.  Regards those remixes, I remember the William Orbit remix was rather extraordinary at the time.

 

The Problem With Superman

Curious having seen Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, I rewatched Man of Steel.

Confused as BvS may be, I think it’s actually a better film than MoS. Rewatching it again, I have to say MoS is actually worse than I remembered. It’s such a mess of a film, and a lot of what is wrong about it carries over into BvS,  the lessons from it not learned but rather perpetuated with an anti-Superman dominated by over-the-top CGI hysterics.

stm1The problem with Superman is, well, Superman. They don’t know what to do about him, how to handle the character. Which is weird to me, writing this in 2016 because they nailed it, pretty much, in the mid-seventies with Superman: The Movie, way back in 1978. That film seems to be like the elephant in the room: the Kryptonian scenes were cool and majestic, the childhood scenes wonderful Americana, and the Metropolis scenes with our grown-up hero/Clark Kent alter ego just perfect comic-book escapism. With a template like that, it’s hard to imagine going wrong. So why are Snyder and Warner/DC so seemingly hellbent on distancing themselves from the 1978 classic?

Maybe it’s because Warners tried sticking to that Superman: The Movie template with Superman Returns, which got something of a box-office drubbing when it came out; $390 million worldwide on a $270 million budget (makes BvS something of a huge success with its current haul of $810million worldwide). Superman Returns was hardly perfect, the chief problem was it being overblown and badly produced (although how much of that $270 million was spent on earlier aborted Superman films, I wonder?).  I think it was much better than people perhaps appreciated at the time. It did many things right- particularly casting Brandon Routh who looked the part as Superman and was uncannily like Chris Reeve as Clark Kent. Kevin Spacey was a pretty good Lex Luthor too- indeed both actors are better than Henry Cavill or Jesse Eisenberg are in BvS.

The damnedest thing is that what was wrong about Superman Returns is the one thing that they carried over from it to MoS- namely, taking the title character way too seriously. In Superman Returns the character is saddled with unnecessary Messianic, Christ-like allegory and a semi-religious fixation, complicated with a pointless backstory of Lois Lane and a son.  Superman: The Movie had the tagline “You’ll believe a man can fly”. Superman Returns might well have had “You’ll believe a Messianic figure can be dull”. All this anguished soul-searching about Superman’s place in the world and What He Means to us is like a lead weight around Superman Returns and  now MoS and BvS after it.

I really wish they had kept the cast and creative team of Superman Returns for a sequel rather than trying to reboot though. If they had dropped that Christ imagery and just given the character a decent adventure with a bit more action rather than endless dull soul-searching we might have had a cracking movie.

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But they went the way of the reboot, and I can only despair at how they must have scrutinised Superman Returns and tried to analyse what was wrong with it. The main star looks great, let’s drop him. All that moody soul-searching that cripples the story, lets have more of that. But let’s go darker (did they get the notes mixed up, went with the ‘To Drop’ list instead?).

To some extent you have to blame Christopher Nolan and his Dark Knight films. Somehow they have been held up so high in critical regard and audience awareness that they are the established measure of how to handle DC characters. Like no-one figured out that Superman and Batman are polar opposites- you can’t approach them the same, the whole point of them is that they are so different. Trying to treat Superman like Batman with his tortured psyche is pointless and ignorant of the real character. Besides, there are quite a few fans of the Batman comics who will rightly contest that Nolan’s Dark Knight films rather missed the ‘real’ Batman anyway.

Hiring Zack Snyder to direct MoS was another bad move. I’ve nothing against Snyder, visually he has a knack for putting comic-book action panels onscreen, but he should be kept clear of producing or script-writing. He seems to think Watchmen is some kind of bible for showing superheroes on film, when Watchmen should really be considered of a genre quite apart from Superhero films. It’s a commentary on the Superhero genre not a blueprint of what it should be. Suggesting that the Superman or Batman comics should be more like Watchmen is utterly missing the point of them.

