Movie Review: “Kick-Ass 2” – A Disappointing Return

Written by Emily McWilliams August 21, 2013

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Underdog and high school nerd Dave Lizewski is back as vigilante crime fighter Kick-Ass in the aptly named sequel “Kick-Ass 2”.  As a fan of the first film and the graphic novels by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., I left the screening of “Kick-Ass 2” feeling extremely disappointed.  Unlike new cast member Jim Carrey (who refused to promote the film due to its violent content), I knew what I was getting myself into: the first “Kick-Ass” was full of graphic violence and littered with language your mother wouldn’t approve of – that was the beauty of it.  Seeing all of the superhero origin film tropes transported into the real world made for some shocking and hilarious moments as audience expectations were challenged from the typical superhero movie.  In the sequel however, director Jeff Wadlow (taking over from Matthew Vaughn) subjects the audience to cringe-worthy toilet humor jokes and characters so offensive that it was more awkward than entertaining.  “Kick-Ass 2” is a prime example of how not to create a sequel, despite great performances from Chloe Grace Moretz and Jim Carrey.

“We’re the good guys”

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is looking to get back into fighting crime and enlists the help of Mindy Macready aka Hit-Girl (Moretz) to train so that he actually has a chance against the city’s crime bosses.  Mindy is still reeling over the death of her father, “Big Daddy”, and is faced with an ultimatum from her new guardian Marcus that forces Mindy to hang up her cape and identity as Hit-Girl and live as a normal high school girl.  With Mindy gone, Dave finds a group of vigilantes known as Justice Forever lead by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey).  While most of their time is spent patrolling the streets and doing the occasional good deed, Justice Forever is about to go up against The Motherfucker (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who is seeking revenge after Kick-Ass killed his father.

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Watered down humour and plot

Even though the plot closely follows the original story from the graphic novels, the execution of the whole film is simply amateur and unoriginal.  The first “Kick-Ass” film had somewhat of a “B-movie” quality to it to contrast with the high-budget superhero films we’re used to seeing that made the humour more distinctive.  “Kick-Ass 2” doesn’t work on the same level of parody as its predecessor because the writers opted for cheap one-liners instead of a clever reinvention of the genre; it was clear in many ways that the production of this film was aimed at getting more of a teen audience and as a result, the plot and humour were weakened and made less ambitious.

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At least Moretz and Carrey manage to kick ass

There are two redeeming aspects to “Kick-Ass 2”: Hit-Girl and Colonel Stars and Stripes.  Once again, Hit-Girl steals the show from wimpy Kick-Ass and delivers the best action scenes and one-liners in the film.  The one aspect of the graphic novels that was handled well in this sequel was Mindy’s storyline that focused on her dealing with the loss of her father and her identity crisis of being a 15 year-old girl and a superhero.  Moretz displayed a true understanding of her character and brought a level of emotional depth that was surprising considering how flimsy the rest of the film was.  The difficulties of keeping two different identities is a familiar storyline in many superhero films, but the inclusion of the perspective of a modern teenage girl made for some poignant moments

Even though Carrey regrets his contribution to “Kick-Ass 2”, his performance as Colonel Stars and Stripes lit up every scene he was in. Carrey is known for creating unique and dimensional comedic characters and “Kick-Ass 2” was no exception.  As a vigilante with a strict moral code, the Colonel also offered a new twist on some familiar characters and plot points.  Really, it’s just a shame that Carrey’s screen time was so limited.

For dedicated fans only

“Kick-Ass 2” might just be one of offensive movies of the year, and offers little entertainment value to compensate for that.  Unlike the first “Kick-Ass” which was able to find that delicate balance of vulgar and hilarity, “Kick-Ass 2” is just an uncomfortable viewing experience.  Unless you’re a diehard fan of the series, you’re better off skipping this one.

My Rating: 4/10

 

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