So, Kick-Ass 2 is the sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass (2010). If you haven’t seen Kick-Ass, what the hell is wrong with you! Go out and rent it this weekend!
I’ll begin by saying that I loved the first movie (I’d give it a solid rating of 8/10). Due to my love of Kick-Ass I went into this film with high expectations, which can, and often does lead to disappointment. Luckily for me this film didn’t disappoint, in fact it was, awesome! I can’t say the film was Kick-Ass because that shits just too easy, but yeah, the film was Kick-Ass.
So the film has three main narratives firstly there’s the narrative of the main character Dave Lizewski aka Kick-Ass (played by Aaron Tayor-Johnson). From the get-go you see how Kick-Ass has begun a revolution, with multiple heroes now patrolling the streets of New York City. Kick-Ass feeling the burden of heroism and struggling on his own at this point finds a team of superheroes led by Colonel Star and Stripes (played by Jim Carrey) and together they form “Justice Forever” a team of superheroes who take down bad guys across the city.
Secondly we have Hit-Girl (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) now living with her new guardian, a NYC cop and former partner of Big Daddy. Hit-Girl at this stage of her life has become conflicted over whether to keep a promise she made to her father which entails hanging up her cape and becoming a normal teenage girl who goes to school and doesn’t fight crime, or she continues to pursue her career as a superhero, teaming up with Justice Forever and kicking all kinds of ass around NYC.
Lastly we have McLovin’ aka Chris D’Amico i.e. Red Mist (his Superhero persona from the original Kick-Ass movie) and played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. God the casting director loves double barrelled surnames. Anyway D’Amico at this point is still mega pissed off with Kick-Ass for blowing up his dad with a bazooka from the first movie and now wants to exact his revenge, but not after taking up his new super villainous persona “The Motherfucker” (brilliant!). The Motherfucker begins recruiting a team of super villains to amass an army who will not only attempt to kill all superheroes, but also reek havoc across NYC.
I have to say that there’s no way you can love the first movie and not like this one. To be it was a natural progression from the first movie.
I’m going to now discuss the cons of the film, what I didn’t like about it (which isn’t much) and then highlight what I loved. First off, in the Kick-Ass 2 movie trailers there is a distinctive scene, you see Hit-Girl spa with Kick-Ass and you hear her say “oh put your tampon away Dave” after she judo-chops him to the floor. That line was never in the film?! I don’t know why the director decided to take that line out? That’s false advertising! The scene is there but the line isn’t, weird. So I’m disappointed with that to say the least. In addition it’s clear that Matthew Vaughn didn’t direct this movie. This is evident by the blatant over use of shaky cam on some of the action scenes. I’ve got a huge gripe with directors using shaky cam action sequences; now days directors are continuously doing it, what’s up with that shit? Shaky cam isn’t cool. STOP DOING IT!!! There are only a handful of directors that do it well; Jeff Wadlow (the director of Kick-Ass 2) is unfortunately not one of them. Remember the days when action sequences where properly framed, I miss those days. The thing is the coolest fight scenes in the movie were the ones where Wadlow didn’t use shaky cam. So the fact that he knows how to do action sequences without shaky cam proves he doesn’t need to do it, so why Jeff, why the mixed signals? Oh by the way Matt Vaughn recently married Claudia Schiffer, WOW!
My final gripe with the movie and again it’s only a small gripe is the use of Kick-Ass’s girlfriend. Now I’m not really a fan of watching the relationships between superheroes and their girlfriends develop on screen, purely because i’m just never convinced by it. I usually just see the relationship as a distractions from the movie (apart from Pepper Potts and Tony Stark whom have great chemistry and work very well together) however, a lot of time was spent on the relationship between Dave (Kick-Ass) and Katie in the first film. In Kick-Ass 2 you see one 30 second scene with Katie in it . The scene isn’t even at the beginning of the film, but randomly half way through. It’s a scene where she slaps Kick-Ass after thinking that he slept with Hit-Girl, then she simply walks away. That’s it! Oh I’m glad all the time people invested in the first movie wasn’t wasted. What’s that about? I was hoping to see their relationship develop a bit more than that. After that scene Kick-Ass begins hooking up with a fellow hero “Night Bitch” and even Hit-Girl develops a crush on him. Anyway that concludes my cons.
So before I delve into the delicious goodness of this action comedy I’m going to state that Kick-Ass 2 is my favourite superhero movie of the year so far. Not only that but my favourite comedy of the year also. I’d actually have it in my top 5 movies of 2013 (so far) and having seen roughly 35 films this year that’s no small feat.
I loved this sequel because unlike the first movie you had constant over-the-top action, ultra-violence and adult humour from beginning to end. In the first movie you had to be feed into the story before the action could really kick-off. By the way the action in this movie is ridiculously awesome something I’ve come to expect (and love) from the Kick-Ass franchise. If you recall the first movie was actually seen to be quite controversial; having a small girl brutally and violently attack grown men whislt using language like; fuck, shit and bastard. Maybe that’s controversial for the delicate ears and eyes of an American audience but not for us Brits. However they up the anti in the sequel with even more explicit language, sexual references and hardcore violence. Kick-Ass 2 really earns its R-rating (15 rating for UK viewers).
Another pro of the movie was Jim Carrey. Carrey gives (in my opinion) his most memorable comedic performance since “Me, Myself and Irene” and although I lost a bit of respect for him when he stated that he wasn’t going to promote the movie due to the high level of violence used in the film, his performance has somewhat restored my faith in him as a great comedic talent. Jim if you’re reading this, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of mate. Moving onto another brilliant comedic performance, props have to be given to Christopher Mintz-Plasse, The Motherfucker. So many of the comedic scenes from the movie are to do with his character and how bad-ass he wants to portray himself to the world, and compared to how we the audience see him it’s hilarious. Plasse was brilliant acting as both the main comic relief and villain of the movie.
All that being said I have to conclude this movie review by highlighting the true star of the movie, Chloë Grace Moretz/Hit-Girl. Some fans could argue that the movie could of been renamed “Hit-Girl” because there’s so much time spent on her character, however I’m going to regard that as a pro, simply put, because I can’t get enough of Hit-Girl. Seeing the balance between her conflicted on trying to become a normal kid at high school, trying to fit in and be liked by her peers versus her continual career as a superhero was a risky move for the writers to make but I thought it was executed very well. I felt that it made sense and was the natural progression for her character to take after the events of the first movie. There was at times a very Ferris Bueller esc vibe coming from some of the scenes with her in but overall I thought it enhanced the movie.
At the end of the day i’m going to give Kick-Ass 2 a rating of 8.25/10. I very slightly preferred it over the original. For me it was a better popcorn flick with great action and comedic dialogue. It has to be said though that the first Kick-Ass was a better directed movie, and was more groundbreaking for the time, utilising scenes such as the Hit-Girl strobe light scene where she attempts to save Big Daddy and stealthily takes out multiple goons was truly great directing and something that was lacking in Kick-Ass 2.
So have you seen Kick-Ass 2, if you did, what did you think? Did you agree or disagree with anything I said. Just comment below fellow movie lovers.
Reviewed by Louis Le Marquand