Darke Reviews – The 5th Wave

So the first review of the year. January release. Not good usually. Examples? Sure!

Let’s face it January is mostly garbage so the Oscar bait at Christmas and whatever other studio juggernaut came up at the end of the month. *stares at Star Wars* It just isn’t a good month for film. You can fully expect that the studio just dumps something they have no faith in and hope they get another Cloverfield.

Did they get it here?


Based on a YA sci fi novel by Rick Yancy, the film covers the story of a young teenage girl who survives several waves of an alien invasion and her quest to save her brother. The first wave is an EMP that takes out technology, the second is an earthquake/flooding to take out coastal regions, the third disease, and fourth …well watch the movie to learn about the 4th and 5th waves. It’s not a bad setup and the overall execution is pretty solid on the narrative with the story taking place in two places with simultaneous arcs happening with the girl and her brother.

The novel was adapted for the screen by Susannah Grant (Erin Brokovich, Pocahontas – yes that one), Akiva Goldsman (Insurgent, I Am Legend, and…and), and Jeff Pinkner (Amazing Spiderman 2 and a lot of TV). Most of these guys are also producers in their own right and spent a lot of time with the TV crowd.  They have a pretty good pedigree of things just above mediocre as the group with Grant being lauded for Brokovich. So with that in mind how is the overall plot so…Ok? I mean the dialogue is Ok. The Plot is  Ok. The contrivances are  Ok. It’s Ok. Ok?

Maybe it’s the director? J Blakeson, who gave us the less impressive sequel to The Descent. I can see so much in the writing and direction that wants to be more than it is. There’s nuggets of something more here that just don’t come to fruition. One of the plot points requires everyone’s IQ to drop by about 50 points. The entire row of people in front of me in the theatre had the same reaction I did in one of the moments with a Spock level eye brow raise.


Sense. That made none.


That being said, it annoyed in the moment and was gone. That is because of the actors involved. Chloë Grace Moretz leads the cast in admirable fashion bringing a natural charm and humanity in what typically is a blandish role without much character. She (with some help from the script) deftly avoids some tropes and charms us as she glides into others. Helping the movie along is also Nick Robinson (the older brother from Jurassic World); and while his role is largely reserved he does a lot with a few expressions which keeps him from being a cardboard cut out with lines. The same cannot be said of Alex Roe, who tries. He really really tries and just can’t be more than the stereotype his role gave him.

Production wise? The effects are just slightly better than average. The flooding is getting to the point of being over used. Since the Japan disaster a few years back and Sumatra before that everyone is in awe and fear of the Tsunami so any disaster needs one now that we can see what they look like. A few other tricks aren’t bad, not great, just not bad. There’s very few eye rolls from the effects side which made me happy. Some of the transitions were done fairly well. I had to admit there was a good colour palette from the cinematographer to reinforce which of the two arcs you were dealing with. Very intentional and very functional. The music does what you expect, but otherwise is simply pleasant.


Despite how middle of the road this sounds, the movie was kinda enjoyable. I had moments of fun amidst moments of meh. While this may seem like a compromise (and it kinda is), I am ok with that. I do expect more of movies. YOU should expect more of movies. But if I even have a bit of fun I have no problem rewarding the film with that faint praise. It’s better than a meh and that means something since at least I felt *something* about it.

It does some things I haven’t seen before. There is inspiration here, I think if the Three Writer rule had not been invoked it may have been an even better film. Something more than Ok.

Though for a January? OK is good. I will take the win I can get.

Will you buy it?

Actually – yeah. I think I will. There’s stuff to the main characters arc I really enjoyed seeing handled.

Do you recommend it?

Ahhhh maybe. If you like Young adult style films? Sure. Go right ahead. You’ll probably like this more than some Hollywood has tried to give.


So that’s it. First review of the year. Could have been A LOT worse.

Darke Reviews | The Equalizer (2014)

Let’s see. The A-Team, check. The Muppets, check. Addams Family, Munsters, 21 Jump Street, and the list goes on.  TV shows are being adapted almost as much as books and comic books. Some better than others from the ability to watch and enjoy them. Some better than others in the box office. Some are even mutilated in their big screen transitions. Hollywood continues to mine the past for future generations, this time going back to the mid 80s.

