Does Kick-Ass 2 Ruin Hit-Girl?

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Kick-Ass 2 ran into one controversy after another before it even opened. One of its co-stars, Jim Carrey, denounced it for being too violent, a claim that for some seemed like good news. Then Mark Millar, writer of the comic the franchise is based on, added to his own personal infamy by making some blasé comments about the inclusion of rape in his books. Having covered both of the controversies at length, some our staff’s enthusiasm for the sequel was admittedly withering, despite their love of the first movie with its go-for-the-jugular violence and demented humor.

But even if the sequel was grossly violent, and even if Millar is a clueless misogynist, we still had high hopes for Hit-Girl, a character so cool that Kristy and Eric were hopeful Kick-Ass 2 would overcome the bad hype that preceded it. You can read Eric’s review here, but below the two discuss Hit-Girl in particular, a character whose arc in this film shocked us more than her foul-mouth did in the first movie. Did Kick-Ass 2 destroy Hit-Girl? Below we break it down while avoiding major spoilers.

Eric: So I think we should actually start off this conversation by talking about the first movie, because I think both you and I agree that Hit-Girl was definitely the best part.

Kristy: Yeah. I'm actually a big fan of the first movie, so I see a lot of good in it. But Hit-Girl was this transgressive ball of fire who played out exactly why kids dream of being superheroes, which is essentially because they get to do whatever they want. Including--apparently--cursing like a sailor and devastating bad guys.

Eric: I'm actually right there with you, as I enjoyed the hell out of the first Kick-Ass too. Hit-Girl is such a strange character because on paper you'd think there's a possibility that she would just come across as a cheap gimmick - kind of like a rapping grandma - but the first movie actually made her into a fun, full character - which I also think the sequel totally deflates.

Kristy: Yeah. The danger of any sequel is that it will shows us a new look at the characters we loved the first time around, and it may not be what we'd imagined or hoped for. Here, we see this bad-ass little girl who could take on the world become a self-conscious teenager. And while that could have been interesting, it's handled so sloppily here that I left the movie liking Hit-Girl a lot less. And frankly, I'm pissed about that.

Eric: The biggest thing that I'm still trying to wrap my mind around fully is the way in which the movie takes her out of the action completely and saddles her with a plot that is far less interesting than what is going on with Kick-Ass. I understand taking her out of the costume, but why waste her talents on a Mean Girls rip-off?

Kristy: Exactly. The movie makes a lazy effort to compare mean teen girls to supervillains--they wear tight clothes and do whatever they want!--but that plot feels so unimportant when people are dying left and right in Kick-Ass and Red Mist's feud. The stakes are laughably low in her plotline.
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