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Kick-Ass 2 Review

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Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are back to fight a whole new breed of villains.

I'll just come right out and say it: I love the first Kick-Ass. The subject matter obviously isn't for everyone, but I thought Matthew Vaughn and everyone else did a superb job translating Mark Millar's story to the big screen. Despite being all kinds of ridiculous, they still managed to fill it with energy, emotion and fun. Naturally, I was pretty stoked to buy my ticket for Kick-Ass 2 and hoped for a similar experience or level of quality despite Vaughn stepping back to only produce. While it still delivers on some absurd action and laughs, Kick-Ass 2 doesn't seem to have much heart behind it and at the end of the day, nothing makes it feel truly special.

The sequel picks up a few years after the events of the first movie. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) wants to step up his superhero game and seeks out Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) for extra training. However, after her father, Big Daddy, was killed in the previous movie, she's now in the care of Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut). As expected, he wants her to put the mask away and strive for a normal life. Meanwhile, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) loathes Kick-Ass for killing his father (with a bazooka, mind you) and wants revenge. Seeing as he's beyond loaded and completely twisted, he aims to become the world's first super villain and uses his mountains of cash to form an army.

When it comes to the performances, I have no real gripes. Despite apparently being on the super-soldier serum and all kinds of jacked now, Taylor-Johnson still comes off as a believable fanboy. That said, the writing of the character is a bit odd as he sporadically jumps from confident (stands up to a group of thugs) to startled like a child (shocked by the bouncer assault) from time to time. It's a minor criticism, and like I said, he still gives a solid performance. In spite of the film being named after him, he's by no means the star of this one. If anything, Moretz takes up a majority of the time (or at least it felt like it). The drama surrounding her is definitely drawn-out at times and, despite the film suffering from this, it still gives her a chance to show off her acting chops. In the movie, her character implies she's done more than most adults have in the 15 years she's been on this planet. The same could hold true for her acting abilities because she's definitely talented and it shows in this film.

Jim Carrey is the real treat. His take on Millar and John Romita Jr's character is a joy to watch, oozing cheese yet remaining so damn lovable and out there. I soaked up every charismatic moment he offered and the movie definitely could have benefited from giving him some more time onscreen. As for Mintz-Plasse, he's pretty much a more unrestrained and offensive version of himself (or at least the version of him we tend to see in most movies). If he's made you laugh before, he's absolutely going to do it again. Oh, and minor gripe: hiring a new actor as Todd and then trying to have him play the part just like Evan Peters was definitely jarring. It would have felt more natural to write Todd out and have him replaced by a new friend, but it is what it is.

When Hit-Girl busted into the room in the first movie with that upbeat music it was a totally unique experience. There's a little girl slaughtering these dudes in a horrific fashion.... yet it's fun. That fun seems to be lost this time around. They tried to duplicate that scene fairly early on, but aside from a few remarks and trying to keep things lively with a remotely similar track, it comes off as "been there, seen that." Now, I know some of you may think the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" saying could apply here, but it didn't for me. I wanted to love seeing Hit-Girl slaughtering these terrible people, but the action just came and went without any real oomph or energy behind it.

Mother Russia vs. Hit-Girl aside (which was quite awesome, but I'll get to that), the same lack of thrill and excitement holds true for the big showdown. You've got all of these costumed people dressed up with crazy weapons, ready for a super twisted take on West Side Story, yet it's a basic brawl and the finale (again, Hit-Girl vs. Mother Russia aside) feels totally standard. It never really delivers a "wow" moment. Yeah, the first movie took a super ridiculous turn which you either loved or loathed (I loved it, obviously), but prior to that, Hit-Girl vs. the Goons and eventually Chris' dad was brutal and engaging. Hell, even the laughable stalemate was a decent time. Here? It never really hits us with a standout moment, despite throwing a slow motion punch to the face our way.

Director Jeff Wadlow did utilize a pretty cool shot in one instance with Kick-Ass taking a leap, but the end result was anti-climatic and made me wonder why the slow motion was even used at that point. That said, he definitely delivers on Mother Russia versus Hit-Girl. It's tough to believe this 15 year-old girl isn't having her bones shattered effortlessly by this physical tank (especially since they keep reminding us "this isn't a comic book!"), but aside from that, it's an enjoyable battle between speed and strength and has the only real jaw-dropper when it comes to the finale.

