Ror Reviews: KICK-ASS 2
Most of us loved Kick-Ass, but many fans were worried when Matthew Vaughan decided not to return for the sequel and relative newcomer Jeff Wadlow was brought on board. Does the movie suffer for it? Click on for my take, which includes MILD SPOILERS..
"This is not a comic book, this is real life!" Several characters say this or some variation on it throughout Kick-Ass 2 -- the message is very clear: In the real world dressing up like a superhero and fighting crime is going to have very real consequences. The thing is, the movie also contains a scene in which someone gains temporary "superpowers" after injecting themselves with adrenaline -- ya can't have it both ways! To be fair, the first movie also suffered slightly from the same problem (bazookas, Jet Packs etc) but it got away with it thanks to less emphasis on real life responsibilities, and somehow the mixture of tones worked. Kick-Ass 2 doesn't quite manage to pull that off, but there is still a lot to like.
The story picks up three years after the first movie, with Dave getting a bit fed up with patrolling the streets on his lonesome, and equally fed up being about as useful as a chocolate kettle when it comes to combat. So he turns to Mindy "Hitgirl" McReady for some training, and a bunch of costumed crime-fighters he helped inspire for company. Unfortunately for them, a batshit crazy Chris DaMicco (now calling himself The Mother Fu*ker) is also amassing his own team of supervillains, and is bent on making Kick-Ass pay for his father's death.
To be honest this is actually Hitgirl's movie -- or at the very least it's a two-hander. The decision to mesh Mark Millar's Hitgirl spin-off comic with his actual Kick-Ass 2 series means we get a lot more time with Mindy as she tries to put away the purple wig and focus on becoming a "normal" teenager. That's not a bad thing (Hitgirl is a great character and Chloe Grace Moretz is once again terrific in the role) but it does mean some of the new faces get the short end of the baton -- the biggest casualty being Jim Carrey's Colonel Stars And Stripes. To give you an idea of how underutilized he is, literally 99% of his scenes have been shown in clips and trailers; which is a real shame because Carrey steals the movie whenever he is onscreen. In the lead, Aaron Taylor Johnson is fine although as I alluded to before, shared screen time means his character suffers a little. Christopher Mintz Plasse plays The Mother Fu*ker as a complete idiot with a vicious streak a mile wide..and it works, he's a riot. Fine support comes from new faces such as Donald Faison, John Leguizamo and Lindy Booth.
A lot has been made of the violence in the movie, but -- though Jim Carrey may disagree -- I didn't really find it to be any more bloody or disturbing than the first Kick-Ass, with even a couple of the more tasteless scenes from the comic getting left out in favor of a lighter approach. New director Jeff Wadlow handles all of the action very well, and although there's nothing on par with say Hitgirl's strobe-lit rescue of Kick-Ass from the first film (and the soundtrack could have done with some needle-drops), there are some exciting set pieces and an absolutely insane final showdown in the Toxic Mega C*nts' lair.
It suffers from some tonal issues, a lack of Carrey, and doesn't quite hold up to Matthew Vaughan's original overall -- but great performances across the board and a few belly laughs to go along with the carnage make for a damn entertaining sequel all the same. Let's hope we get that trilogy.
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