In 2010, “Kick-Ass” became one of the most exciting comic book adaptations of all time. It met the level of quality and brutal violence set by “Sin City,” so a sequel was an obvious decision. Comic writer Mark Millar continued the story, but writer/director Matthew Vaughn (the awesome guy also behind “X-Men: First Class” and “Stardust”) didn’t return. Less experienced and less talented writer/director Jeff Wadlow took on the task of adapting a sequel, but it neither packs as many thrills nor as much fun. After its release on Aug. 16, fans will be entertained but not blown away.
After “Kick-Ass,” Hit-Girl/Mindy Macready’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) father, Big Daddy (Nic Cage), is dead, so she is now living with his former partner Sgt. Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut). Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has tried to return to normal life but is bored. Mindy attempts to train him behind Marcus’ back, but Marcus makes Mindy promise to quit that life and focus on the young woman she has become (a.k.a. Hit-Girl hit puberty and now drools over boys). Dave doesn’t want to work alone, so he finds Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison) online, leading him to join a group of costumed heroes led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico/Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) wants revenge for the death of his father (Mark Strong), pushing him to become super villain Motherf***er. Chris recruits a team of henchmen and tracks down Dave’s new team for payback.
Overall, “Kick-Ass 2” doesn’t measure up to the previous film. One of the best features of the first film is the level of crazy brought by Nicolas Cage; Jim Carrey almost fills that comedic yet heroic gap, but he doesn’t have nearly enough screen time. He is, however, the greatest asset to the film and gives one of his most diverse performances. Mintz-Plasse and his team of henchmen also fail to be worthy villains without Mark Strong. Eventually, Mintz-Plasse’s character becomes annoying and his crew offers nothing interesting except Mother Russia’s (Olga Kurkulina) hulking muscles.
Maybe it’s a bit of a rant, but why is Chloe Grace Moretz in everything? Her acting is often emotionless and cold, which suits her gruesome roles but feels robotic. Her casting in roles such as Hit-Girl seems to be because she is willing and has permission to do these inappropriate roles for youth rather than because of any above-average talent. Beginning to worry about upcoming “Carrie.” Anyway…
A subplot darkly focuses on the loss of a father, like many comic stories do, and how that affects the characters. How each character deals with loss and how it defines their sense of self is what determines the kind of person they become. This juxtaposition clearly gets to the heart of the film.
“Kick-Ass 2” is hindered by its sentimentality and “Mean Girls” storyline with Mindy. More attention to the villain and hero teams could pump up the adrenaline while giving an opportunity for darker humor. Unfortunately, the three principle characters have too large of storylines while adding so many new characters, such as Chris’ random criminal uncle that serves no purpose. The film is watchable, but Wadlow should have tidied it up. Also, stay through the end credits for a short teaser ending.
Rating for “Kick-Ass 2:” C+
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Kick-Ass 2” is playing at most theaters in Columbus, including Gateway and Marcus Crosswoods and Pickerington. For showtimes, click here.