Kick-Ass 2 Review
by Delon Villanueva
At the beginning of the year, Kick-Ass 2 was initially my most anticipated film of 2013, being that I was such a huge fan of the original. Kick-Ass was a dark, funny, and clever take on the superhero genre, supplying in shock value and even relatable yet nerdy themes. Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World were the ultimate fanboy products of 2010 that both unfortunately underperformed at the box office. So, it’s cool to see that after a successful DVD run, Kick-Ass got a sequel. Though there definitely were notable changes. Matthew Vaughn did not return as director or co-writer. The other screenwriter, Jane Goldman, also did not return. Writer-director Jeff Wadlow takes their place in the sequel.
Now, Wadlow doesn’t have a strong filmography, as his only two theatrical films, Cry Wolf and Never Back Down, were critical flops. His difference in style was very apparent once the first trailer for Kick-Ass 2 dropped. I became extremely nervous about the film, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t a fan of the Kick-Ass 2 comic book series, either. So, I’m glad to say that although the original is a lot better, Kick-Ass 2 is still a fun time, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise.
The story of Kick-Ass 2 finds our hero, Dave Lizewski a.k.a. Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) dying to get back into the superhero game after taking a long, boring break from all the action. Mindy Macready a.k.a. Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), now 15 years old, decides to train Dave and work together, up until she realizes that she can’t return to her crime fighting days. Her guardian, Sergeant Williams (Morris Chestnut), demands that she must put the costume away and learn to live like a normal teenager. So in order to avoid fighting in the streets alone, Kick-Ass joins a league of superheroes known as Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).
Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico a.k.a. Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) wants Kick-Ass dead for killing his father at the end of the last film. He creates a new alter ego, renaming himself as “The Motherfucker,” and forms a band of supervillains. Soon enough, the heroes and villains collide, and the consequences of vigilantism and terror become much bigger than expected.
Now, like I’ve said, I didn’t like the comic book series that the sequel is based off on, but with the right screenplay and director, the tonal issues and sloppy narrative can easily be fixed. Jeff Wadlow did an okay job. I knew that not having Matthew Vaughn directing or writing was going to have a big impact on the movie, though as I watched the film, I was able to settle with what we got. Sure, Wadlow’s direction of action sequences isn’t very unique and the comedic moments don’t hit as well as they did in the first movie, but I still was entertained. Wadlow isn’t the worst director to be chosen for a Kick-Ass sequel; he’s just nothing fresh. Still, Kick-Ass 2 no doubt feels like a Kick-Ass movie, so I didn’t have much of a reason to complain.
Although the film is underwhelming in the directing and writing department, the characters are still a total joy to watch. Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns to the role of Kick-Ass without a single misstep. Chloe Moretz makes Hit-Girl an even deeper character than she was in the first, as her high school subplot is funny and believable (at least…up until the end of it…you’ll know what I mean when you see it). Christopher Mintz-Plasse was also pretty good as the Motherfucker, but I have to admit he was almost too over-the-top at times (though I feel that this was more of a directorial choice). Let’s not forget the biggest new addition, Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes. He has a small role, but he makes the most out of it. All the other new supporting roles were memorable, too, including John Leguizamo as Chris’ bodyguard and Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity.
Even though the absence of Matthew Vaughn is disappointing, Kick-Ass 2 works enough in the sense that it’s just an entertaining, late summer popcorn movie. The action scenes are still cool to watch (they just don’t come close the original’s setpieces), the cast continues to be at the top of their game, and there are some good laughs here and there. If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like this, too. If you LOVED the first one, lower your expectations, and you’ll still have an enjoyable time.
RATING: 7/10. Just keep in mind, though, that I am a total fanboy for Kick-Ass, so this score could be inflated. Critics were not kind to this movie, which I was rather shocked by.