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Friday, August 16, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 Review. How Does The Film Fare Against More Polished Superhero Flicks

Kick-Ass 2 Review
By: MattInRC

The wild Kick-Ass 2 delivers all the fun and gore of the first, even if it betrays some of its morals.

Comic book movies have followed a parallel path with the Sci-Fi & Action genres ever since Bryan Singer's X-Men: due to the nature of the characters, it's perfectly acceptable to display implausible violence. Whether it's watching an entire city leveled or some fantastic move by a superhuman or mutant, we've been willing to play along. But when a comic book film proposes that it's better than that - and then proceeds to display the same sort of images - casual fans might have a hard time distinguishing between it and the litany of films which occupy Summer theaters. This is where Kick-Ass 2 finds itself, a totally enjoyable experience even if it's exactly opposite of what it wants to be.

The world of real-life crime fighting has weighed heavily on our titular hero (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), who lost her father Big Daddy at the end of the first flick. In his place, dozens of new crime fighters have arrived including Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), who recruits Kick-Ass into his Justice Forever team. However, Hit Girl won't have any of it, as she's made a promise to her adopted father (Morris Chestnut) not to don the mask again. Instead, it's time to take on the real life challenges of growing up under her real name Mindy Mcready, while Kick-Ass trains with Justice Forever, hoping to upstage the feisty 11-year-old. Soon, JF is busting prostitution rings and celebrating in an elaborate hideout, while a vengeful group of girls embarrass Mindy, forcing a gross if not hilarious reply. Unknown to all of them is the rise of the first class enemy Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the spoiled rich kid from Kick-Ass who originally called himself Red Mist. He's been reborn as "The Motherf***er" and hires every manner of thug to kill Kick-Ass and his team. As tragedy befalls JF, Kick-Ass and the survivors must battle Mother and his team (known as the Toxic Mega C**ts) before they can launch their terrorist assault on New York City.

The directorial torch has been passed on to Jeff Wadlow, who also wrote the script, which is filled with both hilarious satire and insanely bloody and sexual inappropriateness. There's bondage themes, a suggestion of rape, and even some of the names of Mother's team (Mother Russia, Genghis Carnage) are outrageously racial. If that's your thing - as it seems to be ours - then you'll love it. Moretz gets better as the snarky and ultra-violent Hit Girl, who's out of her element for a majority of the film; Moretz deals some serious pain near the end, as she and Mother Russia go head to head. Johnson also has a chance to show off his growth and physique, maturing right in front of us to the surprise of the suddenly fertile Hit Girl. Her realization of maturity is one the film's funniest scenes. However, Johnson's reactions to events surrounding him are not as memorable, and Wadlow the writer doesn't offer up a good enough replacement for Big Daddy, even though Carrey's Stars and Stripes is enjoyable. Kick-Ass 2 sells itself as a deeper film, but also one that at times refuses to take itself too seriously. That's where newbies and casual fans might find a problem, for as the film suggests several times, this is supposed to be real people fighting crime, not demigods or mechanically-improved scientists duking it out. Yet, critics are correct to point out the improbable violence that makes up many scenes here, somehow imploding on its own established universe. Whether moviegoers will accept this paradox by lining up to see it is perhaps the bigger story to watch.

Kick-Ass 2 might betray some of itself to sell the sizzle, but the final product is worth watching. As I did, you're best to watch the first one and then suspend reality before you enter the theater. If you don't, it might be difficult to distinguish it from bigger, badder, and mostly better-polished superhero films it swore to exceed. Kick-Ass 2 is rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity, and has a runtime of 103 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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