Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jim Carrey
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
I had a few big concerns about Kick-Ass 2 going in. I feared the film would be one made by somebody who didn’t understand what made the first film so great. Yes Kick-Ass had its crude humour and over the top violence, however underneath it was a big, beating heart and an optimistic nature that in a non-preachy way, called for people to embrace the hero within them. Another fear was that the ‘joke’ of the Hit Girl character had now grown stale and what was once edgy and shocking, is now safe, familiar and repetitive territory. However while Kick-Ass 2 is its own beast and does not repeat the beats of the original anywhere near as much as I thought it would, it doesn’t stray too far from what Kick-Ass is and while it may be less inspired and has a smaller heart, is still a very entertaining time at the movies.
If you don’t take it too seriously, were a fan of the first film and are in it’s teenage boy demographic, it is highly likely you’ll enjoy Kick-Ass 2. To deal with the obvious first, Jeff Wadlow is no Jane Goldman or Matthew Vaughn. This film is much messier than its predecessor with some elements of the plot feeling incredibly rushed, unnecessary and at times quite frankly uncomfortable. The film seems to fumble slightly at the start with it rather unnecessarily and shambolically establishing that Kick-Ass is out of action only to put him straight back in action and then doing away with the romantic relationship that the first film gave so much time to, in about 45 seconds or less. The character of Todd this time around has been recast as Evan Peters is now presumably too busy being in American Horror Story, X-Men: Days of Future Past and having a relationship with Emma Roberts to return. The subplot involving the Todd character shouldn’t be there and quite frankly the character should have just been forgotten, it’s poorly done and the significant plot beats it contributes towards could have been dealt with in another, cleaner way.
Aside from messily done and unnecessary aspects to the plot there are also some rather dodgy and misjudged movements. The film hints towards the building of a romantic relationship between Kick-Ass and Hit Girl, something that given the ages of the characters and the actors would make many uncomfortable. Additionally there is an attempted rape scene, which is ultimately played for laughs that will divide opinion.
Moving away from the script and towards the direction, once again Wadlow does a solid job yet is nowhere near the level of Vaughn. The ultra violence and action scenes are suitably gory, silly, over the top and not to be taken seriously, however there is nothing here, which touches the beautiful strobe light scene in the first. However where this film arguably most misses the touch of Vaughn, is tonally. This film goes into some very dark places late into its second act yet the film doesn’t seem prepared to tonally follow through with the events. This is primarily a comedy and its focus is on being a good time and this is not to say that this film needed to be a dark, depressing time, far from it. However the film doesn’t seem to as expertly handle the portrayal of dark, life changing material whilst maintaining a lighter tone as well as other films have done, such as its predecessor.
However despite messiness and misjudgment in the screenplay and tonal troubles in the direction, Kick-Ass 2 is still a fun time, especially if seen with the right crowd. This is a film that is fast-paced and doesn’t drag for a second, whilst Wadlow does do some inventive things with the film, particularly regarding the integration of comic book-esque visuals. It is also worth nothing that while this is significantly less inventive, entertaining and edgy than its predecessor, is still one of the more edgy and entertaining films of the summer. The film has an immaturity that is sometimes its greatest strength and at others its greatest weakness.
In regards to the performances, the performance of Jim Carrey is the one most anticipated. Having publicly disowned the film (My thoughts on which you can read here) it is interesting to watch his scenes knowing the public stance he has now taken. However his performance and presence in the film, really is an overhyped fuss over nothing. He may have the film’s funniest line, though overall it is a glorified cameo. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is solid in the lead role as Kick-Ass, the film threatens to give him some truly dramatic emotion to work with, yet shies away and seems more content with him having repeat the same one note. Chloë Moretz as Hit Girl is once again the star of the film and continues to demonstrate why she is such a promising actress. Although her high school subplot covers territory that the Tina Fey scripted Mean Girls covered in a much edgier and more entertaining way, nine years ago.
Ultimately Kick-Ass 2 has a lot of problems and never threatens to match or exceed the original. What saves it however despite its flaws is the fact that it is an entertaining time at the movies, one that kept me engaged from start to finish and one that has some of the more crazier and enjoyable action sequences of the summer. Despite the fact that its flaws indicate it is a desperate, lazy and cynical sequel, I never felt bored, offended or disappointed. It was what I thought it would be, yet was slightly more entertaining and engaging than I expected.
Movie Parliament Rating: Minority Government
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,
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