Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 Review

Our society has grown accustomed to ultra-violence in cinema, from horror movies like Saw and Hostel to action films like Kill Bill and Die Hard.  Kick-Ass 2 is no different.  Like its predecessor, this film delves into the "real-life" world of superheroes and their ever-growing popularity.  Filled with a plethora of blood, violence, and profanity, this follow-up to the 2010 film, Kick-Ass, will satisfy anyone's taste for fast-paced action, while also bringing in some of the emotion from the first film.

Based on the same Mark Millar comics that spawned the first movie, and written and directed by Jeff Wadlow, the mind behind the 2005 horror-thriller Cry_Wolf, Kick-Ass 2 serves as a perfect continuation into the lives of "real-life" superheroes Kick-Ass and Hit Girl and their struggled against evil.  With the main themes being transformation and role reversal, Wadlow brings a darker, grittier tone to this film than its predecessor, while continuing to deliver the hard R-rated ultra-violence that audiences grew to love.

In this newest installment, Kick-Ass pulls himself out of retirement, begins training with Hit Girl and joins a group of aspiring superheroes calling themselves "Justice Forever".  His former "ally", Red Mist, seeks to avenge his fathers death by killing Kick-Ass.  He does this by taking on the new persona of The Motherf***er, this worlds first "real" supervillain, and hiring a crew of thugs and criminals to assist him in his vengeance.  Meanwhile, Hit Girl is still struggling with the death of her father, Big Daddy, while dealing with the trials and tribulations of high school.
Training seems to be going well...

Reprising his role as the title character is Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Savages).  He brings a toughness and maturity to the role which was somewhat lacking in the first film.  Chloe Grace Moretz (Hugo) is back with a vengeance as Hit Girl and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) is back under the new guise, The Motherf***er.  Also returning is Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine) as Dave's best friend, Marty, Garrett Brown (Roswell) as Dave's somewhat-overbearing father, and Yancy Butler (Witchblade) as Mrs. D'Amico. 

Kick-Ass & Hit Girl face off against The Motherf***er

Though not all of the returning characters have familiar faces.  Detective Marcus Williams (originally played by Omari Hardwick) and Dave's other friend, Todd (originally played by Evan Peters) are now being portrayed by Morris Chestnut (The Call) and Augustus Prew (Charlie St. Cloud), respectively.  There are also some memorable newcomers to the franchise, such as Donald Faison (Scrubs) who joins the cast as new superhero, Dr. Gravity.  Teaming up for a second time with writer/director Jeff Wadlow is Lindy Booth (Cry_Wolf) as Night Bitch.  However, the most memorable of the new characters is Colonel Stars and Stripes played by famous funnyman, Jim Carrey, who publicly refused to promoted this film due to its immense amounts of violence.  Anytime Carrey steps on screen as The Colonel he steals the show.
Jim Carrey as Col. Stars & Stripes

What I loved most about this movie is that it wasn't afraid to show more emotion and depth than the first one while still keeping true to its fast-paced, ultra-violent nature.  Now, I'm not saying that everything in this film was great, because that would be a lie.  While Johnson's and Moretz's performances are definitely stronger this time around, other parts of the movie fall flat or are a bit too much.  The Motherf***er seemed more like a vengeful, spoiled, rich kid rather than a diabolical, sadistic supervillain, as shown in the comics.  His father seemed like more of a villain than him.  I believe this happened because Wadlow chose to tone down some of the events that took place in the movie, such as the beheading of a certain character which is taken straight from the source material.  Another scene with him that bothered me was the attempted rape scene.  If it helped show him as a more sadistic character, I could understand it being in the film, but it doesn't.  It's used as a comedic device, which is done far too often in Hollywood.  The only other thing that I didn't care for was the use of the "sick stick", a device which makes its victims projectile vomit and gives them diarrhea.  To be clear, it wasn't the actual use of the device that bothered me, but what they showed as an outcome of it.  It felt unnecessary and was just a little too much for the tone of the movie.  

However, the good absolutely outweighs the bad, ten-to-one.  With great action scenes, like Hit Girl's epic battle with Mother Russia and a great fight scene atop a speeding van, and nonstop humor, Kick-Ass 2 is a movie you won't want to miss.  So head out to your nearest theater and check out the newest installment of this great superhero franchise (and make sure to stay through the credits for a potential teaser for a possible Kick-Ass 3).

Josh's Rating: 8/10

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