WARNING: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR KICK ASS
In 2010, Kick Ass was a refreshing comedy-action film examining the Superhero subgenre. But three years later, does the sequel hold up?
It continues the story of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nowhere Boy, Anna Karenina), the titular vigilante as he is forced to put back on the costume. This is because of the rise of his nemesis Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad, Role Models), now stylising himself as the Motherfucker and seeking revenge for the death of his father.
Tonally, Kick Ass 2 is much of the same: bloody violence and crass humour. But the plot is less streamlined, and suffers from bloated drama in-between fight sequences. Most notably with Mindy Macready/Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz, Let Me In, Hugo), who was easily the most memorable thing from the first film. She’s great when she plays her alter-ego, but has quite a dull sub-plot when she tries to fit in. Props to the new director Jeff Wadlow for trying something different, but the whole Mean Girls-esque storyline is jarringly different and doesn’t quite fit in.
Although, a welcome addition is the introduction of the new superhero team Justice Forever, led by the brilliantly insane Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey, The Truman Show, Ace Ventura). He is a deranged ex-mobster turned a born again Christian vigilante, and considering his recent comments about the film, I find it ironic that he gave the greatest performance overall. The other members get a few jokes, but are forgettable, even the new love-interest Night Bitch (Lindy Booth).
But what’s a great hero without a villain? Mintz-Plasse develops his villainous role, and it’s great to see Red Mist step out of his father’s shadow. But the character won’t be to everyone’s taste, and his actions fit both his name and BDSM outfit. One scene that was the most striking was between the Motherfucker and his locked up uncle (Iain Glen, Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones). Given his shockingly low level of screen time, Glen completely owns the scene. He is electrically evil, so hopefully he’ll be back if there is a third.
As far as sequels go, Kick Ass 2 isn’t totally terrible, but it’s not totally original. It safely retreads the same paths of the original, but the character drama thrown in doesn’t work. Carrey shines out among the welcome cast additions, and the film embraces what it is, a violent and vulgar summer movie.