The original TV series, which ran from 1985 to 1989 starring british born actor Edward Woodward as the title character. It’s the story of a retired intelligence agent of scary abilities who goes into the private sector to help those who need it. So you can imagine my surprise when I see they’ve cast Denzel Washington in the same role. Considering my soon to be coming rant on Hollywood White Washing, I can’t be too annoyed at the casting. I think I am just annoyed it was Denzel.

Before we get any further, let me be clear. I am not a fan of his.  I do not deny that he makes good movies – I just don’t enjoy him in them. Inside Man and Man on Fire being two of my favorite films of his. Though in his years since leaving St. Elsewhere he has countless films that are both critically and box office acclaimed. I find his performances largely one dimensional. I see so many of the same behaviors, mannerisms, and ticks in each performance that I could do an entire cinema sins on his personal tropes. I find him flat but that allows the others and the stories he picks to shine.

This is one of those situations. The film has a two and a half hour run time and it doesn’t need it; but at the same time doesn’t hurt too badly for it. I do long for the time of shorter films that we once had that were still entertaining. This film is bloated with multiple character stories that have Washington’s character, Robert McCall as the eye of the proverbial hurricane.

The movie carries a cast of extras you will know from other work but barely get to see in this, which is a bit of a shame. Chloë Grace Moretz, as a  call girl has one of the more humanizing and less tropish stories. Bill Pulman (Go get em President Whitmore!) and Melissa Leo (Oblivion, Flight) are used to give us more insight into what McCall used to be. Leo’s last line in the film brought a smile to my face.  New comer Johnny Skourtis is used well as a fellow employee of Home Depo…er Home Mart with McCall who wants to do better and finds help from McCall in multiple ways. He, like Moretz, brings much needed heart to the film as McCall is rather bland, but intentionally so.

The films Heavy is given to Martin Csokas, who you may (or may not) recognize from one of his three other films this year, Noah, Amazing Spiderman 2 or Sin City a Dame to Kill For. Prior to this, you were able to enjoy him in Kingdom of Heaven and xXx. I think he watched Javier Bardem on repeat from Skyfall as inspiration to this role. He carries the elegance of Christoph Waltz’s Col. Landa with him as well. He considers himself a force of nature who is then confronted with another one. It plays better than I expected it to.

This might be due to the writer, Richard Wenk (yay single writer credit). He previously had provided us films, such as Vamp (which I clearly need to review this October), 16 Blocks, and The Expendables 2. This tells me he is responsible for the pacing issues as much as he is for understanding how to write decent tension with minimal gimmicks in the script.

Of course, the Director gets some blame and praise as well. Probably one of my favorite action directors ever Antoine Fuqua once again delivers what I need from him. This of course isn’t Fuqua’s first time with Denzel either; having worked with him 13 years ago on Training Day. Fuqua also has directed such films as King Arthur, Shooter, and Olympus has Fallen. He has an eye for good , watchable action that is near unmatched. He is also one of a handful of successful directors who aren’t white. This is a very good thing. We need more like him. His sins, however, in this film are the pacing. There were too many stories. Too many moments that didn’t really add anything on the surface.

Now, between Washington, Fuqua, and Wenk they did something special in the film. They acknowledged mental illness without letting it be something apparent, spoken, or even really ‘acknowledged’ on screen. Yet, it was front and center almost the entire time. You can see by the trailers, and this is not spoiler territory folks, that McCall times things. This isn’t just professionalism or precision at work – it’s a disease. He is exhibiting through the film various stages of uncontrollable obsessive compulsive disorder. Some might say I am reading into it, but I don’t think so. It was too perfect each time it happened. I applaud them for doing it. They took a character like this and broke him in a very real, very tangible, and identifiable way. He isn’t just another Bourne, Bond, or Batman. He’s human and I like the movie for it.

