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Movie Reviews

Kick-Ass 2




Released: 2013

Directed By: Jeff Wadlow

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jim Carrey, Chloe Grace Moretz

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

Arriving on the scene back in 2010 with a potty mouth and an eagerness to subvert audience expectations, Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Kick-Ass’ took a bazooka and emphatically knocked its superhuman counterparts off their family-friendly pedestals, with an outrageous mix of tongue-in-cheek violence and wit as sharp as its characters’ weapons of choice. Now handing the reins to Jeff Wadlow, the director faces an unenviable task to match its predecessor whilst riding out the storm of controversy that has consistently clouded the big screen ‘adaptations’ of Mark Millar’s graphic novels.

We begin with Dave Lizewski (Taylor- Johnson) and Mindy Mccready (Moretz) both battling inner conflicts. Slipping into bouts of depression and uncertain of his direction, Dave is eager to be a benefactor in the forming of a team of superheroes. For Mindy, the confines of high school remain an ‘alien’ world for her, still plagued by the loss of Nicolas Cage’s Big Daddy as she struggles to embrace the snobbish stereotypes instilled by the ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘muscle bound jocks’ brigade.

Such ‘torment’ pales into insignificance, once they catch word of Chris D’Amico’s (Mintz-Plasse) heinous transition from clumsy superhero to a racially dismissive and politically incorrect villain. Complete with a gimp suit and an eclectic assembling of low-rent henchmen/woman, Chris becomes the obscenely titled ‘MotherF***er’. Waging war on Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl after the ‘explosive’ exit of his criminal father, thankfully our heroic duo enlist the help of ‘Justice Forever’, a team led by Jim Carrey’s ‘born again Christian’ Colonel Stars and Stripes whom were inspired by their early acts of justice.

In a time where studio-enforced compromise of such franchises are a regular occurrence, it’s to Wadlow’s credit that ‘Kick-Ass 2’ sticks to its uncompromising ‘guns’, making only select and essential deviations from its source material in a bid to avoid public outrage. Now renowned for sending up core elements of the genre, it is perhaps inevitable that this sequel slips into more conventional territory. Its regular reinforcement of ‘This is real life!’ and references to fellow superheroes may sporadically jar tonally with its heightened cartoonish and violent tendencies, but Wadlow keeps proceedings relatively fresh by proving efficient in tackling the generic ‘human’ side of the film also.

With more emphasis on its supporting cast, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kick-Ass despite a solid performance isn’t quite as prominent to the functionality of the narrative. Leaving his female partner-in-crime to carry the ‘burden’, Chloe Grace Moretz shows no signs of strain with yet another superior performance. Bringing some welcome gravitas to her character as she expresses the teenage angst and yearnings befitting of her age without losing the commanding presence of her Hit-Girl, fans will likely be clamouring for her own spin-off after this showing. Thoroughly convincing as a repugnant and despicable villain, Christopher Mintz-Plasse officially sheds his ‘Mclovin’ tag here with a monstrous transformation from ‘Red Mist’ to the ‘MotherF***er’ whilst Jim Carrey for all his public ‘backtracking’, is an astute if underused addition.

Upping the levels of brash outrageousness and the scale of its frenetic set-pieces, Wadlow’s effort may not quite be as meticulous in its tonal balance or pack the offbeat originality of Vaughn’s quality predecessor. Yet ‘Kick-Ass 2’ proves to be a solid and relentlessly entertaining sequel that retains a sense of warped fun in the directorial transferral.

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