Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, et al…
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Runtime: 103 minutes
Plot (from IMDb): The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins 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.
The first Kick-Ass film was something of a breath of fresh air; it was a film that didn’t care about offending anyone through its foul language, ultra-violence and bright colours – that was a film in which Nicholas Cage was a bad ass. Kick-Ass 2 on the other hand feels stale despite its garish, over the top atmosphere. Where the first film was funny with its irreverent gross-out humour and penchant for the grotesque, Kick-Ass 2 feels forced, unfunny and try-hard. What the hell happened?
Kick-Ass 2 doesn’t share the same director as the original, and maybe this is a bigger issue than people realize. Wadlow’s vision of Kick-Ass just comes across as lame and try-hard, despite the familiar themes we see develop over the course of the film. Indeed, Kick-Ass 2 does not feel original, but this is always an issue with sequels. So it may get a free pass there.
Perhaps the issues are from the source material? This is a tricky one, while the Kick-Ass 2 graphic novel is not quite up to the same standards as the original; it is still a decent read. Sure, the storyline of Kick-Ass 2 isn’t as fun, but it is more heavy-hitting than the film based on it – there are certain aspects of the book that were not in the film, moments that flesh out the story into something a little more memorable; not quite as haphazard.
There is something of a relentless pace to Kick-Ass 2, but I think it needed to be slowed down, perhaps it should be longer (strange coming from me), allowing Hit-Girl’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) story with Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to develop as much as it did in the book. Because of the fast pace here, nothing quite hits its intended impact, as the film moves from one set piece to another, only to take breaks for Mindy (Hit Girl) and her forced, dull, annoying excursions on the side as a struggling high school student.
In fact, I feel Kick-Ass 2 slips up almost entirely in any scene revolving around Mindy’s struggles to fit in. I didn’t appreciate the pop-culture in your face moments and her plot is something we’ve seen before countless times – it just was not interesting in the slightest, leading up to one of the worst pay-offs to a side story I have ever seen.
Despite the graphic nature of this film, the most horrific moments of the book are cut out (there is no slaughter of children here), this isn’t an issue, but the fact is, Kick-Ass 2 feels too safe for those who have read the book.
Kick-Ass 2 is not all bad. There are some nice special effects on display, but overall the film looks too clean; it might just be my imagination but the first film looked better. The villains in this film are fairly good fun, but they never truly come into their own, and for the most part, the acting is decent. My issue lies with the fact that I think a much better film could have been made from the source material, a stronger, more offensive film that relished in the gruesome uber-violence would have been fun, but, ultimately, Kick-Ass would never have been as good without Nicholas Cage.
Kick-Ass 2 moves along too quickly, leaving no time for anything to properly develop and Hit-Girl just was not as fun this time round. It’s a shame, as there is a decent film in here somewhere, but something went badly wrong here – it’ annoying. It’s not big and it’s not clever, but I get the feeling Mark Millar doesn’t mind, I’m sure it was probably meant to be this bad.
Not classy in any way, Kick-Ass 2 is a major disappointment.