Kick-Ass 2 Review

Posted: August 22, 2013 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

kick_ass_2_poster

Written by HT Schuyler.

Rated 14A for language, strong violence and sexual content.

Directed by: Jeff Wadlow.

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Morris Chestnut and Jim Carrey.

Kick-Ass was one of my favourite movies of 2010; it had great action, a clever plot, funny characters and dialogue, and overall was just a blast from start to finish. When I first heard that a sequel was on the way, I couldn’t help but be excited. But as more and more information about the film was revealed, my excited started to die down. For one, Matthew Vaughn was no longer returning as director, and instead director Jeff Wadlow was helming the film, director of the extremely mediocre Never Back Down. So that had me worried. Aside from that there were several recasts, underwhelming marketing and even Jim Carrey himself speaking out against the film because of its violence. With all these things in mind, I wasn’t expecting greatness from this movie, and all I really wanted was to have a good time with it. So, does Kick-Ass 2 indeed KICK ass, or can it KISS my ass?

After the events of the first film, Dave, AKA Kick-Ass (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is trying once again to live a normal life. He soon finds out that Mindy, AKA Hit-Girl (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) is still going out and fighting crime, so pretty soon he decides to join, and before long he’s back on the street trying to fight crime. After finding out about a special team of wannabe superheroes called Justice Forever, run by Colonel Stars and Stripes (played by an almost unrecognizable Jim Carrey), Dave teams up with them to protect the city streets.. Together they fight crime as Mindy tries to lead a normal life, but soon their safety is tested as Chris D’Amico, AKA Red Mist (played by Christpoher Mintz-Plasse), returns as The Motherfucker, and plans to destroy the city and have his revenge on Kick-Ass for blowing up his dad in the first movie.

Despite the goofy moments and bizarre range of tonal shifts, I actually found the acting to be very strong and even dramatic in some moments, with every actors playing their role perfectly for their particular tone. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz have great chemistry, and the scenes with the two of them really stand out, and the two have some genuine moment’s of drama and deep emotions, and while their relationship takes an awkward little shift towards the end, the two of them really did a great job at carrying the film. Despite him maybe going a little of the top in some scenes, Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays a really good bad guy, and you actually get the feeling that this kid has lost his mind, prompting some extremely dark, violent scenes, and a satisfying conclusion when he and Kick-Ass finally face off. A character I actually really liked was Mindy’s guardian Marcus, played by Morris Chestnut. I found his scenes with Mindy to be very sweet and give Mindy that much needed human side to her, making her decision to quit being a superhero make sense, and really sink in the impact of her father’s death in the previous film. Last but not least is of course, Jim Carrey. Now, Carrey does a great job, and really gives his character so much depth by just his speech and subtle actions, and is a great set up for an awesome story, but he is BARELY in the movie. You could count on one hand the amount of scenes he’s in, and it’s a shame, because he’s so good in those scenes, but ultimately I can’t help but feel he was wasted. If any character deserves a spin-off film, it’s Colonel Stars and Stripes. And his awesome dog Eisenhower (Cinna), of course.

The Good:

All the elements that made the first film great are also still present here, the comedy, the drama, and the awesome action scenes. There are several set pieces here that are so well done and fun I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face for several minutes after it was done. There were several moments that I found so satisfying, most of them including Hit-Girl just being the ultimate badass, that I couldn’t help but forget some of the flaws and just soak up the enjoyment of watching people in ridiculous costumes brutally fight with equally ridiculous villains. As I previously mentioned, I really enjoyed the dramatic elements of the film, and the sweet moments between certain characters and the ones they care about. Giving the characters a more human and vulnerable side to them made the film that much more interesting, and gave the actions scenes much more depth, because it involves characters you actually care about. The movie moves at a fast pace, never dwelling on a scene for longer than it has to before moving on to something else. Despite flaws the film is consistently fun and entertaining, and the dramatic moments provide it with some much needed depth, giving it that much more of an impact.

The Bad:

While most of Dave’s story is him coming to terms with who he really is and fighting crime with Justice Forever, Mindy’s subplot is utterly pointless. She makes some new friends at school, she becomes popular, they start to bully her because they are jealous, then she gets revenge in a really weird and stupidly unrealistic way. Why is this subplot here? So she realizes that she is a superhero, costume or not, and her personality must reflect that…or something like that. There are a million and one different ways this character arc could have been handled, and instead they go for a cheap Mean Girls rip off with a silly conclusion, (and some really awkward sexual moments, especially since the girls are all under 18). Maybe this was done to build up more hype for the Carrie remake or something…

As much as I enjoyed the films darker and dramatic elements, the film is tonally all over the place. On one hand it’s a goofy comedy with the characters getting into crazy shenanigans, and then on the other hand there are brutal death scenes, some of which are pretty damn emotional, and there’s even an attempted rape. All of these moments are very dark and leave a big impact on the characters, but then in the next scene there will be more funny gags and goofy moments which seem completely out of place. I mentioned earlier that the film doesn’t drag, and that is actually a back handed compliment, because certain scenes should have been longer, and many characters should have had more screen time so they could be developed further, but before you know it they’re gone and forgotten, just as you were starting to like them. That especially goes for Dave’s girlfriend Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), who literally has about 1 minute of screen time and is then never seen again, which is annoying considering a lot of the first film was devoted to setting up a relationship with the two of them, and then it’s gone before you know it.

In Conclusion:

There are some really dumb moments here and there, underdeveloped characters and tonal shifts that make no sense, but the dramatic moments that worked, the chemistry between characters and the awesome set pieces really did make this film a fun experience. It even had a good message in there about how being a hero doesn’t mean putting on a costume, but just being a good person, and while the film contradicts itself on this message a few times, it’s still nice to have in there. Is it as good as the first one? No, not even close, but it’s still a really fun movie with lots of laughs, thrills, and fun to keep you invested throughout, and while it is flawed, I enjoyed it more than I didn’t, and I still recommend it.

7.5/10

Comments
  1. the dual tone presents a bit of a problem, but i liked that at least this installment had something to say. i didn’t care for the first film.

    • htschuyler says:

      I agree completely about what it had to say, and I found it actually had a pretty powerful ending, whereas the first one just sort of ended. Glad you dug it!

  2. r361n4 says:

    Glad you enjoyed this one too, probably my most underrated movie of the year so far. Nice write-up, it’s always fun when we have to defend something we honestly like :)

    • htschuyler says:

      Indeed it is! And I really don’t know why this movie is getting so much hate, it’s really not bad at all. Glad you liked it too!

  3. moviebuff801 says:

    Not as good as the first, indeed, but I still had a lot of fun with it overall. Good review.

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