There was something about the original Kick-Ass that never took itself seriously. It resonated with an audience raised on superhero movies and showed them how to have fun with the concept while simultaneously providing action with a unique kick. Although it struck a chord, Kick-Ass was never quite considered a hit... only making $48 million domestically.
So, when Kick-Ass 2 was green lit, it was quite unexpected. Fans were thrilled, but will their anticipation be rewarded? The sequel has a lot to live up to. For the most part, it is great fun, but something is missing.
The Kick-Ass 2 trailer teases the story that picks up soon after the goings on of the first film. Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor Johnson) has hung up his green and yellow crime fighting costume to focus on other elements in life, most notably graduating high school instead of risking his life fighting crime -- but Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), not so much.
Hit Girl is now being watched over by Detective Marcus Williams (played by Morris Chestnut) after her father (Nicholas Cage, who is missed this time out) passed away in the act of fighting crime as his alter ego, Big Daddy.
Williams knows about Moretz’s penchant for becoming Hit Girl and has completely forbidden it while she lives under his roof. Only thing, she is doing it behind his back… but he has an idea. This Kick-Ass 2 clip shows how Williams believes he can catch her in the act of being a costumed vigilante.
Writer-director Jeff Wadlow shows early on in his sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s first film, Kick-Ass and Hit Girl have inspired a legion of people who don costumes and head out into the night to do the justice-wielding that cops don’t seem to be able to do. There is a vacuum with Kick-Ass hanging up his spurs, so to speak. And people, such as Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity and Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes have filled it.
How she walks away from her Hit Girl alter ego and Johnson returns to his Kick-Ass self is chronicled pretty well in writer-director Jeff Wadlow’s script. Perhaps it is because we know these characters so well, in many ways it feels a bit like an act of manipulation to have these characters (Hit Girl and Kick-Ass) go in opposite directions, come together and then part ways once again -- all in an effort to spur drama in Kick-Ass 2’s plot.
Where Kick-Ass was a whimsical look at the world of superheroes, Kick-Ass 2 thinks it is a superhero movie of the highest order. How Wadlow even builds his villain, the man formerly known as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz Plasse), feels more like a straight superhero story and not one worthy of the world of Kick-Ass.
What does work, and is frankly the best part of the film, is Carrey’s performance. He has crafted a character in Colonel Stars and Stripes that knows its place in this world. Carrey delivers via his voice, his actions, and pure talent. But, he seems to be the only one who gets it.
Our Kick-Ass 2 review is a little disappointed in the effort, although it is still a fun ride. Perhaps expectations were too high. Where Vaughn had weaved a web that poked fun at the world it inhabited while still bringing action and thrills, Wadlow’s world seems to have forgotten to have a sense of humor and self awareness that was what made Kick-Ass so… well, kick ass.