Sunday, August 25, 2013

REVIEW: Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass 2

Aaron Taylor-Johnson,
Chloë Grace Moretz


August 16, 2013

Jeff Wadlow

Universal Pictures

1 hour 43 minutes



I gotta be perfectly honest with something: why this film has a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes will forever be a mystery to me. As someone who loves the original "Kick-Ass," I was pretty excited for the sequel,  titled "Kick-Ass 2." I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I loved the original, because it's rare that sequels live up to its predecessor, but I just wanted it to be nothing more than a good sequel and an entertaining superhero film overall. And frankly, that's exactly what I got. "Kick-Ass 2" is an ultra-violent, very funny, and incredibly dark follow up to the original that is a lot better than critics are giving it credit for.

This sequel picks up two years after the first "Kick-Ass" ended, and Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, aka Dave Lizewski and Mindy Macready, have gone their separate ways. Mindy still puts on the costume and fights crime around the city, while Dave is trying to live a normal life. However, a whole new wave of superheroes inspires Dave to become Kick-Ass once more and join a superhero group called "Justice Forever," run by a born again mobster known as Colonel Stars and Stripes. At the same time, Mindy's guardian Marcus orders her to hang up her Hit-Girl outfit and try to become a normal high school teen. Also happening, Chris Chris D'Amico, aka Red Mist from the first film, dons a new outfit and changes his name to "The Mother F***er," and starts building up a supervillain group known as "The Toxic Mega C**ts" in order to get revenge on Kick-Ass after killing his father. It's up to Kick-Ass, Justice Forever, and hopefully Hit-Girl, to save New York and destroy this super-villain league before things get way out of hand.

While this film isn't as bloody as the first "Kick-Ass" was, it's certainly a lot more violent and a lot darker than its predecessor. I give props to director/screenwriter Jeff Wadlow for taking a chance and making this a deep and gritty comic book film rather than a hilarious and cartoony one. There are many moments, two that come to mind right away, that are both shocking and unexpected that it makes your jaw drop in how dark the film got from there. I could sense passion put into this project by Wadlow, and I could see real potential for him as an action director in the future. The script might be dark and violent, but it is also very funny when it wants to be. Now to be fair, making a rape joke is in bad taste, but the comedy for the most part works and is often very funny.  What elevates the humor in the film is the work from the extremely talented cast.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is as great as always as Kick Ass/Dave Lizewski.  Dave is such a fragile character who tries to be Bruce Wayne but is instead stuck inside a teenager's body, and Johnson pulls that off with perfection.  In this film, Dave is a more mature, but still childish superhero who has to deal with a lot more tragedy here than he did in the first one.  I feel that Johnson should be in a lot more movies, mainly because of how he just brings it with every movie he's in.  The same goes for Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who is also great as The Mother F***er.

People may complain about how goofy and over the top this character is, but that's the whole point.  Chris D'Amico never had a real childhood, so his way to get revenge on his father's murderer is to follow every super-villain cliche, but amp the mayhem and darkness up 10 times the amount of any regular villain.  Plasse is crazy and acts juvenile in the film, but he makes such a fun screen presence at the same time.  However, if he plays a villain again in a future movie, it might be better for him to play it off as a more sinister and despicable character rather than just a kid playing bad guy, if that makes any sense.  The two standouts of the film by far, however, are Chloë Grace Moretz and Jim Carrey.

Carrey might be against the violence in this movie, but there's no denying that his performance as Colonel Stars and Stripes is nothing short of fantastic.  Every scene he's in is filled with either motivational speeches, spectacular violence, huge laughs, or all of the above.  Some may believe that Carrey is past his time and that he should retire once and for all.  For me, I think he's doing better than ever and still retains the title in my book as the funniest man walking the Earth.  Now some may wonder about how awesome Hit Girl is in this movie.  To answer that question, her purpose in this film isn't to best people up, rather be a high school student.

What I liked the most about Moretz in this movie is that this time around, she juggles two lives, in the same way that Spider-Man and Hanna Montana do.  In her first life, she is the vigilante Hit Girl who wants to do nothing more than defend the city she loves so much.  In the other life, her stepfather Marcus has forced her to give up Hit-Girl and become a regular teenager.  What this results to is not a lot of Hit-Girl and more of Mindy Macready trying to fit in with her fellow classmates, and frankly, it actually worked a lot more than one could imagine in their minds.  Her storyline is expanded upon more, and for me added to the film when things took a turn to the dark side.  Sure, her story may result in some gross out moments and really stupid moments, but Hit Girl's story, along with Moretz's performance, enhance the film for the better and help make it a great film in my opinion.

"Kick-Ass 2" is not a movie that will please everyone.  People have been bashing this film for being really dark, unfunny, and basically a carbon copy of the original film.  I personally disagree with them.  This movie might be trying to remake the magic of the first movie, but for the most part, "Kick-Ass" and "Kick-Ass 2" are very different films from one another.  Where the first one was ultra-violent and bloody as hell, this movie is darker and less bloody.  Both are funny movies, but this one is more emotionally moving than funny.  Having said that, the comedy in this film is both shocking and often hilarious for the most part.  The villain might be a little too over the top, and the film might be a little dumb at times, but in my eyes, "Kick-Ass 2" is a great superhero movie.  What I wanted out of this sequel going into it was a funny, violent, and awesome sequel that lived up to my expectations.  Not only did it live up, but it exceeded my expectations by being dark, emotionally moving, and an all around great film.


Don Jon


Vampire Academy

47 Ronin



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