Review: Kick-Ass 2


Kick-Ass 2 posterThe movie Kick-Ass 2 has already seen a bit of controversy as of late -- one of its stars, Jim Carrey, decried the amount of violence in it and announced his change of heart about gun violence on film after the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut late last year. He said he would not participate in any promotion of the movie, he just took his check and went about his way.

As it turns out, the gun violence is actually one of more tame elements in the sequel to the breakout hit from 2010. Homophobia, pedophilia, sexualization of minors and rape humor are much more stinging in Kick-Ass 2.  All of that ickiness (the only word really) turned what was a highly anticipated sequel with some really well-shot and kind of cool action scenes into something that makes you feel dirty for watching at times.

The story begins a short time after the events of the first film. Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is enjoying the legacy that his superhero alter ego has left on the city, but he's not done being a hero. Neither is Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz). Every day she uses the fighting skills her father taught her, and she skips school and continues to train to become even more of an ultimate bad-ass killer than she was in the first movie.

Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass train until she has a change of heart, leaving Kick-Ass to fend for his own until he joins a band of similarly motivated superheroes. Meanwhile, a new supervillain is emerging (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and his name is one that I won't utter here, but he is the son of the crime boss Kick-Ass killed in the first movie.

A lot of Kick-Ass 2 feels like a retread of the first movie, which is a sure-fire way for a sequel to immediately feel inferior to the first one. The movie also has this incredibly strange subplot with Mindy (aka Hit-Girl) trying to fit in with the popular mean girls at her school. If you've ever wanted to see a short film version of Mean Girls with the naive girl fighting back in a pretty disgusting way, you'll get to check that off your bucket list here.

On one hand, Kick-Ass 2 does everything on a much grander scale than the first one. It's more violent, the action is better overall, it's much better shot, Moretz being older makes the action seem more authentic when she is involved. On the other hand, what made the first movie work doesn't work at all in this one. The action being on a grander scale takes all of the emotional stakes out of it. Hit-Girl is almost too good at beating people up, in fact. While that's fine, the other negative stuff doesn't make for a good experience watching. If anything, you're very conflicted throughout.

I'm hard pressed to say whether or not Kick-Ass 2 is a good film. Some people won't feel very good watching it, and it's definitely not as clever as the first film. A more violent and grandiose movie does not a better film make. That's certainly the case here with Kick-Ass 2.