Kick-Ass 2: Run-of-the-Mill Superhero Sequel
Aaron Taylor-JohnsonChloë Grace Moretz...
Action & AdventureComedy...
The key to a successful sequel is taking the original story to the proverbial next level; keep the cast consistent and, most importantly, know your limits. By and large, sequels are tricky business and they don’t always live up to the expectations.
Directed by Jeff Wadlow and adapted from the Kick-Ass and Hit Girl comics – written by Mark Millar and sketched by illustrator John Romita –the second instalment of the Kick Ass superhero film franchise is a perfect example of a sequel that fails to live up to its potential.
Kicking off about three years after the events of the first film, Dave Lizewski, aka Kick-Ass (Taylor-Johnson), is having a hard time fitting into the life of a normal high-school student. Nostalgic for his brief but eventful crime-fighting days, he turns to fifteen-year-old Mindy Macready, aka Hit Girl (Moretz) for some much-needed training. Mindy grew up fighting crime alongside her late father and shares the same desire. However, with a promise made to her surrogate father, Marcus (Chestnut), she finds herself torn between the two worlds.
Consequently, Dave turns to a group of locals, who go by the Justice League; Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey), Battle Guy (Duke), Night Bitch (Booth), Insect Man (Emms) and Dr. Gravity (Faison), as well as grieving parents, Tommy’s Mom (Dolan) and Tommy’s Dad (Mackintosh).
Largely inspired by his heroic acts, the group welcomes Kick-Ass with open arms. However, they are soon confronted with trouble from Chris; a spoilt-brat of a rich boy who in the first film played Red Mist. Now going by the name “The Mother Fu*ker” (Mintz-Plasse), he is determined to destroy Kick-Ass and his superhero buddies in order to avenge the death of his mobster father.
There is a sense of uncertainty and a form of an identity-crisis that embodies Kick Ass 2 throughout. The over-the-top performance of Mintz-Plasse, for example, suggests that this is a straight-up goofball parody. On the other hand, the emphasis on the film’s shining star, young Miss Moretz, who carries the arc of the story, hints at a more meaningful, coming-of-age tale.
Taylor-Johnson is still as charming as ever, though the idea of shifting the spotlight away from him serves as a bit of misstep, while an outstanding performance from Kurkulinka, who plays the ruthless Mother Russia, gives the movie some much-needed backbone.
Despite being heavy on an almost unnecessary vulgarity, the film still manages to channel just enough energy and utilise impressive visuals to provide Kick Ass 2 with a passing grade.