Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor- Johnson) inspired a vast number of people to don their own costumes and fight the injustices of this world, being regarded as the world’s first superhero Kick Ass is attributed to being the main influence in the wave of costume wearing vigilantes roaming the streets of New York. Kick Ass wants to continue to fight crime, but he can’t do it alone. When Hit Girl, Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz), hangs up the cape, Kickass joins a group of costume wearing crime fighters. They are soon put to the test upon the arrival of the Motherfucker, formally Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who creates the first league of supervillians intent on mass destruction.
There was plenty of coverage surrounding Kick Ass 2’s release, most notably when Jim Carrey refused to promote the film claiming that the graphic violence in films such as Kick Ass led to massacres such as the Sandy Hook School massacre. Whether onscreen violence leads to real world violence (it doesn’t) isn’t up for debate here but as the same tired arguments rear their head every time such a tragic event occurs the same films are targeted. It isn’t helpful blaming something that isn’t the cause of such events, I mean South Korea has a strong relation to violent video games, but their strict gun control laws keep gun crime lower than that of the United States, but anyway I digress.
One of the critiques of films such as Kick Ass is that it glorifies violence and these films show that there are no repercussions from engaging in a violent life. Whilst it could have been done better you would have to watched Kick-Ass 2 with a blindfold and your ears blocked not to notice that there are repercussions from violence, such as your loved ones becoming involved in the crossfire. That said, however, director Jeff Wadlow (and the writers) concentrate very little on any feeling of loss before the viewer is thrown into the next blood splattering action sequence. It seems director Jeff Wadlow doesn’t want to bore the young adolescent audience that the film seemed to be aiming for (I know it is an 18) with any feeling of loss. Undoubtedly these younger viewers will certainly get more of kick out of the violence than others (I’ve seen a lot worse graphic violence than anything in Kick-Ass), but they are more intelligent than Wadlow gives them credit for.
The biggest problem with Kick Ass 2 is it is far more juvenile than the previous one, granted the first contained swearing, graphic violence and so on but it felt fresh and original; an interesting take on the superhero genre. Kick Ass 2 seems to be just out and out juvenile without being fresh, original or interesting as the film is overloaded with attacks to the groin, and vomit and diarrhoea inducing riot control weapons. The first film seemed to be aimed at adults, but one that young teenagers can enjoy whilst the Kick Ass 2 seemed to be aimed at young teenagers, but one that adults can enjoy significantly less. The first film’s ironic humour is gone and replaced by more juvenile, unamusing humour.
Kick Ass 2 isn’t all bad, Mindy Macready’s Mean Girls style subplot, in which she encounters the ‘queen bee’ of the school, is the most interesting and emotionally investible aspect of the entire film. However, the other plots in the film are dreadfully dull. The central plot lacks momentum and is only entertaining in very short bursts and the numerous subplots (David Lizewski’s break up with his girlfriend) is looked at for a minute before being pushed aside never to be returned to again as though it didn’t matter. The only interesting aspect in Kick Ass 2 is Moretz who is superb as Hit Girl whilst Aaron Taylor- Johnson lost some of that geeky charm that made him so likeable in the first film. The rest of performers are as forgettable as the entire endeavour, most notably Jim Carrey who is a colossal disappointment as Captain Stars and Stripes.
Kick Ass 2 does not glorify violence as much as some reviewers have commented, but the message that repercussions arise from violence is shoddily and lazily done, the performances are mostly forgettable and the story is completely lacking in any momentum making Kick Ass 2 a sloppy sequel.