1. Presentation of the opponents (a.k.a synopsis):
Kick-Ass 2:Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), now 18, and Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz), now 15, have retired from fighting crime; still Dave is hardly out of the hero business, he merely takes a break to learn how to be a pro. He asks Mindy to train him in her free time between English, Science, shopping and homework and the former Hit-Girl, now turning into teen eye candy, agrees. Still the private lessons don’t last- Mindy is caught crime fighting by her guardian Marcus (oups, she did it again…), and promises to try to live an ordinary life. Not wanting to work alone, Kick-Ass joins a team of heroes called “Justice Forever”, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes, and including Dave’s friend Marty as Battle Guy, Dr Gravity, Insect Man, Night-Bitch who soon becomes Dave’s new girlfriend, and the parents of a missing child named Tommy.
In the meantime, Chris D’Amico accidentally kills his mother with a tanning bed. After the initial shock Chris uses this opportunity to re-invent himself as a super villain, “The Motherfucker”. He swears to get revenge on Kick-Ass because he thinks ultimately all is Dave’s fault- in the previous part he killed his daddy, right?
Meanwhile Mindy tries the life of a normal teen. She wears dresses, she goes to a slumber party, she dates a jock, all with disastrous results. After a while she feels enough is enough: dressed like a Barbie doll she takes on four meanest girls in her class using a crowd control shock baton which induces violent and synchronised vomiting and diarrhoea. It earns her a suspension but the Hit Girl is back in action. Not one moment too soon.
The Motherfucker uses his wealth to assemble a gang of supervillains. He tracks down Colonel Stars and Stripes and has Mother Russia, a massive Russian ex-con and former KGB agent, decapitate him. The Motherfucker continues his quest to destroy anything Kick-Ass loves, tracking down Night-Bitch and attempting to rape her, though failing due to him being unable to get an erection. The showdown is imminent – who will win this time?
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is an unemployed 23-year-old Canadian guy who plays bass in an up-and-coming garage rock band. After a disastrous relationship followed by a long period of romantic abstinence, he is finally dating a cute 17-year-old high school girl, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), having fun in life and rolling along at a nice, even tempo, just taunted from time to time by his mouthy younger sister, until one day Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) roller-blades into his nightmare and then into his real life. Scott sees his dream girl during a party, recognizes her instantly and he knows his life will never be the same.
Ramona, a mysterious American girl with a mop of purple hair (the colour will change more than once during the movie) moved to Toronto from New York City to find peace and quiet and leave her past behind. Yes, the disastrous relationships were the cause again. She works for Amazon and attends some local parties but generally keeps her moody self to herself. No one knows what her past is, nobody tries to find out apart from poor, infatuated Scott who does his damnedest to woo Ramona and gain a great, cool, original, mature, fully-fledged, colourful and undeniably adult girlfriend. Ramona doesn’t seem overly distressed by his attention but soon enough it becomes apparent there will be difficulties and blood. Before Scott and Ramona can be officially declared an item the young man must prove himself by facing a nefarious league of her seven exes who control her love life. The exes don’t fight each other for a reason or two (not revealed in the movie) but they will do anything to destroy any new boyfriend Ramona may consider worth the honour of her free time and quiet affection. If Scott wants to keep his true and only love he must defeat all seven of them, otherwise the game is over. Yes, it is a game. Still it might be a duel to death.
Scott decides to accept the challenge – after all everything good in life is worth fighting for – and so he starts the deadly tournament, fighting for Ramona and his happiness. Who will win?
2. Round one: the outrageousness of the plot (mind you I mean it in a positive way because such are the requirements of the genre)
Kick-Ass 2: It wasn’t that bad, but definitely worse than the first part. The main leads were older, they had to face some real-life problems, and solve them with actual brains, not guns or bazookas, at least up to a point. They tried to live like normal people – no fun for a hero wannabie. Did it make the movie more enjoyable? Er…not really. I missed Nicolas Cage and his sweetly-innocent, crazy grin whenever his little girl went for a kill. I missed the big bad D’Amico father who was far more menacing than his silly progeny and the posse of sadistic freaks he managed to assemble. A shark tank trick? Really?
