Kick-Ass 2 Brings Out The Superhero In All Of Us (Movie Review)

Kick-Ass-2-TNThe day is finally upon us.  A day that feels like it took forever to come.  Honestly, I was unsure if this day would ever happen, but the sequel to 2010’s Kick-Ass is finally here!!!  And it’s aptly named…Kick-Ass 2.  Well, let’s be honest.  They could have been a little more creative with that title, but I’m overjoyed this puppy is now in fruition and seeing the light of day.  So I’ll take what I can get.  And like it’s predecessor, Kick-Ass 2 is a superhero action comedy based on the comic book of the same name and the series known simply as Hit-Girl, which bridges the gaps between the first movie and the rise of the costumed heroes within the second film, by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.  The only difference this time out is we are minus Nicholas Cage and Matthew Vaughn, who directed the first film, is now a co-producer as Jeff Wadlow takes helm of everything we see onscreen.  So let the ass-kicking begin!


The premise here is simple and I think I can effectively cover the whole basis of the movie without spoiling anything.  So let’s see.  Inspired by events in the first film, residents of the city begin donning masks and wearing costumes to partake in…you guessed it…crime fighting!  Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) forms a special all-star team of heroes (think a Kick-Ass version of Justice League) and asks Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) to join them.  Meanwhile, Hit-Girl has chosen (more like has been forced) to retire and lead a normal life while Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has reincarnated and re-dubbed himself as The Mother F#$ker (edited for the littler readers of this site).  We will just call him TMF from here on out so we don’t have to keep messing with those ridiculous edits and top row symbols.  So TMF has similiar plans as Col. Stripes and Stars, but instead of it being for the better good of the city, he resurrects a super-villain army to hunt down and extract revenge on Kick-Ass for killing his father (referring to events at the end of the first film).  As the timeline grows, the superheroes start getting treated like vigilantes (think Batman or Spider-Man) and basically anyone wearing a mask is thrown in jail…no questions asked.  And this is where our story begins…


Before we go any farther, I think we need to pump the brakes and take a closer look at this all-star cast in Kick-Ass 2.  Returning from the original 2010 film, we are treated to the likes of Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, my favorite young actress Chloe Grace Moretz, Yancy Butler, Lyndsy Fonseca and the hilarious Clark Duke and sort of Augustus Prew (who’s filling the role of Todd vacated by Evan Peters).  New to this second installment, funny man Jim Carrey joins the all-star cast along with fresh, new faces such as Donald Faison, Robert Emms, Lindy Booth, Daniel Kaluuya, Olga Kurkulina and many more…even John Leguizamo.  Now we all probably heard the rumors from a month ago where all the sudden Jim Carrey has renounced the violence of Kick-Ass 2 so all I have to say is the following to him.  Hello?!  Did you not know what Kick-Ass was before you agreed to be part of it?!!  How stupid!  How about reading the script first next time, Mr. Carrey?  Thanks!  Aw…I feel better now that I got that off my shoulders.  Ha ha.


So I just got back from the screening at the time of this writing and all I got to say (well there’s more obviously) is hell yeah…this movie kicked a$$…in a fun and nostalgic kind of way.  It’s not as brilliant and original as the first film, but let’s face it if you’re not The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight or Matrix Reloaded, what second movies are?  However, that did not stop me from enjoying the hell out of this one and savoring every last second of the film’s 103-minute runtime.  Truth be told, I never wanted it to end.  You see to me…Kick-Ass is more than just a throwaway, superhero comic book movie.  It’s so much more.  The lessons the film teaches young adults about the growing pains of discovering who you are as an adolescent and dealing with/accepting the world around you is invaluable in my opinion.  Watching this made me feel like a kid again.  If it wasn’t for my most recent injuries from my bike fall last month and my labral tears in both my hips I’d be stitching together a crime fighting costume right now (instead of writing this obviously) and heading down to 6th street tonight to protect and serve the folks of Austin, Texas.  Call it a patriotic duty.  Call it whatever you want.  I don’t care.  Kick-Ass makes me want to go out into this cruel world and do good in my life and other’s.  And honestly…is there a better feeling to walk away with after watching a film?  I can’t think of any.  Can you?


