Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2
Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnston, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey
Directed By: Jeff Wadlow
Kick-Ass 2 brings everyone’s favorite low rent superhero back to the big screen, and although he’s without original director Matthew Vaughan, the end result is an entertaining film that I actually enjoyed more than the original.
Picking up after the events of the first film, Kick-Ass 2 finds Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnston) starting his senior year of high school, and trying to figure out life without being Kick-Ass. Thanks to his influence, waves of ordinary citizens have started to dress up as heroes and take to the streets. But even though the streets are protected by dozens of wannabe super heroes, Dave can’t shake the urge to don his wetsuit once more and help the citizens of New York City.
Of course, Dave still isn’t nearly as capable a fighter as he should be. So, he seeks out Mindy Macready, aka Hit-Girl, to train him. Mindy agrees, and the scenes of her beating the hell out of Dave are some of the highlights of the film. Of course, Mindy has her own problems, from hiding her Hit-Girl activates from her adoptive father, to trying to figure out how to understand the girls in her freshman class.
After training far enough to hit the streets again, Kick-Ass meets up with “Justice Forever”, a group of similarly skilled heroes including Dr. Gravity, Night Bitch, and Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by a scene-stealing Jim Carrey. Carrey’s made a lot of waves recently about his comments about the violence in the film, but it doesn’t detract from his performance at all. Of all the fun characters that are given to us, his was easily my favorite, and the one I wanted more of.
While Kick-Ass is forming his own version of the Justice League, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) starts forming his own Legion of Doom. Seeking revenge on Kick-Ass for killing his father, Mist rebrands himself as “The Mother (you can guess the rest)” and starts recruiting the vilest beings on the planet to join him in his quest for revenge. Taking to twitter and YouTube, he calls himself the “first super villain”, and subsequently starts brutally attacking our heroes, escalating his attacks each time.
Chloe Grace Moretz steals the show yet again as Hit-Girl. At this point she can perform the role in her sleep, and it was hilarious watching her try and interact with other kids her age (and of course get her revenge as well). Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Mother F’er is also a lot of fun to watch as well, tapping into what a comic book loving kid would do if he became a super villain (complete with a hidden lair with a shark tank). The scene where he comes up with the names of his henchmen is hilarious, and really taps into the ridiculousness of my beloved comic books. Donald Faison also has a fun role as “Dr. Gravity”, a fellow superhero with a “gravity rod” which in reality is just a baseball bat with tin foil on it.
Aaron Taylor-Johnston gives another convincing performance as Kick-Ass. He really makes you believe that Dave has a strong compulsion and desire to go out in costume and help others. At the same time, he can switch to being a goofy teenager on a dime. While his emotional responses to some of the film’s later events aren’t given quite enough time to really sink in, he still gives a great performance with what he’s given.
Probably the biggest difference between Kick-Ass 2 and its predecessor is Matthew Vaughan’s absence from the director’s chair. Vaughan is one of my favorite current directors, and it was odd to try and hone in on this film at first knowing that he was only a producer. However, after a few minutes, I found myself really enjoying new director Jeff Wadlow’s take on the comic. In fact, if I hadn’t known already that Vaughan didn’t direct it, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Wadlow, who also wrote the film, has a lot of fun with the material, from having comic panel boxes pop up saying “meanwhile” during scene changes to word balloons appearing as subtitles. It’s a fun way of acknowledging Kick-Ass’ source material, but isn’t’ done so much that it takes you out of the film.
The easiest way to recommend Kick-Ass 2 is to ask you if you enjoyed the original Kick-Ass. If you liked Dave’s first foray into crime fighting, then odds are you’ll enjoy this one as well. Many of the more horrific moments of the comic are (wisely) altered for the movie, but this is still a much darker film than it’s predecessor. The action scenes are well done (and extremely gory), and our characters motivations are clearly presented. While there are some moments that I feel could’ve been expanded on, and Nic Cage’s presence is definitely missed, there’s a lot of fun moments and performances that it’s hard to not like this movie. Unfortunately there were about 10 other people in the theater on the Saturday night that I saw it, so I feel we may not see a Kick-Ass 3. But I sincerely hope we do, as the Kick-Ass series serves as a fun send up of the superhero genre that is currently dominating the multiplexes.
Verdict: Four and a Half adrenaline shots out of Five