‘Kick-Ass 2′: Why Controversial Comic Book Scene Was Changed for the Movie

Published 1 year ago by

Christopher Mintz Plasse as The Motherfcker in Kick Ass 2 Kick Ass 2: Why Controversial Comic Book Scene Was Changed for the Movie

The world of Kick-Ass has always been trademarked by its raunchy and violent twist on the DC/Marvel superhero universes, but readers of Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.’s Kick-Ass 2 sequel series know that one moment in particular from the comics earned the infamous distinction of being particularly repellent and controversial

When production started on the Kick-Ass 2 movie, there was a lot of curiosity about how writer/director Jeff Wadlow would tackle that dark moment from the comics. Having seen the movie now, we were sure to ask Wadlow about the challenge of adapting  Mark Millar’s no-holds-barred source material, and why he chose to handle this particular controversial scene the way that he did in the film.

[WARNING: MAJOR KICK-ASS 2 SPOILERS FOLLOW!]

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Kick Ass 2 Controversy 570x293 Kick Ass 2: Why Controversial Comic Book Scene Was Changed for the Movie

The scene in question from the comic books occurs when Chris D’Amico (under his new guise as The Motherf*cker) attacks the suburban neighborhood of Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass’ love interest, Katie Deauxma, massacres her father, and subjects the poor girl to a gruesome gang rape by his squad of evil thugs. In the film version, however, Katie has been replaced by Kick-Ass’ crime-fighting comrade “Night Bitch” as the prominent love interest that The Motherf*cker assaults – and instead of a violent rape, we get a violent attempted rape that peters out (no pun) when The Motherf*cker fails to… “rise to the occasion.”

It was an interesting reversal of Millar and Romita Jr.’s comic and a scene that played well with audiences (at least judging from the theater I was in). When talking to Christopher Mintz-Plasse and writer/director Jeff Wadlow, I had to pick their brains about why it was necessary to change the controversial rape scene – and then, why it was changed to the comedic moment we got in the film:

Christopher Mintz-Plasse: I love really, really dark things like if there’s a rape scene it’s gotta be a dark movie it can’t be—I just didn’t think it would fit for this movie cause you’re watching it and it’s so colorful and fun and violent and you’re laughing, you’re getting excited and I don’t think a rape scene fits that vibe. In the comic—Jeff sets it right—in the comic they are not real people so you can put a rape in there and you’re not like feeling emotion towards it it’s just people on a piece of paper. But in a movie when you have real tangible people playing these parts it gets deep and it gets heavier on a bigger scale. I just don’t think a rape scene was needed. You know in the movie “Irreversible”—have you ever seen that?

I have – not that I particularly like to recall that I have. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know why; if you haven’t seen it, read about it HERE.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse: How crazy is that [movie]? But that movie CAN have a rape scene cause it’s so fucking twisted and dark; a movie like ‘Kick-Ass 2′… I just don’t think a rape scene was needed.

Kick Ass 2 Comic Book Rape Scene Kick Ass 2: Why Controversial Comic Book Scene Was Changed for the Movie

Wadlow was quick to highlight the vast differences between the comic book and movie mediums, and why what works in one, may not work in the other:

Jeff Wadlow: Well Mark is very smart about writing comic books and he understands that to get people’s attention you gotta push boundaries but that’s a very different medium than the film medium. He said early on, ‘we all know the movies that adapt to comics slavishly and don’t make any changes and are so beholden to the material that the movie suffers as a result.’ And I don’t need to name any names I’m sure you know which ones I’m thinking of. He said, ‘don’t make that movie, if you gotta change stuff, change it to make the best movie you could make.’

I understand what Mark was going for in that scene. I felt as a filmmaker – because I’m dealing with real people, not drawings of people – the audience didn’t need to be taken that far to experience the same kind of feeling. And also Chris, as far as the three leads go, Chris Mintz-Plasse, his characterization of Chris D’Amico is probably the most different from Chris in the comic. When you compare Dave in the comic to Aaron’s Dave or Chloe’s Mindy, [Chris] has probably moved the character the furthest away from the source material. So I wanted to create a scene there that was true to what Mark is trying to do in the comic, but also acknowledge that our Chris is slightly different than Chris in the comic and the audience doesn’t need to be taken that far to have the same emotional response.

The change in approach that the filmmakers were clear to distinguish early on, as Mintz-Plasse told us in an interview a year before Kick-Ass 2‘s release that the rape scene would indeed be getting an alteration: “The rape scene is not in it. There’s a version of it but there’s no rape. Thank God.”

Kick Ass 2 Motherf er Poster Kick Ass 2: Why Controversial Comic Book Scene Was Changed for the Movie

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It’s certainly understandable why the task of crafting a film that appeals to the masses (even as a violent, swear word-filled fantasy) would stop short of the rape line. The scene – as depicted in the comics – is truly something heinous, and the resonance amongst a filmgoing crowd watching a real live woman being gang-raped would definitely set a new standard for cinematic controversy – especially a movie that already has a sixteen-year-old girl cursing like a drunk sailor.

Are you happy that the rape scene was changed for the film? Or were you hoping that the filmmakers went the whole nine yards with Millar’s controversial source material?

