Synopsis: The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
When the first Kick-Ass film was released, it was a hard pill to swallow for some. The creator, Mark Millar, has a taste for violence and excess in his comics and unfortunately it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. In relation to other comic book films, Kick-Ass tended to mirror its comic book counterpart as far as plot goes and even threw in comic book style blurbs and camera panning to give the comic book feel.
Kick-Ass 2 has many of the same mechanics for those who enjoyed the first film. It picks up close to where the last film left off, showing the evolution of the characters already established and introducing us to some new characters as well. While there are some entertaining new faces joining the Super-hero/Super-villain ensemble, the focus still remains on Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass. The new characters essentially fill in the cracks and are added motivation towards the main characters’ end goals. The two characters that stand out among the newbies are Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison) and Colonel Stars & Stripes (Jim Carrey). While Faison is humorous in the role, I saw more of his character Turk (Scrubs) in a superhero costume rather than anything new. Jim Carrey on the other hand falls deep into character with his role as the Colonel. It is surprising to hear his negative stance on the film after seeing Carrey’s intensity and dedication when playing the role. Carrey’s usual humor morphed into a more sadistic fetish for violent justice and while it was still humorous, it was a characteristic that I had never seen in any of Carrey’s previous roles.
The side characters may have minimal screen time but they each act as a sort of a catalyst that help drive both Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl in multiple directions throughout the film. The side characters are a part of the superhero movement that cannot be ignored by the main characters of the film. This movement, along with other factors, act as a sense of clarity for Kick-Ass and conflict for Hit-Girl. It’s an interesting switch of the main characters’ motivations from the first film. Hit-Girl is being introduced to the hardships of being a high school teenager which creates a lack of focus in her role as a vigilante, while Kick-Ass wants to improve upon his crime-fighting abilities as he starts to see meaning in what he started in the first film. Watching Kick-Ass evolve into a more solid hero gives that feeling of rooting for the underdog. He still takes a beating at times but he has a totally different mindset this time around gaining more confidence and losing much of the uncertainty that his character had in the last film.
Hit-Girl is the true gem of the film. I absolutely LOVE Chloë Grace Moretz in this role (and most of her other roles for that matter). Moretz is absolutely brilliant and brings more depth to Hit-Girl/Mindy through her rich emotional response to the difficulties of being a teenager and maintaining the duality of a masked hero. Even though I liked watching Kick-Ass’ story, I found myself thinking “what’s going on with Hit-Girl” when she wasn’t a part of the scene. If Hollywood studios ever question a female lead in a superhero film, they should look to Hit-Girl for confidence that it can be done.
With all of the characters to develop and redevelop, the film moves at a fast pace which can be uncomfortable for those who try to maintain focus on a particular genre. It’s a roller coaster ride of action, comedy, and drama, with the focus being on the action and comedy. Despite the continuous jumps between the three genres, I felt that the film had a lasting appeal in regards to each category. There was an adequate amount of laughter accompanied with many of the serious moments, as well as the “ass-kicking” moments of action.
While the film may not be for everyone, I very much enjoyed it. This franchise is a comic book adaptation that actually progresses like a comic. Some may not like this due to the lack of “real world” adaptation that we get from other comic films, but I see it as an attribute that distinguishes it from the plethora of that film type. It is a bit of everything which can be an overload for some, but I think this may be one of those films that you love or hate. Personally, Kick-Ass 2 fulfilled my expectations and despite what others may say, I was very much entertained and impressed.
Kick-Ass 2 – 7.5 out of 10
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