Kick-Ass 2 (15)
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Running time: 103mins
The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
When Kick-Ass hit our screens three years ago it came like a bolt out of the blue. At a time when we were knee deep in superhero movies, this was a movie that turned the camera on these movies by at once pointing out why we love them and at the same time why they are just so silly.
So the chances of catching that lightening in a bottle again weren’t just slim, they were flat out impossible. It was a once-in- lifetime deal and then director Matthew Vaughn did a solid job of capitalising on it. A solid cast and a fun, yet serious and dark in places, story pulled everything together nicely. With Nicholas Cage being the trump card as his Adam West channeling Big Daddy arguably gave him his best role in years. Sadly – SPOILER – he can’t return this time round – SPOILER ENDS.
However, back this time is Taylor Johnson as Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass and Chloe Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit Girl and the villain of the piece this time is the returning Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/The Motherf@#ker. The main new addition is Jim Carrey as Coronel Stars and Stripes who, while his performance is inspired and scene-stealing, never gets enough screen time to make his presence truly felt or to rival Cage’s performance last time out.
This time the story picks up two years later and masked crime fighters have become fairly common place on the street of New York, ever since Kick-Ass made the city a safer place. People have found courage and are out trying to make a difference in the crime filled streets or rather they’re rescuing cats and working in soup kitchens.
However Kick-Ass and Hit Girl are nowhere to be seen as they, despite being the ones who started it all, are laying low and trying to make sense of their every day lives. This, as anyone who has seen the trailers will know, doesn’t last long and soon they are training together and aiming to be the next Batman and Robin… until, that is, Hit Girl promises her step-dad Marcus (Morris Chestnut) that she’ll stop and try to be a normal girl… a real girl, with real friends and crushes on boy bands.
While she struggle to fit in, Dave finds Captain Stars and Stripes and they form Justice Forever – a team of heroes who aim to take the bad guys on one by one until the streets are a safer place.
However they didn’t count on Chris D’Amico who still has a big grudge to sort out with Kick-Ass and, after a tragic accident at home, has decided he’ll raise hell to get revenge and so he begins to built his league of villains. Thus the road is paved to an epic faceoff.
Let’s get it out of the way early on; Kick-Ass 2 is not as good as the first movie. In fairness, due to the nature of a fresh take on a familiar story, it never could be. In fact, it lacks in several departments. Writer/director Wadlow lacks the understanding and irony of the source material that Vaughn had, it’s not that he doesn’t get it, he just doesn’t get it as well. But that’s not to say it’s a bad movie, far from it; it’s actually very enjoyable and feels like a true sequel to the original.
The actors manage to hold the story together when the plot crumbles, and it’s to the credit of all involved. Taylor-Johnston feels much more at home this time, toeing the line between geek and superhero with aplomb. His training scenes with Hit Girl are fun and by the end of the movie when he’s running around topless, flexing his new muscles, it’s a believable progression.
However, it’s Moretz as Mindy/Hit Girl who once again steals the show. Her performance here is top rate. Some reviews have complained that her coming of age in the movie is handled poorly, more like a superhero version of Mean Girls and, while this is true to a degree, Moretz sells it completely until the inevitable, nasty payoff. But she has matured both on and off screen, her character conflicts are believable and her wrestling with who she really is may not have worked under any other young actress, true the shock of her language and violence are gone, but she compensates by bringing a vulnerability and humanity that was much needed. In fact, this movie could easily have been called Hit Girl – we wouldn’t rule it out, given the comic books it is based on.
So, overall it’s full of fun fight scenes and great performances, it may not be as good as the original but believe me, ass does indeed get kicked. Fans of the first should be well pleased with this entry, it has more highs than lows, Moretz and Carrey among them.
Well worth checking out and a good way to pass a couple of hours even if it’s not perfect.
3 out of 5 Nerds