Opening this weekend is Kick-Ass 2. Matthew Vaughn who directed the first film only produces its sequel with director Jeff Wadlow stepping behind the camera. From the film’s official synopsis:
Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010's irreverent global hit: Kick-Ass 2. After Kick-Ass' (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) do-it-yourself vigilante bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—reborn as the super-villain The Motherf*cker—only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation.
Even though the original film wasn’t a huge financial hit in the United States in 2010, it garnered a cult following and the sequel was greenlit. With Matthew Vaughn taking over the X-Men franchise, the change in directors was expected, but the main cast members returned and the film leads itself into a possible third film.
As for the film itself, there’s a lot I liked about it and some things I didn’t. Overall I recommend it to those that enjoyed the first film and the graphic novels these films are based on. We’ll start with the positives.
Personal life aside, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is turning into a solid actor. Even though I didn’t particularly like Savages, I liked him a lot in it. He could easily have the career James Franco could have if Franco wasn’t so nuts (although with Taylor-Johnson’s personal life, who knows). He handles the role of Kiss-Ass with ease and even physically looks the part of a superhero.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse will always be McLovin’ to me, but again, he’s another solid actor. I can see him doing a ton of great character actor roles and cameos over his career (a great example is his work in This Is The End). With the death of his father in the first film by a bazooka (which is a great running joke in this movie), The Motherf*cker is everything you want in a young sociopath super villain. Probably my favorite character in the film.
The clear cut winner of the original movie was Chloe Moretz. Her Hit Girl stole the entire movie and the scene where she tries to save her father and Kick-Ass is absolutely brilliant. In Kick-Ass 2, Hit Girl is actually toned down for a more Mean Girls story arc for the young Moretz. Even though a lot of it was funny, I wasn’t really sure if it fit 100% into the movie, but man did one scene really foreshadow what could be a breakthrough performance from Moretz when the remake of Carrie hits theaters. Tormented by high school kids, you could see the rage building and I was so ready for Carrie to come out!
The supporting cast is pretty good too. I want to see Donald Faison in more things. Clark Duke returns from the first film and again steals some scenes, but Jim Carrey probably gets the biggest laughs. There’s been some controversy with Jim and the movie (which he started), but Carrey is great and brings some quality elements to it.
Another thing about the movie I liked was the references to other films/pop culture whether intentional or not. Besides the Mean Girls angle and Carrie like scene, there’s a Ferris Bueller type scene also. Hit Girl is trying to get back home before Morris Chestnut finds out she skipped school again and it’s totally Ferris vs. Ed Rooney. And look for a great Mark Millar Easter Egg in a flashback scene.
The biggest negative of the film besides some of the subplots was the direction. Kick-Ass had that crazy good scene with Hit Girl that I previously mentioned and just had a great style to it thanks to Vaughn. The sequel lacks that one shot or series that people will be talking about. It’s not badly directed, but it just doesn’t separate itself from other films. Bad direction and good direction always stand out, average direction just is and I think that’s the only way I can describe Kick-Ass 2’s direction, it just is. A lot of the film felt like it forced the vulgarity too. Sure some of it lead to funny jokes from Carrey telling people to watch their mouths, but some of it felt unnecessary or like it was trying to be edgy for the sake of being edgy.
Overall I enjoyed the film. I thought it was a bit funnier than the first one even though there seemed to be less action. The three main leads all have character development arcs and it isn’t till the very end that it all really leads somewhere, but it does eventually gets to where it needs to finish. Despite its flaws and as a fan of the original, I would watch Kick-Ass 2 again and most likely own it on DVD when it is released.
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