The problem with sequels is that sometimes you miss the mark. That’s really all there is to it. Maybe it came too late and the audience has already forgotten about the first film. Maybe there was a miscalculation and where the audience wanted more of A, Hollywood thought they wanted more of B. These things happen, and unfortunately they happened to Kick-Ass 2.
Picking up where Kick-Ass left off, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) are trying to get back to their day-to-day lives. However, while Dave has embraced normalcy and no longer needs to be Kick-Ass, Mindy trains constantly, still eager to don her Hit-Girl costume and fight crime whenever possible.
Eventually, Dave comes around and asks Mindy to train him so that he can be a better fighter, while also venturing out and discovering a whole world of normal people eager to be super-heroes and make a difference in people’s lives. He ends up meeting Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison, aka Turk from Scrubs) and falls in with an actual ‘league’ of superheroes, put together by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey, who, despite his public statements against the film, turns in the best performance).
With this small group of heroes, Dave actually starts to make a difference again, including saving several women from a life of prostitution. However, unbeknownst to him, his arch-nemesis Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has suffered a total meltdown and is now the truly evil super villain The Motherfucker.
All The Motherfucker can think about is revenge, and he hires as many killers, criminals and crazies as he can in order to hunt down and destroy Kick-Ass and his friends.
So there’s the whole plot in a nutshell. Sounds pretty standard for a superhero sequel, right? Well, I failed to mention just how many subplots there are. While Dave embraces his superhero self, Mindy spends the middle half of the film trying to lose hers. Every time one of them makes up their mind in one direction, the other does a 180. Basically, we’re forced to sit through two character’s costant self-doubt for almost the entire film. That gets sort of redundant.
Additionally, the film itself doesn’t seem interested in following the plot unless it has to. There’s a whole lot of additional scenes that are only there in an attempt to amuse the audience, and they don’t always work. While the first Kick-Ass seemed to have a wry intelligence to it, bluntly showing how ridiculous it would be to have superheroes in the real world, the sequel does its best to make everything a laughing matter.
Every time something serious occurs on-screen, you can be sure that it will be followed with a quip, a joke, or a sight gag. Every single time. Yes, some of the jokes are downright hilarious, but others are just terrible, and they fall flat both onscreen and in the audience. I will admit that there is some payoff with running jokes, but it wasn’t nearly enough to save the film from its flat characters and flatter writing.
As far as the violence goes, it’s somehow far more cartoonish than the original. Blood sprays and bodies fly, but it feels more like a video game with the physics turned down than a comic book.
While I thoroughly enjoyed Kick-Ass to the extent that it was one of my few DVD purchases that year, I do not think I’ll be picking up Kick-Ass 2 as it really does feel like a lame cash-in that brings nothing new to the table. You get all the old characters and a few new ones, then they run around, have a few crises, find themselves (again) and win the day.
Kick-Ass 2: C-