At Comic-Con International: San Diego 2013, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, star of Kick-Ass 2 summed up the popular trend on superhero films today to Newsarama, "Everything is getting bigger."
As we are seeing what Marvel is doing with its Avengers franchise and now what DC is doing with Superman vs. Batman, Kick-Ass 2 is doing the same. The scope is larger, the threat is amplified, but so are the saviors. "Our director and writer Jeff Wadlow wrote something super emotional and dynamic. Mark Miller and John Romita Jr. formed these allegiances in the Kick Ass 2 comic with the Justice Forever, a team of masked vigilantes led by Jim Carrey's Colonel Stars and Stripes, and Dave fits in perfectly there."
It's the first time Taylor-Johnson has had to reprise a film role, something he was excited to do. "It's a whole new challenge because I'm used to jumping on a new character with each film. This is going back to a character we did four years ago and trying to make it so people can still be familiar with Dave, who's going through life changes is an interesting one." Ironically the character hasn't grown or evolved since we left off. Taylor smiles, answering any questions of Dave maturing between films.
"He just graduated but he's still at home; he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life other than dressing up as a superhero. He realizes if he's going to do that, he needs to know how to fight properly and that's where Hit Girl comes in." Mindy Macready AKA Hit-Girl is in high school, a place she finds far more intimidating than slicing and dicing villains on the street. When Mindy's not around, that's when Dave starts seeking out others just like him.
The first film was a success even though it was based off a comic book that was unknown outside the walls of comic shop circles. Yet its thorough adaptation of the source material and shocking violence made it a cult hit, earning a world wide box office of $96 million, a total that was three times its budget. But it could've been bigger. It was illegally downloaded over 11 million times in 2010. Whatever the draw, people couldn't get enough of Kick-Ass.
Where Kick-Ass is able to separate itself from big tentpole extravaganzas – even when it's over the top – is that this is a world based in the real world with real consequences. There are real vigilantes as seen in the HBO documentary, Superheroes, and "Dave goes into something dangerous and serious," Taylor Johnson teased. "It's really dynamic and they lose a lot of people who they have around them. There are a lot of relationships that get crushed in this life and so he holds a heavy weight on his shoulders, there's a lot of responsibility with that."
There's also great care in adapting the comics. Matthew Vaughn surprised everyone with his understanding of comics and genre in the first film, but for the sequel, Jeff Wadlow was put to the task, both writing the screenplay and directing the film. "The Hit-Girl comic book is the first 20 minutes film of this movie and then everything else from Kick-Ass 2 the comic comes into play," Mintz-Plasse explained. "Except they took out me raping Kick-Ass' girlfriend and me murdering a dog, which I think is a smart movie. If it was a Martin Scorsese film or Quentin Tarantino film maybe you leave that stuff in, but with this fan base I don't think you don't want to get that dark."
Don't let Mintz-Plasse fool you, it's still pretty dark, and his character is pushed to the edge since his father was killed by Kick-Ass in the first story, and that's why his character, Red Mist reinvents himself as The Motherf*cker.
"It's a revenge story and Chris is building an evil army called the Toxic Megac*nts," Taylor-Johnson beamed while being able to rattle off these names in the press. "It's great to see Chris in a role like this, I don't think you've ever seen him in anything like it before. It's really dark and intense."
"I watched The Dark Knight a bunch of times and especially Heath Ledger whose evil insanity inspired me, and also Christian Bale because I have a voice change in this movie," Mintz-Plasse shared, though still adorably insecure.
"When I was filming, I was feeling different and more feeling confident about it. My acting coach with me and we worked on it a month prior to figure out the character. She was fantastic. Now that I watched the movie, I feel the same way I did in the first film. I hate watching myself, I think I sound like shit. [Laughs] Whether it's Superbad or Kick-Ass 2, I've always got the same I-don't-want-to-watch-let-the-world-see-it reaction. On set though, I was very happy with my performance."
As for Motherfucker's sex shop inspired costume? "It looks fantastic but it was a nightmare to wear, I needed four people to help me get into it." Mintz-Plasse explained that he was jet lagged a lot during the film because he would shoot a television show in Los Angeles at the same time. Every week he would fly to London the same week to shoot more Kick-Ass 2. Perhaps that irritable state helped him get into character. "It was exhausting being evil!"
Kick-Ass 2 is a Universal Pictures film and will be released August 14 in the UK, and August 16 in the United States.