Deadpool Artwork (and Telugu Parody Poster)

Everything about the upcoming Marvel Comics’ superhero movie Deadpool looks brilliant.  I have not read any of the comics, but when the first trailer was released a few months ago, the movie seemed interesting.  After that, there have been a number of posters and trailers that have come out, and all of them were very creative and well done.  I was really inspired by these and so did a drawing, and also made that into a poster, which you can see below.

Deadpool Artwork by Karthik AbhiramDeadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, a former soldier who is diagnosed with terminal cancer, but is put through an experimental treatment that leaves him with incredible regenerative powers (but also makes him completely disfigured so he has to wear a mask and a suit).  From the trailer, it looks like the people who put him through the experiment also kidnap the love of his life, and he has to go after them.

The character was featured in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (also played in that movie by Ryan Reynolds), though he was just some generic villain there.

This movie though, is proudly Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity, and the studio issued multiple Red Band Trailers with violence and offensive jokes.

The first trailer that came out for this movie ended with Deadpool sniffing the smoke coming from his guns, and then saying “Oh, I’m touching myself tonight”, and this drawing depicts that scene (in the trailer though, you only see an extreme close-up of his face).  How I came to choose this scene to draw is this – you see, interestingly, the studio seems to be investing quite a bit to promote this movie in India (though Deadpool is not a known character here), and are releasing dubbed versions of the movie in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu apart from the English version.  A friend literally translated that line into Telugu and in a later WhatsApp conversation, suggested that the title would also be translated, and he came up with “Chacchina Cheruvu” (a pool or a lake that is dead).  I thought I would make a poster out of it.

Here is the Telugu parody poster.  This is all done in fun, no offense meant.

Deadpool Poster Telugu Version - Art by Karthik AbhiramIn the English version of my poster, the line I used is also from the first trailer, in which Wade Wilson tells the people putting him through the experiment, not to make the super-suit green, or animated.  This is a reference to the DC Comics movie Green Lantern, which also starred Ryan Reynolds as the titular superhero, and in that movie, his suit was green and animated.  I did not like that movie at all, and apparently neither did too many other people, so a joke on that ended up in Deadpool.

The drawing was done on an A4 size drawing pad, with a 6B pencil, and a red colour pencil.  For the belt I used an orange pencil.  The drawing was scanned once done, and I added the background and the text in Photoshop.  Here are the stages of the drawing –

Deadpool Artwork - Stages - by Karthik AbhiramAnd this is the rough sketch of the poster concept.  There were initially supposed to be blood splats behind Deadpool, but when I tried that it didn’t look good.  Since Deadpool’s suit is also red, the red colour of the blood was distracting.

The tagline and the title of the movie in Telugu, I had decided, would be in the Deadpool font but would have an English translation below it, sort of like a movie subtitle.

Deadpool Poster RoughThe below Instagram post shows you the finished drawing and the pencils used to make it.

Here is a short behind the scenes video that I also posted on Instagram, early on in the process of drawing.

Here below, are links to all the trailers that inspired this drawing.  All of them are YouTube links which will open in a new window / tab.

  • Red Band Trailer 1 – Released a few months ago, this is the one that has the “I’m touching myself tonight” bit.
  • Red Band Trailer 2 – This is the second trailer for the movie released on Christmas Day, and is a pretty awesome trailer, the one that made me even more interested in the movie.
  • Green Band Trailer 2 – The “safe for work” version of the previous trailer, with no swearing and violence.  All the Indian language trailers are dubbed versions of this trailer.
  • Hindi Trailer – The first Indian language trailer, based on the Green Band Trailer linked above.  Probably, the one with the most swearing in it.  Buzzfeed India featured an article about this trailer, which has captioned screenshots from it.  You can see the article here.
  • Tamil Trailer – Second Indian trailer, nothing much offensive about it.
  • Telugu Trailer – Third Indian trailer, again, not offensive at all.

These are the three songs used in the trailers (again, YouTube links).

The font used in the poster is called Rogue Hero.

A version of this artwork is available for you to purchase as a print (sans text), on my Postergully store.  You can purchase it as a poster, or as a T-Shirt.