Scott Pilgrim: At first the plot seemed to be almost painfully normal but then Ramona entered the scene and the movie exploded, literally so. It become so funny and so unreal you could almost forget that poor Scott, with sweet, puppy eyes and a body as thin as a rake, was fighting different supernatural guys to DEATH. Wait, it was just a computer game, right? Or maybe not really? Who knows and who cares? My favourite scene? The duel between Scott and Matthew Patel, the intervention of the vegan police and the death by a skateboard! Outrageous but so well-constructed and so fun!
- Kick-Ass: 1 point
- Scott: 2 points
3. Round two – likeability factor
Kick-Ass 2 : Dave wouldn’t get one single point from me in this category, nuh-huh. Neither his abs, nor his Lennon glasses, nor his mop of curly hair nor wide, innocent eyes made a lasting impression. Once a jerk, always a jerk – it is a perfect example. His new girlfriend? An emphatic shrug. Mindy saves the situation, though. When I saw her in that purple-pink dress, combed and made-up like a doll and then I watched her punishing those high school nasty b*****s…it was lovely.
Scott Pilgrim‘s character is extremely well-constructed. You feel for this awkward young man, you cheer for him, you want him to fight and to win even though he is so clearly an underdog. You completely understand the desperation of spurned Knives only wondering why Ramona has to be so cold…until she isn’t, making you breathe out with relief. Yes, Scott is that good.
- Kick-Ass: 1 point
- Scott: 2 points
4. Round three – special effects and other shenanigans
Kick-Ass 2: Explosions? Check. A shark in a tank? Check. A sadistic butch woman in a skimpy bikini, speaking with a strong Russian accent? Check. Sophisticated weaponry being fired in long series? Check. Martial arts ? Check. Melee fighting? Check. Overall result? Not so bad… but hey, haven’t we seen it all already? Unfortunately the answer is ‘yes, we have’.
Scott Pilgrim’s crew evidently had a lot of fun with all these cartoon-inspired speech bubbles which winked and flashed at the viewer every ten minutes or so. The battle scenes were excellent because they were FUN, not just clichéd fireballs or gunfire like in other action movies. By the way the fans of older parts of Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed are bound to clap and cheer and then be filled with nostalgia when watching Scott being given different points and two magic swords. Dead bodies of Ramona’s evil exes changed into … small change – a nice touch! Overall, well done – it made me laugh out loud!
- Kick-Ass: 0.5 of a point
- Scott: 2 shiny points
5. Round four: controversial content (once again kindly remember in case of such movies it is an asset which makes tickets sell)
Kick-Ass 2: Hit Girl still swears like a sailor but now, with a new guardian, she has to pay for every word. Dave has sex with a new girlfriend. Chris finds his mom’s playthings, made mostly of chains, studs, latex and leather; properly dressed in those he tries to rape Dave’s sweetheart. Those three characters between themselves still kill an army . Mindy has a duel with Mother Russia. We see plenty of vomit and feces, not to mention one shark. Not bad.
Scott: Poor Scotty is hit and kicked repeatedly, thrown into the air and through a wall; he jumps out of a window and…nothing. Not a scratch, not even a serious bruise. Speak about the trivialization of violence. And that band of his, Sex Bob-ombs, what a name… add to that casual drugs usage and an openly gay flat mate who sleeps around… still, compared to Kick Ass it sounds pretty tame.
- Kick-Ass: 2 points
- Scott: 1 point
6. Roud five: the ending
Kick-Ass : The baddies are all dead, no big surprise here. The heroes have more or less clean hands AND they take some serious decisions, once again nothing unusual. Will there be a sequel? Hmmm…I don’t think so – and thank you for that, Mr. Director!
Scott Pilgrim is ended with a HEA – UNBELIEVABLE! You were doing so well, dear Scotty and now I am so disappointed! You can do much better than…ok, not spoiling anybody.
- Kick-Ass: 2 points
- Scott: 0.5 point
7. Duel results
Kick-Ass: 6.5 points
Scotty: 7.5 points
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is one original movie, a must-see for every cartoons and comic books fan but not only them. It wins the duel by one point = Kick-Ass 2 wasn’t so bad either. Still it is a sequel vs. a non-sequel so perhaps this duel wasn’t so entirely fair…Oh well, life is not fair either.
What do you think? Have you seen any of these? If yes, did you enjoy them?