Movie audiences were given a special treat when "Kick-Ass" was released in 2010. It had a unique blend of vulgar comedy and violence while humanizing the characters. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was excellent in the role of Dave Lizewski, a high-school kid who had grown tired of watching bullies get their way. Chloe Grace Moretz was phenomenal as Mindy Macready, a young girl whose youth was spent learning to disarm and dismember evildoers. With the classic theme of good versus evil wrapped into a coming-of-age tale, the original film was wildly popular among critics and audiences. As more graphic novels of the same name were released, a sequel to the film seemed inevitable. Although it had a new director, most of the talented cast returned, and Hollywood heavyweights John Leguizamo and Jim Carrey elected to join in on the fun.
"Kick-Ass 2" (watch trailer) was released on Aug. 16th, 2013, along with "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and the Ashton Kutcher vehicle "Jobs." While Oprah Winfrey's return to the silver screen was receiving early Oscar praise, the biopic about the Apple guru fell short of expectations. Somewhere in the middle, "Kick-Ass 2" struck a good balance between critical examination and box-office results. Movie critics occasionally over-think films, and that may have been the case with this sequel. The freshness of the original offering made most critics feel like "Kick-Ass 2" failed to live up to their expectations, but an overwhelming majority of moviegoers disagree.
The target demographic of this movie is young adults with money in their pockets, and they view the experience of a trip to the multiplex as a relief from their daily grind. For these viewers, "Kick-Ass 2" offered them exactly what they wanted: a profanity-fueled escape from reality. In the first act of the film, Dave narrates the events that have transpired since the end of the first movie. He and Mindy have been forced to trade in their alter egos for the somewhat mundane process of being regular kids, and fans of the film can easily identify with their struggles. After Dave convinces Mindy to further her training as a superhero, an unfortunate series of events forces Hit-Girl to hang up her costume in an effort to appease her foster father. At this point, Dave decides that he needs to meet like-minded individuals, and he teams up with Carrey's Colonel Stars and Stripes and a ragtag group of regular people who have differing reasons for seeking justice. This story arc rings true with film enthusiasts who have found themselves in circumstances in which they would do anything to find closure from a painful memory. Since every good film needs a great villain, "Kick-Ass 2" chronicles the rise of "the world's first supervillain" in Christopher Mintz-Plasse's character, The Motherf***er. Chris D'Amico's father was killed by Kick-Ass in the first movie, and he has held a grudge ever since. After accidentally killing his mother while she is in a tanning bed, he changes his alter ego from Red Mist to his new identity and begins assembling a team of nefarious individuals to exact revenge on his mortal enemy. Mintz-Plasse does a remarkable job of conveying the angst and loneliness that any teenager would feel after the loss of his parents, and his over-the-top spending habits are familiar to those who have witnessed the rise and fall of wayward Hollywood youths.
Chloe Grace Moretz's Hit-Girl once again steals the show from the title character. She has matured in the three years since audiences last saw her. Her dedication to her adoptive parent is constantly at odds with the upbringing her biological father provided, and she clearly communicates her inner turmoil. A sequence of events that would make most young girls wither forces her to finally be true to her nature, and viewers of the film are treated to the special blend of brutality and feistiness that only Hit-Girl can provide. The writers, producers, and director of "Kick-Ass 2" were faced with a difficult task: living up to the promise of the original film while showing the characters' struggles as they deal with the difficulties of growing up. Most people who view this film in theaters agree that the film hits all the necessary points. This movie keeps the jokes coming, and the action sequences are guaranteed to satisfy any fan of the genre. The lead actors do an excellent job balancing their superhero identities with the vulnerability of youth, which makes them identifiable to moviegoers.