Deadpool will be out in theatres on 12-Feb-16 in India.  I’ll see it in as many languages as I can theatrically, and then watch an uncut version later (since sadly, I know that our censors would make cuts to the movie inspite of giving it an adults only certificate).

The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino’s Eighth Film (well, it is if you consider Kill Bill as one movie).  Being a huge Tarantino fan (his Pulp Fiction is one of my all time favourite movies), I was eagerly awaiting the release of this movie, and I finally got to see it a few days ago.  As expected, I loved the movie, and did this drawing of Samuel L Jackson as Major Marquis Warren from it –

Samuel L Jackson as Major Marquis Warren from The Hateful Eight - Artwork by KarthikThe movie is set a few years after the American Civil War.  It opens showing us a stagecoach with two passengers – bounty hunter John Ruth “The Hangman” (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), heading towards the town of Red Rock, trying to escape a blizzard.  They are soon about to have company – stranded in the snow are Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), and the two are picked up by the stagecoach.  In order to escape the blizzard, the party must stop midway at a place called Minnie’s Haberdashery, where they must stay for the next few days.  Already at Minnie’s are a few other characters – Red Rock’s Hangman, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), Bob the Mexican (Demian Bichir) and General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern).

Pretty soon, suspicions arise, and John says that one or more of the people at Minnie’s are not who they say they are, and they may have their own agenda involving the bounty on his prisoner.

What follows is an engaging mystery-thriller-Western hybrid that keeps one completely absorbed for three hours.  The characters in all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies seem to be crafted with a lot of love, and it is no different here, and the actors really bring them to life with their excellent performances (Leigh and Jackson are standouts).  The dialogues and screenplay are great, as is typical of a Tarantino movie.  The first half of the movie might be considered to be a little slower moving, but it builds the characters so it’s necessary.  The movie picks up pace in the second half.

The movie features beautiful cinematography (by Robert Richardson, who has shot all of Tarantino’s movies after Kill Bill, except for Death Proof).  It was shot in a process called Ultra Panavision 70, where the image is shot on 70mm film but using anamorphic lenses to create a very wide image (2.76:1 aspect ratio as opposed to the typical 2.35:1 widescreen image if movies are shot on 35mm film or digital).  This is apparently only the 11th film to be shot in that process, and there exists a “Roadshow” version of the movie which was projected on film as well, in selected theatres in the US.  The sweeping and snowy landscape scenes look great, but one might question what difference would filming in 70mm make, to indoor scenes.  It affords the opportunity to create some interesting compositions, as there are several shots where the entire frame is used to show different characters in the foreground as well as background.  There were a couple of instances where I noticed the use of a split-focus diopter to get different planes in focus in the same shot.

Unlike several of Tarantino’s movies, which used previously existing music, this one features original music written for it, by Ennio Morricone (the composer for Sergio Leone’s westerns such as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly). I thought the music was very good and liked the opening theme in particular.

One of the inspirations for The Hateful Eight was the 1982 John Carpenter horror movie The Thing. That movie also stars Kurt Russell, it is set in an isolated place in extreme cold, it has characters who are not what they seem to be and a sense of paranoia among the other characters. That movie was also scored by Ennio Morricone (interestingly, John Carpenter got Morricone to score the movie and made him do a very John Carpenter-ish music score), and in fact, The Hateful Eight uses a couple of tracks from The Thing on its soundtrack, and some of the other music is unreleased music originally composed for the 1982 film.

I loved the movie overall.  I felt Django Unchained was a little more enjoyable and more upbeat compared to this movie (the two are set in the same Universe). Overall, I would rate it a solid 9/10.

Warning: If you are watching this movie in a theatre in India, beware that it is cut.  Swear words are muted, but not completely consistently (for example, the occasional “fuck” is audible, while most instances of “bitch” are muted).  It’s distracting.  They have also cut the bloodier scenes, so you would be puzzled at the fate of at least two of the characters whose death is not shown.  You would still be able to enjoy the movie (the cuts total to around 2 minutes), but it’s not the way the movie was intended to be seen.  Unfortunately, if you want to enjoy the theatrical experience, you’ll have to tolerate these alterations.  Of course, there are ways to see the missing scenes if one wants.

