UK Release Date: 14th August 2013
Runtime: 103 minutes
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, John Leguizamo
Synopsis: As the world fills up with real-life superheroes making the world a better place, Chris D’Amico vows to become the world’s first real supervillain.
In 2010, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass arrived at exactly the right moment. The superhero movie craze was flying, kicking and punching its way to its zenith and Kick-Ass the perfect antidote. It took the superhero movie by the scruff of the neck and strangled it into submission, proving the perfect cult hit that the audience needed at that moment. Kick-Ass 2 isn’t quite as zeitgeist-friendly, but it is a great slice of brutal, sweary fun.
Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is back in his Kick-Ass wetsuit and wants to recruit Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz) to become Hit Girl again for an Avengers-style superteam. Without Mindy, Dave comes across Justice Forever, led by former mob enforcer Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and, meanwhile, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) vows to avenge his father by becoming The Mother Fucker – the world’s first real supervillain.
Kick-Ass 2 immediately had a problem. Mark Millar’s comic book sequel is not just dark: it’s pitch black. Many of the comic’s toughest scenes, featuring gang rape, child murder and animal decapitation had to be cut from the finished movie. Jeff Wadlow’s script though manages to get over this hurdle ingeniously and elegantly sidesteps most of these scenes, using knowing comedic lines to show the comic fans that he hasn’t forgotten the film’s roots.
And Kick-Ass 2 is still very funny. It keeps to the superhero sequel rules of going bigger and darker, but still manages to maintain its sense of humour. The arc adapted from Millar’s spin-off Hit Girl series of comics is a wonderful hybrid of Mean Girls and The Karate Kid, which allows Chloe Grace Moretz to come into her own and features the funniest moment of lavatory humour since Melissa McCarthy sat on that sink in Bridesmaids.
But unfortunately, it’s the Hit Girl character who presents the main drawback of Kick-Ass 2. In order to please Hollywood, the character is completely mangled to suit the hormone-addled stereotype of young girls. The Hit Girl character is not supposed to care about boys, but here she squirms at a video of X Factor boyband Union J and has a final scene so stupid that it ruins the entire emotional arc of the film with a Hollywood punch.
Jim Carrey puts in a solid performance as the leader of Justice Forever, but doesn’t quite bring the genius that Nicolas Cage brought to the first movie. His role is too brief for a real impact, but it’s a worthwhile bit of stunt casting and his public disassociation from the film has provided a tonne of free publicity.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse manages to rise to the challenge of evil well, shedding his McLovin persona entirely. His insanity is a solid depiction of the evils a real life supervillain would commit and the bravery of Kick-Ass 2 continues the real world aesthetic that, jetpack aside, made the first film such a gut punch to the superhero genre.
Kick-Ass 2 is a solid, funny superhero film that is only let down by a Hollywood-influenced alteration to the Hit Girl character. It’s not quite as joyous in its violence as the first film and it suffers from not tapping into the cultural zeitgeist in the same way.
But, as Jim Carrey says in an early fight scene, “Try to have fun. Otherwise, what’s the point.”
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.