By Boyd Reynolds | Staff Writer Published: 08/17/2013 1:34 pm EST
Release date: August 16, 2013 Director: Jeff Wadlow
I can’t deny it. I had a blast watching Kick Ass 2. It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch, yet it was highly entertaining with its crude but hilarious dialogue and, yes, excessive violence.
Kick Ass 2 picks up two years after the first Kick Ass film, with Dave Lizewski (aka Kick Ass) having given up his green and yellow tights. But Kick Ass’s legend has not disappeared. All around New York, he has inspired average citizens to kick ass as well, leading to a parade of masked men and women out for their own brand of vigilante justice. Feeling empty, Lizewski elicits the help of Mindy Macready (aka Hit Girl) to help train him and get back in the game. But Macready has her own problems. Since her dad’s death, she is under the watchful eye of Marcus Williams, a detective and friend of her late father’s. She can’t hang with Kick Ass anymore. Undaunted, he joins Justice Forever, a rag-tag group of so-called superheroes, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes, played exceptionally well by Jim Carrey. But heroes need villains. Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprises his role as a darker version of Red Mist, who creates a league of super villains, furthering his personal vendetta against Kick Ass.
It’s the Justice League of America versus the Legion of Doom, Kick Ass style.
A true standout in Kick Ass 2 beyond its crude humor and bloody fight scenes is Chloe Grace Moretz. Playing Hit Girl, Moretz brings a passionate and violent vigor to the role of a teenager trying to find her own way, without dismantling her ass kicking superhero self. Should she change and try to fit in with the high school clique, or just be herself, betraying her guardian but allowing her true self to come forward? It’s a question that all teenagers, even adults, have had to face. Do we go after what we think everyone wants us to do, or do we go out on a limb and just be ourselves? The latter can be difficult, and the former, can be deadly, especially in high school. Thankfully, the mean girls in Kick Ass 2 get the ultimate in teenage revenge.
At times, I was caught off guard with Kick Ass 2. The humor and playfulness of the story lulled me into a state of comfort. But Kick Ass 2 isn’t a children’s superhero movie. Life and death are exposed, as well as some brutal beatings and explicit sexual content. The Kick Ass franchise is unlike other movies of its ilk and this is a good thing. This is exactly what keeps it fresh.
There has been much buzz about Jim Carrey revoking his endorsement of the film because of the level of violence. Yes, it has a great deal of violence. But what did you expect from a movie titled Kick Ass 2? After watching the movie, I kept thinking about how the publicity for Kick Ass 2 would have opened many doors to talk about society’s exposure to violence. This could have been done without slamming the film.
One personal pleasure from Kick Ass 2 was how it reminded me of my love of superheroes. The everyday citizen wants what I wanted (okay, still want), a life more action packed, more presumably significant than a regular life. They found meaning and purpose in putting on their mask and being who they really are. In the society, we all wear masks. A false smile, an insincere ‘thank you,’ all chased down with an unfeeling ‘sorry.’ These are how we get through the world without offending everyone we run into. But it is as if these superheroes, once they dawn their mask and put on their cape, let loose their inner adventurer, the one who laughs in the face of fear.
That is until that face is the face of the Joker, and then we cry like a little baby. But the idea is tempting nonetheless.
As mentioned at the outset, Kick Ass 2 worked for me. It is not as shocking or as powerful as the first installment, but it is still full of crude humor, terrific fight scenes, and a ridiculous nerdy villain. I don’t know. Chastise me. But I stand by my review. Kick Ass 2 was a great time.
Plus, don’t we all just want to kick some ass every once in a while?