Theatrical Review: Kick-Ass 2

Since the events of the first Kick-Ass movie, Kick-Ass himself, Dave Lizewski has laid low and tried to resume a normal life. The same can also be said of Mindy Macready, also known as Hit-Girl. Mindy has sworn to her guardian, Detective Marcus Williams, that she’d lie low and try to be a normal kid. But in the wake of their first adventure, Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl have inspired more normal citizens to don costumes and fight crime in their own way and now both Dave and Mindy are feeling the need to get back into their former lives. In the background, Chris D’Amico, formerly known as the Red Mist, now seeks revenge against Kick-Ass for killing his father and begins to build a plot that will affect Dave and everyone he knows.

That’s the premise to Kick-Ass 2 the sequel the original Kick-Ass movie from director Matthew Vaughan based around the comics created by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. I’ve not read the sequel comic series, so I can’t necessarily say exactly how faithful this is, but if this movie is any indication, well it’s making me want to order the collection for the sequel sooner than later. Matthew Vaughan is only connected here as the producer of the film and now it’s in the more than capable hands of writer/director Jeff Wadlow, who for my money anyway, has made a sequel that’s superior to the original film. Wow- Kick-Ass 2 was just a lot of fun!

Kick-Ass 2 is certainly just as profane and violent as the original film, but it also feels to me like there’s quite a bit more heart here and genuine emotion in all of it’s main characters, Dave, Mindy and even Chris D’Amico and that’s what makes it rise just a little bit more for me. It absolutely looks fantastic and big kudos go Wadlow’s way for keeping the same comic book aesthetic that Matthew Vaughan had in the first film. One of my favorite points in the movie involves Kick-Ass joining up with a team of crime-fighters organized by the hero known as Colonel Stars and Stripes. For me, this scene brought to mind the movie Mystery Men with it’s misfit heroes and tremendous heart and while I was already enjoying this up to that point, that just sort of notched things up a little further.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all return from the original film as Dave, Mindy and Chris respectively. In the first film, Moretz literally stole the show and she does a terrific job here as well, but it’s a little more tempered than it was the first time. Taylor-Johnson is certainly very likable and still rock-solid in his part and even taking it further to really build himself up physically for this. The real surprise here for me in the main cast though is Christopher Mintz-Plasse. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with him in the first movie, but here he’s ratcheted things up considerably and has made for a villain that you can totally get, even if it’s in the broadest of ways. Where he really excels is in a scene where he has to go to jail to talk with a former associate of his father’s. This scene leaves an indelible mark on Chris D’Amico and Mintz-Plasse just thoroughly convinces you of that.

There’s lots of good support here as well, both Clark Duke and Augustus Prew return as Dave’s friends Marty and Todd and they’re certainly fun to watch. Donald Faison and Lindy Booth are two of Dave’s associates in Justice Forever, Dr. Gravity and Night Bitch and both really add to the fun. John Leguizamo plays Javier who sort of acts as Alfred to Chris D’Amico’s twisted Bruce Wayne and again, he’s fun to watch and really adds more to Chris D’Amico’s character. But the real stand-out for me in the support area is Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes. Yeah, Carrey’s certainly been on the record as denouncing the movie for it’s extreme violence, and yet it all sorta goes away when you see him on-screen here. He absolutely looks like he’s having a ball with the part and as a character certainly does much to further inspire Dave Lizewski.

What can I say? I had an incredibly good time with Kick-Ass 2, going so far to say that I enjoyed it even more than the original (and I had a good time with that as well). It’s a terrific looking film that just rejoices in keeping the same aesthetic that you see in John Romita Jr.’s art from the comics and yet for all of it’s violence and profanity, there’s genuine heart and emotion here as well making you care for the characters even more. One little word of note, stay through the end credits as there is a final scene that basically says things aren’t as final as they seem. If you enjoyed the first film, you’ll have a ball with Kick-Ass 2. Highly, highly recommended.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

18. August 2013 by Darren Goodhart
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