Snyder seems to think that Dr Manhattan, for instance, is some kind of blueprint of how to portray Superman. Dr Manhattan isn’t that- he’s a commentary by Alan Moore on the idea of a Superman. His powers make him distant and aloof from humanity- he isn’t a hero, he’s a God-like figure increasingly remote from us, less human by the minute. Trying to treat Superman the same way is just crazy- Superman isn’t a God, he’s a hero. He’s an alien, yes, and one with great powers, but essentially he is one of us, actually becoming more human by the minute. Snyder is forcing Superman into some kind of Dr Manhattan figure and it’s totally missing the real point and crippling him and the movies.

mos1For one thing, look at the suit. The MoS/BvS ‘look’ just isn’t, well, really Superman, is it? Just in the same way as the true comic-book character is gone, so is the look. The bright colours of the comic-book, the rich red and blue, is lost, replaced by some muddy, washed-out look. It almost looks like the armour of Tim Burton’s take on Batman and is as much a miss-step as how the character has been portrayed.

It seems to me you can only go so far imagining superheroes in the Real World. Its something the Marvel films seem to have done quite well so far, although with the Avengers films and the upcoming Civil War I have to wonder if they are straying too far into this territory themselves. Comics aren’t Shakespeare, and directors and audiences shouldn’t really expect comic-book movies to be Oscar-bait dramas. They are escapist entertainment, with odd people with impossible powers wearing daft costumes and if Warner/DC go too far they will just ruin what chance they have of the success they clearly crave. Maybe part of the problem is Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. It was a solid, brilliant examination of the Batman character in a noir-ish Real World approximation of our world. But it wasn’t really Batman.

Superheroes couldn’t function in our Real World. I guess that was one of the lessons of Watchmen. You can’t really have costumed guys running around outside of the law; how long would that be allowed before the Government brought in the military to neuter the heroes? Before they were outlawed? Frank Miller had Superman acting as an American Super Weapon in TDR because that’s the only way the American government would find Superman acceptable. Its the same kind of thinking that runs through the rather dour X-Men films. It might be realistic but how far down the rabbit-hole do you go before you aren’t making the actual comic-book anymore? People read them because they are mostly escapist fun. Entertainment.

Superman: The Movie had a genius conceit, right from the start. Some kid opens up a comic book and the camera falls into a panel and it comes ‘alive’. But all through the movie, we are still in that comic.  And that’s a central point that Snyder and Warner/DC seems to be missing. We don’t go to see Superhero movies to see what they would be like in our world. We go to see Superhero movies to see what it would be like for us to be in their world. It’s a fundamental difference.

The Raven (1963)

raven1Watching The Raven is a delight, but I must confess it hardly feels like a proper Edgar Allen Poe movie. In a similar way to how The Haunted Palace was really a H P Lovecraft story posing as a Poe story (bookending the film with Price reading passages from Poe’s poem The Haunted Palace to maintain its place in the Poe series of AIP films by Roger Corman), I got the feeling that Price reciting lines from Poe’s The Raven, and then diverting into something else entirely, was a way of launching it into some other literary territory. This time it wasn’t Lovecraft but another of his Weird Tales contributors, Clark Ashton Smith, that was the inspiration.

Or maybe not. I’m not aware of any specific leanings towards CAS being admitted by the films creators or mentioned in the films credits. I doubt that the films screenwriter Richard Matheson ever admitted to it or likely even intended it, but Matheson was obviously aware of the writings of Clark Ashton Smith so there is a suspicion that its possible. I may indeed be barking up the proverbial wrong literary tree, but it just feels very much like a CAS story.He wrote such wonderfully rich, powerfully vivid stories of sorcerers and magic, that The Raven‘s central theme of three extravagant rival magicians, played with such scenery-chewing aplomb by horror thespians Price, Karloff and Lorre, seems to somehow channel the spirit and vitality of CAS’ prose so well, intended or not.

The obvious problem for any movie based on Edgar Allen Poe’s haunting poem The Raven is that there is little cohesive narrative to it- certainly not enough to fill a movie. Richard Matheson solved the problem by using the poem simply as a starting point for the film; not only that, but he dropped any leanings towards any horror implied by the title or by the film being part of Corman’s Poe series of films, by instead turning it into a comedy. And it works- it just doesn’t feel, as I stated earlier, authentically ‘Poe’. Perhaps it was turning it into a comedy that lost ‘the Poe’, but Clark Ashton Smiths stories certainly had plenty of macabre humour, and the subject matter echoes some of his writings.

But all this may be utter tosh and hardly matters in the grand scheme of things, as The Raven is a hoot, whatever its literary origin/influences. You just have to be in the right frame of mind, as it can be rather disorientating early on, if you are expecting a serious horror film and find yourself instead watching this strange comedic tale. Its one of those weird films in which nothing seems real, the characters behaving very oddly indeed.

