When The Mask came out 25 years ago, fans couldn't stop lapping up its outlandish sense of humor and over the top cartoony feel. It evoked films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but with a more whimsical spin that, coincidentally, was a huge departure from the Dark Horse Comics source material.
Those comics, while themed as comedy, were brutally violent and very much a bloody affair, which ended up being diluted for the big screen. Now, with Gotham's Cameron Monaghan expressing interest in an R-rated remake, should this property grace theaters once more, a dark reimagining should be led by only one person -- the original man who rocked the green face: Jim Carrey himself.
Rather than reboot The Mask, given what Fox has done with the Deadpool franchise and the advancement in CGI, Carrey's perfect to continue shaping the R-rated adventures of Stanley Ipkiss in a sequel to the '94 film.
Taking the franchise into adult territory shouldn't be an issue with him at the helm because Carrey's brand is no longer limited to PG-13 flicks like Liar, Liar; The Cable Guy or Ace Ventura. As seen with his role in Kick-Ass 2, if you want Carrey to cut loose and make you laugh while chopping up body parts and pumping thugs full of bullets, this is the perfect comic book character for such endeavors.
The Son of the Mask sequel starring Jamie Kennedy can easily be ignored so that The Mask can return to its roots -- Ipkiss lashing out at society and seeking revenge against abusers. Forget pranks, think all out retribution like we saw in the books, where he was initially inspired by Joker.
The character first appeared in 1987's Dark Horse Presents #10 as Masque, created by Mike Richardson and Mark Badger. He'd later be revamped by artist Chris Warner and soon began appearing in the Mayhem anthology series, with a number of limited series by John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke following to cement his cult appeal.
This can provide the inspiration needed for Carrey to turn Ipkiss into someone similar to Ryan Reynold's Wade Wilson. But instead of a Merc with a Mouth, think of a Wannabe Gangster with a Mouth. And this call for Carrey isn't just about having good ol' Jim cutting loose, it's because he fits the role like a glove.
We agree that Monaghan would be great in succeeding him, as seen with his exaggerated and psychopathic performances as Jerome/Jeremiah/Joker on Gotham, but looking at Carrey's roles over the last two decades, it makes sense for him to wade into more gritty, noirish waters with Big Head, as the Mask became known in the books.
That's because Carrey has established himself as someone very capable of dramatic performances, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Man on the Moon. He's also gone eerily dark in the horror film The Number 23, and recently did a solid job as a tortured detective in Dark Crimes.
At the end of the day, Carrey has immense range to pull this off and, in terms of balancing the dark comedy and action, look no further than what he accomplished as the Hermit in The Bad Batch, or as a disillusioned TV personality and former kids show host who lost his mind on Kidding.
Last but not least, Carrey can kick his ominous disposition from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events into overdrive to give us a truly unhinged Ipkiss being a violent menace to society who's potentially lost the love of his life, Cameron Diaz's Tina Carlyle.
Honestly, there's no one better to do justice to the role than the man who put The Mask on the map in the first place. Carrey is versatile enough to bring the heartbroken, tragic adventures of Ipkiss back to life, with all the adult-oriented themes the mature comics were based on.
Big Head represents a great evolution for the franchise and, with profanity, nudity and the whole nine thrown in, this would be a smokin' decision because it'd feel like a natural step forward with someone who wears Ipkiss' hat -- or mask -- so damn well.