MOTW: Will "Kick-Ass 2" Be One of the Best Films in the Big Summer Season?

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The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
June 25th, 2013

MOTW: Will "Kick-Ass 2" Be One of the Best Films in the Big Summer Season?

The terms "popcorn flick" and "summer movie" are almost synonymous. The movie studios use the summer season to release what are referred to as "tent pole" films, the big blockbusters that will make them enough money to take risks on smaller films that don't have nearly as wide an audience. Each summer, the ante seems to be raised as to what constitutes a blockbuster, and 2013 is no different. With big fare like "Man of Steel" and "Pacific Rim" on the horizon, can a film like "Kick-Ass 2," due out on August 16, be one of the best films of the season?

Judging by the two trailers that have been released so far, the answer is an unequivocal yes. The first, a red-band trailer that was not safe for work or children, was released in March 2013 to much anticipation as fans of the first film clamored to see what their favorite characters had been up to since the original "Kick-Ass." The clip was over two-and-half minutes long and had plenty of action, starting with the innocent-looking Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) imploring Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to hit her. When he does, she retaliates with a series of fight moves that makes him hit the floor, writhing in pain in the fetal position.

The clip goes on to show that villain Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has been working on his new identity, which is bigger and badder than it was in the original. He renames himself an expletive that isn't family-friendly, hence the trailer being labeled as red band. Though Mintz-Plasse looks like he's having unadulterated fun as the new/old bad guy, it's the introduction of another new character that just might steal the entire show.

The team of super fighters is joined by a new guy named Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), a wisecracking basher who has a bat that's never met a head it didn't like. He's highly entertaining and has some of the best one-liners in the trailer, a fact which will probably hold true in the movie as well. The addition of a big-name star to the sequel is quite a boon for the budding franchise, which didn't have a bona fide bankable movie star when the first film came out in 2010.

Of course, the original film was so irreverent and fun that having a big movie star really wasn't a necessity. Casting Carrey now in the sequel seems like more of an insurance plan for the movie executives, who were surely aware of the stiff competition the film would face once it was released in theaters. With auteur director Guillermo del Toro's big-budget action flick "Pacific Rim" gaining traction and plenty of superhero lore in the form of "Iron Man 3" and the Superman reboot "Man of Steel," "Kick-Ass 2" had to find a way to stand out. Casting the rubber-faced Carrey as a street savvy, hilarious hero is one big way to not only make the movie stand out, but to achieve the rare feat of making the sequel better than the original. Only a few sequels, such as "The Godfather: Part II," have ever been touted by critics as being superior to their predecessors. Perhaps "Kick-Ass 2" can reach that vaunted territory with Carrey on board.

One of the best things about "Kick-Ass 2" is that someone who's unfamiliar with these characters can jump right in without having seen the original and still enjoy the film. Some sequels, such as those in the "Harry Potter" series, almost demand viewing the previous movies to understand what's going on. This is simply not the case with "Kick-Ass 2," though viewing the original film might still be a good idea-if only because it's a pulpy, highly entertaining movie that's worth tracking down.

When a film has a litany of entertaining characters and makes a ton of money the way "Kick-Ass" did, it's no surprise when a studio orders a sequel to be made. Though the studio's reasons for making the film are mostly financial, the audience's decision to see the film is based solely on the entertainment factor that comes from such raucous characters. As Col. Stars and Stripes says in the trailer, "Try to have fun. Otherwise, what's the point?" The audience won't need to try very hard to have fun with this cast, which is the biggest reason "Kick-Ass 2" stands a fantastic chance of being one of the best movies of the summer.