We’ve had “Spider-man 2”, we’ve had “X2: X-Men United”, and we’ve had “The Dark Knight”. Now we’ve had “Kick-Ass 2”, the fourth on that quick list of second comic book movies that mightily improve upon the “first one.” Not that I found 2010’s “Kick-Ass” anything terribly special, but “Kick-Ass 2” does something that hadn’t been done by its predecessor: it kicks ass.
This tale has more substance than we’d seen before, as is virtually promised by its basis on two comic books (“Kick-Ass 2” and the spin-off “Hit-Girl”). Most of this story is a Romeo and Juliet tale, without such heavy romance. I really mean that there’s feuding and the romance comes in over time. No one wants Kick-Ass or Hit-Girl to be known by their superhero names, their parents least of all. No one wants them to be seen together. But that’s bound to change. Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) has founded an underground-ish alliance (per Kick-Ass, the greatest “clique” ever) for superheroes. Once he’s dead, Kick-Ass is basically the Tyler Durden of this fight club. It’s all made to look like good deeds, not vigilantism—but will they survive these good deeds? They’re up against the gang headed by a guy who, before his father’s death, was called Red Mist and tried to team up with Kick-Ass. Now he’s Kick-Ass’s arch nemesis, donning the almighty name “The Motherf##ker.”
Christopher Mintz-Plasse is stellar in this role. He’s still good, maybe better, at playing that whiney, bratty, spoiled, rich kid in the body of a high school senior. But remember that he’s not the only one of his kind. His co-arch nemesis (is that even a word?) is played once again by Chloë Grace Moretz, whose performance seems to be in great danger. She no longer has Big Daddy to back her up. She looks a lot older. Where her controlling, bratty behavior worked in the first one, she just seems like a bitchy 15-year-old now. She hardly generates any humor on her end. Not even from swearing because she actually looks 15 years old, and 15-year-olds swear like they want to become sailors as soon as they’re out of school.
I don’t want to shame Moretz at the expense of her whole career. Moreover, at the expense of the whole movie. “Kick-Ass 2” has several moments of sheer hilarity. I chuckled in the first movie. This sequel kicked my ass through my lungs, or my lungs through my ass. It busted my guts, too, along the way, and eventually split my sides. Great humor abounds in this film.
The movie isn’t all about laughing, either. And it’s difficult to dismiss the fact that Kick-Ass doesn’t need much more than self-motivation to do what he does best. Either way, these scenes kick ass. (How many more times can I say that before it gets old? Will the phrase laugh through my review the inevitable Kick-Ass 3?) A great soundtrack, stunning choreography, and wild, raging camera work combine to make some scenes that are twice as bloody as they previously were. Which ultimately means twice as pointless, a name tag worn by the movie’s excessive cell phone use, as well. That’s an evaluation on a logical level. From the soul, “Kick-Ass 2” isn’t twice as pointless. It’s twice as exciting, and it has me begging for the threequel.