Twice as violent, twice as rude, half as fun

Featuring

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as David Lizewski/Kick-Ass
Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/The Motherf*cker
Lyndsy Fonseca as Katie Deauxma
Jim Carrey as Sal Bertolinni/Colonel Stars and Stripes
with Clark Duke as Marty Eisenberg/Battle Guy
and Lindy Booth as Miranda Swedlow/Night-B!tch

I must confess I really like the idea of Kick Ass, the “real” superhero who doesn’t have any superpowers other than bravery and the desire to help people. They get injured, shot, can die and their fighting skills are indeed whatever they learn through training and practice. It doesn’t matter if the superhero started off as a whimpy kid – most seem to anyway – but what does whether or not they achieve their aims of helping people.

Really, this is where Kick Ass 2 excels in its portrayal of actual masked heroes. They do fight crime, but when they do, it’s a messy, bloody and ultimately zero sum game. Their greatest success, you could argue is when they’re out on patrol and helping people out on the streets of New York or volunteering their time in charities. In this installment, Kick Ass finally learns how to fight effectively from Hit Girl and seeks to join up with other like minded citizens to fight crime and help people in need. Thus he finds Colonel Stars and Stripes, Night Bitch and others in the cause to make the world a better place.

Of course, the antithesis of helping people and making the world a better place is being an arsehole. The superhero formerly known as Red Mist has now restyled himself as the Motherfucker and paid for a team of racially and stereotypically named supervillains to wreak havoc on New York and avenge the death of his father at the hands of Kick Ass. He’s also a loser to the highest degree not only because he’s an absolute douchebag, but also because he is the whiniest and most incompetent supervillain ever. Even Dr Evil from Austin Powers was more effective!

What I really liked about the first movie was the ironic, black humour that was a staple of its narrative. The violence was shocking because Hit Girl was the one doing the somersaults and slashing, but it was darkly amusing because it was just so outlandish, fake and ridiculous that, provided you weren’t in the easily offended brigade, you could accept it was all in good fun. Here, it seems the swearing and the violence is there because it needs to be there as a continuation of the previous movie. Whether it’s because the tone of the movie is more serious and depicts real, life changing consequences, combined with the imagery of kiddie violence not a shock anymore, it’s not as ironic and not as fun.

Then, there are the crude attempts at crude humour. One of the aspects that attracted me to Kick Ass was that situational humour was excellent, while crude. In Kick Ass 2, attempts to replicate the magic formula seem out of place. For instance, the movie was going really well until Hit Girl uses a machine to induce simultaneous projectile excretions from both ends of some admittedly nasty bullies she faces in high school. I get that it’s ultimately a movie about high school kids and their sense of humour is about as high brow as a night with Steve Stifler at a brothel, but it just seemed to be a desperate attempt to get some laughs.

Ultimately, Kicks Ass 2 still makes for a good movie experience. Though it doesn’t quite replicate the same sense of fun, misadventure and silly, over the top violence as its predecessor, there’s more of a message here than Kick Ass. Unfortunately, that’s probably why people aren’t positive about this movie. In its attempt to show the movie as more grown up, with a real sense of morals, consequences and camaraderie, the mindless violence and crude attempts at American Pie style humour is just so jarringly out of place.

Rating

Not as good as the original, but still a decent movie.

Should I watch it?

Yes, because it’s still a pretty fun and unique movie with decent character development. It’s a bit rude though, so don’t take kids along.

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