Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010's irreverent global hit: Kick-Ass 2
. After Kick-Ass' (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)-reborn as The Mother F%&*^r-only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation.
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picks up about four years after the events of the first film, which was an ultraviolent look at superheroes/masked vigilantes brought to life in the real world. Dave Lizewski (a.k.a. Kick-Ass) is in his final year of high school and he's become bored by the idea of roaming the streets alone, while Mindy Macready (a.k.a. Hit Girl) would rather enjoy the life of a high school teenager, somewhat begrudgingly. At the same time, Kick-Ass' arch nemesis Chris D'Amico, whose father was brutally murdered in the first film, decides to take up the mantle of the first super villain. It's your average superhero sequel storyline, only told from a real world perspective. However, where Kick-Ass
dealt with the origins of real world superheroes, this sequel focuses on much more broader ideas. Now the world has forever been changed thanks to Kick-Ass' example, and masked vigilantes are popping up all over town. They've even formed their own version of the Justice League, called Justice Forever - they have a symbol, a mascot, and even a special oath.
Under new director Jeff Wadlow, Kick-Ass 2
shares many similarities with its predecessor, but overall the film comes across as an uneven homage to the original. Where the first film had a clear, almost singular focus, Kick-Ass 2
meanders quite a bit, before reaching its very entertaining third act. Each individual component of the film - Kick-Ass' adventures with Justice Forever, Mindy's assimilation into the clique-filled world of high school, and Chris asserting himself as a ruthless but awkward super villain - is enjoyable, and could have made for a compelling movie on their own. Put together, however, those storylines lose a little bit of their luster. Throughout a lot of the film I found myself wondering where things were going, and grasping for a tangible through line amongst the intertwining narratives. And although they eventually coalesce in a meaningful way, it feels like a little much for a movie that could have been pretty simple.
Take Justice Forever, for example: an interesting concept, but one that never truly gets its due. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the character of Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by Jim Carrey. Carrey, for all intents and purposes, fulfills the Nicolas Cage role in the film - a big name actor playing an outlandish character. Unfortunately, Carrey's performance feels oddly flat and almost contrived, and he's barely in the movie. Had the film reined things in a little bit, maybe Carrey could have stolen the show like I thought he would going in.
Overall, though, Kick-Ass 2
is a worthwhile sequel to a film that swung for the fences, and wasn't afraid to be bold and absurd. In fact, the one area that Kick-Ass 2
outdoes its predecessor is by establishing the savage real world consequences that would affect any type of masked vigilante. On a less serious note, it's fun reconnecting with these characters, especially Hit Girl, and the film has some genuinely hilarious moments even if they are a bit crude. If you enjoyed the first film, you'll likely come away from Kick-Ass 2
just as happy. It's a little uneven, but Kick-Ass 2
always has its battered and bloodied heart in the right place.
Comedy (2): Not a lot of superhero movies can say they are action-packed but also funny. Kick-Ass 2
is that type of movie. Yes, the film's sense of humor is a little crass, and borderline offensive at times, but those with mature tastes will find a lot to like. It takes some time for the movie to find its footing, but when it does it packs enough laughs to satisfy eager fans. Balancing some truly jaw-dropping violence with humor is a difficult thing to pull off, and while Kick-Ass 2
stumbles at times, it succeeds much more often than it fails.
Like the first film, Kick-Ass 2
is violent with a capital "V." Limbs flying, blood splattering, and even a few other bodily fluids are out in full force for this sequel, so be warned: this film earns its R rating and then some. That being said, the action in Kick-Ass 2
, much like the entire movie, is uneven. Some actions scenes are well choreographed and feel brutal and authentic, while others just kind of happen. Those shortcomings all fall away during the film's climax, though, which is everything you want in a superhero showdown. And the way in which the fight scenes mix in humor will have audiences cheering and clapping anytime a big moment occurs.
I would also be remiss if I didn't mention Olga Kurkulina, whose Mother Russia character absolutely steals every scene she's in. As a muscular chip off the Soviet block, Kurkulina has some of the best action scenes in the entire movie, and there's nothing quite like seeing a 6-foot tall, blonde Russian woman dressed in a bikini and sporting an eye patch beat the crap out of somebody. Her talents likely only apply to a character like Mother Russia and a movie like Kick-Ass 2
, but Kurkulina nails it all the same.
Not a lot of superhero movies can say they are action-packed but also funny. Kick-Ass 2 is that type of movie. Yes, the film's sense of humor is a little crass, and borderline offensive at times, but those with mature tastes will find a lot to like. It takes some time for the movie to find its footing, but when it does it packs enough laughs to satisfy eager fans. Balancing some truly jaw-dropping violence with humor is a difficult thing to pull off, and while Kick-Ass 2 stumbles at times, it succeeds much more often than it fails.