Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 5:20 PM | Posted in
Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 2.9/10
Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 6/10
KICK-ASS 2 (2013) - Jeff Wadlow
Kick-Ass, known as one of the most notoriously controversial films in recent years, is a cynical but absolutely clever and entertaining film. For no reason whatsoever did it need a sequel, even when the original comic did. The film represented a satirical approach on all modern action hero tropes, and executed its narrative with a humorous tone, intentionally over-the-top and ridiculous. In terms of a continuation, this new entry works at some times and doesn't work at other times.
The way Kick-Ass 2 opens is a bit disappointing, for it is practically a carbon copy of Chloe Moretz' and Nicolas Cage's scene in the river basin in the previous film. The only difference is the basin scene in the first film was die-hard hilarious. This one here felt unoriginal.
Kick-Ass 2 revolves around Dave Lizewski, (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who has retired from fighting crime as Kick-Ass. On the other hand, he has inspired other ordinary citizens to become heroes. He soon joins a team called Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), upset over the fact that his friend Mindy Macready (Chloe Moretz) aka Hit-Girl is attempting to live an ordinary life. In the meantime, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) plots revenge against Kick-Ass for the murder of his father in the previous film (sorry, that is indeed a spoiler for the first film). With a new supervillain identity called The Motherf***er, D'Amico assembles a gang of villains against our heroes.
If I could make one single change for this film, it would be to change the protagonist to Hit-Girl instead, which brings me to what is probably the best thing about Kick-Ass 2. Like all of the best superhero films, Kick-Ass 2 addresses the human behind the mask, who the characters really are. As mentioned before, a big subplot of the film is Hit-Girl attempting to live a normal life. She makes friends with popular girls in her class and she tries out for the school's dance team. Of course, she is different from everyone else, and they do not take her in like they should. Moretz, compared to her previous appearance in the first Kick-Ass, looks a lot older this time around, a lot more mature. Clearly, her performance is much more fresh, as we get to see a new dimension to the character that is Mindy Macready. We have all seen Hit-Girl before, but we have never got to meet the true girl behind that purple outfit. Here, you most certainly do, and for me, I followed Mindy throughout the entire film more than I followed Kick-Ass himself. Although, I would have appreciated it a lot more if director Wadlow pulls an emotional artistically filmed scene where Mindy is having an imaginary moment with her Nicolas Cage father, for example in a moment where she is just feeling down.
Jim Carrey pulls off one of the weirdest performances in his whole career, since I still have trouble believing that he of all people portrayed the Colonel in this film. I can happily say, though, that his act is organic to watch and is entertaining to see on screen. When he leads the group, he lights up the capability of this small but helpful band of heroes. With his leadership, Justice Forever goes from feeding poor people to patrolling the streets to shutting down brothels. As the film progresses, the narrative hints that this group of heroes will eventually clash against the Motherf***er's gang of villains.
In terms of a villain, Mintz-Plasse keeps the odd personality of Chris D'Amico in this film. Whether he is dressed up as Red Mist from the previous film or the new villain in this film, he still has moments where the audience can see that he is still... well... human. In some ways, these moments help makes us laugh. In other ways, it just takes away the intimidation of the villain. He's wealthy for sure, and he is capable of buying all kinds of weapons to blow things up, but the person himself is never scary nor unpredictable. D'Amico may be trying to avenge his father's death, but he comes forth as a wealthy cry-baby who wears his mother's sex outfit and does wicked things. Yes, that black leather outfit that we have all seen in the posters and trailers is a sex outfit. Therefore, in terms of a villain that needs to carry the entire film on his shoulders, The Motherf***er is just inevitably short of Mark Strong's Frank D'Amico in the previous installment.
Unfortunately, in terms of substance, Kick-Ass 2 is too straightforward. With a different director, the film goes on a steam roller one-dimensionally without any attempt at deconstructing its genre. Surely, there are still funny moments here, but almost none of them have any form of wit or irony that the previous film had. In many ways, Kick-Ass 2 became the film that the first Kick-Ass was addressing. It lacks the Tarantino spark, the guilty pleasure, and the shocking cynical charm. Here, the film is a simplistic action film about a group of vigilantes and villains, but they are all just humans wearing masks. It is dark and emotional at some moments, but the plot is easy and does not carry on with a self-aware mentality. Never once during the film did Kick-Ass 2 remind us, "Look at how absurd everything on screen is." Though it was created as an anti-comic, and the previous film successfully served as an anti-film, this new entry went back to normal roots. Because of this, the excessively bloody violence and vulgarity becomes less tolerable. Something offensive that used to be funny is no longer funny here. Soon enough, the film can feel dry and unpleasant, even when the film builds to an entertaining climax.
In conclusion, Kick-Ass 2 is a tolerable but less satisfying continuation of the first film. It served the role of a sequel well in maturing characters by progressing Hit-Girl's character arc, and the entire subplot is enhanced by Chloe Moretz' performance. For its action sequences, they are surely entertaining to watch. You can watch the film just for that, or for Jim Carrey, or for Moretz, but the film this time lacked political incorrectness and amusing catharsis, and gave its predecessor a good kick in the ass.