I liked the first Kick-Ass. It was a nice blend of morbid content and gory fun. While the movie had tonal shifts that felt sort of uneven at times, I could still enjoy the film (for the most part anyway). So when they announced that a sequel was going to be made for it, of course I was going to wait in anticipation. I was just looking for a fun time at the movies. Instead, what I got was a film that didn't know what kind of tone it was going for.
Let me get this out of the way: Spoilers.
There, now we can continue.
And, while we're at it, let's get another thing out of the way: I did not like this movie.
Don't get me wrong, the film definitely has its "Fuck yeah!" moments. There is a lot of fun to be had with this movie including Jim Carrey playing as Colonel Stars & Stripes. However, these awesome scenes are overshadowed by the more sick and twisted moments.
This is where the problem of tonal shifting comes from. You would probably be assuming that this sequel would be kind of like its predecessor: a sick and twisted thrill ride that you would occasionally come back to. But that is not the case here. The morbid moments (as few as they are,) are so dark and depressing they kind of suck the enjoyment out of the rest of the film. There was a rape joke in the movie where the Mother Fucker (main villain, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse) was going to rape one of the defeated members of Kick-Ass' team, but couldn't get his dick up. And you know, I would have laughed, but the events that preceded the joke were too dark for me to find it enjoyable. The movie just took the "humor" out of "dark humor."
The key to dark humor is that it needs a special charm to it. A charm that can be established when there is a balance of both fun and brutal realism aka a consistent tone. If there are some semi-serious moments in a comedy, don't make them so depressing that you can't balance the rest of the film out with fun parts. The film seems to weigh more on creating shock value, rather than entertaining its audience.
A few characters are killed off in the movie and they are characters you like. Jim Carrey's character, for example, gets his neck snapped only after we watch him brutally get the shit kicked out of him. Same thing pretty much happens with Kick-Ass' father. Sure there's this awesome finale at the end, but I could not stop thinking about all the disturbing scenes that led up to it.
I don't have a problem with black comedy. Hell, I love it. But I can't enjoy it when the tone isn't consistent. Again, the first movie, at least for the most part, knew what kind of film it wanted to be. Kick-Ass 2 is just confused.