The cast in particular is a joy, and includes a very young Jack Nicholson which seems quite bizarre, in a ‘was he ever really so young?’ sort of way (all the time I have known of him he always seemed middle-aged onwards re: The Shining, Batman etc, so much so that seeing him so young, and so, well, heroic/innocent/non-crazy in this does seem weird). Indeed Nicholson’s casting, considering his fame afterwards, in such a minor role in what is obviously a very b-movie production just makes the film seem more nuts than intended, somehow. Chief delight though are the great actors chewing up the scenery, hamming it up with the warm Matheson script (and ad-libbing and improvising like crazy when they aren’t, apparently). It looks like the film was just great fun to be involved with when making it, and its infectious too- by the midway point, whatever misconceptions you may have had, you can’t help but get carried away with it.

It is, to be sure, daft 1960s hokum, like the Batman tv series or the campier episodes of Star Trek. As opposed to Hammers more serious Gothic horrors of the period, these Corman films always had a West Coast, Rock and Roll, ironic sensibility and none more so than in this film.

Gotham

gothamI’ve watched the first two episodes of the new tv series Gotham, and a few things spring to  mind. Firstly, just how great the show looks, particularly in HD (people waiting for the inevitable Blu-ray box are in for a treat). Even today after so many quality tv shows, I always find myself surprised to see such movie-quality visuals and production values on a tv programme. I guess its impossible to shake of the memory of those cheesy  1970s shows I saw a kid. But yeah, the show looks gorgeous, from the sets and costumes to the cgi-augmented cityscapes (the city of Gotham has exteriors/skylines equal and even superior to what we saw in most of the Batman movies). I particularly appreciate that the production design nods towards Anton Furst’s wonderful work on Tim Burton’s Batman as much as it inevitably does towards Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Its got a nice pseudo-noir/1940s ‘look’ to the colour schemes of the various sets that Burton’s film featured.

Where the show doesn’t fair quite so well so far is in its storyline/general plot. It all seems overly familiar really, with a lack of real punch or surprise. Not formulaic, exactly, but I have to wonder even at this early stage how long the show will be able to sustain itself over a number of seasons. The series is basically a ‘prequel’ to the Batman saga of the movies and even (at a stretch) the 1960s tv show. It begins with Bruce Wayne being orphaned, a traumatic event familiar to comics readers and film-fans the world over, but instead of seguing a decade or so to when Wayne finally returns as the Caped Crusader, this show tells the story of those intervening years in Gotham, in which the young Detective James Gordon tries (and ultimately fails) to clean up the corrupt, crime-ridden city. Fine for one season, maybe two, but beyond that? I don’t know. Consider me sceptical at the moment. If, say, a period of time was clearly passing (that season two took place five years after season one, say) then yeah, I could see it working, as we would at least see Bruce Wayne changing as he drifted more towards his playboy image whilst gestating the Batman. As it is, he’s likely to be a rather irritating young kid for quite some time before he’s likely to become remotely interesting. Maybe a scene or two during the series, of the Batman years later remembering something that is elaborated back in Gotham’s own timeline over several episodes, would help (the Dark Knight walking through Arkham Asylum, say, and pausing at a villains cell before launching into the show proper, which elaborates on that villains background?). Well, this last point brings up something else….

Gotham is evidently more interested in exploring  the origins of the villains than Batman, with a number of them already being featured, particularly the Penguin. Now, I’m no expert on Batman lore (I was more into Marvel than DC as a kid) but I thought the whole ‘twist’ about Batman was that it was the very existence of the Batman that seemed to bring about the rise of all those nutty Arkham residents. You know, this crazy billionaire dressed as a bat fights crime resulting in the criminals then behaving as crazy as he does (hence the Joker and the Riddler and all the rest). The very actions of the Caped Crusader creates and reinforces the crimes/actions of the criminals that he fights. This tv series seems to shake off that concept by bringing up the crazy super-villains long before the Batman comes onto the scene. Its as if its saying that Batman will one day be the cure, when really he’s part of the problem.

