Sequels can be pretty difficult to pull off. Take a look at films like Back to the Future, The Matrix or Ginger Snaps and you can see that things don’t always work out. Back to the Future 2 was great, The Matrix Reloaded had its issues, and Gingers Snaps 2: Unleashed did well but was handcuffed by a lot of the things that happened in the original film. Superhero sequels can be even worse. Sometimes the original was great and the sequel just can’t measure up. Other times they surpass the original and that makes it difficult for the third film in what ultimately becomes a trilogy.
All you have to do is look at The Dark Knight, Superman 2 or Iron Man 2 for evidence of how things end up. The Dark Knight and Superman 2 were at least better than the original, whereas Iron Man 2 just didn't have what it takes. Of course, part of the reason why Iron Man 2 wasn't what it should be is because it was the backdrop to start setting up The Avengers, and if you read my review you know how I felt about that film. Then you have a film like Kick-Ass, and with the sequel shooting here in Toronto right now, I thought I would take a look back at the original to see where they could go. Kick-Ass was a good film. In an age where superhero films are coming out of the wordwork, Kick-Ass is a commentary on the superhero genre. As a big fan of the superhero genre, I think it was a necessary commentary as well.
To quote a previous blog about the importance of the superhero genre and what they stand for, superheroes are designed to be updated and reinvented for the times they live in. Most of them are not the same as they were when they were created and there are examples of various updates along the way. Superhero films are much the same. They need to examine the world we live in and speak to that. Kick-Ass is the definition of such a film. If you go looking for them, you can find instances where people dressed as superheroes are going around doing work like a realistic superhero would. I can't imagine they do much in the way of actual crime fighting, but they exist. And that is at the heart of a film like Kick-Ass. An every day guy tries to actually make it as a superhero. Unlike the real world versions that are out there, Kick-Ass does in fact do some real crime fighting. There's even a super-villain for them to face but he's a realistic super-villan for today's world.
They use a lot of the traditional building blocks of the genre to tell a new type of story with a very modern angle. It works perfectly for what they are doing because the people involved understand the superhero genre. Mark Millar after all has written for various comic books in the superhero genre and he has been very well received in everything he has done by the fans. So it's no wonder why he is doing so well with his own property. But where does that leave him to go? Can he succeed where many have failed in the past? In interviews he often talks about how he prefers not to do ongoing stories because he gets bored very quickly with them but with this he can see himself doing multiple stories. The sequel then, must be the continuation of that feeling.
Based on the details which have come out regarding Kick-Ass 2, I think he has a lot of room to grow and he might just pull off the second one as well. But that leaves a potential third film becoming ever more perilous. Will he burn out on the second installment and have nowhere to go with the third? Or is he thinking big and held something back for a trilogy? Let's hope he is because I want to see this go well for him and for the actors involved.