With so much varied content, it should come as no surprise the tone skips around a lot as well. Sure, it did in the first too, but it felt more organized there and hit way fewer speed bumps. Here, interlacing the movie with the way slower-paced scenes involving Mindy's life felt a bit abrupt (again, despite her doing a fine job with her material). Unfortunately, Kick-Ass 2 also misses the mark when it comes to engrossing us in some of the really compelling and gut-wrenching scenes the source material had to offer. These are huge moments which should resonant but it kind of feels like they're glossed over to get to the next punchline or kill.

If you've read the source material (Kick-Ass 2, Hit-Girl), then you should have a pretty decent understanding of what lies ahead when it comes to the content. It's every bit as raunchy as Millar's writing but there are more than a handful of instances where it feels like they're trying way too hard for shock value (cafeteria scene, for example. Funny at first but then it reaches a "...really?" moment). As expected with any adaptation, some things are of course omitted or completely altered, but a good chunk of the story remains intact. They totally fumbled when it comes to the most controversial part of the comic book. They attempted to dodge a bullet with one of the most disturbing scenes in the source material, but the change comes off as even more offensive by simply playing it for laughs. I just don't get how a movie can imply killing a dog is too evil and then turn an attempted rape scene into a total joke. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of legitimate laughs to be had, but there's at least two moments where I couldn't help but groan.

Kick-Ass 2 has no problem bringing some solid comedy and able performances to the table, but everything else which made the first movie captivating just isn't here. I feel like it never does anything to truly rise above other titles in the genre and I wound up leaving the theater thinking the movie is alright. The emotional moments don't pack the strong punch they should and the narrative definitely drags its feet every now and then. However, if you just want to laugh and enjoy some decent action, then yeah, it'll most likely deliver for you.

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Posted by RageEx2

Man, I was hoping it would at least be as good as the first.

Posted by DecoyElite

Nice review. Personally I was one of the people who hated the first Kick-Ass and really nothing you're saying here make me feel like the sequel is worth a watch.

The shock value stuff you mentioned certainly doesn't help things.

Edited by The Stegman

I' ll go see it anyway, mostly cause I love the comics.

Posted by jumpstart55

Like i said, don't go into the theaters expecting to see Kick Ass one again. Go into the theaters expecting a typical Superhero action flick.

Definitely looking forward to seeing this movie though.

Posted by Enzeru

I have a question:

I read the first Kick-Ass comic and I liked it. It was gritty and full of despair, but that made the appeal of the comic.
Then I watched the first Kick-Ass movie and I didn't really like it. They changed way too much and all of the despair was gone - they even made the girl his girlfriend and in the end it totally turned into a superhero-fantasy.

I read the second Kick-Ass comic and I didn't really like it all too much. It felt very random at times and didn't have that much of a "realistic approach" like it was in the first movie.
Does this now mean that I'm going to HATE the second movie?

Edited by JairamGanpat

I saw an advance screening on Tuesday, I thought this movie was fucking hilarious.

Posted by DecoyElite
Edited by longbowhunter

I knew Evan Peters wasn't in this one but I didn't know they brought in another actor to play his part. That's really gonna bug me. Still I love Chloe Moretz and the Hit-Girl miniseries. That's what I'm really buying a ticket for.

Posted by theTimeStreamer

puberty has hit these kids hard. what's wrong with your face?!

Posted by thenexusrebound

@decoyelite: I always feel like I am in some weird minority when I say I didn't like Kick-Ass. It just came off as a "I'm cool cause I curse and am ultra violent!" Don't get me wrong I have no problem with cursing or violence, but they just seemed like lets shock people. Too each their own I guess.

Posted by DecoyElite

@thenexusrebound: Completely agree. It all felt like shock value crap disguised as "realistic".

Posted by DarklyDreamingDeadpool

@enzeru said:

I have a question:

I read the first Kick-Ass comic and I liked it. It was gritty and full of despair, but that made the appeal of the comic.