From a technical standpoint. I LOVE being able to see fights. I hate shaky cam. The movie does not disappoint in this way. Yes, they use the slow walk trope a few times, but at least one of them is done to fantastic effect. Editing is good. Music is nice as a largely somber classical or jazz vibe with an electric guitar throne in from time to time putting an edge to it.


The Equalizer is very watchable. It is also very noticeable how long it runs.

It feels its length which isn’t all that good and some of the story elements largely feel unnecessary. I wish they had focused just a bit more and cut some of the fat from the finished work. A good 30 minutes less would have done this movie proud.  The action beats are spread just a little too far apart, but when they do show up they deliver nicely.

I also feel like I’ve seen this character from Washington before, especially in Man on Fire. There’s little different about Creasy and McCall.

All in all – if you were in any way interested expect a slow burn, but you’ll be rewarded for it.

If you were curious Matinee it at best. Wait for Redbox or Netflix at worst.

If you weren’t curious before and are now, the same applies. Otherwise you can give this a pass.

If nothing else it was nice to see another film worth seeing in September.



PS, I won’t be reviewing Box Trolls also out this weekend. One of the perks of being totally freelance is I can review what interests me and that one doesn’t.

Darke Reviews | If I Stay (2014)

Everyone knows my general rules on comedies, but have you ever noticed I don’t do romances? Drama’s are rare? The real reason here for the romantic drama’s or general drama’s is while they may be well acted, well written, even well directed – they don’t interest me. They don’t trigger an emotional response to go see it. This isn’t a denigration of the movie or even the genre, but simply where my tastes tend to run. I need something that gets my pulse going or maybe makes me smile.

So why in all that I find holy did I see “If I Stay”?

Let me open with something personal – I should so not have seen this movie after the recent ending of a long term relationship. I should not have seen this after closing off so many bridges in my blood family life, or at least reminders of why they exist.

Why did I see it?

Let me get into the acting right away then. Chloë Grace Moretz. If you’ve talked to me in person you already know what I think of this young actress. If you have not, then let me explain to you that she is one of the best actresses of her age in Hollywood today. At 17 she already has 50 acting credits to her name. She really came onto the scene in 2010 with Kick-Ass as the infamous Hit Girl. Since then she has covered the gambit of role types from comedy, to action, to horror, to voice acting, to childrens movies. This is her turn in true Romance. Once again she impresses.

Moretz (as Mia) carries the movies on her shoulders like a pro. She is believable in her role and brings all the emotions she needs. She makes you laugh, she makes you smile, she makes you cry, and she makes your heart ache. She gets assistance from a list of actors most folks have never heard of. Jamie Blackley as her boyfriend Adam, Joshua Leonard as her father, Liana Liberato as her BFF Kim, and Mireille Enos (Gangster Squad and The KIlling) as her mother. Everyones turn against Moretz brings a complete performance.

This is the family many of us wish we had. This is the kind of romance and love that comes only a few times in a lifetime, if at all, and we want it. That makes the movie all the more painful as it unfolds. The tears don’t start much until act three. There are some before, but know that tears will come. Thats the sign of a good story.

Based on the book of the same title by Gayle Forman released in 2009, it was adapted for the screen by Shauna Cross. Cross was the writer of Whip It, also back in 2009. A critically praised by overlooked film with some strong women in Roller Derby. I am happy to see Cross return to the screen with this one. The story does a good job on its pacing, its emotions, and the vignettes of life as it plays out. Even Mia and Adam’s relationship, while still having the Hollywood touch, has a good pacing to it. It takes the time it needs. It feels natural, even as it blossoms it feels right. I remember what that was like and to me they nailed it.


If this is your genre – Romance/Drama’s – WATCH THIS.

Even through the tears it made me smile, it made me want. It made me miss the touch of another. It made me cry for the characters loss and the for Mia as it all plays out. If the movie can evoke such deep emotion as well as this one did – then it did its job.

I was never bored and the movie kept me hooked. This one is a good one folks.

Oh yeah – bring the tissues!

