Kick Ass 2 Review

Kick Ass 2

I’m just going to say it.

I thought Kick Ass was hands-down the most entertaining film of 2010.

There.

And given that this was a film featuring a loser in a wetsuit teaming up with a father-daughter superhero duo to cheerfully massacre mob members, this probably speaks volumes about what I constitute as entertainment.

So my admiration for the first film therefore meant that a sequel would either be a highly accomplished bar-raiser, or a gut wrenching disappointment.

As it turns out, somewhere between the two. But veering more on the side of the former.

Kick Ass 2 continues the story of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and his insane quest to be the world’s first real-life superhero. Chloë Grace Moretz is back as Dave’s sidekick-cum-mentor, Hit Girl.

Following the events of the previous film, both are trying to find their place in life: he, by joining a group of Kick Ass-inspired costumed vigilantes; she, by navigating the arguably more perilous waters of high school.

However, neither are prepared for the vengeance soon to be wreaked by Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has shunned the guise of Red Mist and reinvented himself as the supervillain known as The Motherf*cker.

The film is, for the most part, a faithful adaptation of Mark Millar’s frenetically violent follow-up to the first Kick Ass graphic novel. The film however wisely chooses to either comically dilute, or completely sidestep, two of the graphic novel’s more envelope-pushing scenes.

Which isn’t to say that Kick Ass 2 is watered down in any way.

Kick Ass 2

It continues the trend of OTT violence and packs in enough ‘I can’t believe they said/did that’ moments as its predecessor.

And the script also wisely seasons any dangerously sentimental moments with sprinklings of wisecracking profanity.

However, where the first film had an edge and a freshness, the sequel tries desperately to match this without ever really bettering it.

The parallels drawn between Hit Girl’s identity crisis and standard high school angst are novel, but smack too much of Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Clueless.

And director Jeff Wadlow, whose last film was teen-fight-club drama Never Back Down, lacks the irreverence which Brit Matthew Vaughan brought to the table. If

anything, the majority of the action is too choreographed, which misses the awkward charm of the first film.

The cast are solid though: Johnson slips nicely back into the main role, whilst an unrecognisable Jim Carrey fills Nicolas Cage’s shoes as father-figure Colonel Stars & Stripes.

However the real star of the show, as we always knew, is Moretz. This is no mean feat given how her character has changed. A twelve year old girl with a knife? That’s edgily quirky. A fifteen year old girl with a knife? That’s an ASBO.

But Moretz pulls if off. So don’t be surprised if a third film is less Kick Ass 3 and more Hit Girl Rises.

Overall, filmgoers seeking general blockbuster entertainment should be heartily pleased, whilst fans of the first Kick Ass film should be more or less satisfied, if not wowed.

Conor Brennan

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