Ultra violent and potty-mouthed superhero movies and TV shows are now back in vogue – with recent examples being the Marvel series that originated on Netflix (Daredevil, Punisher, Jessica Jones etc), as well as Deadpool, The Boys, Invincible, and more. But back in 2010, superheroes were only just starting to come back into fashion with the then-burgeoning MCU. And a superhero movie that featured Nicolas Cage as a character called Big Daddy and his expletive-filled 11-year-old daughter Hit-Girl really came from left-field.
Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass (based on Mark Millar’s comic book) was enough of a hit to warrant a sequel in 2013. Instead of Nicolas Cage, high-profile support came from Jim Carrey this time. But in a surprising move, Carrey announced that he regretted being involved in the violent superhero movie before it was even released.
Kick-Ass 2 was released in August 2013, and in December 2012 the tragic mass school shooting at Sandy Hook occurred. In June 2013, Carrey tweeted; “I did Kick-Ass 2 a month before Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience, I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to others involve[d] with the film. I am not ashamed of it, but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”
Mark Millar responded to Carrey’s comments on his blog (via The Guardian); “[I’m] baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay 18 months ago. Yes, the body count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us Hit Girl was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much.”
“Like Jim, I’m horrified by real-life violence (even though I’m Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn’t a documentary. No actors were harmed in the making of this production! This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorsese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Park Chan-wook, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence … Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can’t be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action movie.”
The intertwining of violence in movies, TV, and videogames with real-life crime has been a long-running debate that has raged, particularly since the 1980s when “video nasties” and the Satanic panic were prevalent in the tabloid media. It is not a debate that is likely to end anytime soon.
Check out our guide to the best Christmas movies.