It’s sad that there need to be cuts in a movie that is already certified as “A”, suitable for adults only – something I have been against for several years.  David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead didn’t even get a theatrical release in India, while Fincher’s Gone Girl had some weird pans and zooms to cover nudity.  Our censor board is only promoting piracy by doing this!

The version of the movie that I saw (PVR Cinemas at Hyderabad Central Mall) seemed to be projected in 2.35:1 ratio.  While I don’t think any part of the image was cropped, it seemed to be squished horizontally to fit the 2.76:1 frame into the 2.35:1 shape.

Extras

The below video talks about the different widescreen processes (and aspect ratios) that have been employed by filmmakers through the years –

And this video talks about the “Roadshow” version of The Hateful Eight, and also about how Panavision supported Tarantino in shooting this movie on glorious 70mm film –

The Opening Credits feature two fonts (apart from the title of the movie itself, which I think is hand made) – as far as I can make out, the names of the cast are typeset in Rockwell, and the rest of the credits are in Tarantino’s favourite ITC Benguiat.

The movie features Red Apple tobacco (which is a fictional brand used in many of Tarantino movies).

The Samuel L Jackson drawing which I did (in ballpoint pen on paper), is available to purchase here at my Postergully store.  Postergully ships worldwide, and their prices are reasonable.  The prints are of good quality too.  Visit my store here, and if it is your first purchase at Postergully, you can use the code PGARTIST to get a 15% discount.

John Romero’s “Tech Gone Bad”

John Romero, one of the designers of the original Doom games released a new level yesterday.  This is the first level he is releasing in around 21 years (before this, he designed two of the levels in the original Doom expansion, The Ultimate Doom, in 1995).  This new level is his first non-commercial release, it replaces E1M8 of the original game, and I played through it yesterday.  Here are my comments about it.

John Romero's Tech Gone BadE1M8: “Phobos Anomaly”, the last level of Episode 1 “Knee-Deep in the Dead” of the original game was a significant one, since it featured the first “bosses” of Doom, two Barons of Hell (also called the “Bruiser Brothers”).  The original level was considerably short, and after you got through the first seven levels (or eight, if you played the secret E1M9 level), you fought the bosses and then exited the level.  [SPOILER: Once you killed the two barons, a teleporter is revealed and you pass through it to come to a dark room, where you are fired upon by many monsters and the level ends as a ‘cliffhanger’.]  That level was created by Sandy Petersen (who designed much of Episodes 2 and 3).

You could say, this level (according to the text file, it’s called “Tech Gone Bad“) is a reboot or reimagining of the ending map.  It is designed only using the original Doom Episode 1’s resources (so no graphics or items from later Episodes seen).  It syncs up well with the original levels’ look and feel (that’s not so surprising, considering that John Romero himself was the one who created most of the original Episode 1 maps).  However, for a level made in 2015/6, it obviously is more polished than the older levels.

The level flows really well, you start off in a tech base surrounded by radioactive ooze all around, and streaks of hot red lava indicate that hell is transforming the entire place slowly.  There are a couple of neighbouring buildings which you would need to gradually gain access to.  After the starting base area, there are primarily two major sections in the level – one after you get the yellow key card, and the one after you get the red key card.  It’s probably not so much of a spoiler, but the ending of the level has you facing two Barons of Hell, and multiple other monsters.  Once you kill the Barons, the exit teleporter is revealed and when you pass through it, the level ends in a similar way as the original E1M8.

I really enjoyed playing through the level and figuring out the route to the exit.  You would have to work things out but I liked that there was no unnecessary key or switch hunting required.  The difficulty level is quite high, probably comparable to that of Romero’s E4M6 from The Ultimate Doom.  This is thanks to many shotgunners and you having to wade through pools of radioactive nukage.  I played the level on Skill 1 and completed it, at Skill 4, there are close to 300 monsters on the map.

