The first “Kick-Ass” was a surprsingly fun comic book movie about an every day teen trying to become a superhero. The film, with its outlandish violence, poked fun at how ridiculous an idea being a superhero really was. Throw in the fact that the only “real” superhero is a 12-year-old potty mouthed girl called Hit-Girl, and you have an over-the-top actioner that has as much fun with the genre as it does making fun of it.
After spending a good 15-20 minutes harping on what happened in the original, complete with ridiculous photos hanging aroud of characters who died in the previous installment, “Kick-Ass 2” finds Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), aka Kick-Ass and Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz), aka Hit-Girl, struggling to adapt to every day life. Mindy skips school every day to train and quickly pulls a relutant Dave back into the game as well, because just as Katie Holmes said to Christian Bale in “Batman Begins,” the face of Bruce Wayne was his real mask. The face the criminals saw was their real face.
The film then takes a complete 180 as Hit-Girl, the real superhero of the group, tries to retire and lead a normal life, a la “Superman II” while Kick-Ass is embracing the life of a superhero, going so far as to join Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and a group of other crime fighters as they take on a new group of villains, led by a revamped Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Mother Russia, who looks like the female version of Zangieff from “Street Fighter II.” Hit-Girl was a revelation in 2010. Seeing a 12-year-old girl do and say the things she did was unheard of, giving “Kick-Ass” a you-gotta-see-this it factor missing in the sequel. Sure, Hit-Girl is still sort of fun, but at 15 the luster of a girl spouting out curse words right and left while dispensing of bad guys has worn off.
“Kick-Ass 2” doesn’t know what it wants to be or how to get there. It borrows elements from other comic book movies while trying to throw some ideas of its own against the wall, hoping something will stick. Plotlines, especially the one involving Hit-Girl trying to be a normal high schooler, lead absolutely nowhere. A girl who’s been trained by her father most of her life to be a killer is having problems adapting to everyday life? Shocker. This sequence, like everything else in the film that has outlived its usefulness, is dumped by writer/director Jeff Wadlow in favor of whatever idea comes along next.
Thanks to Jim Carrey’s disavowing of the film because of its violence, “Kick-Ass 2” has probably gotten more attention than it deserves. Truth be told, its not as graphically violent as the first film, which featured a guy exploding in a lifesize microwave. Where “Kick-Ass” was an entertaining, satirical comic book movie, “Kick-Ass 2” is messy, over-the-top, falls victim to bad effects, a lack of charm and a script that has too many ideas and not enough structure to keep them organized.