Just before Thanksgiving of last year, I spent four days at Pinewood Studios outside of London to see them wrapping up production on "Kick-Ass 2." At the end of the visit, I got to see about 20 minutes of the film, a sizzle reel that director Jeff Wadlow put together to show the cast and crew what they'd been working on so very hard, and I walked away from that deeply impressed.

Today, the red-band trailer has gone live, and Mark Millar has been counting down the hours until that premiere on Twitter, giddy because he knows what Wadlow's made, and he's justifiably excited by it. If you didn't like the first "Kick-Ass," you may not be the audience for this new one, but if you did like the first film, they've made a sequel here that seems to be poised to genuinely up the stakes from the first film while building logically onto the characters and events we saw in that movie.

You get a glimpse here of how Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) have been spending their time in the years since the death of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Frank DeMarco (Mark Strong), and you also get a glimpse of the way they've changed the world around them. They've inspired other people to start dressing in costumes and standing up to criminals, and they begin to assemble these people into a group, figuring there must be safety in numbers. One of the most outrageous new additions to the cast this time is Jim Carrey playing Colonel Stars'n'Stripes. Look closely at him when you see him in the trailer. It's a pretty heavy set of prosthetics that Carrey designed to wear in the film, and he looks like he leapt off the pages of the comic, like John Romita Jr. drew him for the film.

You'll also see the flip side of the situation here, since the son of Frank DeMarco has had a slow-motion breakdown that is accelerated by the death of his mother, and he kills off his Red Mist persona permanently, renaming himself The Motherfucker. Yes, this is that kind of film. There won't be much about "Kick-Ass 2" that you will be able to accuse of being subtle, but the film that this trailer is promising you is indeed the film they seem to have made. Profane, hyper-violent, and often hilarious, the footage I saw featured a lot of action, and Wadlow has a very different style of shooting that action than Matthew Vaughn did on the first film, but he's worked incredibly hard to make sure that this is a true sequel, building carefully on the first film.

Here's the new one-sheet for the film:


They moved the film recently to August, but I think it would be a mistake to see that as a sign of decreased confidence on Universal's part. They seem very excited by what they've got here, and I suspect we'll see them working overtime this summer to build the buzz.

"Kick-Ass 2" will be leaving a bruise on August 16, 2013.