Kick-Ass 2 ‘rape scene’ shows real supervillains and real evil

20 Aug
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as The Mother Fucker in Kick-Ass 2

Christopher Mintz-Plasse as The Mother Fucker in Kick-Ass 2

There has been a lot of written about Kick-Ass 2 in the last week or so. The film itself is a good one, although it never hits the heights of its predecessor. Many critics however have poured an enormous dose of vitriol on the film, with Ali Arikan, writing on the website of the late Roger Ebert, calling it “one of the year’s worst films”. James King also rallied against Kick-Ass 2 in his review on BBC Radio Five Live’s film review programme.

Much of the writing revolves around one pivotal scene in the middle of the film that tackles an issue currently at the forefront of the social consciousness: rape.

Note: This post contains lots of spoilers for Kick-Ass 2.

Alongside the fun Mean Girls arc involving Chloe Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kick-Ass joining an Avengers style superteam, Kick-Ass 2 revolves around Christopher Mintz-Plasse becoming the world’s first real supervillain. Calling himself The Mother Fucker and creating a team of heavies called The Toxic Mega Cunts, he begins to blaze a trail of evil through the previously cosy world of superheroes.

In the original comic by Mark Millar, this culminates in The Toxic Mega Cunts invading the neighbourhood of love interest Katie Deauxma, killing a number of children and then brutally gang raping Katie. It’s shocking stuff, and Millar’s cavalier attitude to it all has won him a number of enemies.

You can see the relevant page of the comic below.

Kick-Ass 2's pitch black rape scene

However, despite the brutality and darkness of it all, the rape scene makes complete sense as part of the narrative. The entire Kick-Ass universe exists to suggest what would happen if a real person, inspired by comic book heroes, decided to be a superhero. The first movie shows that, to begin with, there would be lots of wise-cracking, taking down crooks and having a great time.

However, soon, that world would also yield the other half of the comic book yin and yang: the supervillain. And, in a true world of super evil, the simple fact of the matter is that rape would be used as a weapon. It’s a horrible thing to think, but rape is the ultimate evil against a woman and so it is something that a real wannabe supervillain would do. Even in Millar’s unforgiving comic, the characters question whether they have gone too far.

Characters in Kick-Ass 2 question the ethics of the comic's rape scene

And that is a justified concern that was present when the movie adaptation of Kick-Ass 2 was developed. Writer and director Jeff Wadlow was immediately aware that there was no way the rape scene could be depicted without immediately hitting an 18 certificate in the UK and hovering on the NC-17 borderline in America.

Thus, substituting Katie for new love interest and hero Night Bitch, a version of the rape scene is present. In it, Christopher Mintz-Plasse delivers the “evil dick” line from the comic, but then is unable to achieve the erection necessary to carry out his ultimate act of evil. It’s not a particularly funny moment and does feel tonally jarring with the summer blockbuster feel of the movie.

The reasoning behind it is clear, though. The film incarnation of Chris D’Amico is very much a false supervillain, who doesn’t have the convictions necessary to be truly evil himself. Therefore, it makes sense that he wouldn’t actually be able to commit a rape. Unfortunately, as Judith Ohikuare has eloquently pointed out online, the scene is not clever enough or funny enough to justify playing rape for laughs.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse face off in Kick-Ass 2

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse face off in Kick-Ass 2

So, pretty much everyone can agree that the rape scene in the Kick-Ass 2 film doesn’t really work and is way more offensive than it is amusing. But what could they have done better? The way I see it, there were two options:

Option 1 – Leave it out completely

The murder of Dave’s father and the brutalisation of Colonel Stars and Stripes both illustrate the extent of The Mother Fucker’s evil and definitely get the attention of Kick-Ass and Justice Forever. Also, there’s no reason why they couldn’t have included Mother Russia’s assault on the residential street anyway and had it defined as a way of getting the Toxic Mega Cunts on the news to spread fear.

As much as it makes narrative sense in the comic, the Kick-Ass 2 film did not need the rape scene at all.

Option 2 – Have the rape actually happen

This option is the pitch black one. Accepting an 18 certificate to stay true to the plot, this would have cemented The Mother Fucker as a proper villain and would also more or less have ensured that Christopher Mintz-Plasse could never play a jokey McLovin role again.

Like the comic, it obviously could not have occurred on camera and it also would’ve made it very difficult for the film to get back to being funny again. As Mintz-Plasse and Jeff Wadlow have pointed out in interviews (see below), the page is very different to the screen.

However, at least it would’ve had the film stick to its convictions and the story could then act as the critique of superhero culture that the comic series tries to be.

Ultimately, Jeff Wadlow was always going to have a problem with the rape scene. Comic book purists wanted to see The Mother Fucker’s dark transition in full, but he also had to make a summer comic book movie that could actually be shown in cinemas.

It’s just a shame that this one bad decision is being used to completely trash an otherwise brilliant movie.

4 Responses to “Kick-Ass 2 ‘rape scene’ shows real supervillains and real evil”

  1. Ryan M. 12/06/2014 at 06:57 #

    that scene in the movie was unbelievably bad. the “Kick-Ass” movies are basically blockbuster action/comedies so the rape scene couldn’t fit under any circumstance. the comics are darker and edgier, so rape can work as a dramatic moment illustrating the character’s descent into evil. Christopher Mintz-Plasse isn’t a particularly good actor either; we see The Motherfucker and McLovin as being pretty much the same guy and no one wants to see McLovin trying to rape someone.

  2. peace 28/05/2014 at 21:16 #

    Brilliant movie? Absolutely not. Sub par at best. Your taste in movies leaves something to be desired.

    • Tom Beasley 28/05/2014 at 21:36 #

      My taste in movies is just different to yours. What’s wrong with that?

  3. Dave 10/02/2014 at 15:31 #

    Your review of that scene makes the most sense. The problem with Americans is their prudish, often bipolar view on sexuality. Show all the blood and gore in the world, but if you even SUGGEST a rape scene, everybody loses their damn minds. I didn’t see anyone complain during “Shooter” or “Kite Runner,” so why start here?

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