The visuals are very nice, the map looked really interesting had a good variation of heights.  You would go to rooftops, and down tunnels with ooze, and there are ambushes that would remind you of certain aspects from the original Episode 1 levels.  Lighting and colour were all really nice too.  The map looked good without being overly detailed.

John Romero's Tech Gone BadThis level was built with Pascal vd Heiden’s Doom Builder 2.  I am not sure why Romero decided to make a level for Doom all of a sudden, but it’s a really nice thing for all Doom fans.  He mentioned in the text file that it’s a warm up.  I wonder what for!

It has been a long time since I played and reviewed a Doom level.  If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@karthikabhiram), then you know that on 31-Dec-15, I bought myself a new laptop after 5 years, a Dell XPS 13.  This post is being written on that laptop, and I also played the level (with the ZDoom engine) on it.

If you want to download and play the level yourself, you can do so here (this is a Dropbox link that John Romero posted in his tweet, which I’ve embedded below).  You will need a copy of the either the Doom shareware WAD (doom1.wad) or the full Doom / Ultimate Doom WAD (for that you would need to purchase the game).

Extras

I had also released a Doom Episode 1 tribute map back in 2002, called The Other Side of Phobos.  At that time, it took me about a month to make, and I had a good time making it.  I think it’s a fun little map to play.  If you would like to play that, you can check it out here.  The rest of my Doom levels are available here (I mainly did maps for Doom II).

Since Romero’s level runs on E1M8, you will be listening to the track “Sign of Evil” by Robert Prince.  Over the years, Doom’s music has been remixed many times, but in my opinion, this moody atmospheric version called “Doomed” by Rimco (released 16 years ago) is one of the best versions of that track.  You can listen to it on YouTube below, or download the MP3 from here.

I posted about John Romero’s level on Instagram, and that happened to be the 2000th post on my account there.  I have embedded that as well, below.

John Romero has released a new Doom level! For those not familiar with it, Doom is a classic videogame released by id Software in 1993. John Romero was one of the designers behind the game and made many of the levels for it. The game allowed fans to make their own add-on levels for it, and after 21 years, Romero himself has released a new level for the original game. Why is this so important that I would write about it? You see, many years ago, myself and my brother used to make add-on Doom levels (and we have released quite a few of those, available on our respective websites). Here is a photo of me playing that level, at 3200 × 1800 resolution on my new laptop (with the ZDoom engine, yes, I installed ZDoom a few days ago). The level is quite large and difficult, sort of like Romero's work on E4M6 from "The Ultimate Doom". This level replaces E1M8. This photo was taken by Varun, I edited it in Lightroom. I didn't play through till the end of the level (died midway through it, mutated in the expansive area of radioactive nukage all around the level). Will play it once again and write more about it. BTW this is my 2000th post on Instagram.

A photo posted by Karthik Abhiram (@karthikabhiram) on

That’s about it for this post, the first post of 2016 on this blog!  I resolve to be more active this year (the whole of last year, I only made one post here).

Benedict Cumberbatch and Howard Stern Caricatures

If you have been following me on Facebook and Instagram, then you know that I recently attended the Hyderabad Artists Meetup Vol. 2 at Collab House, Jubilee Hills in the beginning of this month.  At this event, Sri Priyatham gave a workshop on Caricature drawing.  It has been years since I drew caricatures, but at this event I tried my hand at it.  The subject we chose to do that day was Sherlock and The Imitation Game star Benedict Cumberbatch.  Here is my caricature –

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This was done with pencil in my sketchbook.  Also inspired by Sri, I joined this Facebook Group called Caricaturama Showdown 3000! and decided to participate in their weekly Caricature Challenges.  This week’s subject is Howard Stern.  Here’s my caricature –

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I’ll post more drawings as I do them.  Would you be interested in purchasing prints of these?

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Quentin Tarantino’s Vega Bros. Poster [What If?]