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Kick-Ass 2 is now in theaters (and comic book store shelves) everywhere.

Be sure to check out our additional coverage of the film.

‘Kick-Ass 2′ Comic Book Artwork is property of Marvel Comics

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TAGS: kick ass, kick ass 2

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  1. Seems I cant type in the character names or this website auto-blocks the comment (Counting it as spam)

    Anywho – In the film they could have just ended the scene where he unzips and it would have been a dark and impactful sequences (Especially if the next scene just showed her beaten and bruised in the hospital)

  2. Saw the first movie, read the first series of comics and I was reading the second series until I got to that scene. I put it down and haven’t picked it up since. In any medium (movie, comic, video game) I just think it’s tasteless.

  3. Considering the missed cues from the first movie, regarding the deconstruction of the superhero genre, supplanted with generic Hollywood happy endings, outcomes and origins, instead of the raw slam of reality the comic offered, I’m not exactly surprised to hear more of the same from the sequel. I don’t plan on seeing it until it finds its way to Netflix.

    As for the rape scene itself, I don’t feel that it is gratuitous or tasteless, that would be for regular sex scenes that add absolutely zero to the plot. Rape As Drama is a pretty common trope, one that if executed well really makes you despise the attacker/s. It works in the comic and, from what I hear, is mocked in the movie. Your Mileage May Vary at work.

    • Given your usage of TV Tropes terms, I’m guessing you’re familiar with the ‘Decon-Recon Switch’ – when a deconstruction of a genre flips around to a reconstruction. I thought that Kick-Ass did this quite well. The film wasn’t Oscar-bait, so it couldn’t get away with having a grim ending or things like – spoiler for the comic – Big Daddy effectively brain-washing his daughter to fulfil his superhero fantasies.

      For me, it seemed that all Kick-Ass 2 (comic) took from the success of the first was that it was shocking and brutal. It gets to a point where it’s just trying to hard. Yes, having one character rape another can be dramatic, but if it’s just the author/creator saying, “look how evil this guy is,” then it just falls flat. Since ‘Rape is a Special Kind of Evil’ (TV Tropes again) it’s a quick and easy way to show who the bad guy is… but if the rest of it is so well-written, it’s completely unnecessary. The film of Kick-Ass 2 seems to get that so they put in a reference to the scene in the comic but get an extra laugh out of it.

  4. It was a good movie and I think it was best this way and that they didn’t show the gang rape or else they would have gotten more bad reviews

  5. The movie itself, I though was good. I took kick ass as a “what if” movie series. I mean…Facebook…geez…lol so very typical of people playing the “superhero” while not thinking about our worrying about being tracked. *SPOILER* Just in case…….. But the movie fails to side step the non-rape scene, what they do is not shown (thank God, also having close friends raped, those kind of scenes…I really hate but understand if the scene fits the movie & tone. the tone they set, it didn’t belong at all.) but aside from the hospital scene… nothing is said about it at all, it’s basically forgotten, until Kick Ass kicks MFer & says that it’s FOR Night-B. But it’s left for the imagination what these villains did to her while Mother Russia is outside killing 10 cops like it was nothing and no one to stop them from doing whatever they wanted. That was the only problem I had with the movie. For a action/comedy, it was good.

  6. Besides, I think MFer did a good job without a rape scene to establish he’s lost it & is a bad, bad villain. How hard would it of been to say “that scene doesn’t fit the tone of our movie” and just had them shooting & blowing up suburbia looking for Night B & then Mother Russia could still do her thing & Night B gets beat up but gets away. If you look at the other movies that deal with rape, there’s almost always revenge on it and you KNOW u that was for her.

  7. I’m not sure how I feel about rape being in a movie but I know that scene didn’t work very well. In the scene prior to the “almost” rape scene, THE MF has his team cut off a dudes head. This did a pretty good job of establishing his team as evil. They were clearly willing to do whatever they wanted or had to do in order to win. Then in the next scene that is clearly building to a rape (I had never read the comic or heard of this scene and I was fully expecting a hinted at gang rape) instead they played it off with a joke (which worked imo) but when he turns to his henchmen and says, hurt her, bad, then lets her go that is where it failed. The point of raping her and letting her go I understand. But letting her go in anything short of a body cast after cutting off the firss guys head just doesn’t work. Well maybe it is the hospital scene that doesn’t actually work. She should have had more apparent damage than just some facial bandaids.

  8. I’ve always liked the rawness of Kick-Ass. I’m not one for raunchy or lewd things, for I find them distasteful and unappealing, but I think it’s needed in Kick-Ass. I think that the reason the comic is so successful is because they take a situation of a superhero in real, modern times, and shy away from kryptonite and superpowers, adding a hard strike at reality. The rape scene in the second comic is very horrible, and I didn’t like it (even wanting to give up the comic for a while) but I still appreciate the harsh reality of things. In real life, the bad guys won’t walk around you, telling you their plan while you’re hovering over a lava pit or shark tank, planning your escape. Real bad guys are gruesome, remorseless, dark, twisted, and damn right evil. That harsh reality is what makes Kick-As; it invents it. So in the comics, I think the rape scene was required to establish the rawness of reality installed in Kick-Ass.

