Aug 21 2013
When Kick-Ass debuted in 2010, it was the R-rated answer to all the popcorn munching superhero blockbusters out that year, and all the years before. Based on a frankly, kick ass graphic novel, for lack of a better term, it spawned a few more “everyman” superhero films like Super and Chronicle in the years to come.
But then it fell victim to the same trap as all the movies it made fun of. It thought it needed a sequel. Another book was written, and subsequently another movie was filmed. And it just never feels like a story that really needed to be told.
For most other movies, the plot might be summarized in a few paragraphs. Kick-Ass 2 needs no such lengthy explanation. Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) gets bored being a normal guy, so decides to become Kick-Ass again and join a team of other costumed do-gooders. Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), now calling himself “The Mother****er,” is out for revenge after Kick-Ass killed his mob boss father. He uses his newfound fat stacks of cash to hire a costumed evil army to cause general mayhem and hunt down Kick-Ass’s new gang of heroes.
“You know, I’m actually not sure which of us looks more ridiculous.”
And that’s really it. Nearly the entirety of the film is made up of each team of superheroes/villains assembling their roster via a series of one-note characters. Kick-Ass’s pseudo-justice league has Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), an ex-mob enforcer turned born-again Christian and Night Bitch, a girl who’s sister was killed and inspired her to don a mask and bikini top. Also in a the group are a pair of parents whose child went missing years earlier. This one in particular is an interesting idea, as their grief has turned them into faux superheroes (they wear shirts with their son’s portrait on them), but it’s never explored past their introduction.
The Mother****er’s evil army has even less dimension. They’re simply random thugs and people like an ex-KGB agent whom is given a swimsuit and codenamed “Mother Russia.” She’s built like a tank and punches through brick walls, and is the brawn behind The Motherf****er’s brain, if you can call it that. His plan is just to kill police officers and set off fertilizer bombs in the city for no other reason but to “be evil.” I do like him as a villain, but there needed to be more to his story. He has a pretty significant scene with his imprisoned uncle that goes nowhere, and his story comes to a rather anti-climactic end.
The odd man out in all this is actually a girl, Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), to be specific. Initially, the film has her skipping school and training Kick-Ass to be more of a badass. But when her guardian, Marcus, finds out she’s still Hit Girl-ing, he makes her promise to quit and become a normal high school girl.
Will Hit Girl make the dance team??? (This is a real plot point).
Therefore, for the majority of the film, Hit Girl’s biggest adversaries are a bitchy clique of high school mean girls who make snide comments about her clothes and play pranks on her, like having a hot jock ask her out, only to have him ditch her later. Weirdly, this is the exact same build up as Moretz’s Carrie remake, and it’s almost like she’s using this role to prepare for that one. Perhaps this movie would have been better if more people got burned up by pyrokinesis.
Hit Girl is the best asset this series has, and the sequel keeps her in a box and out of costume for the vast majority of the film. Her rivalry with the mean girls seems out of place compared to the carnage occurring elsewhere. Yes, of course it’s all leading up to her triumphant return to save Dave’s bacon, but it’s not worth the trip it took to get there.
The film already played the parody card in its first iteration, and it worked well. Here, it’s just goofing off and everything feels incredibly aimless. The film has no structure, no longer point that’s trying to be made. It’s just something like “You have to be who you are!” and of course, that happens to be an ass-kicking costume superhero for nearly every single person in the cast.
“Hahaha I’m criminally underused.”
Kick-Ass himself is just a weak lead. He’s simply bored, which is why he starts crimefighting again, and he doesn’t do anything for so long, the film feels forced to throw in a dramatic life-altering twist out of nowhere to at least give him some semblance of motivation. Hit Girl, the most interesting case, is stuck in high school.
The original Kick-Ass film painted an interesting dichotomy between a goofy kid trying to do some good and two professional assassin vigilantes who outright murdered their prey. Here, the honor codes are unclear. It’s wrong for a good guy to pull a gun, but okay for him to castrate a bad guy? The villain isn’t evil enough to consider killing a dog, yet has his henchman murder eight police officers in cold blood in the next scene? Everyone is just all over the place here, though I suppose it matches the disjoined story.
If you’re going to make a sequel, you need to ensure you have a story to tell. Having your heroes figure out they want to continue being heroes is not really a good end goal for a new film. Swearing and CGI blood and onscreen diarrhea (for real) isn’t necessarily funny just because it’s “edgy.” Dave’s Kick-Ass is dull, Hit Girl is trapped in a different movie and The Motherf***er? Well, he’s sort of awesome. But please, no more sequels.
2.5 out of 5 stars
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