Double Review: Kick Ass 2 + Pacific Rim

Two very different movies, with very different prejudices going in. This should be interesting.

  • Kick Ass 2 

I enjoyed Kick Ass when it first came out. I wasn’t over the moon about it, but it hit a lot of the right buttons and as I was going out of the theatre I gave it a solid dice roll 5. I guess the novelty has properly worn off by now. Kick Ass 2 tries to follow in its footsteps – it tries very hard, too hard some might say. The problem is that when it’s good, it’s actually just more of the same, and when it’s bad it’s cringe worthy. Watching the first one I went “Wow, I can’t believe the did that!” and now I’m “Wow… I can’t believe they did that.”

My major problem: Hit Girl. Now, if this were her franchise I’d be all about the high school drama she has to deal with as she navigates puberty. That would be something new for a superhero movie to deal with. It would be Mean Girls with the power to kick some ass when they get too bitchy. But in a Kick Ass film? I’m not thrilled. Hit Girl was cool because she was a girl kicking ass. Teenage girls kicking ass? I like to think we’ve got a few of those already. So, she needs to be a badass that can hold her own against other badasses and can’t just live off her novelty. For the most part, she does, but Kick Ass is all about making fun of these kind of hero journeys, so why does hers feel so predictable?

Then there’s our arch nemesis, which was a logical way to go, but man, I cringed. Kick Ass was all about making fun of the costumes and “powers”, but there’s something so eyerolling about Motherfucker’s costume and racist-nicknamed henchmen. Red Mist tried to be cool and didn’t realise how utterly he failed (to us, not Kick Ass), while now it feels like he might have actually lost his mind if he thinks he’s a super villain. It’s established that he can’t fight for shit – henchmen are therefore needed – while Kick Ass spends all that time training, and then suddenly they’re evenly matched at the end? I was expecting a massive smackdown from well-trained Kick Ass, finally showing Motherfucker how goons can’t always help him. Instead it was almost a standard boss fight. Though the shark tank was a nice nod to the super villain aesthetic.

Kick Ass 2 also loses points for a disingenuous marketing campaign, printing Jim Carrey’s face everywhere alongside the three other main characters. His one great line is in the trailer and there’s not much else he’s there for, yet the characters all look up to him as some sort of father figure for no reason. As for the rest of the ensemble, I’m afraid I’ve forgotten most of them. Night Bitch had the most screen time, and I think Turk from Scrubs was there occasionally? If you want a true masterful superhero group who aren’t actually superheroes: check out Mystery Men (on Netflix, go now) to see how it’s done.

Kick Ass 2 gets a few laughs here and there, but it’s sequel blues for me. It tried so hard to ramp things up, but got pulled down by an uninteresting supporting cast and high school drama that felt shoehorned in. Kick Ass 2 gets a generous dice roll 3 for effort.

  • Pacific Rim 

When I first heard about the concept I thought it would be Transformers fighting Godzilla, basically. Then tumblr started raving about it, mostly because of the characters and their relationships and I was intrigued. Still full of skepticism, I forced myself to see it in theatres.

And I was not disappointed! This movie entertained me from start to finish. For once, tumblr was right, and the cast is pretty amazing. The giant robots are controlled by two people at a time, and the co-pilots relationships will no doubt inspire fanfiction for decades to come. And if this is your first real exposure to Idris Elba – log into Netflix and watch Luther right now. I definitely think we need a lot more of him on our big screens.

The story itself is just one massive “suspend your disbelief”, but once you’ve switched off that rational part of you, you can enjoy one hell of a ride. The effects are awesome, no other word for it, and some of the monsters are sinister in a way I wasn’t expecting. Of course, even if you shut down your disbelief entirely, it doesn’t erase the plot holes and inconsistencies. One of the main problems is the established rules of the world aren’t followed, sometimes from one scene to the next. I won’t spoil anything by nitpicking, but just be prepared to go “what- but I thought…?” a couple of times.

The strange thing is, I am convinced the film tried to do too much at once. There were too many pairings wandering around dealing with their own issues or fixing problems that their storylines got rushed. At the same time I wouldn’t want to cut a minute of any of them, because I don’t want to lose them! So despite the rushed feeling, I can’t help loving this film and giving it a big dice roll 5.

What did you think?

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