The Growing Pains of Heroes XOXO
‘You’ll notice changes in your body, hair growing where it didn’t before.’ That’s the pretty standard catch-all definitive lesson to you hear across the land, informing the tween about the sheer awkward, physical, mental, multiple vocal pitch in the same sentence journey that their body is about to embark on. And that’s where we find ‘Kick-Ass 2’ (2013), the magnificent obnoxious little brat that was the younger incarnation ‘Kick-Ass’ (2010), is now a gangly teen, who watches too much ‘Gossip Girl’, and doesn’t know what it wants to do.
So let’s get it out of the way, ‘Kick Ass 2’ is not as good as it’s previous chapter in the diary of heroes Dave Lizewski (Kick-Ass / Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Mindy Macready (Hit-Girl / Chloë Grace Moretz) and not so nice person Chris D’Amico (Red Mist / The Motherfucker / Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Which is really unfortunate, as the sheer ‘fuck-you’ vibe of the first movie was brilliant refreshing fun, if you were into that sort of edginess. It made no apologies for what it was, and it was all the more liberating for it.
There’s noticeable absences in the second venture onto the streets of the slightly/highly deluded. Mainly Matthew Vaughn not being at the helm is somewhat telling, not that Jeff Wadlow’s direction is terrible, it’s just not as confident or assured. The script isn’t as sharp, so Jane Goldman’s touch is not there. Also, talent such as Mark Strong and Nicolas Cage aren’t dominating the frame. To compensate for that we have increased violence/blood/nastiness and bigger fight scenes with loads more people. But without the finesse.
It’s definitely not the fault of the actors either, everyone who has ventured forth from the earlier adventure is on top form, particularly Chloë and Christopher who somewhat stretch the range of their characters in new directions, delightfully deviant in The Motherfucker’s case (which is full of S&M gear). But as in the hormone twinged teen, moments of alter characters keep sprouting like spots to blemish the whole thing.
Picking up a few years later, Kick-Ass has to come out of semi retirement to try and stop The Motherfucker (the Red Mist’s new super villain name) reaping revenge for the death of his dad. With his super power being money, he spends it on hiring ‘super’ goons of every increasing racial stereo type.
If that wasn’t enough, Hit-Girl has to battle the school Sloane girl gang, choice of weapon, fashion, and dance offs? Mix into that a great deal of death and personal development insecurity, it feels like the movie was highjacked by a focus group at times.
It’s not all bad though. There are some great lines, very funny moments (Jim Carrey / Colonel Stars and Stripes is great) and eventually it get’s back to where it should be after all these needless annexes. Which makes it a somewhat strange experience. Creator Mark Millar has said that the won’t have the green light to film ‘Kick-Ass 3’ (the comic is out now) the final third chapter, until figures are successful enough this time round. And that’s the thing that irked me most about ‘2’, it actually feels like a filler, a bridge to the final mission that awaits. And I really do want the next episode to happen, cause everyone needs their ass kicked once in a while.
Kick-Ass 2 is out today, and released by Universal Studios.