Comic Book Adaptation Film Review

Black and Blue Film Review: Kick-Ass 2

August 19, 2013Ben MK

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Brutal, but not in a good way

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead

Just like most of its costumed charactersKick-Ass 2 pretends to be something that it's not. Capping off a Summer of big budget superhero fare like Iron Man 3Man of Steel and The Wolverine, the film's underdog story about regular citizens trying to be something more should feel refreshing. Instead, it's stale and feels like a rip-off of its predecessor.

"Hey Mother F****r, I saw 'This is the End'. I know your weakness is having cocaine blown in your face."
Kick-Ass 2 picks up a couple of years after the events of the first film, with Kick-Ass, aka Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and Hit-Girl, aka Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz), trying (and failing) to live the life of normal high-schoolers. Meanwhile, Red Mist, aka Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), still dreams of exacting his revenge on Kick-Ass. To combat his boredom, Dave enlists Mindy's help to get back in costume and get back out patrolling the streets. Eventually, he joins the rag-tag superhero team Justice Forever, led by the unorthodox Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey, in a glorified cameo), and Chris finally puts his plans into action. Shedding the name Red Mist, he dons a new mantle (The Mother F****r) and recruits a group of hired baddies for his own supervillain team: The Toxic Mega-C***s. Everything comes to a head in one final showdown that promises to settle the vendetta once and for all.

While the first film satirized the genre by keying in on the absurdity of costumed vigilantes in the real world, this sequel tries to do the same by upping the already over-the-top level of violence and introducing a slew of new characters. But it lacks the depth of humor and emotion that supported the violence in the first film and, as a result, takes on a completely different (and hollow) tone. Although it even tries to hit the same beats as its predecessor (with scenes of Hit-Girl saving Kick-Ass in an alleyway and Justice Forever raiding a prostitution ring) it never reaches the same highs. Rather, it sinks to new lows. The storyline itself is devoid of any genuine surprises and verges off into subplots that ultimately don't satisfy (like Mindy's Mean Girls arc that drags on for too long without any payoff).

Although there are a few inspired sequences (like the Ferris Bueller inspired Hit-Girl motorbike scene and Mother Russia's assault on the police at Night Bitch's house), they're usually not up to par with those found in the first film and are often offset by logical inconsistencies and WTF moments. Case in point: Why would anyone, let alone the police, believe that Dave's father is really Kick-Ass? Or why, in the film's climax, would The Mother F****r be afraid of a group of costumed do-gooders who obviously seem worse-equipped than his group of evil followers?

To make matters worse, scenes that are meant to have any kind of emotional resonance simply fall flat, not just because the emotion in this film comes off as clichéd, but also because the plot doesn't flesh things out enough for the audience to really care. Take Carrey's character, for example -- his presence in the film amounts to a series of quippy lines, so when he exits the film his character leaves no real imprint.

The Bottom Line

Kick-Ass 2 promises a fun time at the movies but delivers a mostly shallow experience. Any semblance it may bear to the first film is purely superficial. With pedestrian action, a boring storyline and half-hearted subplots that fail to connect on any level, moviegoers would be well-advised to skip it in theaters. [★★]

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