Oh well, we’ll just have to see how the show goes. Its certainly promising and has quite surprised me, for all its faults. When the show was first announced I thought it would be a disaster and I still think the jury is out on all these prequels (it certainly didn’t work in the case of Caprica, even though I quite liked that show, or The Terminator Chronicles). As it stands, I think had it been runs of  ten or twelve episodes each year, akin to HBOs model, it may have had a very good chance of working. But 22 episodes a year? I don’t know, I thought that was a failed concept these days after how HBO had  demonstrated such success with shows like Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones etc. Just how do you maintain a high quality over 22 episodes, over so much airtime and so many scripts? Can it even be done these days (God knows Marvel found it tricky enough last year with its Agents of Shield show)? Time will tell I guess.

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

ka2We have been swamped by super-hero movies lately. Marvel alone have flooded the market with all manner of super-hero movies with resultant sequels. People don’t need to read comic-books to get their fix any more- a trip to the summer cinema or DVD shop in the Autumn can sate any comic-book fan’s needs. Its no mistake that the continued success of the genre has coincided with ever-more elaborate and fanciful special effects; indeed, one has to wonder is the superhero genre furthering the prevalence and sophistication of cg effects work (God knows individual effects artist pension plans have likely been entirely financed by superhero films alone), or is the cg work (bigger, louder with each outing) itself maintaining the appeal and viability of the genre? I’m still amazed the bubble hasn’t burst yet. How long can it be before audiences grow tired of cities being levelled in cg-cartoons?

The Kick-Ass films (I have never read, and have no knowledge of, the comics/graphic novels the films are based on) have a lineage dating back to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen, seminal works that transposed the traditional super-hero archetypes into ‘real-world’ scenarios, stories about ordinary (albeit, lets admit, rather crazy) people dressing up in odd costumes to fight real-life crimes.  Lets face it, Bruce Wayne is a complete nut-job, a mega-rich guy with a deep-seated guilt complex trying to justify/find retribution for the deaths of his parents. Some millionaires would spend lives dedicated to charity and solving societies ills through philanthropy and generosity, whereas he dressed as a bat and beat the shit out of criminals likely themselves victims of their broken society. Was Batman ever the cure or did he only perpetuate the problem?

ka4Not that the Kick-Ass films look into it as deep as that. Kick-Ass, as the title implies, is more concerned with ultra-violence and knowing asides skewing comic-book traditions: the first film’s Big Daddy was an obvious Batman, but his Robin was a little girl that he knowingly took into deadly danger, and the titular Kick-Ass was a jerk, frankly. But the first film was certainly fun, with a fresh, albeit brutal slant on the genre. Sort of like how one might imagine a Tarantino superhero film would look. Or how Mad magazine would spoof a typical modern-day superhero movie.

Inevitably the second film, while offering more of the same, suffers from being, by definition, less ‘new’, losing the shock-factor of the first film. There’s also the feeling that its holding back it’s punches, a result from perhaps trying too hard to broaden its appeal towards the mainstream of the Marvel movies. This is understandable; Dredd was a great movie for fans of the comic but likely too intense for most mainstream audiences. Unfortunately this rather means that Kick-Ass 2 keeps few completely happy- its possibly more palatable than the first for Joe Public but that likely alienates some of the hardcore fans of the original (and the comic). I quite enjoyed Kick-Ass  2 for what it is, but there’s the feeling that it should have stuck to its guns (sic); it just feels a bit lightweight compared to the original, really. Frankly the central bad guy (the original Red Mist now retitled something unrepeatable here) has no sense of threat- in any superhero movie its often the villain who chews up the scenery and brings weight to the movie but here that’s sadly lacking to the detriment of the whole.

That said, it may have been entirely faithful to the comic so I can’t say if its the film’s fault or simply the source material. For all of its faults its still a fun ride and offers plenty of action. The story may not really ‘click’ the way the first did, and the central joke of the uber-violence may not be as funny as it was first time around, but its not bad at all and I’d like to see a third film to finish things off.

As with the first film, it may say ‘Kick-Ass’ on the title but it’s really Hit-Girls movie. Chloe Grace Moretz is as brilliant here as she was in the first, and I’d have preferred it to be just her story alone rather than be more concerned with Kick-Ass and his bunch of misfit heroes.  Moretz dominates every scene she is in and as she rides her bike into the sunset, I was left hoping that a third film goes on to follow her and leaves the other weirdo’s behind.  Just give her a decent villain next time.

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