Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Kick-Ass 2 Review (2013) Or Should I Say The Hit-Girl Movie Review?

Among all the superhero comics that have been adapted for the big screen recently, 2010′s Kick-Ass stood out more than most for its thrilling super heroics and shockingly infantile sense of humor. For the sequel, Matthew Vaughn stepped down to a co-producer role, handing over the directing reigns to Jeff Wadlow, whose previous credits consist of Cry Wolf and…Never Back Down. You can understand now the concern I felt walking into the cinema. Would Kick-Ass 2 be better than the first film? And would it do Mark Millar’s comic justice? 
The good news is that Kick-Ass 2  is Wadlow’s best movie to date. The bad news is that it’s more Superman IV than Superman 2. Ok, that may be harsh as sequels go but while the first film was a gripping origin story, the plot of Kick-Ass 2  is all over the place. One minute, we’re following our protagonist Dave Lizewski as he trains to become better in the fighting stakes and then we’re cringing as Hit-Girl struggles to fit in with the horrific bitches at her high school.

Part of this inconsistency is due to the larger cast. There are so many great characters featured here, old and new, but at times, you can feel them all competing to stand out in the films 103 minute running time. Saying that, Dave’s ridiculous new super team Justice Forever are hilarious and while I loved seeing Turk from Scrubs decked out in spandex as Dr Gravity, the real stand out of the group was of course Jim Carrey. With the best canine sidekick of all time by his side, Carrey is unrecognizable as born again Christian Colonel Stars and Stripes, who leads Justice Forever into the fray using his experience as an ex-mafia enforcer to defend the innocent.

I was surprised to hear that Carrey has since withdrawn his support for the film based on its levels of violence – did you not read the script Jim? – but I personally felt that the shock value had actually been toned down somewhat since the first movie. Much of the humor and violence that we enjoyed so much in the original Kick-Ass no longer surprised me here, so while Hit-Girl was still the best thing in this movie, hearing our pint-sized hero gush out profanities every ten seconds no longer had the same impact as before.
Moretz does an incredible job of keeping Mindy likable, but even she must have balked at one scene, where her character goes to a girly sleepover that’s been arranged to acclimatize her to civilian life. I’m just going to put it out there. There’s no way in hell that Hit-Girl would ever go all woozy over a slushy music video starring British boy band Union J. I would have even cringed if this had appeared in a film like Mean Girls but to include it here in a film like Kick-Ass 2 is just sacrilege. Definitely a contender for worst scene of the year.

So where is the lead hero and villain in all this? As Kick-Ass, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is sidelined to the point where he seems more like a supporting character in his own movie and bizarrely, his neck seems to have grown five times larger in his attempts to bulk up for the film. Christopher Mintz-Plasse also disappoints as the bondage wearing super villain, The Mother F***er, who blames Kick-Ass for his fathers death and seeks revenge by forming a gang known charmingly as The Toxic Mega-C***s.
For what should be quite a controversial film, Kick-Ass 2 actually has a pretty conventional plot trajectory; the heroes are outlawed and seek revenge for the deaths of their family members. Meanwhile, the villains make the classic mistake of attacking their enemy’s loved ones first, rather than just going straight for the kill like any sane crazy person would do. It was unfortunate that Kick-Ass 2 indulged in so many of the cliches that were mocked by the original film.
The fight scenes are still satisfyingly graphic – look out for Hit-Girl killing someone with their own finger and crazy ol’ Mother Russia taking out cops with a lawnmower- but most of Kick-Ass 2 fell a bit short for me.  I felt like Wadlow was consciously trying to match the previous film and he didn’t quite succeed but I still enjoyed it though and I think the negative reviews out there are very harsh. If they do end up making a Kick-Ass 3, then it needs to up the ante by…actually you know what? Just give us some more of that purple-haired, foul-mouthed teenage psychopath and I’ll be content.

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