Then I watched the first Kick-Ass movie and I didn't really like it. They changed way too much and all of the despair was gone - they even made the girl his girlfriend and in the end it totally turned into a superhero-fantasy.

that's exactly what i thought. i hated it so much that he get the girl in the movie. but, i still like the movie, but not as much as i love the comics.

gonna watch kick-ass 2 this weekend, i hope they didn't changed too much for my taste.

Posted by nappystr8

It sounds like you felt about this movie the way I felt about the first. So if you really like the first one, I'm going to stick with my gut and decide this movie is not for me. At least I have the Kick-Ass 3 comic to read right now.

Posted by Ostyo

Because dogs are awesome!

Posted by flazam

I thought this movie might flop

Posted by Trevel8182

If this is the guy who reviewed Man of Steel and the Wolverine then I probably should not listen to him.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

I'm told there's a boy band music video that just interrupts the movie.

Edited by The_Titan_Lord

hmm..

Edited by redhood21

If this is the guy who reviewed Man of Steel and the Wolverine then I probably should not listen to him.

lol!

in other news... how bout that league of shadows? crazy stuff am i right?

Posted by Mucklefluga

How's the credits-scene?

Edited by BradyDale

I had a feeling.

I wrote about the KICK ASS 2 movie news for another site, and in prep I watched the whole KICK ASS 2 panel at SDCC. It definitely seemed like everyone on that panel was TRYING to sound excited, rather than actually being excited.

I can't believe I missed the opening. If I can get stuff done, I will probably still go today. What the heck?

Posted by nerdork

I'll see it. I love movies, even bad ones. This will, at least, be of moderate quality.

Edited by Guardiandevil83

@trevel8182: He reviewed Wolverine. Gman reviewed Man of Steel.

Posted by danhimself

my biggest gripe with the first film was the ending....it was a good movie up until that stupid a$$ jet pack and the rocket launcher kill....that seriously ruined the movie for me

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Edited by Squalleon
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Posted by BR_Havoc

I do not really get why cutting the scenes of a gang rape seen and the decapitation a dog and making them into a big joke is wrong to do?

Kick Ass 2 was a terrible comic book and Mark Millar went into that book with the ideas how do I shock people but he just threw in shock for shock and it did not work the story went nowhere with these horrible acts they were just there. So I think its perfectly fine to cut them out and make those dark moments lighter with humor.

The way I look at this is Millar was a great writer with things like the Civil War, Red Son and Kick Ass one but we are far removed from that guy now he is the shock jock and its growing old.

Posted by Jasoninthewoods

I can honestly say I've never had any desire to read ,or watch kick ass.

Posted by biggkeem89

Im sorry but Im going to have to disagree with most of this review. I saw the film and it was fantastic. Its something different from the rest of the superhero movies out there and I found the acting better and way more entertaining than the bag of dung that was Man of Steel. Funny, action packed, and even drama are handled nicely. Out of pretty lackluster summer of comic movies, Kick Ass 2 was hands down the best

Edited by Nahuel

@guardiandevil83: nope! Gregg reviewed both, Gman just whined about the Superman from Man of Steel not being what He thinks HIS Superman should be

Edited by Guardiandevil83

@squalleon: Really? Damn..need to stay off the grass. But Tony did write about the film though right?

EDIT: never mind I just got an answer. Oh, and K2 had a gang rape scene originally? I hate rape, and those who involve themselves in the act

Posted by k4tzm4n

@br_havoc: Two things:

1) Use spoiler tabs! Not everyone has read the source material or seen the movie yet, silly!

2) I never said making a joke about killing the dog isn't funny. In fact, I laughed at that remark when it happened. I did, however, say that the movie implying killing a dog is too evil and then later making light of rape is totally messed up to me.

Im sorry but Im going to have to disagree with most of this review. I saw the film and it was fantastic. Its something different from the rest of the superhero movies out there and I found the acting better and way more entertaining than the bag of dung that was Man of Steel. Funny, action packed, and even drama are handled nicely. Out of pretty lackluster summer of comic movies, Kick Ass 2 was hands down the best

You should be sorry. You're supposed to agree with me word for word on this subjective material!

If this is the guy who reviewed Man of Steel and the Wolverine then I probably should not listen to him.

It is and you're welcome!