Darke Reviews | Let The Right One In (2008)/Let Me In (2010)

As one of the more interesting vampire movies in the recent years I wanted to talk about the Swedish film Let the Right One in, and it’s Americanized remake Let Me In. I watched both movies simultaneously tonight, writing this review as I watched.

This falls into a recent trend of films to be made in another country and then be remade within the States. The Japanese have taken the brunt of this foreign film exploitation; and lets be honest folks that’s what it is, the Norwegians are now experiencing it as well (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Troll Hunter). We, as in Hollywood, are letting other countries create new ideas, new takes on old ideas and rather than try to distribute THAT film here, the producers hire a team of monkeys, er writers and directors to remake and re-imagine the film within a few years of its release. A vast majority of the ghost stories we’ve had, starting with the Ring, were originally Japanese. Why not actually let us watch that one in a theatre? Sadly the answer my friends is us. The audience doesn’t want subtitles, they want faces they recognize even if the foreign actors are remarkable, I am sure there are other reasons that are just as BS.

So how do these two films compare? American vs Swedish? Interestingly. I warn you now to avoid spoilers (contrary to my norm) skip to the TL;DR.

The story focuses on a young boy (Oskar/Owen) living in a run down apartment complex, who sees a girl (Eli/Abby) his age moving in . He is bullied at school, being raised by his mother alone. He spends his time not in school alone outside in the snow in the complex courtyard playing with a rubix cube or stabbing trees imagining the tree is a bully. The boy and girl quickly become friends and he uncovers her secret, that she is a vampire. As their relationship grows, the girls relationship with her caretaker begins to wane. Things at school escalate with the bullies and the boy, while things further deteriorate around the girl and the body count rises.

The story is the same, though the names change. The US version is nearly a shot for shot remake of the Swedish. There are, however, some interesting choices between the two.

As expected, or should be, the Swedish version plays out more dramatically beat for beat. The american one starts out far more dramatically with an ambulance racing through the highlands of New Mexico dealing with an acid burn victim, while the Swedish version begin focused on Oskar alone and establishing his awkwardness. I suppose Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), director and writer – see what I mean from yesterday? – felt that a more romantic/dramatic start would disengage his audience and he needed to create an artificial bit of excitement to start. The US version also does not stay 100% practical and that is a massive failing of the film, where the CGI attack by Abby is no where near as intense or visceral as Eli’s practical one. It’s proof once again that CG is not better than a good make up or skill in shooting.

Lets talk about the actors and characters a bit, but I want to this in reverse order starting with the bit parts.

The Bullies. I hate Bullies, I laugh when they are mutilated, eviscerated and otherwise punished brutally in film. It brings me no end of joy. So while the nature of the bullies in the US version are more deserving of their fate, they are also two dimensional entities that you can have absolutely no sympathy for. The Swedish version, while they are still inhuman in their own right and have earned their Karma and pay it, have some depth. They pause, they have moments where the three of them are not all “complete” villains.

The Caretaker. Still a better love story than twilight. No seriously, it’s a love story between him and his vampire. In all the years and vampire films I’ve watched I have never seen one handle this so interestingly and creatively. While the man is clearly in his late forties in both films, if not mid fifties, there he is the caretaker to a twelve year old. To an outsider he would be the parent, but to a careful observer and viewer you see that they are more than that. He hunts for her nightly, killing people and bringing their blood for her to feed on. He is getting old however and making mistakes. In some of his final moments you get a true grasp of his relationship with the girl. Tenders touches from her, eyes closed and a sense of peace from him. His final acts, after a final failure is sacrifice. His love for her is that complete that he would not only pour acid on his face, but
then to let her feed from him because she had been unable to. It almost makes my black heart melt.