Let’s talk actors for a minute if you don’t mind.  I think the real reason the majority of us are all gathered here today is because of Hit-Girl, right?  She stole the show in the first film, but how is she this time out?  Well, without any spoilers let’s just say she didn’t lose her potty mouth or lack any of her abilities to fight.  Does that make you feel relieved?  Well, it should.  What I’m trying to say is that if you’re a Hit-Girl fan, I don’t think you will walk away from this flick disappointed.  Sure she may be older, a bit lankier and at that awkward age where she’ll either blossom into a stunning beauty or turning into a hideous looking vampire baker, but the one thing you can’t deny…never ever…ever…is Chloe Grace Moretz’s acting chops.  I have not once been disappointed with her and I have loved her (not in that way people) ever since she “graced” the set of 500 Days of Summer.  I’ve been her biggest fan ever since.  No matter what the feature is, I’ll at least give it a watch just for her.  The best part…well okay the only good part of the recent Dark Shadows reincarnation was when she squared off against Depp.  Alright, I digress.  So the rest of the actors huh?


Aaron Taylor-Johnson picked up his role as David Lizewski/Kick-Ass like three years since the last film never happened.  I know the guy doesn’t have a lot of fans out there, but truthfully…I love him in this role.  He’s a natural born fit for it.  He brings to the screen confusion, tenderness and compassion and gives the character of Kick-Ass a sense of humanity under the mask.  Heck, I couldn’t even say that much for Snyder’s Superman in Man of Steel this year.  And he didn’t even wear a mask!  Clark Duke was funny as always, but the real dry spot on the  rainy sidewalk was Jim Carrey.  I’m undecided as to whether I loved him in this film or not.  He definitely looked like Carrey, but he didn’t feel like him…if that makes any sense?  I guess you could say he had fun with the role, but maintained a poker face throughout.  So yeah…I guess now that I had a few moments to dwell on it he did play his character effectively and I’m too tired and lazy to hit the delete key on my wireless iMac keyboard to clean those prior thoughts about him up.  And then there’s McLovin…haha…I’m sorry Christopher Mintz-Plasse.  He may be a lightweight in the film world, but this guy always brings his A-game and you can’t help but laugh at him.  He knows how to push those buttons in your belly to make you laugh while he genuinely brings awareness to the fact that he wants revenge on Kick-Ass.  The duality and conflict within him to be his own man made his story arc redeeming to me.  But we all know what ultimately happens to villains, don’t we?


So maybe it’s just me and maybe it isn’t.  Let’s take a vote.  What’s not to love about a film that’s a sequel to one of the most outrageous, bold and ambitious coming of age, superhero movies ever made?  It’s already got a great setup and storyline right from the get go…even the same catchy score.  You absolutely know what you are getting yourself into.  And instead of three superheroes (of course I’m counting Big Daddy from the first film), you got ordinary citizens (even ones with purses) taking up arms to keep our streets safe with names like Doctor Gravity, Insect Man, Night Bitch, Battle Guy, Ass-Kicker and villains such as Black Death, Mother Russia and The Tumor.  How do you not instantly fall in love with this film?  This is a no-brainer for the fans of the first entry.  Of course you should go.  However, that’s not to say this is a perfect film.  Sometimes I felt it struggled to cohesively identify itself or focus on a theme, but hey…it’s Kick-Ass!  Who cares.  Have a good time!   I loved the setup, the premise and the struggles/lessons learned our heroes are taught and handle throughout.  Just because the action is crazy and over-the-top doesn’t mean the film doesn’t have heart or any message.  It’s like Peter’s uncle always said that with great power comes great responsibility.  Kick-Ass is living proof of that.  There’s always a consequence for our actions.  And yes!  For all of you that are wondering, make sure you stay after the credits.  There is a scene!  Other than that I encourage you to go see Kick-Ass this weekend and to also have one hell of a kick-a$$ time doing so.  And remember parents…this is Rated-R for a reason (nudity, violence, gore, language).  But take your kids anyway!  They’ll love you for it!



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