Kick-Ass 2 review

Looks like Kick-Ass 2 caught a severe case of “sequelitis.”

“Kick-Ass 2” follows the title character super hero who, under the mask, is high school student Dave Lizewski (Taylor-Johnson). The film picks up two years after the first movie where Dave decided to give up being Kick-Ass. However, as time goes on he hears the calling to return to crime fighting.

To improve his skills, he seeks the help of Mindy Macready (Moretz), who goes by her alter-ego Hit-Girl. Mindy helps train Dave for a while, however, circumstances force her to give up crime fighting. In order to continue patrolling the streets, Dave joins a group of amateur super heroes led by a man named Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey).

Trouble starts brewing though as the villain’s son from the first film, Chris (Mintz-Plasse), decides to seek revenge by building an evil army.

This time around, Director Matthew Vaughn, who helmed the first installment, is gone and in his place is Jeff Wadlow. From how the movie is made, Wadlow seems to be a capable director, but not a great one. Both “Kick-Ass” films had multiple story arcs going on, however, unlike the first, “Kick-Ass 2” just doesn’t flow as well.

Some of this can in fact be blamed on the source material, since it is a fairly faithful adaption except for a few things removed. Yet, the movie just isn’t able to make the plot flow as well between each arc. The pacing is off and many points in the movie which seem important are made by quick plot devices. The film is only one hour and 40 minutes long too, making the film a full two hours might have been a step in the right direction to flesh things out.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz both return from their roles in the first film and work well together on screen. Although, Taylor-Johnson’s character Kick-Ass seemed to have a better character arc in the first movie. It may have been how his arc flowed with the others that made it seem a bit disappointing, though. Giving credit to Taylor-Johnson, he is a good actor and does the role justice.

In terms of Mindy’s story line, Moretz very much captures what her character is going through, as she has to learn what it’s like dealing with high school bullies. The only problem with that part of the film though is that the bullies at the high school seem a little to over the top with everything. It ended up taking me out of the movie.

The man who steals the show for every minute he’s on screen is Jim Carrey. While playing the role, Carrey is nearly unrecognizable, bringing none of his usual comedy schticks with, however, at the same time, bringing all of the charisma that he has as an actor. Without a doubt, He gives the best performance in the movie, which makes it a shame how he abandoned support of the film before its release.

The villain this time around, played by Mintz-Plasse, is rather disappointing. He’s menacing at times and Mintz-Plasse does have good points, however, the film treats him as basically the biggest comedy relief character.

Another thing missing from this installment that the first one had is the fantastic action sequences. Vaughn made some very memorable action moments in the first movie, from the scene with Nic Cage fighting baddies in a warehouse to Hit-Girl’s fight in the long hallway, even Kick-Ass’ first iconic fight that he wins. Each of the action sequences had a great balance of choreography, sounds and musical cues.

Wadlow tries to recreate this, and while the scenes aren’t bad, they aren’t fantastic.

“Kick-Ass 2” reminds me of “Iron Man 2.” “Iron Man 2” had good ideas and fairly nice performances, yet things just didn’t gel as much. It’s similar here, a lot of what’s going on in “Kick-Ass 2” seems fine in theory, but it doesn’t translate to the screen.

The overall story is interesting and engaging to follow and see what happens next, the action scenes are somewhat entertaining and the two lead protagonists are played by capable actors. Plus, Jim Carrey just raises the bar with it. Unfortunately, all of that only brings “Kick-Ass 2” to being mediocre at best. 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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