Posted August 16, 2013 by Daniel Hodgson in
Super-hero sequel parodies comic book movies while not being a good one itself.
(Note: review contains strong language) A few years ago, comic book obsessed high-schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) donned a green-and-yellow wetsuit and matching mask, and became “Kick-Ass,” New York’s first real super-hero (although “masked vigilante” is more apt). While having no real fighting skills (and getting himself nearly killed on his first day on the job), Kick-Ass nevertheless killed the D’Amico family’s head honcho, Frank D’Amico. Now, Frank’s son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), also a comic book aficionado, is back for revenge as a self-styled super-villain, The Motherfucker, wearing his mother’s S&M outfit as a costume.
Dave hasn’t been Kick-Ass in a while, and asks Mindy Macready, aka “Hit-Girl” (Chloë Grace Moretz) to train him. However, it’s not long before her guardian Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut) discovers that Mindy is skipping school in favor of fighting crime, and makes her promise she’ll quit being “Hit-Girl” for good, and hang out with non-superhero friends her own age.
Dave, however, finds new allies in the members of “Justice Forever,” a small group of masked vigilantes who were inspired to wear costumes and capes when Dave’s alter-ego Kick-Ass became a YouTube sensation years earlier when one of his exploits was captured on camera. Among others, the Avengers-esque group includes its founder Colonel Stars and Stripes (an unrecognizable Jim Carrey); Battle Guy, who turns out to be Dave’s real-life friend Marty (Clark Duke); and Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), whom Kick-Ass gets freaky with after the group battles crime.
But The Motherfucker forms his own league of super-villains: The Toxic Mega-Cunts, and intends to cause havoc across the city…because, in his own words, that’s just what super-villains do.
The original Kick-Ass was a clever satire of the genre, where this sequel is merely a parody; it makes fun of super-hero movies, but doesn’t manage to be a good one itself, like its predecessor was. The action sequences have little of the imagination and flair that the original had, such as that picture’s go-for-broke shoot-out at the climax, and Hit-Girl’s video game inspired rescue scene as well.
Jeff Wadlow takes over the helm from Matthew Vaughn, who’s still on board as a producer, but it’s not a change for the better. Wadlow also wrote pic’s screenplay, which also doesn’t hold up to the original’s, but that might be pinned on the source material. There’s a subplot with M.F.’s uncle that goes nowhere, and both Taylor-Johnson and Moretz struggle with tinny, artificial dialog. Add to the list of cons sub-par special effects, something the original used only sparingly.
Mintz-Plasse makes for a fun comic villain in M.F., but there was more realism to his character last time around, because being a villain was a means to an end for parental approval; here, he’s over-the-top evil for the sake of being evil.
While not a good film, Kick-Ass 2 is occasionally a good time. It has a wicked sense of humor, and it touches on ideas of identity when super-heroes, by their very nature, have more than one, and what it means to be a super-hero, even if it doesn’t dramatize that idea especially well.