Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2

(Source: Universal Pictures)

(Source: Universal Pictures)

You probably will have more fun at Kick-Ass 2 if you have seen the previous film. It is an actual sequel based on two comics: Kick-Ass 2 and Hit-Girl which was a spin off and a tie-in between the previous Kick-Ass and the second one. I’m glad that they didn’t lose too much time explaining the backstory.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns in the role of Dave Lizewski a.k.a. Kick-Ass. He’s toughen up a bit since the first film, but remains a second-tier hero. He’s once again trying to go out and fight crime. This time he’s got followers inspired by his actions and somehow has managed to keep his identity a secret.

Chloë Grace Moretz is once again Mindy Macready a.k.a the lethal Hit-Girl. She steals the film. She also shoots, kicks, slices, kicks it around the corner and then some. It’s actually her journey of adapting to civilian life and the perils of high school that really makes this film shine.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprises his part as mobster kid Chris D’Amico. He eventually will take over for his deceased father and will take the name of the Motherfucker. He also goes on a journey of his own, although it’s even more of a stretch than any of the other characters. He basically forms a group of supervillains, giving them the more stereotypical names imaginable.

Along for the ride this time are a colorful band of new heroes leaded by Colonel Stars and Stripes played by no other than Jim Carrey. However, as organized and resourceful as they seem, they got nothing on Hit-Girl and Dave knows it. As his old enemy returns to haunt them and corpses start piling up, Dave realizes nobody else can help him.

Hit-Girl is constantly watched by her guardian, detective Marcus Williams played by Morris Chestnut. She’s also haunted by her father’s memory. She is trying very hard to be high schooler Mindy Macready, to the point that she starts hanging with a popular girl clique. Eventually, they’ll turn on her and… well, you can imagine how bad a decision that is.

Not as bad a decision as the villains going after Dave, though. All throughout the film, Dave is trying to be Kick-Ass while Hit-Girl is trying to be Mindy. Eventually, the villains will end up hitting Dave very, very close to home. After a personal tragedy, Dave is ready to quit being Kick-Ass but of course it’s then that MF’s goons decide to kidnap him. The decision is the worse one because they do it in front of Hit-Girl and you can’t miss Chloë Moretz on top of a van in a scene that reminded me several times of Raiders of the Lost Ark but with a lot more shooting. You’ll have to see it.

The expected final confrontation lives up to the hype. We eventually will get the duel between Kick-Ass and the Motherfucker, while Hit-Girl will have her hands full with the seemingly unstoppable Mother Russia (I am not making this up).

All throughout the film, the message keeps changing between a call to arms to stand up against criminals and evil doers and growing up and realizing that you can’t fight crime without getting hurt or worse. I am not sure if director Jeff Wadlow wanted either. In the end it seems to reconcile its point of view with more regular kinds of heroism – but it’s a copout. The movie has its cake and eats it too.

Still, this is an audience pleaser – well, if you came to the movie to see people get gruesomely beaten, injured and even killed. Then again, the title is anything but misleading. This is an action film, and contrary to Dave or Kick-Ass and Mindy or Hit-Girl, it has no identity problem on that regard. Unfortunately the film seems to walk two lines: a revenge tale and a warning.

In the end, it’s an action film that proves a strong female lead can carry an entire movie.

That will do for now.

Coming up!

(Sources:  Kick-Ass 2)

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