Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
OK, let’s be clear, 1) we personally refer to our self as a “Heroist” (a word we coined indicating that we believe in the cult of heroes), 2) we thoroughly enjoyed the first Kick-Ass film, 3) we seriously hated the comicbook on which it was based because it deemed to not so much deconstruct the mythos of heroes as ridicule them. That out of the way, we’ll now chat about the sequel, Kick-Ass 2 (this time we didn’t read the comic on which it was based).
So, when last we saw the young vigilante Kick-Ass (Taylor-Johnson) and his junior “partner” the cold-as-ice assassin, nihilist, Hit Girl (Moretz), they managed to take down the biggest criminal in the city, broke his organization and seemed to have given up their superhero ways and were attempting to go back to living as normal high school teenagers as regular ol’ Dave and Mindy. Still, that old feeling of wearing spandex and kicking the crap out of evildoers apparently never quite goes away, as Mindy has kept up with her training. Eventually, Dave comes back around and puts his suit back on again, going back on patrol. Unfortunately, Mindy’s guardian, Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut) catches her sneaking out to fight crime as Hit Girl, and forced to retire, leaving Kick-Ass to head over to the Internet to search for a new partner. What he winds up is a rag-tag collection of “heroes” that make the Great Lake Avengers look positively heroic.
So now, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with this collection of misfits (including Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), a born-again ex-mobster). Meanwhile, the now-retired Mindy is forced to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. Things might have worked out for everyone, but well, wee all know that simply ‘aint gonna happen. As it turns out Chris D'Amico (Mintz-Plasse) — the hero formerly known as Red Mist — is still pretty pissed off at Kick-Ass for blowing up his dad with a bazooka, so he re-dubs himself as The Motherfucker and uses his father’s ill-gotten gains to form the brotherhood of evil bad-asses or somesuch, and they then go after Kick-Ass and his buddies.
As can be expected this results in all sorts of ultra-violence, as the world's first league of mediocre supervillains puts into place a plan to get back at Kick-Ass and Hit Girl which then escalates to involve not all members of the good-guy franchise, Justice Forever, but virtually every other self-proclaimed superhero in the city, in what can only be described as a gleefully Tarantino –esque, blood bath of wild abandon. Still, while this film not only was written by the same writer, and based on the same original material, and has all of the major players from the first film (and comic), it falls far short of the original film in how whip-smart, sardonic, and entertaining it is, for the simple reason that it spends way too much time moralizing about how heroes should really be, and what is our place in this world as heroic figures.
The whiplash effect that we as viewers receive from this back-and-forth ping-ponging between afternoon special moralizing and the unadulterated delight of over-the-top, random blood-splattering violence, is nearly more than we, as both fan of the original film and reviewer of this film can bear. We wanted to like this film, truly we did, but it seems that the people behind the film somehow wanted to get up on a Stan Lee-style soap box to spout hollow-sounding homilies on the nature of heroes. Sorry guys, you can do one or the other, but you simply can’t do both, especially when you so clearly are not on the house of heroes yourselves.
So, sure, go and enjoy the self-indulgent narcissism and over-blown deconstructionism, insincere moralizing, and unrepentant violence, but be aware that this film is just not as well as good (nor entertaining) as the first, but rest assured, firm in the knowledge that when most (non-comicbook reading) people see this film, they think that this is what comicbooks are all about, (Oh, and the folks who produced this film made a boat-load of money helping to propagate those myths.
Happy heroing, kids!
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.