Avoiding temptation, I will use my powers to circumvent writing Kick-Ass 2 “Kicks Ass” in this review. This should be made easier by the fact that this sequel to the 2010 original is immensely disappointing and only teenagers too young to see it will enjoy it.
Unlike most soul-squashing sequels, it’s pitfalls cannot be found within the narrative…for the most part. Kick-Ass 2 continues the story of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl as they deal with the temptations of both vigilantism and ‘normal’ life in high school. When Colonel Stars and Stripes assembles “Justice Forever”, a group of aspiring heroes, Kick-Ass leaps back into the green and yellow spandex, while Hit-Girl decides the school hallways are a more fitting suit for her. Meanwhile, a ‘super’villain calling himself ‘The Motherfucker’ assembles his own team to take revenge on Kick-Ass.
The premise shows promise, and opens up some fun and entertaining altercations. Though predictable, it doesn’t aspire for originality. Seeing the factions of opposing hero/villain teams is by the far the most interesting and fun part of the movie.
The more underwhelming aspects involve Hit-Girl’s, or should I say Mindy’s, affliction with high school drama. While Chloë Grace Moretz does a great job in her role, the strikingly odd and alienating Mean Girls similarities feel exploitative of current trends, which eliminated much of the enjoyment for me.
Kick-Ass 2 doesn’t take itself too seriously. It promises profanity, effortless viewing, blood and entertainment. Unfortunately, the latter falls through the floor and is brutally ravaged under the new direction and writing of Jeff Wadlow. As if the Wadlow thought Kick-Ass was too acoustic, he attempts to amplify all the positives of the first, which results in a messy, jarring and unbalanced 103 minute melody.
Wadlow drops the genesis into a tank of thrashing sharks, hoping the messy splashes are enough to mask the abysmal continuation of a franchise that would have been better left unscathed. The simple and moderately enjoyable plot is surrounded by monotonous humour, senseless motivations and uncomfortable sexual exploits involving 15 year-old dancers and a supposedly ‘funny’ scene suggesting rape. Furthermore, the violence feels over-the-top even for over-the-top violence. Kick-Ass 2 is physically difficult to watch as my eyes tried to keep up with the frenzied shaky-cam. Of course, the shakes of disappointment and disbelief didn’t help either.
It appears that the writer/director took the common comic book theme of identity crisis too seriously. There are too many moments that feel out of place or imbalanced. Some scenes delve into dark narrative turns that force Kick-Ass to deal with real-life consequences. Then the following scene will have crudely unfunny featuring multiple bodily functions. Unlike the first film, the two tones do not blend well as they are of such extremes that they can hardly see one another.
More positively, Wadlow manages to introduce a few new cool characters to the team. The most notable members include Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes, Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity and Lindy Booth as Night Bitch. Carrey and Faison aren’t given an amount of screen time that would justify their characters being embedded into our memories. Nonetheless, they are appreciated when onscreen as being some of the only actually funny and enjoyable elements in Kick-Ass 2.
It’s certainly two hours of escapism, but there are times when the fire escape in the corner of my eye looked more appealing as I felt my head wanting to explode. Kick-Ass 2 is essentially a recycled version of the first crossed with Mean Girls; it’s the same gift with a new bow on top. Though you may wish to keep the receipt for this one. Once unwrapped, you’ll have wished you never received it. Kick-Ass 2 most definitely does not Kick A…ny other recent cinematic release from your attention, and I would recommend forgetting this film completely as it fails to bring justice to its significantly superior predecessor.