Holy crap, could it be I’m actually posting multiple articles in the same week?! Man, proactivity is such an alien feeling to me! Or, y’know, it would be if I hadn’t written this in April and just now realized I had forgotten to post it. Actually, wouldn’t that still be proactivity? Because I was planning ahead for the future or-ah, screw it.
(Spoiler Alert: Spoilers for Kick-Ass are included in this review, so if you haven’t watched that movie yet, and you plan to (Which you should) do it now. Like right now. I’ll wait. Otherwise, go right on ahead.)
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Produced by: Adam Bohling, Tarquin Peck, Matthew Vaughn, Brad Pitt, David Reid
Screenplay by: Jeff Wadlow
Based on: Kick-Ass 2 and Hit-Girl by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.
Sequel to: Kick-Ass (2010)
Genres: Superhero, Dark comedy, Action
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, Morris Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Donald Faison, Lindy Booth, Clark Duke
Music by: Henry Jackman, Matthew Margeson
Plot: Now that New York City is patrolled by real-life superheroes, inspired by the world’s first real-life superhero, Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), the Wet-suit Crusader himself decides to retire from crime-fighting, trying to return to his regular life as high-school senior Dave Lizewski. However, he didn’t count on high school life being boring as shit in comparison to taking down mob bosses. Un-retiring, he recruits the help of Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz) to help him get properly trained (As, let’s face it, he’s a really crappy fighter). Mindy is doing some adjustments of her own after the death of her father, the costumed vigilante, Big Daddy, and her subsequent adoption by his dad’s old cop buddy, Marcus (Morris Chestnut). When Marcus discovers that Mindy has continued to fight crime as Hit-Girl, he makes her promise to give it up, leaving Kick-Ass tutor-less. Desperate for some fellow superhero company, Dave hooks up with a superhero team called “Justice Forever”, led by an ex-Mafia, born-again Christian bad-ass named Sal Bertolinni, who goes by the uber patriotic moniker of Colonel Stars & Stripes.
Meanwhile, on Long Island, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has kind of lost his damn mind after the death of his father at Kick-Ass’s hands. After the accidental death of his mother, Chris decides to adopt another costumed persona in order to take revenge on Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl. Forfeiting his superhero identity of Red Mist, Chris dresses up in his deceased mother’s bondage gear and renames himself “The Motherfucker.”
I sincerely believe that the first Kick-Ass is one of the top 10 superhero movies of all time, and I’m not exactly one who skips out on watching superhero movies. It might not have been as mind-blowingly original as some people claim it to be, but it’s still one of my five favourite movies of all time. It kind of hit the perfect balance between lighthearted, foul-mouthed humour and gleeful bloodletting. It almost got to the point where there were some minor tonal issues, but hey, it managed to pull off the contrast without looking like a total mess.
Unfortunately, that’s this movie’s biggest failing: Tone. The first movie had its serious moments, sure, but for the most part, it took so much joy in what it was doing, at once satirizing and paying respects to the superhero genre. This movie seems a little lost. It keeps more or less the same type of goofy, vulgar humour, and that’s okay, because who gives a shit about swear words? No, it’s when the movie tries to be dark and gritty that it falls its face. I mean, the first movie wasn’t exactly a Disney movie…
… But it never took violence seriously, it was all very cartoonish and again that’s okay. It worked in the context of the film. This movie takes it to a whole new level of carnage though. The blood flows freely, like before, but in addition to that, people’s necks are getting broken on-screen, people are getting hung, and there’s an attempted rape at one point (Easily the worst scene in the movie). It can feel really jarring and takes me right out of the movie. It’s just another example of people watching The Dark Knight or The Empire Strikes Back and mindlessly assuming that “darker” necessarily means better. This is how you get movies like Revenge of the Sith or, indeed, Kick-Ass 2, although the latter movie is still infinitely superior to the hunk of shit that was Revenge of the Sith.
My only other serious problem with the movie is that, aside from Hit-Girl, there really is an unsettling lack of good female characters. Maybe I’m looking too much into, but it seems to me that, again, aside from Mindy Macready, all the women are either being sexually objectified (Cough, Night Bitch, cough) or are total bitches (Katie, Chris’s mom, Mindy’s classmates). And while we’re on the topic of female character, what exactly was the point of the character of Night Bitch? She is a completely pointless character and her replacing Katie (Who incidentally, was a much better character in the first movie) as the primary love interest boggles my mind.
To the movie’s credit, it does a lot of things right. Replacing Matthew Vaughn as director is screenwriter Jeff Wadlow, and he does a serviceable (Albeit inferior to Vaughn) job of moving the action along, even if he makes all-too frequent use of goddamn shaky-cam. The dialogue, while not as clever, funny or well-written in general as the first Matthew Vaughn/Jane Goldman script, still does the job and contributes laugh (And frequent profanity).
Christopher Mintz-Plasse bored me, quite frankly, as the Motherfucker. It just seemed too over-the-top for somebody whose edgiest role before this movie was McLovin’. He wasn’t bad, I suppose, but I just didn’t buy it as much as I bought his more meek, cowardly character in the previous movie. As for Jim Carrey, he doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of in this movie, despite his cutting all ties with it due to excessive violence. He was clearly having tons of fun as Colonel Stars & Stripes and got to deliver some of the more bad-ass lines in the entire movie. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, while not quite as charming as he was in the first film, is still the only possible person who could play Kick-Ass, and is suitably dorky as Dave Lizewski.
Let’s be real though. The real star of the show isn’t Taylor-Johnson or Carrey, but child actress Chloë Grace Moretz as the savage Hit-Girl. Even if there were some choices taken with her character that I felt weakened her character (Cough, love interest, cough), Moretz is just the biggest bad-ass as Hit-Girl. I never thought I would ever declare a child actor to be irreplaceable in a role, but hey, there’s a first time for everything. This girl is gonna be huge.
Plus, “ability to wield bladed weapons” is really high up there on my list of turn-ons.
Oh give me a break, she’s only two months younger than me.
Overall: It’s not for everybody, and I’ll be damned if I’d let my hypothetical children watch it, but if you don’t mind bloody, violent comedies, and are prepared to maybe watch something that doesn’t quite know when to tone it down, than Kick-Ass 2 should prove enjoyable enough. Maybe hold off on eating while watching, though.