Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

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One shall stand, one shall fall. One shall stand in the background.
One shall stand, one shall fall. One shall stand in the background.

Twitter Plot Summary: Kick-Ass has inspired a groundswell of normal folks becoming costumed superheroes. He’s also spawned the world’s first super villain.

Genre: Action/Comedy/Crime

Director: Jeff Wadlow

Key Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Morris Chestnut, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, Lindy Booth, John Leguizamo, Andy Nyman, Olga Kurkulina, Clark Duke, Lyndsy Fonseca, Iain Glen.

Five Point Summary:

1. Mindy dealing with high school nonsense = funny.
2. Okay, so the guy formerly known as Red Mist is clearly messed up in the head.
3. Mother Russia – imposing.
4.  Super hero VS super villain smackdown.
5. Oh, is that it? I was expecting a bit more. Oh well.

I rather enjoyed the first Kick-Ass film. It was a nice change from the usual superhero gubbins, an anarchic take on the comic book movie that was filled with fun action sequences, an entertaining story and a suitably amusing Adam West impression from Nicolas Cage. To say I was looking forward to the sequel was an understatement. Then Matthew Vaughn went off with script writer Jane Goldman and made X-Men: First Class (which was equally fantastic, admittedly) but left Kick-Ass 2 without the core creative team at the top that made it all work. It was with some trepidation that I approached the sequel, with untested director Jeff Wadlow now at the helm.

It’s hard to pinpoint why exactly it lacks the “oomph” of the original film. Maybe it’s because we’ve already seen all of this before. Or perhaps it’s because the script lacks the zing that Jane Goldman brought to the first film. OR maybe it’s because Matthew Vaughn is a really good director whereas Jeff Wadlow is merely competent? OR… in fact, you could keep listing possible reasons all day and, if you’re The Kinks, all of the night as well. Put simply, whereas the original film was darkly humorous, this sequel feels lighter and less inclined to incite the wrath of Daily Mail readers, not quite sure of itself as far as tone and style are concerned. Comparing the two, this follow-up is a more conventional, run of the mill superhero film, which is a disappointment.

It’s been a couple of years since the events of the first film. Mindy has had to try to fit in with the real world; Dave Lizewski is living a normal life, and Chris D’Amico (formerly Red Mist) is plotting revenge against Kick-Ass for killing his father with a bazooka. Usual teen angsty-stuff then. Mindy’s high school woes are the best part of the story, no question. A certifiable psychopath made to attend high school? Yeah, a recipe for disaster in the making, especially when she tries fitting in with the popular girls and it doesn’t go exactly as she expected. Meanwhile Dave Lizewski decides to don the Kick-Ass outfit once more and teams up with Justice Forever, populated by a ragtag group of do-gooders with no real skills other than the desire to make the world a better place. They are led by Jim Carrey’s Colonel Stars and Stripes who is half a shade away from being on the supervillain side of the fence.

Kick-Ass knew the Colonel had released a potent nerve gas into the air, but didn't want to call him on it.
Kick-Ass knew the Colonel had released a potent nerve gas into the air, but didn’t want to call him on it.

Mintz-Plasse’s controversy-baiting villain The Motherfucker lacks the impact and gravitas of a Mark Strong, but then his brief scene with Iain Glen as his Uncle Ralph emphasises just how far down the chain of villainy he really is. I suspect that he’s supposed to be a really off the rails guy based on my knowledge of the graphic novel, but here he’s just a slightly OTT McLovin. Funny yes, but hardly credible in the villainy stakes. I don’t know, maybe that’s a deliberate move. His assorted bunch of super villains are gloriously bad stereotype, to the point where John Leguizamo’s Javier even points this out to McLovin. How else can you get away with blatantly offensive stuff like calling a short angry white man The Tumor? Or a black guy (played by Harry and Paul’s Parking Pataweyo no less) called Black Death? Less offensive are Genghis Carnage and Mother Russia, but even so their main reason for existence is bad taste. Luckily, I find this sort of thing highly amusing.

The film itself is fine, but you really notice the lack of major input from Vaughn and Goldman. It’s not bad, just nowhere near the same level as the first movie. If this had been the first entry in the series then it might have been easier to forgive some of its problems, but as a sequel to a very well made and well received film it suffers by comparison. Perhaps a little more anarchy in terms of the story set-up would have made for a better movie, or more emphasis on the villains perhaps. Certainly more depth to the action sequences would have also made a difference. Please don’t take this criticism as a sign I didn’t enjoy the film, because I did. It’s perhaps unfair to constantly compare it to the first film, but if more of that film’s tone had been carried over then I’d have less to grumble about. That’s the way it goes though I guess.

Favourite scene: Justice Forever interrupting a poker game, with amusing consequences.

Quote: “You don’t have to be a bad-ass to be a superhero. You just have to be brave.”

Silly Moment:  The Sick Stick. Whilst funny, it feels like an excerpt from a Scary Movie film.

Score: 3/5

 

 

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