Lets talk about the boy. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Hedebrants Oskar comes across more damaged. There’s a pleasure in his eyes when he finally stands up to the bullies. An eagerness as he stabs the trees mimicking the taunts of the bullies. There’s also a certain eagerness to which he embraces Eli, even as he tries to deny their relationship. The broken nature even shows as he torments her briefly to find out what happens if she isn’t invited in, though that scene is tempered by his care for her. Smit-McPhee comes across more of a victim throughout, eternally vulnerable and even as he stands up to the bullies there’s no real strength there and no hidden sadism. Though for cinematic reasons he puts Abby through the same lack of invite, there is no sense that it was even for a moment malicious. In fact he looks as if he’s about to jack rabbit the entire time until the very last minute. Even during a moment where the theoretical worm turns, Hedebrant plays the stronger boy willing to draw a blade to defend and simply turn his back on a murder. Smit-McPhee plays the same scene weaker, pleading and even trembling. Both boys play the vulnerable, weak love interest to their girl rather well and the inexorable slide into her grasp is entertaining to watch; which makes their final decision complete and logical from the way the story has been executed.

On to the girl, Eli (Lina Leandersson) and Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz – yes my favourite young actress). For the purposes of the story and relationship (that gets it’s own section this time), Chloë acts as well as ever but the nature of her looks weaken one of the plot points in the relationship. Lina’s performance is actually a bit darker due to her androgynous features. She looks twelve and neither pure girl nor pure boy and is a bit more haunting as she carries out several of the kills. Both girls deliver a remarkable performance as a vampire, but Lina is given the option to use her body language and a minimal amount of effects to achieve monsterousness, while Chloë is not afforded the same. Though she, much like in Carrie, has the body language down and performs fully has some of her performance masked by too much blood and too much CG overlay on her make up.

The romance needs to be talked about here as much as anything. It was controversial for several reasons when the original Swedish version came out. I was worried when I saw the US release if they would do the same. There’s an entire series of dialogue half way through the film, where she joins the boy in his bed in the middle of the night. She had already asked him if he would like her if she was not a girl; now he asks her to go steady to an interesting reply.

“I’m not a girl.”
“You’re not?”
“Does that bother you?”

Now as she is prepubescent there’s debate as to what she means. Is it that she isn’t actually a girl, is it that she is but doesn’t consider herself one as she never even reached her teens, or the fact that she is a vampire makes her gender-less in her own mind? The conversation alone and it’s implications, much less his response, make it an interesting film. The options are also questions that are never answered which is a nice change of pace. It’s also fascinating to wonder as you look at the movie and understand the Caretaker that while the boy cares for her; you must ask yourself if she cares for him. Is she manipulating him to get her needs or are her emotions in such flux because of being eternally twelve? Again questions never answered and best left to interpretation. Even through the end of the film where the Caretaker cycle begins anew you just don’t know. Ultimately the viewer must decide, is it love or is it a monster – perhaps both.


While your tastes may vary and I do like both films, the Swedish version is superior in many elements. It shows a better finesse and love for the story than the US version. The US version is sufficient and still good, but they missed the memo on show don’t tell – especially in the final pool sequence. The children all act well, with Chloë 12 at the time of filming.

I can comfortably recommend both and think vampire fans will enjoy (if you haven’t already seen).

No hints for tomorrow, since its a film I haven’t seen – it will be the Conjuring.

Darke Reviews | Carrie – Old (1976) vs New (2013)


I had been waiting to watch this movie for a little over a year from the time I heard Chloe Grace Moretz would be playing the title role. Now since I began an old vs new review schtick recently I thought it just to do an OvN for Carrie – 1976 vs 2013. For fairly obvious reasons I had not seen the original when it came out, I was four days old; however I have watched it several times since and watched it again tonight so I could accurately compare it to the one I saw late last night. How do they compare? How does the new stand up to the classic Oscar nominated film? Lets break it down and much like last time I will use years to specify. This review WILL contain spoilers due to the fact its a remake!

Directing –

Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss) brings a certain modernization to the new film, that was needed to tell the story for a modern audience. The performances she coaxes out of her cast and decisions made reflect a profound respect for Brian DePalma’s(Untouchables, Scarface) 1976 adaptation of Kings novel. She brings to 2013 a vast majority of the scenes and shots that dePalma did way back when. She is also wise enough to change it when needed and make her own choices that elevate the movie in many areas but hurt it in others. It’s hard to criticize dePalma’s work because of the classic nature of it, however there are a few things that he cut that Pierce didn’t. Other decisions that he made, such as using a full-powered hose and busting out PJ Soles eardrums during prom – not good. In a true match up 2013 uses more of the original script than 1976, but the overall performances and shots these directors chose are indicitive of their times and experience.

