Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review 199: "Kick-Ass 2"

"Try to have fun, otherwise,
what's the point?"

Balls to the Wall

      I was a big fan of the first Kick-Ass movies. It was one of my favorite films of 2010 and I give it a watch once or twice a year. So, naturally I am excited for the second movie to makes it's way out into the theaters. Although, this time around, it's gotten a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I don't get that. The sequel is also pretty great. Written and directed by Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down), the film once again follows Dave (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) who, bored with teenage life, once again decides to become Kick-Ass. However, after Mindy (Chloe Grace Mortez) AKA Hit Girl decides she wants out of being a superhero and tries to be a normal teenage girl, Kick-Ass teams up with Justice Forever, a group of superheroes lead by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), along with Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison), Night Bitch (Lindy Booth) and Battle Guy (Clark Duke). They are put to the test however when Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who's renamed himself as the very family unfriendly The Motherfucker, who along with partners Javier (John Leguizamo) and Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), plans on getting revenge on Kick-Ass and becoming the world's first supervillain. 

Serious business.
The Darker Knight

      One of the most impressive things about Kick-Ass 2 is how it manages to be an adaptation of an infamously dark and offensive Mark Millar comic book that is actually pretty fun and emotional. The film manages for the most part to retain the first film's sense of humor and level of violence, all with the same tone that made it work in the first film. Granted, this time around the film isn't quite as funny as the film often uses it's potty-mouth as a punchline and one scene in particular featuring a "sick stick" goes a little to far in terms of gross-out gags, but still the film is often very funny and as likable as the first. The action also still works. Most of it comes towards the end and as a result it does get a little repetitive, but it works and the scenes of Hit Girl fighting on top a van and the whole climax are particularly exciting. The film, however, does have to deal with some of the comic books darker moments. Many other people are taking offensive to a scene where The Motherfucker tries to rape another character but can't get "in the moment", which while mildly amusing is still a bit misjudged. It's miles better than the comic though where the rape is actually performed and it's one of many scenes that the film thankfully waters down. 

Alter Egos

      The cast as well is back and is just as good as before. Johnson is actually a bit better this time around, with a confidence that's nice to see in Kick-Ass. Mintz-Plasse, an actor I normally don't particularly like, does well as the villain, though he can go a bit over-the-top. The new additions are good. Kurkulina is bad-ass and and is a formidable threat. The other heroes don't get much to do, but they are fun and there characters are interesting. Carrey is the big new guy here and he's does very well in an almost unrecognizable turn, though he is underutilized and is no match for Nic Cage's Big Daddy. And once again, Mortez steals the show as Hit Girl. She's given more to do this time around in a sub-plot that follows her discovering that teenage girls are almost as bad as the bad guys she was putting away. She shares good chemistry with Johnson and Morris Chestnut as her guardian and gives the film most of it's humor. Though, her storyline does kinda come to an abrupt end, it's never really a bad thing that you want to see more. As a whole, the film's story works and matches the original and maybe even tops it. A bit predictable, but still a lot of fun.

Black and red. The international color of bad guys.
The Verdict
      Kick-Ass 2 is a sequel that while it can't quite live up to the extreme heights of the original, it is still a very fun and entertaining film in it's own right. The film is slightly bogged down by some darker turns, a predictable story and being a little less funny this time around, but it more than makes up for it's flaws. The film balanced the dark tone and the humor well, combining the brutal violence in great actions scenes about as well as the first. The cast is still great, with the best Johnson and Mortez given more to do. Carrey is a fun new addition and the film does film bigger and bolder like every sequel should. Not as good as the first, but still a very solid sequel. Now if only the next one could have nothing to do with Millar... Kick-Ass 2 gets 5 stars out of 6.


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