In an alternate universe, Quentin Tarantino would have written and directed a movie called Vega Bros. starring John Travolta as Vincent Vega (from Pulp Fiction) and Michael Madsen as Vic Vega (from Reservoir Dogs).  Here is a teaser poster for that fictional movie –

Quentin Tarantino's Vega Bros. Teaser Poster - Artwork by Karthik AbhiramThis was a quick drawing done with a 6B pencil on paper, and then scanned and edited in Photoshop.  The text is simple and is in Futura Heavy Oblique.  The fictional release date is my birthday in 1997.

RoboCop 1987 Drawing

This is a drawing based on Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 movie RoboCop that I did this morning. I watched the remake yesterday and the original a couple of days before that. That’s what inspired this drawing.

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I am very nostalgic about the original RoboCop. It was a movie I practically grew up with.  This drawing was done with a 6B pencil on paper and the image above is a photo taken with my phone, processed with VSCOCam for Android and this post is being made from my phone only.

Here’s a RoboCop drawing that I did 19 years ago –

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The remake was pretty good. The good thing about it was that it was very different from the original so you judge it on its own merits.  But nostalgic feelings considered, the original wins out in my opinion!

Nine Inch Nails: The Fight Club Soundtrack [What If?]

In an alternate universe, this would exist –

Nine Inch Nails - Fight Club Soundtrack - Fake Album Artwork by Karthik AbhiramThink about it – there’s a line of dialogue in David Fincher’s Fight Club (one of my all-time favourite movies), where the Narrator (Edward Norton’s character) says, “With insomnia, nothing’s real.  Everything is far away.  Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.”  One of the songs from “Hesitation Marks”, the latest album from Nine Inch Nails, is called “Copy of A”.  When I heard this song, the first thing that came into my mind was Fight Club.

The 2005 song “Only”, by NIN, from their album “With Teeth” also could be considered to have reference to Fight Club in the lyrics [SPOILER ALERT] – “I just made you up, to hurt myself” / “There is no you, there is only me.”  The music video for “Only” was directed by David Fincher.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails would go on to create the soundtracks for two of David Fincher’s movies – The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Therefore, there definitely must be an alternate universe somewhere, where the soundtrack for Fight Club was done by Nine Inch Nails and not by The Dust Brothers!  Above, is my representation of what that album cover would look like.  There’s Edward Norton and Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden from the movie, and in the centre, is Trent Reznor, the frontman of Nine Inch Nails.

Trent Reznor - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramI had this idea today while listening to “Copy of A”, and I proceeded to draw this in a gel pen on paper, and then scanned it in and added some paper texture and the text.  The text is in the font Reznor: Downward Spiral.

Trent Reznor Drawing, the Instagram Edition - Artwork by Karthik AbhiramReference images – Edward Norton is from a screenshot from the movie itself, Brad Pitt is from a publicity still, and Trent Reznor is from the recent Rolling Stone Magazine cover.  The Fight Club lettering on top is my hand-drawn imitation of the font Mrs Eaves Bold Italic.

Above are a couple of Instagram / Snapseed edits of in-progress photos of the drawing.  Edit of a photo of a drawing – that’s also a copy of a copy of a copy, isn’t it?

Here is a shot of the notebook page (A4 size) with the pen I used to draw it –

Nine Inch Nails - Fight Club Soundtrack Album Cover - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThe “Paper Street Record Co.” is a reference to the “Paper Street Soap Company”, Tyler Durden’s soap-making outfit.

You can listen to the entire album “Hesitation Marks” here.  Below, I’ve embedded YouTube videos of the songs that inspired this drawing.

Nine Inch Nails / “Copy of A” –

Nine Inch Nails / “Only” –

Four Panorama Photos

Here are four panorama photos I took recently.  First the pictures, then the behind the scenes stuff will follow.

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That’s a shot of Cyber Towers at Madhapur, Hyderabad.

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This is a picture of the building under construction opposite Cyber Towers.

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Road near Shenoy Nursing Home, close to home.

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Took this while waiting for a haircut on a Sunday (hence all shutters down) afternoon.

These were taken with my Micromax Canvas HD phone.  Which app, you may ask, since though the Canvas HD has Jelly Bean 4.1, its camera does not have a Panorama function.  However, there exists a way to install the stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean Camera app on a phone running Ice Cream Sandwich or later.

