Kick-Ass was primarily the story of nondescript teenager Dave Liezewski, his decision to become a superhero and the impact that the decision has upon his life. Though fellow superheroes Big Daddy and Hit Girl did play key roles in the film, it was largely a coming-of-age tale about a high school boy taking his love of comic books to its logical extreme.
By contrast, the trailers for Kick-Ass 2 have suggested that it will be a coming-of-age tale about a high school girl, and how a history steeped in violence and crime-fighting presents a significant barrier to her ability to function as a normal teenager. Apparently her attempts at coping don't work out all that well, since we've already seen her leaping right back into the crime-fighting game and teaming up with Kick-Ass to build a superhero team and take on The Mother F***er (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
Actress Chloë Moretz, who returns as Mindy Macready AKA Hit Girl in Kick-Ass 2 and can also be seen in an even darker role as the lead in the upcoming Carrie remake, spoke to CBM about how Hit Girl has changed since the events of Kick-Ass, and what fans can expect to see from her in the sequel.
Please be warned that Moretz's discussion of Hit Girl's new circumstances includes spoilers for the first Kick-Ass film.
A lot of the novelty value of Hit Girl's character came from the fact that she was an 11 year-old girl who swore like a sailor and committed acts of ludicrous, over-the-top violence and murder. Now that the the character is a little older - not old enough to buy cigarettes, mind you, but older nonetheless - the shock factor will mostly have worn off, and Hit Girl has to be taken to new levels to keep her interesting. Moretz says that she is glad of this, since the roles she's taken in the interim between the two movies have left her hungry to try something a bit different:
"The obvious difference is that I'm older now, and the difference between 11 and 15, which is how old I was when we finished, is that you're a different person, obviously. You're calculating more ideas, you're experiencing more things in your own life, you're not just living through other people's eyes, you're making your own decisions.
"After the first movie I was able to have such an amazing career. I've been able to do such amazing, emotionally stretching things that I didn't just want to do a role like the first one. The first one was great for an 11-year-old, but now I'm older and I want to try something I can sink my teeth into."
Most people remember Kick-Ass as a comedy film, and it is - albeit a rather dark one. It tackles the question of what would happen if ordinary people, with no real superpowers beyond being trained to peak physical fitness, dressed up in costumes and became superheroes, dispensing vigilante justice to anyone they deem to have earned it. The result is a mix of over-the-top, almost cartoonish violence, and character storylines that are delivered with a surprising amount of sincerity. For Hit Girl, the biggest turning point of Kick-Ass was the death of Big Daddy, and Moretz says that this event has a significant impact upon her character in Kick-Ass 2:
"What Jeff [Wadlow, writer and director] and I really wanted to improve was the real heart of it, because I wanted to show that this girl didn't have a father anymore and how much that affected her. She's really confused and going through the self-torture of, 'Am I killing people because this is what I was raised to believe was a good thing, or am I just murdering people?' I wanted to show this inner pain and struggle, and the fact that she's lost her only family, her father."
Moretz's description of the character encapsulates the somewhat morally dubious aspect of the films and comic books: the fact that the 'good guys' go around committing acts of brutality, torture and murder in order to achieve their goals, acting as judge, jury and executioner to people who probably only deserve a long stretch in prison. According to Moretz, Hit Girl's uncertainty will be reflected in her change of approach to fighting:
"I also wanted to make the action a little bit different. So we basically scrapped the guns. I do use guns a little bit in the movie, but we basically do hand-to-hand combat and it's just a lot more hands-on."
Does hand-to-hand combat mean that Hit Girl will be taking the non-lethal approach to taking down bad guys in Kick-Ass 2, or does it just mean that she'll find more creative ways to take them out altogether? The character is seen making quite a few kills in the trailers alone, so don't expect her to turn into a pacifist, but it's possible that Mindy Macready's vow of temperance might have some impact upon Hit Girl's approach to being a superhero.
Do you like the idea of a more introspective Hit Girl and a proper dramatic storyline, or do you just want a Kick-Ass 2 that successfully delivers jokes and ridiculous levels of violence?
Kick-Ass 2 brings superhero justice into theaters on August 16, 2013.