Gonna be a long day of sour immigration news, so let’s get a palate cleanser in early.
Alternate headline: “Public now really, really curious about level of violence in ‘Kick-Ass 2.'”
I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to e
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 23, 2013
I meant to say my apologies to others involve with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 23, 2013
Two obvious responses. One: What did he think he was getting into? The first film featured a 12-year-old girl cutting people’s legs off while dropping the C-bomb, for cripes sake. And two: It’s make-believe, Jim. Make-believe that’s so far over-the-top, in fact, that it makes “The Mask” look like “Doing Time on Maple Drive.” Mark Millar, who wrote the “Kick-Ass” comic, hits ’em both in his reply to Carrey:
As you may know, Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion, but I’m baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay eighteen 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. My books are very hardcore, but the movies are adapted for a more mainstream audience and if you loved the tone of the first picture you’re going to eat this up with a big, giant spoon. 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, Scorcese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence, whether it’s the ramifications for friends and family or, as we saw in the first movie, Kick-Ass spending six months in hospital after his first street altercation. Ironically, Jim’s character in Kick-Ass 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place.
Ultimately, this is his decision, but I’ve never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life. Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can’t be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie. Imagine a John Wayne picture where he wasn’t packing or a Rocky movie where Stallone wasn’t punching someone repeatedly in the face. Our audience is smart enough to know they’re all pretending and we should instead just sit back and enjoy the serotonin release of seeing bad guys meeting bad ends as much as we enjoyed seeing the Death Star exploding.
Sonny Bunch thinks Carrey’s post-Newtown crisis of conscience has less to do with sincere misgivings about the violence in “Kick-Ass 2” than about spending weeks on end in promotional interviews being asked again and again and again why a gun-control crusader thinks it’s cool to star in a movie like this and why, if he’s so worried about children’s safety, we occasionally find him babbling about the evils of vaccination. Could be. We’ll know whether it’s a real change of heart if he ends up donating his pay for the movie, right? If he now believes that cartoon movie violence helped motivate Adam Lanza, then he’s taken a form of blood money. Best to disgorge and be clean again.
Here’s the trailer, which is now getting thousands of extra plays today thanks to Carrey’s attempt to un-promote the film. Looks like a fun goof on “Avengers”-type superhero extravaganzas. Exit question: How much gun violence is in this movie, precisely? Carrey’s character is waving around a gun at the end here, but I thought most of the blood spatter in “Kick-Ass” comes from people getting stabbed, karate-ed, and, er, bitten on the crotch by dogs. That’s what makes it cartoonish. Does that mean Carrey’s objection is to all forms of movie violence after Newtown, not just gun violence? If so, why?