Kick-Ass 2 continues the story of self-made superhero Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the potty-mouthed assassin Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz), A.K.A Hit-Girl, as they try to adapt to a normal life at high school. Having inspired a multitude of new ‘superheroes’ Dave is restless and so dons his Kick-Ass scuba-suit once more to train with Mindy. When Hit-Girl gets caught and makes a promise to her guardian to stop her violent crusading, Dave is left to fend for himself. By teaming up with a rag-tag bunch of wannabe superheroes, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), Kick-Ass once again catches the attention of his nemesis Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has now graduated from superhero Red Mist to super-villain The Motherf*cker. But The Motherf*cker has a team of his own now, and the body count will be high.
Kick-Ass 2 Writer/Director Jeff Wadlow stepped in after Matthew Vaughn (who retains a Producer credit) took up X-Men: First Class duties, yet Wadlow used the same ‘toolkit’ as the singular and wildly fun original, and it shows. Kick-Ass 2 has the same sweet ‘n’ sour mix of gut laughs and gut churning although this time around we know what to expect, which does take the edge off a little.
With much of the film set in a clichéd American high school, complete with Mean Girls and jocks, fun is had with Hit-Girl’s awkward attempts at fitting in. If The Motherf*cker is Kick-Ass’ nemesis then hers is surely the ‘head girl’ Brooke. It’s no accident that the roles of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are reversed in their second on-screen outing, with Kick-Ass riding the wave of notoriety and Hit-Girl now the gangly loner. If anything, you end up wanting more of Hit-Girl’s story and less of Kick-Ass, which proves that Moretz still owns that role and is one of the best things in the movie (although Big Daddy is sorely missed).
The introduction of new stereotypical, or as The Motherf*cker puts it, archetypal villains provides some laughs, so too the debut of lame, handbag-wielding heroes, and there are still enough dark moments to counter this whimsy. Carrey himself recently fuelled the publicity fire by pulling out of promotional duties citing a dislike of the film’s violent nature – and it’s true that there are some grindhouse-worthy moments here, but the movie is one big parody and to take it too seriously would be missing the point.
That said, a cringe-worthy, over-long scene involving Union J (we kid you not), some obvious gags and a super-villain who gets tiresome early on mean that Kick-Ass 2 is a dull blade to Kick-Ass’ razor-sharp Benchmade 42. So now we await the Hit-Girl movie with bated breath and our backs to the wall…