Lets talk script.

This is of course based on the Steven King novel of the same name released in 1974. It was the first of his stories to be adapted to film, the 1976 was adapted for the screen by Lawrence D Cohen. Cohen also adapted other works by King, such as It, Tommy Knockers, Nightmares and Dreamscapes and has a credit on the new film as well. 2013 has a writing credit also given to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who has Glee to his credit. That’s it. I can’t really say what Roberto added as most of the 2013 movie is nearly line for line from the 1976. Obviously a few things have changed to bring it current, a beat here or there is altered but based on the overall story presented the 2013 IS the 1976 as it was intended to be.

The story

For the few of you who don’t know it, it’s that of Carrie White a homely teenage girl who is picked on and abused from all sides without sanctum or sanity. Most of the students and even a few teachers bully and torment her there, only for her to return home to a mother who is in short – an insane Christian fundamentalist. The poor girl has her first period in the showers in the school gym, surrounded by unforgiving classmates who throw feminine products at her chanting cruel things. Saved only by a teacher Ms Dejardin. During her outburst her telekinetic powers begin to manifest. The rest of the film is an exploration of her growth into her own identity while those around her would destroy her. She has few allies through it all, none who are actually saying anything to her directly. The story culminates with a Prom, Pigs Blood and Pain.

Sissy Spacek in 1976 achieved what almost no horror movie actress has in their role, an Academy award nomination. She had a look to the character which fits her nature. She is unassuming, forgettable, the classic wall flower. She never makes eye contact, she looks shrunken in on her own sense of self. She begins to find herself and sense of self as she studies her powers and is invited to prom. The transition for her is interesting and perhaps more subtle than Chloe’s in the 2013. Chloe is hands down the best thing of the new film, but also the worst. Spacek wasn’t pretty (by my standards) so when she performed Carrie it worked on a very specific level. Chloe cannot help but be pretty even when she tries not to be. I suppose though that it adds to the level of her performance as she expertly pulls off every other aspect of what it means to be Carrie. Her transition from girl, to woman, to monster is fascinating to behold. You are with her when she feels joy for the first time in her life. As she stands up to her mother and then when it finally comes burning down.

Before we talk about the other characters we need to discuss the differences between the breakdowns. Spacek goes to bye bye land. She is no longer home and no longer connected to reality when her eyes bulge and vengeance reigns. She is indiscriminate ending her foes and even her friends who she unable to comprehend anymore. Her walk home is that of a lost creature finding its natural habitat. Our 2013 Carrie is different. She’s decided to stop being prey and become a predator. She may have lost touch with reality on a different scale, but more importantly she lost touch with her morality as she deliberately targets her enemies and saves her one friend in the room. It’s important to note she actively does save a life. The rest, the rest just burn as she stalks her way home inflicting righteous suffering. There is actual bliss on her face as some of her enemies die. I think both performances are perfect in this aspect as both show the genie in the bottle being let out in different ways. I think, as a victim of bullying for 7 years of school, I prefer 2013 but that’s taste.

Supporting Cast

Margaret White, played by Piper Laurie in 1976 was a force of nature. She was down right insane and uncomfortable to be around and played perfectly by Laurie, which I believe also got her an Academy nod. Julianne Moore, in 2013, on the other hand is a different force of nature. She’s just as insane, but screams less and has a different level of uncomfortableness to her. You watch her self mutilate and have no touch with reality. Her speech to Carrie before the end of her conception is different in the 2013 and I think better for it’s lack of filth.