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Edited by CaptainCyke

The one thing that stuck out to me (after the fact when I started thinking about what I just watched) is that Hit-Girl didn't seem to have that "joyous" nature to the fights she was in this time. Last time it felt like Mindy was having fun killing (even right after Big Daddy died). This time it feels like that has changed--like her trying to "defend the city" in memory of her father had taken the surreal joy out of fighting.

But like I said, it wasn't something I thought about until I walked out and started thinking.

Though the thing that disappointed me was the difference between the movie and comic's demise of Mother Russia.

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Posted by BR_Havoc

@k4tzm4n: Whoops sorry did not even think about how that could if been a spoiler.

I understand your view how that could be distasteful making a joke or down playing the seriousness of rape but to me its not as distasteful as the source material using rape as something only to shock the reader. Its such a serious topic ans i feel that millar loves to force it on people as aforum of entertainment and there are many examples of him doing it.

Posted by ccraft

I thought Kick Ass was okay when I watched it, but I don't think I'll be seeing Kick Ass 2.

I think my favorite part in Kick Ass was when Big Daddy was teaching Hit Girl about guns, it was pretty crazy. My main complaint about Kick Ass and Kick Ass 2 is the villain guy, he looks dumb and so does his army.

I'll probably just rent the movie when it comes out.

Posted by DRDOOMSDAY390
Posted by CaseyJones

@k4tzm4n

"imply killing a dog is too evil and then turn an attempted rape scene into a total joke."

Attempted rape of a dead dog?!

This movie is hardcore!

Posted by z1co80

It's definitely not as good as the first film but it was still entertaining and had a few genuinely funny moments.

Posted by BigL

I loved the first movie but this one never looked like it could live up to it. I'll still probably watch it this weekend but my expectations aren't very high for it

Posted by jesusdisciple001

@decoyelite:

I saw an advance screening on Tuesday, I thought this movie was hilarious.

there fixed it

Posted by jwalser3

I'll rent it.

Posted by Protoflash

I actually loved this movie. And the changes they made from the source material were great if you ask me. But everything involving hit-girl trying to be a popular kid was just boring and stupid. As for the two most controversial parts of it, I liked them a lot, as I felt it would be much more in character for chris de'mico than what happened in the comic. Seeing as his whole character, as depicted in kick-ass 3 thus far, is that he is, at his core, just a pussy kid who took playing super-hero/super-villain too far. But maybe thats just how I interpreted the character.

Posted by EnSabahNurX

Great review, Agreed there was no real Wow moment but I liked how it tried to be more "serious" than the last film. 3/5 feels about right rating wise, the rape joke was kind of an awkward moment in the movie for me because it's not a scenario you treat so lightly. From what I've noticed a lot of people didn't like that it wasn't as comical and over the top as the last one(Not that this one wasn't crazy with mother Russia and other random stuff), the last movie felt like it had more heart to it. Possibly the pacing is what made this movie seem disjointed because there was 3 separate(main) stories that weren't intertwined well enough to keep up a exciting pace. Hit girl's storyline needed a bigger pay off moment that I felt they dropped the ball on in the end. The adrenaline syringe did make me laugh in a good way and I liked the Hit Girl vs Mother Russia wasn't just hit girl winning the whole time.

Oh and Todd's recasting was annoying as sin, writing todd off and saying they had a new friend would have explained the way they treated him better.

I thought the acting of the two leads was probably the best part of the movie. Also Jim Carey was surprising, I normally can't stand him but he was good here(Thought the same of Nicholas cage in the last movie)

Edited by RoTheKid

I actually enjoyed this movie even though I liked the first one slightly more. But not by much. Jim Carey was great and I think this is the best acting I've seen from him.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

I really want to go today. But my best friend dropped out. And I'm really pissed.

Posted by ColaNicole

Just saw it. I thought the 1st was average but absolutely loved this. I thought it was consistently fun through out. I personally would give 9/10 and I'm not exactly a fan but that may be why I like it more, though.

Posted by The Stegman

Just left the theater, I liked the movie quite a bit, though the "throw up device" was kinda juvenile.

Edited by Birthright

Liked the first one more.

Posted by batsymyplaything

Watched it, not as good as the first one, IMO. Mainly disappointed about that fact that 3/4 of the movie deals with Hit-Girl's high school boloney and overcoming it.

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