The first film in what now appears to be Kick-Ass franchise surprised us all. It looked like a complete parody spoof of superhero films but the key to its success was its originality within plot and characters as well as creative and somewhat artistic visual style. It was entertainment at the highest standard and like many which achieve this, a sequel is irresistible to abandon. Judging from this sequel’s title, audiences were expecting exactly it suggests – superheroes kicking ass for a second time. Kick-Ass 2 proves itself to be just that and become a very enjoyable, hilarious and fun sequel. However, its biggest faults were that it lacks the smooth originality and tone which worked so impressively in the predecessor.
The majority of central crew members from Kick-Ass returned for this sequel but this time, we witnessed a new director’s angle on Mark Millar’s work. Matthew Vaughn crafted a simple yet visually artistic comic book adaptation with Kick-Ass in 2010. Jeff Wadlow, on the other hand becomes a convincing replacement as director of Kick-Ass 2. He individually wrote the sequel’s screenplay and successfully maintained the same hilarious, witty one-liners as well as further creativity within character and plot development. His screenplay was top-notch and as director, he fulfilled more traditional comic-book trends with more action and violence. On a similar note, it may have been extremely repetitive from its predecessor but that does not matter. It the sequel was less exciting, gruesome and funny, it would defeat the aim of the title and overall intention the film brings. In addition, its pacing and tone seemed somewhat unique at times as sequences kept jumping and further stories kept expanding. It appeared unusual to begin with but as the film continued, the pieces fitted.
The plot in Kick-Ass 2 becomes more serious than in its predecessor. Vaughn never aimed for the original film to appear emotional or tear-jerking but the implication of further dramatic concepts in Kick-Ass 2 added a sense of realism with morals behind them. This has often been the case with superhero sequels, such as The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 2. Still, on a more emotional level, Kick-Ass 2 is a story of self-discovery as it focuses on the meaning of superheroes, differences between their ordinary selves and their alter egos, the consequences of becoming a superhero and learning about who they really are. Audiences have got to know the characters and we have witnessed them fulfilling their destinies as superheroes but now we’ve seen that, it goes more in depth. Therefore, director Wadlow provides a different angle to Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl etc and Kick-Ass 2 becomes more of a traditional superhero film than a parody.
Even after three years since the first Kick-Ass film, Aaron Taylor-Johnson still appears the same as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass. As opposed to being a teenage geek in the first film, we see a Bruce Wayne/Peter Parker like Dave/Kick-Ass in this sequel. As previously stated, we follow Dave’s journey of self-discovery and once again, Taylor-Johnson delivers a great performance. Furthermore, after stealing the first film with her fantastic role as the foul-mouthed and badass Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl, Chloe Grace Moretz succeeds in this sequel. However, this time we see both a different Moretz and a different Hit-Girl. In between the two films, she has transformed from a little girl to a hormonal teenager. Hit-Girl was a controversial character in the first Kick-Ass but now she’s growing up, the character and actress has not gone to that extreme level and has perhaps become a joint protagonist.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse is just perfect for the role of Chris D’Amico as he goes from a nerdy Red Mist to the supervillain The Mother F***er. This re-invention is the perfect spoof towards supervillains as he aims to cause chaos and get revenge but the path to achieve it is pure laughter. Finally, Jim Carrey makes a cool appearance as Colonel Stars And Stripes. Similar to Nicolas Cage in the predecessor, Carrey stands out in Kick-Ass 2 as the Colonel was his coolest character in years. However, at times his character felt somewhat underused and he could have become someone so much more.
Kick-Ass 2 is a kick-ass sequel to a kick-ass predecessor. It may have had pacing issues and a slight lack of originality but it still delivered as a film of pure entertainment. The humour and violence were still the same and was not any more or any less funnier or gruesome than its predecessor. Jeff Wadlow perhaps was not going to portray the more creative and artistic form of Mark Millar’s comic book like Matthew Vaughn did, but his work was still impressive. Finally, now that Mark Millar has released the comic book of Kick-Ass 3, it will only be a matter of time before that film adaptation comes around. Until then and after two impressive instalments thus far, excitement for the third and perhaps final addition to the Kick-Ass series will be even higher.