You can find more information at this Lifehacker post.  I downloaded the APK file and installed it on my phone.  It adds another Camera and Gallery app to my phone.  If I use the new app, I can take panorama photos.  The Photosphere feature doesn’t work on my phone though.

I took these panorama photos and edited them in Snapseed.  The panorama shots are low resolution ones though (about 1500 x 600 pixels).  But for posting on Facebook or here, that’s OK.

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Dramatic Skies in B&W – Behind the Scenes

I posted the below photo on my Instagram feed yesterday, and people seemed to like it, so I thought I’d do a little behind the scenes post.

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That’s the dramatic black and white sky photo.  The photo was taken yesterday afternoon while I went out for lunch (that’s the advantage of going out everyday) on my Micromax Canvas HD phone.

The original image is rather dull and uninteresting as it is –

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I took it into Snapseed and straightened it.  Initially, I thought I’d include the electrical wire as a straight line in the final photo.  But after straightening, when I was trying to work out a crop that looked good, I decided to do away with the wire and just focus on the sky.

I applied the “Drama” filter in Snapseed and then boosted saturation.  That resulted in the below image, which is a bit more visually interesting than the original –

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But this looks kind of overcooked and garish.  I thought I’d play with the colours to tone it down a bit and then post.  But then, I decided to try a black and white conversion.  Snapseed has a nice set of options for converting a photo into B&W.

In Snapseed you can simulate putting a colour filter in front of the lens when taking a B&W photo.  If you’re shooting on B&W film, putting a red, yellow or orange semi-transparent filter in front of the lens has the effect of darkening the sky.  Basically, anything that’s blue will get darkened.

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That’s a sample screenshot of applying the filter.  (It’s being applied to another panorama photo I took yesterday.)

So here I saturated the image further since I knew the more blue that’s present in the image, the darker the sky would be.  I think I used an orange filter for the final image.  Tweaked the contrast and brightness a little, added some grain, and there you have it.

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Kick-Ass 2 Drawing

This weekend (including Friday night), I watched three movies in the theatre – Jobs, Madras Cafe and Kick-Ass 2.  Out of the three, the most entertaining one was undoubtedly Kick-Ass 2 and I had a real blast watching it.  Hence, this drawing, done today –

Kick-Ass 2 - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramI drew this one in pencil, then scanned it in, added the paper texture in the background and the text.

I like how they expanded upon the storyline established in the first movie.  The movie shows us how Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) inspired other people to fight crime in costume.  Kick-Ass joins a Justice League-type outfit led by Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).  Meanwhile, Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) is trying to adjust to life in high school and trying not to be Hit-Girl.

Gangster kid Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) reinvents himself as the super villain The Mother Fucker after Kick-Ass killed his dad in the first movie, and starts assembling an army of thugs to take over the city.

Kick-Ass 2 is a proudly A-rated movie (and I was overjoyed that it was released uncut in theatres here), it’s crude, ultraviolent, and a whole lot of fun.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse was absolutely hilarious as The Mother Fucker, Jim Carrey was great, and as expected, Chloe Grace Moretz was outstanding as both Mindy and Hit-Girl.  I liked the new superhero characters – Doc Gravity, Night Bitch, and the villains Mother Russia, Black Death, Genghis Carnage.  Loved the action scenes and the one-liners.

I read some of the original Kick-Ass comics by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, but not Kick-Ass 2.  My cousin tells me that the movie follows the book pretty closely.

Kick-Ass 2 has more action than the first and there’s a lot going on.  I liked both movies about equally.  This one I’d rate an 8/10.

Kick-Ass 2 - Artwork by Karthik AbhiramAbove is an in-progress version of the drawing.  The completed poster of mine has the working title for the movie, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall (I wonder why they changed it).

Check out the extended Red-Band trailer here:

There are two good pieces of music from the soundtrack.  The first one is a version of “When the Saints Go Marching In”:

And this one is a version of “Korobeiniki (Traditional Russian Folk Song)”.  I didn’t know it was a folk song.  You might know this music better as the theme from the game Tetris!

Stay back for the credits of the movie – there’s a short scene afterwards.