Director: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey (even though he publicly pulled his support from the film for it’s violence at the hands of kids), Donald Faison
Rating: 4 out of 5 Hit Girls; It may not be quite as unique or as devoid of flaws as the first, but like the character which I’ve dedicated this rating to, it certainly delivers quite a few laughs and even more punches as it struggles to find itself, settling satisfyingly right back in the spirit of the original. Any fan of Kick-Ass will have just as much fun with this very worthy, very bloody sequel.
Kick-Ass 2 begins with our title hero joining Mindy aka Hit Girl in a sort of short lived bout of training, both feeling restless and out of place in their high school environments, and with former Red Mist (played to hilariously spoiled perfection again by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, but this time as attempted super villain “The Motherfucker”) seeking excitement in the form of utter revenge.
From here though, the film fragments a bit further into three sort of separate story lines that eventually converge in a satisfying third act, making the sometimes frenetically changing focuses and tones very worth it, besides which the film never ceases to be engaging and entertaining even with all that crosscutting.
Mindy’s story line finds us in an absolutely over-the-top, saturated-for-the-sake-of-satire retelling of Mean Girls. It does make for a lot of humorous moments though, seeing as Mindy is nothing like her bitchy peers but tries her best anyway, leading to a learning lesson filled with more bodily functions than I cared to see as close to the screen as I was (but the audience of 500 at this early screening had one of the most entertaining reactions to this mini-climax I have ever witnessed at the movies).
Kick-Ass, or Dave, finds himself in a group of other masked vigilantes who, for the most part anyway, just do community service. This, despite Jim Carrey’s great performance, and Chris/Motherfucker’s wrangling of an “evil army,” aren’t quite as exciting as Mindy’s little identity crisis (despite that story line seeming a little too teen-movie-esque to fit in with the extreme violence to come). However, they are still filed with their own drama, violence, suspense and humor, so it isn’t like there were any major or detracting weak links in the three subplots necessarily, and once we near the finale, everything becomes understandable and forgivable, especially as we see them all interconnect.
The film’s violence, by the way, is a great deal more extreme and therefore more effective, in the sense of emotional response including largely laughter, and I personally think it tops the first in that respect. The audience was cheering, gasping, and chuckling throughout the epic conclusion especially, but the whole film was filled with an ever-building crescendo that finds the three separate plots and characters together and dependent on each other and on the journeys they each take for the first half or so of the film. It is a blast to watch in all its gruesome, comic glory. I might agree that it doesn’t fully avoid action cliches like the first, but I still saw a lot of the action as lampooning those very cliches– this sequel may have had a lot to live up to, but I truly believe it is still very much in the same spirit as the original, even if it doesn’t shock and impress in the same exact way as its predecessor. I still say anyone who loves Kick-Ass will love this, because it presents to us even more action, more humor, and the same characters we know and love from the original film. Maybe the execution wasn’t quite as precise and new as Kick-Ass was, but I cannot find any flaw that was major enough to distract from the sheer fun of this film, and for that alone I can’t say that Kick-Ass 2 wasn’t effective; it was enjoyable, immensely, and in that sense, it accomplished just what I wanted and expected from a much awaited Kick-Ass sequel.