Kick-Ass 2 Review

Posted: August 31, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

kick_ass_2_posterWritten by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

I was never very excited by the idea of a sequel to Kick-Ass. I like the first film a lot, but it didn’t seem like a sequel would be too interesting. It didn’t help that all of the promotional material for Kick-Ass 2 suggested the film would be embracing the first film’s lesser attributes. What worried me most though was the absence of the original film’s director, growing talent Matthew Vaughn, in favour of the unaccomplished Jeff Wadlow. Yet despite all of these negative signs, I went ahead and gave Kick-Ass 2 a shot.

After the events of the first film, Kick-Ass’ heroics have inspired several others to take up costumes of their own and begin their own crusade against crime. Kick-Ass himself (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has retired from crime fighting. He finds himself becoming bored however and begins training with Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). Kick-Ass finds his skills improving and eventually joins a crime fighting team called Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has been plotting revenge on Kick-Ass and has transformed himself into the world’s first super villain: The Motherfucker.

Reading the synopsis, you may have spotted one of my biggest problems with the films story; the fact that the first act is centered on Kick-Ass becoming a superhero. Why? The entire first film was about him becoming a hero and the trials that came with it, why are we sitting through this same arc again? Showing Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl training to explain why Kick-Ass is a more effective hero than before is fine, but treating Kick-Ass like some rookie for a grand portion of the film is tedious and redundant. Simultaneous to this is Hit-Girl’s subplot where her adopted father convinces her to give up being Hit-Girl and go to school. This of course gets Hit-Girl mixed up with the popular but cruel girls of the school feeling things she never felt before. Pretty much all of these scenes are awful and the payoff is especially horrendous. The idea of Hit-Girl toying with the idea of a normal life is conceptually sound, but I don’t think the execution could have been worse. So much time is spent on these stories that when their paths finally cross with the Motherfucker, it feels very slapped together.

Thankfully the characters are a bit more entertaining than the story. Chloe Moretz is still great as Hit-Girl and even with the horrible subplot manages to have her moments. Christopher Mintz-Plasse takes his character to his next logical place and also has a lot of fun banter with Javier, played by John Leguizamo. Jim Carrey is also great as Colonel Stars and Stripes and, despite not having nearly as much screen time was I would have liked, still manages to be a highlight of the film. Kick-Ass himself might be the most boring character in his own film, but I still like Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

With the first Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn was able to mix satire, action, comedy, and drama very effectively. It wasn’t always a perfect blend, but on the whole everything came together to make a complete package. Unfortunately Jeff Wadlow is no Matthew Vaughn and it shows. Kick-Ass 2 is a hodge-podge of different tones constantly clashing instead of melding with each other. The comedy is much broader and much less funny this time around, the drama is never really believable and the film is so ridiculous that any sense of satire is wasted. The only area I can give Wadlow credit for is the action scenes. The more hyper violent superhero scenes are pretty unique to this series and they definitely lead to some fun moments. However even this is faint praise because I have issues with the action as well. First off, none of the action here really compares to a lot of the set-pieces in the first one. More importantly, even this film’s best action scene, a car chase with Hit-Girl hanging a top a moving vehicle, is hindered by some poor special effects.

Kick-Ass 2 is not nearly as clever as the original film, instead opting for broader content and the result is film which is less interesting. What makes this worse is that Kick Ass 2 is also just a poorly put together film that lacks direction. Granted, there is still some fun to be had here. The action scenes can be fun, the characters are colourful, and for all its problems the film is never boring. It’s not a bad film, but Kick-Ass 2 is clearly a pale imitation of the original.

C-

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