The Aggressors

I don’t need to go into too much detail here. They are vile in both films and deserve all that comes with it. The modern twist of filming the shower sequence and posting it online brings it home for the recent cases of cyberbullying and the effects of it. The 1976 cast included more names that had small careers in the 70s and early 80s and some grew into bigger ones. Some guy named John Travolta for example. I don’t think the new cast has such luck as none of them save Sue (below) had any real screen presence

The supporters

Sue Snell, Tommy Ross and Ms Dejardin. Much like I have said with others these characters are iconic to their times. They reflect it perfectly and also much like the aggressors the 1976 cast went on to bigger and better (William Katt and Amy Irving) and the 2013 cast will likely not with the exception of Sue, she might have something. She has a beauty that the camera loves and a bit of charisma that with the right directors could grow into actual acting. I found that the 2013 Dejardin was a little more empathetic to Carrie and showed her frustration with the school a little better.
Effects & Technical

While the fire sequences, lighting, film quality and camera work is better in the 2013 film I think much of that is a product of Hollywood evolution. The crucifixion in 2013 however took me right out of it as the CG was so painfully evident and when compared to the more practical looking flying knives from 76 just didn’t work. I will however defend the end of the film for its choice in the destruction of the house. It was in the original 76 to be done the same way and they couldn’t make it work and by 2013 they did. The same with the death sequences during the retribution, some of them just look better now, but again this is evolution not intent.
TL;DR (I know this was long)

This one is a flat out tie. Because the film plays so faithfully to the original, even going so far as to include several scenes the original cut I can’t say they are different films. They are the same movie filmed 37 years apart. If anything it’s a study in film making now and then.

What I can say is watching the new one, which I do recommend for those so inclined, I felt anticipation growing in my chest as the prom arrived and I was waiting for the bucket. That’s something few movies have done and its something to give credit for. I may add some comments below that are more about elements to the 2013 than a true comparison.

Overall – Both movies are incredibly successful in the translation of Kings story and are faithful to each other. I have to recommend the new one if you love the old. Appreciate all that they did in the making of when we live in an age where we wince at bad decisions in remakes.
Tomorrows review never stops with the whining, but will give you a choice it never had.

Darke Reviews | Kick Ass 2 (2013)

Ah the comic book movie genre, how I both love and hate thee. In the same year that you give me Iron Man 3 and it’s attempt to personalize the Hero and look at what it means to be a man in a mask you also give me Kick Ass. Within a few months of DC comics trying to give us a Super-hero in the “Real world” we are again given Kick Ass.

I would like to believe that Kick Ass 2 performs the task better than both Man of Steel and Iron Man 3. While not as humorous as the first, it certainly is more satiric of the comic film these days. DC Comics after the success of the first Nolan Batman movie felt the horrific need to make their next few movies hyper realistic; which is to say removing much of the fantastical and “four color” elements of comic books and replace that with darkness and grittiness of the late 70s and early 80’s cop movies. Changing them from being things to aspire to and be wondered by into something hollow and even a bit shallow.

Kick Ass 2 does not necessarily fix these things but it does call attention to them. The first film introduces us to a world that quite frankly is ours. Then it gives us Aaron Taylor Johnson as the title character who decides to try to make it a slightly better place by being a superhero. His decisions come with a price and some level of pain. We are introduced to Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) who have also decided to put masks on and try to end crime in their city. It brings a sharp focus to the child sidekick and the concept of being behind a mask and what lessons we teach those around us. Also what sacrifice must be made of your real life to be a hero.

The sequel extends that particular narrative and explores the concept of what it means to be a Hero in the real world. It picks up a few years after the first and ends appropriately as a movie like this should.

It is completely and totally over the top and does a far better job of calling attention to what masked superheroes in the real world would deal with than anything DC has put out this decade. Ultimately what it does that DC has failed to do is remain fun while doing it. To have a plot and characters you actually care about and moments that carry weight because they earned it.


If you are a comic book fan and a fan of the first movie. Go see this.

If you haven’t seen the first one, while not entirely necessary it really does help. Then see this one.

It is looking to be one of the more enjoyable movies in the August death slot this year and there isn’t much else coming out soon that could rival it for sheer violence and fun.

So put on your mask, pull up your big girl pants and go enjoy Kick Ass 2