Attention Deficit Superheroes
The first Kick-Ass was a unique addition to superhero surge out of Hollywood, in that it portrayed the effects of a masked hero without powers rising up in a very real New York City. The film didn’t shy away from violence and tried to show how truly hard and twisted the life of a hero could become. This new film, an adaptation of both of Mark Millar’s follow ups to Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2 and Hit Girl, isn’t nearly as smart as its predecessor, but it still manages to capture the gleefully violent fun of the original.
Kick-Ass 2 begins with Kick-Ass (a.k.a. David Lizewski) and Hit Girl (a.k.a. Mindy Macready) are busy training daily for their return to the streets. Soon though, the duo’s antics catch the attention of the police, and Mindy is forced to retire by her stepfather Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut). Without a partner, Kick-Ass takes to the internet to find other costumed vigilantes to build a crime fighting team.
He meets Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), founder of Justice forever, who invites Kick-Ass to join him and several other heroes in a crusade to bring justice to criminals. Meanwhile, Hit Girl attempts to lead a normal life, and soon finds herself unsatisfied. Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has also retired his mask, decides to become the world’s first super villain and dubs himself The Motherfucker. With his vast inherited riches, he begins assembling a team of vicious criminals into a team of super villains to strike down Kick-Ass.
The things that worked from the first movie still work in this entry. Chloe Grace Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson both give solid performances that make their heroes come to life, and make their screen time entertaining. Moretz shines as brightly as she did in the original, and is allowed room to explore her character through the film’s foremost subplot, her retirement from crime fighting.
The over the top violence, that’s sometimes so ridiculous it’s funny, works within the film’s colorfully created world. When Hit Girl removes limbs with her swords, it’s still as shocking as it was in the last movie. The film is not afraid of adding a dose of realism to the carnage, but it still keeps itself away from simply condoning violence and manages to show the consequences of such actions.
The supporting cast clearly has a lot of fun with their roles, and none more so than Jim Carrey. his Mafia enforcer turned born again Christian turned superhero is hilarious. Many scenes with him stand out as the funniest in the film, and he also manages to kick some butt in a couple of action scenes. It’s good to see him shift back into a comedic role and still have fun doing it. The film also flows with a quirky millennial vibe, that makes it feel as much hip as wild. I’d imagine this film would greatly appeal to a lot of younger viewers (if their parents would allow them to see it) because of this.
The film is flawed though, and flawed enough to be annoying at times. An overload of subplots and issues with redundant themes in the film’s second act slow the rapid pace of the film and make it feel longer than its hour and forty minute running time. Kick-Ass and Hit Girl’s constant bouncing between retirement and return is enough to drive anyone crazy, and makes scenes that as supposed to be emotional, simply annoying. Some of the humor is a little weak, especially surrounding The Motherfucker’s scenes, and nothing is worse than unfunny jokes.
Still, it’s hard not to have a good time watching this film. The silliness is pretty evenly matched with the seriousness, and the result is a superhero film that stands out from the crowd. In a genre now overloaded with somber, stone faced heroes and reboots, Kick-Ass 2 is a bouncy, hyper breath of fresh air.