Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for Kick-Ass 2 (2013). Please do not read this review until you see the movie.
Kick-Ass (2010) effortlessly blended cartoonish violence, realistic portrayals of unrealistic characters and great origin stories. However, Kick-Ass 2 directed by Jeff Wadlow tries to duplicate the magical elements of the first one, but repeats the pitfalls of many sequels, and fails to develop the storylines and characters in a captivating manner.
Dave “Kick-Ass” (Aaron Taylor Johnson) , Mindy “Hit-Girl” ( Chloe Grace Moretz) and Chris formerly “RedMist” now “The Mothef*cker” (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) return for a new adventure of saving, and trying to destroy, the world. In this film, they go on similar adventures to those in Kick-Ass 1.
Chris in Kick-Ass wanted to be a hero, but now he aims to become the ultimate supervillain with a perfect villainous team. Dave, once again, is learning how to be a hero, but now he desires to exclusively work with Mindy. However, Mindy tries to be a regular girl to please her guardian, Marcus (Morris Chestnut).
Will each character achieve their goals?
A major theme of Kick-Ass 2 is defining your own sense of normality. This theme is strongest through Mindy’s journey to fit into high school life, and then her transition back into Hit-Girl. Being Hit-Girl is her normal, not teen life.
Kick-Ass 2 lacks an understanding of its original characters and females in general. In Kick-Ass , Chris was weird but also really funny. In the sequel he is just annoying without redeemable characteristics. Everything about him feels forced and uncomfortable. Even the most despicable villains have charm. Loki, Lex Luther, and the Joker are all sociopaths but also possess qualities that make them likable. Another theme of the Kick-Ass franchise is that these are not your typical heroes or villains, which could explain why Chris doesn’t quite work as a supervillain. However, he also doesn’t work as a character in general. Nothing about him, in this movie, makes him interesting.
Dave was the star of the first movie, but he feels like a pointless aside in this one. Dave’s story is just a repeat of his original one but with new characters. Another pointless addition to Dave’s story, is that his friend Marty “Battle Guy” (Clark Duke) gets a forefront story, and newly recast Todd “Ass Kicker” (Augustus Prew) becomes way less important than he was in the original one. Neither character need to become more than they were in Kick-Ass, but one gets shown favoritism while the other gets made even stupider.
Dave’s storyline could have been better if it solely focused on him and Hit-Girl developing their friendship, and less on the introduction of new superheroes. None of which were that memorable or fun, not even Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).
Mindy is the only character who possesses the same spark she had in the original Kick-Ass. However, her storyline becomes a way to show sexism towards “normal teen girls.”
Whereas Mean Girls (2004) is a satirical and smart criticism of mean girl culture, Kick-Ass 2 is a misguided ideal of “normal” women and girls. In Kiss-Ass 2, every girl (minus Mindy) is shown as mean, or sex-crazed or both. Having the mean girls caricature would have been fine, if there was a counterexample to it. Nevertheless, there wasn’t one.
Dave’s girlfriend Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), who was portrayed as popular, nice and loving in the original one, comes off as mean, stupid and slutty in the sequel. Hit-Girl doesn’t work as the counter-argument to this mean girl stereotype, because she is not classified as a normal girl, but a super one. So what is this saying about normal females? Only the super ones are neither bitches or sluts?
The actual Kick-Ass 2 plot is just a repeat of the first one, with slight changes. Which creates a problem because sequels don’t work if they don’t try to evolve the storylines of the original ones in a unique and better way. There was no real evolution of these characters or their stories. The only growth is through Hit-Girl but that’s not enough to save this movie.
Kick-Ass was violent without glorifying it, fun without being silly and felt realistic despite its unreal nature. Kick-Ass 2’s violence is a little too much, it’s characters and actions are silly, and it loses some of its heart to create a popcorn film. Kick-Ass 2 is not kick-ass, it’s moderately dope at best.