Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Kick Ass 2It’s been several years since Dave “Kick-Ass” Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) blew Chris D’Amico’s (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) crime boss father up with a rocket launcher, and he has spent that time training in hand-to-hand combat with Mindy “Hit-Girl” Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz). Their costumed antics have meanwhile inspired imitators, and when Mindy renounces crime-fighting at her step-father’s behest to focus on her studies, Dave joins Justice Forever in order to stop Chris’ own super team, The Toxic Mega-C*nts, from blowing up the city. As useful as Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and Doctor Gravity (Donald Faison) are in a fight, however, Dave will need Mindy back if he is to succeed.

When Kick-Ass opened back in 2010, a full decade into the recent superhero resurgence, it famously subverted the genre to shocking effect, leading The Daily Mail to denounce it as twisted and cynical. Audiences had seen Doctor Octopus massacre a room full of surgeons, Doctor Manhattan reduce helpless people to wallpaper paste and the absolute horror that was 2005’s Elektra, but they still weren’t ready to hear a little girl say a naughty word. Didn’t South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut teach us anything?

Kick-Ass 2 is likely to prove just as controversial, if not more so, but for slightly different reasons. If anything the genre as a whole has become even more far removed from reality than it already was, with the once typical violence now being toned down to ludicrous degrees. The superhero movies of the last three years have seen gods skirmish, robots clash and aliens invade with nary a casualty in sight. Christopher Nolan traded ideas instead of blows, while the writers of Man Of Steel have spent the months since its release reassuring audiences that while the bad guy may have leveled an entire city nobody was actually hurt.

In a landscape in which good and evil have become almost meaningless concepts (in X-Men: First Class characters changed sides faster than they could change costumes), it’s once again up to comic book creator Mark Miller to put things right. Justice Forever is comprised of people wanting to help others — Remembering Tommy are a mother/father duo disillusioned by the police’s efforts to find their missing son; Insect Man is taking the fight against homophobia a little more literally than most — while The Toxic Mega-C*nts are genuinely, disgustingly vile — they torture, rape and murder, and they’re serious enough about it not to call themselves Toad or The Abomination.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse return as Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Red Mist (now The Motherf*cker) respectively, and though their characters have apparently been treading water for the last few years they each slot straight back into their roles, and have new arcs to keep them busy for the duration of the sequel. Taylor-Johnson — now married with kids — somehow still convinces as a hapless teen, unlucky in love and even unluckier in a fight, but once again it is Moretz and Mintz-Plasse who steal the show, the former shining during a slumber-party subplot (a veritable warm-up for Carrie) while the latter gamely hides his McLovin’ persona under layers and layers of his mother’s PVC.

But while Kick-Ass 2 is just as subversive, sick and well-stocked as the original, it is nowhere near as surprising. Wadlow’s script has all of the foul-mouthed one-liners and fan-sating pop-culture references that you could want from a Kick-Ass movie, but elsewhere it falls completely flat, stumbling over exposition and resorting to repetition when it seems to run out of things to say. There are a few exchanges between Dave and Mindy that don’t make any sense at all, while the new additions to the cast get little more to work with than their admittedly amazing names (Night Bitch being a personal favourite), which of course were provided by Millar.

Kick-Ass 2 is a very entertaining movie; it has the same colourful characters, the same bloody action sequences and the same scrappy spirit, once again succeeding in making the most realistic superhero movie possible, right down to the scene in which Dave recognises his friend, even despite the mask. That said, there’s no getting away from the fact that the sequel is not as punchy, well-conceived or revelatory as Matthew Vaughn’s original.  But then it doesn’t have to be, just so long as it kicks ass.

3.5-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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