The first "Kick-Ass" had this proper balance of comedy, drama, and action that made it incredibly entertaining. Even Nicolas Cage had a strong performance in the film. Maybe it's the absence of stars like Cage and Mark Strong and that director Matthew Vaughn was replaced with Jeff Wadlow for the sequel that cause "Kick-Ass 2" to be a lesser film in comparison to the original or that the writing just doesn't cut it at all.
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) becomes worried about patroling the streets alone as Kick-Ass after the events of the first film. He proposes a team up with Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace-Moretz), whom he also begins training with. But Mindy made a promise to her dad that her guardian Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut) expects her to keep, which causes Mindy to give up crime fighting altogether. So Dave finds a team to join lead by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and featuring the likes of Doctor Gravity (Donald Faison) and Night Bitch (Lindy Booth). While Kick-Ass finally finds the team he always wanted to be a part of, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is planning his revenge and the uprising of The Motherf%&*^r begins.
While Jim Carrey publicly stated that the violence in "Kick-Ass 2" was too severe for him to promote, Colonel Stars and Stripes is the best part of the film. The character will have you wishing that the role was a bit bigger than it is, but the accent Carrey uses along with the character's brief background, fantastic dialogue, and quick switch into his hyperviolent mode makes Colonel Stars and Stripes the most memorable character of the film. The Colonel's dog Eisenhower is a very close second.
Donald Faison is also quite amusing despite only having a very small role and most of Hit-Girl's action sequences are as awesome as ever. Christopher Mintz-Plasse has his moments while John Leguizamo actually brings shades of compassion as Chris D'Amico's bodyguard Javier. The scene involving Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina) putting her $50,000 a week to good use is great because it's so ridiculous.
Everything else surrounding the film either leaves you feeling very mixed about the film or leaves you disliking what you just witnessed. While Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace-Moretz give stronger performances than in comparison to "Kick-Ass," the overall product is of inferior quality. The majority of the humor feels extremely juvenile. Hit-Girl was always foul-mouthed, but she also had heart. Now it all just seems so forced. Even as a fan of toilet humor, the "sick stick" is a bit much. Mindy and Dave go through exactly the same story arc, as well. This doesn't sound like much of an issue on the surface, but when you have to watch Mindy be gung-ho about being a superhero, then not want to be one, then want to be one again before Dave goes through exactly the same thing in the span of an hour and 40 minutes it all becomes a little redundant and tiresome.
We know there's no chance Big Daddy is returning for this film, but do they have to point that out so often in this sequel? It honestly seems like you see Big Daddy's empty costume half a dozen times in the film. It's a basic thing to do for a superhero story, but showing it so often kind of makes it lose its meaning. The ending and after credits scene is massively predictable while the Hit-Girl sequence on top of the van has her being a bit more agile than she should be in a situation like that. The entire "Mean Girls" and high school drama side story that Mindy goes through feels like nothing more than a pit stop, which it is.
There are a few things "Kick-Ass 2" does right like introduce a few really memorable new characters and it does manage to land a joke or two every once in awhile, but saying it stands in the shadow of its predecessor is an understatement. Its monotonous writing restrains the sequel from enhancing the story the way that it should. "Kick-Ass 2" lacks maturity and no amount of Union J can fix that.
"Kick-Ass 2" will be released in theaters Friday, August 16.