Kick-Ass 2 (2013) Directed by Jeff Wadlow. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jim Carrey.
The first ‘Kick-Ass’ film blind-sided nearly everyone, by pulling off the neat, dual trick of being a smart and cartoonishly violent satire of the overcrowded super-hero movie genre, while in parallel, existing as a film that worked on its own terms, ending up a more fun, subversive and satisfying ride than much of the average Marvel/DC fare. Not only did it rightfully attain a cult status, as a film, it also created icons of its two central characters, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kick-Ass, and to an even greater degree, Chloe Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl, a pre-teen assassin with the ability to swear just as well as she could stab.
Working from Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s graphic novel of the same name, Kick Ass also re-enforced what an exciting writer/director team Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman are. For this sequel, Jeff Wadlow, a director with not much in the way of shining credentials, takes the dual responsibility of screenplay and direction, once again working on events from the comic book source, and well, it just about passes, but sans the flying colours of the perfectly balanced original.
There’s no way you could call Kick-Ass 2 a bad film. For starters, Moretz is a joy, once again, as a college-age Hit Girl, coming to terms with who she is in the world, while Taylor-Johnson’s Kick-Ass, goes in search of an underground crew of superheroes, led by Jim Carrey’s Colonel Stars and Stripes. Also returning as the films ‘big bad’ is Christopher Mintz-Plasse who puts together a team of dubiously titled counter-heroes to Kick Ass and his gang, of which, one in-particular stands out – Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), a sort of female Ivan Drago. A sure test for Hit Girl’s nifty fight skills. Everyone brings a little something, and for the most part, the film carries over the fun from the original film, but without the same hefty snap and verve that armed the first outing with so much momentum.
In a sense, it’d be unrealistic to expect this sequel to scale the same dizzy heights as its predecessor, yet there are times during the film when it genuinely comes close. The fight scenes occasionally thrill, while the comedy is probably a 50/50 mix of hits and misses. Ultimately, the film is up against the impossible, and that is that there is only one first time. If you loved the first one, then leave your high expectations at the door, and you might just have a better time than you expect. 3.5/5