When the first Kick-Ass came out in 2010 it was controversial, and beloved. Many were horrified by the violence inflicted by a young Chloe Grace Moretz playing the titular anti-hero Hit Girl, others loved the new and original take on the superhero genre. Three years later the sequel was released, and after all the controversy, and hype of the original film the sequel had a lot to live up to. Unfortunately for the most part this sequel is a slight step down in quality. It still has enough qualities to make it worthwhile to watch but overall it doesn’t quite rev up to the same speed as the original.
Although it’s based on the comic series by esteemed writer Mark Millar, for me the best parts of Kick-Ass 2 are when it actually diverges from its source material. The comic series Kick-Ass 2 goes too far in some aspects, focusing more on shock value than actual competent storytelling. For example in the comic series when Red Mist, and his gang of baddies arrive at Dave Lizewski’s (Kick-Ass) ex-girlfriends house, there is a horrific rape scene that goes too far. In the film they turn this potentially graphic rape scene, into a joke about Red Mist being “unable to get it up”, it’s still a tasteless joke that doesn’t play out exactly as it should but it’s a lot better than what could have been. Another fun diversion the movie takes from the books is the aging up, and maturation of Hit-Girl. When Mindy takes a break from being Hit-Girl and attempts to live a normal teenage life we get a sense of just how troubled she is. She is unable to cope with normal life after living a life of such wanton graphic violence. It is a nice diversion, that has a poor ending but while it’s occurring in the film it adds an interesting element.
Much like the original Kick-Ass the sequel has another spectacular bit part for an underrated actor. Jim Carrey absolutely steals the show whenever he is on screen, as character Colonel Stars & Stripes leader of Justice Forever the new team built up of normal citizens inspired by Kick-Ass. Unfortunately his appearance is really short and he is killed off pretty early in the film, which severely lowers the quality of the film once he exits. That describes Kick-Ass 2 as a whole; a lot of interesting ideas with poor follow through. The action starts strong, but almost always has an unsatisfying finish. You enjoy the film while you watch it, but the more you think about it the worse it gets.
Overall Kick-Ass 2 is an interesting experiment, that doesn’t quite work. If you want to watch and decide for yourself check it out on HBO Saturday August 2nd, here’s a trailer to tide you over until then: