This movie should never have happened. No, not in the negative way that some critics have been attacking the film, but for the simple fact that the original Kick-Ass didn’t have all that large of a following or the cash intake to really warrant a full-fledged sequel. Nevertheless, after a couple of years of less than believable press (from the creative team) stating the film would indeed get made, here we are with Kick-Ass 2 releasing in theaters and the core cast returning, this time with Nic Cage’s star power replaced by that of Jim Carrey.
[pullquote_left]Kick-Ass 2 stands out like a bloody, brightly colored bruise in this summer movie season.[/pullquote_left] Kick-Ass 2 stands out like a bloody, brightly colored bruise in this summer movie season surrounded by a grouping of uptight, rain-soaked brooding and mostly humorless would-be blockbusters. The film is unapologetic in its rudeness and uncensored violence (much like the first film), and it’s refreshing to see something that’s not trying to cater to every age group and demographic just to appease the studios. While the movie does go a bit too far in some scenes, to the point of feeling forced, it still never wavers in its frantic pace and quickly moves past its stumbles.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns (with newly ripped muscles) as Kick-Ass, bringing the same enthusiasm and awkwardness back to the role as the character finds himself in semi-retirement as the film starts. But ex-superhero Chris D’Amico/Red Mist takes center stage in an all out scenery-chewing performance from Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who is having a blast in his villain origin story as events push him to become “The Mother Fucker” and form a Legion of Doom-esque evil super team. Yup. That’s how the mind of this movie works. It’s giddy insanity. [pullquote_right]Yup. That’s how the mind of this movie works. It’s giddy insanity.[/pullquote_right]
The cast’s excitement was infectious onscreen with the new additions immediately feeling like they belong, while allowing the returning characters to continue to endear themselves to viewers in different ways. The exception here is Chloe Grace Moretz returning as Hit Girl, who no longer has the gimmick of being an extremely foul-mouthed cute little kid (since she’s grown up now), resulting in her character being “neutered” for most of the movie to allow her to wallow in high school teen-angst Mean Girls-like situations.
[pullquote_left]Carrey is unrecognizable in the role and is instantly the new heart of the film.[/pullquote_left]The biggest and most talked about new cast member is obviously going to be Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes, turning in some of his most interesting work in a very long time. Carrey is unrecognizable in the role and is instantly the new heart of the film as he mesmerizes in every scene. It’s a shame he decided Kick-Ass 2 was too violent to promote after his work was complete, as the film could surely use it and Carrey has been churning out mostly boring roles in recent years.
But there’s plenty more great additions to the cast, including Donald Faison (Scrubs) as Doctor Gravity and John Leguizamo as Javier, that steal a fair amount of scenes and add new characters to root for and explore. The introductions of all the new heroes and villains are all handled quite well and produce some of the biggest laughs of the film while not seeming that far fetched from something that might actually exist in the funny books. Mother Russia unleashing carnage is almost worth the film being made by itself.
[pullquote_right]I can completely understand why this movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea.[/pullquote_right]Kick-Ass 2 isn’t quite as smart as its predecessor and sometimes falls into the archetypes it attempts to make fun of, but also does some really hilarious parodying of superhero comics and films alike. While Kick-Ass was about dissecting the superhero origins and what would drive a person to become one, Kick-Ass 2 tackles the ideas of super-teams and the public backlash when the superhero movement is no longer just cute and now has real life consequences.
I can completely understand why this movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but timing is everything and Kick-Ass 2 came at the perfect end of summer spot to feel like a breath of fresh air. It lovingly skewers the worlds of superheros and super-teams like The Avengers and the Justice League and is crammed so full of politically incorrect laughs, squirm-inducing violence and an occasionally touching scene that it never lets the audience get comfortable, and left me with an exhausted face from smiling all the way through it.