The Good: High energy action, knows how to tell a story, unlike any other superhero movie other than its predecessor, a unique “real” but ridiculous feel
The Bad: The acting isn’t as solid this time around, too ridiculous for its own good, not much new social commentary above that in the original
Release Date: August 16, 2013
I was a big fan of Kick-Ass. It was a solid action movie, had a thoroughly entertaining and fun story, and broke all the genre clichés of its time to do something both exhilarating and unique. On a deeper level, it challenged viewers to reexamine our own world and many of the issues going on at the time. Kick-Ass 2 is a fine sequel, just not a great one. It’s bigger and adds to every aspect of the first movie, but it falls short in that many of the first film’s traits didn’t need to be expanded on. Overall, Kick-Ass 2 is just too much, and it loses a lot of the connection the first film was able to establish with its audience.
Kick-Ass 2 picks up soon after the first film left off. Mindy is trying to be a normal girl after the death of her father and Dave wants to continue to be Kick-Ass, but knows he needs to up his game to even have a chance in the real world. The two become friends, and help each other to come to understandings neither would have been able to find on their own. As it progresses, the cast introduces a lot of new heroes and Chris returns to seek his revenge on Kick-Ass. For the first thirty minutes or so, the movie is entertaining enough, but doesn’t do enough of the cliché breaking to reach out and grab you. Once it does (and boy does it), it quickly begins stepping over that line just a little too far and trying too hard. It’s like dating someone you enjoy, but who is just a little too interested and tries too hard to keep your attention. Actually, it’s like a seventh grade boy on a date, trying to be cool by showing how gross and badass he can be and ultimately driving the girl away bit by bit.
If you saw the first film, you’ll be expecting this one to be violent and highly profane, and it definitely ups the bar there. This is one you’ll want to think carefully about before allowing even your early teenagers to see it. That said, it has several truly hilarious (if highly immature) moments, and the action scenes feel visceral and alive despite the level of ridiculousness. All of the fight scenes were well done and the movie has a great build in tension throughout that stands as a testament to the filmmaker’s storytelling abilities. For all its faults, there is a strong story with good characters at Kick-Ass 2’s core, it just gets covered up in its push for style and laughs.
I found Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s (Dave’s) acting to be a little more hit or miss in this one than it was in the first movie. There were scenes where he sold it well, and others that I just couldn’t buy. I’m not sure whether it was his fault, the director’s, or the writers, but I found I just couldn’t get behind him emotionally like I could in the first film. Luckily, he splits his screen-time this time around with Chloe Grace Moretz’s Mindy/Hit Girl and, as she has in her last several movies, she does a great job of bringing some subtlety to her character. Christopher Mintz-Plasse ‘s Chrsi D’Amico takes up the role of primary villain this time around, and while he probably played it exactly as they wanted him to, it is hard to believe in him as a true threat to our heroes and the filmmakers are forced to build tension in other ways.
If you enjoyed the first Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2 is worth seeing. It’s fun, has high energy, and does some things you haven’t seen before. With great fan service to the comics fans, for many of you, this is a movie you won’t want to miss. For everyone else though, much of this movie might be off-putting, and its over-the-top antics put it solidly into the comedy genre. If it had just a little more heart, social perspective, or true voice it could easily have been something more. As it stands, it’s a fun summer actioner with little more to offer.
Final Score: 6 out of 10