If there was ever an ‘alternative’ comic book film, it would have to be 2010’s Kick-Ass. With its over-exaggerated violence and dark humour, the film helped popularise Mark Millar’s cult comic. But with the original film’s director and writer, Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman respectively, jumping ship to revitalise the X-Men franchise, a relative unknown was chosen to write and direct the sequel.
Kick-Ass 2 sees Dave ‘Kick-Ass’ Lizewski and Mindy ‘Hit Girl’ McCready (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Moretz respectively) try and move on with their non-vigilante lives. But as Dave gets restless and teams up with a new gang of wannabe heroes, Chris ‘Red-Mist’ D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is hell-bent on revenge, forming his own gang to take down Kick-Ass.
The theme of choosing real-life over a career of crimefighting is quite consistent – ironic, seeing as superheroes are depicted as an almost fantastical form of escapism. The fact that Dave wants to continue being the vigilante – despite the near-death experience in the first film – is inexplicable; unlike Mindy, he hasn’t been prepared since his childhood; you would have thought that he would have avoided getting his ass kicked for a while?
The story, though primed by common personal motivations, takes a while to culminate to a long-awaited confrontation. As a result, particular storylines, such as Mindy’s awkward initiation of being a typical teenage girl, unnecessarily overlap, so various supporting roles are cut short before they have a chance to fully develop. One wasted opportunity is Carrey’s cocky Colonel Stars and Stripes; arguably the most anticipated character in the ensemble, his presence doesn’t have enough screen time for him to become the scene stealer that is expected of him.
While Mintz-Plasse seems to continue his streak of socially awkward teens, Taylor-Johnson returns to Kick-Ass with renewed confidence after a spell of mature features. As the disciple becomes the master, Moretz shows that she still has more balls than her male co-stars, taking more than her fair share of the action sequences. Even with the clique high school scenes, she shows that she can do more than remakes.
It may build itself on over exaggeration and controversy but director Madlow maintains the same level of enjoyable profanity and violence from the first film, making this a worthwhile sequel – something that is quite rare nowadays.
Occasionally confusing but immensely enjoyable, Kick-Ass 2 is an ideal anecdote for those needing a fun comic-book adaptation.
Kick-Ass 2 is out in UK cinemas on Wednesday 14th August.
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Runtime: 103 min
Country: USA, UK