Jim Carrey was right
We should have known something was up with Kick-Ass 2 when Jim Carrey announced he wasn’t going to be promoting the film he “starred” in (if we consider a screen time total of under 20 minutes as a starring role). Initially the actor claimed he could not bring himself to support the film’s excessive violence (though it was notably much less gory than the original Kick-Ass). Now that the film is out, it’s obvious Carrey recognized and promptly abandoned the absolute crash and burn train wreck that is Kick-Ass 2, a film that punches teeth out of the mouth of its potential and rudely drop kicks the quality of its predecessor. On the bright side, this is one less superhero movie franchise to worry about.
The opening half hour or so is actually pretty good. The film begins with an unwilling David Lizewski, better known as Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson in need of a haircut) being repeatedly shot by mischievous freshman slash pro assassin Mindy Macready AKA Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz, who is to Robert Downey Jr. as Kick-Ass is to Iron Man). Hit-Girl, committing truancy to practice with her late father’s bad guy-beating equipment, is training Kick-Ass, who has become reluctant to shed his green and gold spandex suit to go to school.
The film’s light-heartedness abruptly vanishes somewhere after that. Hit-Girl’s guardian (Morris Chestnut) forces her to retire her vigilante ego and become a normal high school girl, launching a useless story arc about her interacting with and outsmarting popular high school girls (which may or may not have been some sort of humorless parody of Mean Girls). Meanwhile Kick-Ass joins a league of amateur heroes living in New York City called Justice Forever lead by ex-mafia member Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey).
The group apparently attracts bad mojo from Kick-Ass’s nemesis Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who upgrades his super villain ego from Red Mist in the first film to The Motherfucker after he accidentally slaughters his mom via kicking her tanning bed a few times. Motivated by a hatred of Kick-Ass (that viewing the first film is required to understand as it is not properly addressed in the sequel), he builds his own army of super villains with the intent of ruining Kick-Ass’s life.
The arc may have been more bearable if Kick-Ass and The Motherfucker interacted in any sort of way before their climactic duel at the end of the film. Seriously, even a menacing text message or subtweet would do. Director Jeff Wadlow waits until about an hour into the film before he abruptly swipes away any lingering dregs of enjoyment, and the rest of the film plays out like the uninspired, cliché, and ultra-self serious action film the first movie made fun of.
Lacking any of the humor and graceful commentary that made the first one so refreshing, the film owes it to Moretz and the rest of its reasonably solid cast for… I’m not sure, actually. Being them? Besides Hit-Girl and the Colonel, the dialogue and action scenes were pretty unsalvageable. There’s not much here to enjoy about this movie.
The film’s ending plays like Wadlow and the cast know how horrible the preceding 103 minutes were, and are aware a second sequel will absolutely not be allowed. It wraps up the loose ends nobody cares about nicely. However, there’s apparently a post-credit scene (that I read about later because I split from the theater the second credits began) that greatly heightens the chances of a sequel happening. Added to that, a third Kick-Ass comic book series (which the movies are based on) published recently. If Justice Forever truly wants to make a mark on society, they won’t let another sequel happen.