“And try to have fun, or else what’s the point” Colonel Stars and Stripes utters this mantra before Justice Forever raids a slavery/ prostitution outfit right after beating a thug up with an axe handle. That, ladies and gentlemen is Kick-Ass 2 in a nutshell: heartwarming, funny, ultra-violent at the drop of a hat, and I enjoyed every damn minute of it. Granted, Mark Millar is a writer can rub people the wrong way, but the films adapting Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2 have been nothing short of Fight Club-esque pieces of cinema that go toe-to-toe with the best of the best popcorn films. Every one of the actors chews the scenery with the best of them and of course the action is so shocking and out there that I am still constantly amazed they made this sequel for less than the original.
The story picks up two years after the original with Dave (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz), now a senior and freshman in high school respectively and both very bored with their non super lives. Skipping school to train and become “Batman and Robin in real life,” their worlds are soon thrown into chaos when Chris D’Amico (Chirtopher Mintz-Plasse), decides to truly become the worlds first super villain and rename himself The Mother Fucker. Eventually two teams form, Justice Forever and the Toxic Mega Cunts (yes that is the villain team’s real name) and it all leads to a pretty amazing showdown between the two squads. The plot is unabashedly escalating moment after escalating moment, but it all leads to a generally satisfying conclusion even if it isn’t exactly like the comic. Director Jeff Wadlow luckily shies away from some of MF’s more heinous acts, but the intent and sheer insanity remains as some of the most screwed up material, and Mindy probably has the most disturbing moment in the entire film using the “sick stick”.
What really makes this movie are not the mains but rather the side characters of Justice Forever and The Toxic Mega Cunts. Colonel Stars and Stripes, played wonderfully by Jim Carrey, and Mother Russia played by Olga Kurkulina, make the most of their roles and destroy when they are on screen, but my personal favorites were Javier, Chris’ “evil Alfred”, and Chris’ Uncle Ralph, played by John Leguizamo and Iain Glen respectively. Each of them could have just been bit parts, but the actors elevated them to entirely other levels and manage to lift The Mother Fucker to levels of enjoyable insanity. Other honorable mentions go to Donald Faison’s Dr Gravity and Lindy Booth’s Night Bitch, both are enjoyable to watch and less annoying than some of their cohorts or villain counterparts.
Kick-Ass has always been a series with a odd emotional core and this film escalates Dave’s central conflict in the first film, trying to find himself, and places Mindy in the role this time around. There is a subplot which is basically Mean Girls that in my opinion does not go anywhere substantial, but it gave Moretz a chance to practice for Carrie, and for that we are grateful. Also our understanding that this is a girl whom has never really interacted with someone her own age really shades these scenes with in the movie. While watching Hit-Girl envision fighting ninjas during her dance team tryout is entertaining, it does not help to really flesh out her character. As Kick-Ass constantly tells her, “you are Hit-Girl, and you are awesome.”
On the action front I can clearly say that Kick-Ass 2 had the best action scenes of this entire summer as they manage to do the most interesting staging and great flow. From the Ferris Bueller-esque motorcycle race between Marcus and Hit-Girl, to Mother Russia tearing up suburbia, each set piece is expertly staged and make the most of the environments. Particularly the final showdown between Hit-Girl and Mother Russia as it is a multi tiered fight that has a great ebb and flow to it, including its amazingly satisfying conclusion. That fight though fresh in my mind is still better than the majority of the fights in Pacific Rim and Iron Man, it was easy to follow, super creative, and had a great juxtaposition to Mother Fucker and Kick-Ass’s slap fest. The fights also made use of the Jaws effect to perfection as we often did not see the other heroes fighting but we got just enough to show that they were indeed capable.
Kick-Ass 2 may not be a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination and it is certainly not meant for everyone. The side plots are awkward and some parts feel like a rehash of the first film but the overall ride is just as enjoyable as the first, definitely recommend.
Final Grade A-
-Hit-Girl is fifteen and has a Ducati, How’d she manage that?
-That Rocky training montage was great, even while being undercut by the whitest pimp ever
-After credits scene was amusing, but it was basically Chekhov’s Gun with the shark.