    In the movies, however, I think a rape scene similar to the one in the comics would be the worst decision to possibly happen. First of all, the movie doesn’t carry the rawness and harsh, twisted, deep reality of the comic. I also like the funny, silly, badass twist the filmmakers gave it. Why do you think Dave ends up with Katie? Why do you think Katie’s mother really did die like her father said, and she wasn’t brainwashed by a middle-aged nerd creeper for a father? It has that element of fantasy in the movies, while still giving the impression of a pseudo-reality. A rape scene would ruin that. I like both the comics and the movies, but like the article said in one of it’s quotes, it’s different on paper than actually seeing real human beings act it out. It’s a different emotional attachment for both forms; and although the comics are raunchy, it’s not as real and explicit as seeing it in real life. That would be horrible.

    • Wow, nicely said Kat

  9. I didn’t like the fact that Kick-Ass and Katie broke up. I mean, the entire first movie was about them and finding a way to fight crime at the same time. I believe they took a terrible approach and should have maybe hinted at them progressively falling apart, but at the end rekindle what they had in the first movie. It’s just like the transformer movies, how do you replace the girl he’s been with forever, with someone we hadn’t even seen before. (Although I do admit she was way hotter than Megan Fox.) Just my point of view, honestly kind of spoiled the movie for me in way, it just didn’t seem right…

    • Unfortunately, I believe that was a case of ‘real life writes the plot’ – Katie’s actress was busy with Nikita, I think. They had to find a way to get her character out of the way early. The Amazing Spider-Man slightly revived my faith in superhero romances in film (yes, really – it’s my opinion, OK?!) given how understanding and *actually pretty helpful* Gwen was, so I’m also a little disappointed that relationship fizzled out.

      • It was Wadlow’s fault that it fizzled out the way it did. Even if they had to make them break up, it was 100% bad of him to make her a cheater.

        It MUST be retconned in the third movie.

        They had in fact filmed a short scene of Dave and Katie in bed, but never used it in the film. They could have had Dave say “Katie couldn’t handle my lifestyle” and it would be understandable.

  10. I have not seen the movie but i have read the comic, i’ve been a comic book fan for more than 20 years now and i have noticed regular comics moving towards more violent and shocking story-lines. It’s high time the Comics Code Authority was re-intoduced, because we are now in a downward spiral where every comicbook author wants to be more ‘relevant’ than the previous by ‘exploring the boundaries of comic books’.

    Also: Christopher Mintz-Plasse says “In the comic [ ...] they are not real people so you can put a rape in there and you’re not like feeling emotion towards it it’s just people on a piece of paper.” which is absolutely not true. As a reader, i DO identify with the main characters, it’s part of the great allure of comics being Spider-Man, being the Batman, …. And it is one of the main point of Kick-Ass, comicbookreader identifying with superheroes they read about in comic books.

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  12. I just seen the scene on TV… It is what brought me to this article. I felt that the attempted rape should’ve been omitted from the movie. There was no need for it, it was still disturbing, and the lack of erection which prevented the rape wasn’t funny at all.

  13. I don’t care about altering the rape scene, but the massacre being as pacified as it was did disappoint me. They killed 10 cops. It’s bad, but not wiping out an entire neighborhood bad. I mean, you don’t even have to SHOW it, just suggest that’s what’s about to happen and have the news report on it. It just doesn’t seem as bad the way they did it.

  14. 100% agree with it not being shown. Rape is obviously such a downer and puts a bad vibe into its audience. I don’t think I have ever, EVER seen a rape scene and thought “This is excellent, it really adds to the story”.

    A perfect example is… *SPOILER FOR DEVILS REJECTS!!!!!!!!*
    Devils rejects. I loved the first movie for its obvious tongue in cheek horror story. Lots of gags yet an underline horror. While you knew the characters were ‘bad’ you also enjoyed watching them the same way as you did the joker, Motherf~cker or Hans Gruber (bad spelling) in Die Hard. When it came to the second film, everything was in place for the same type of movie..right up until the totally un-needed rape scene/graphic forced oral sex scene. I have never felt an atmosphere in a theater die so quickly in my life. All of the fun was taken out of the movie, you instantly hated the villains (Who, if you haven’t seen it, were painted in an anti-hero light before and after the scene and were the only likeable characters in the movie).
    Now, that was a horror! Kick-ass movies were a comic, black comedy/hero movie. A GANG rape scene would have just totally destroyed the audience, the link between the audience and MF and just totally ruined the whole feel of the movie. I was so glad they left that sceen out and felt they handled it, on screen, excellently and tastefully while giving a small nod to the clued in audience;).

    • I understand the Devil’s Rejects example. It’s an uncomfortable subject. But just to provide a couple of counterpoints: The first Evil Dead had a “rape-by-evil-forest-scene”. It’s probably the only bit that is superior to the revamped scene in Evil Dead 2.

      I have trouble imagining the “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” movies with the sickening scenes removed. So while I didn’t watch and happily exclaim “This is excellent!” I did think it added to the story.