Kick-Ass 2 lacks the charm of the original
Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz. Rated 14A. Now playing
Kick-Ass came out of nowhere and did just that. It was an indie film about a high-school outcast who dons a ridiculous green unitard to become a superhero, and it felt fresh, comic-book–cranked, and genre-booting.
So why does the intermittently amusing, graphically ultraviolent sequel feel so much the opposite—like it’s gotten its own ass kicked?
Somehow it’s lost its key Superbad sensibility, with likable dweeb Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) at its core. When the movie begins, he has hung up his Kick-Ass suit but gets lured back into crime-fighting by perky Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz). The story shifts largely to her: the pint-sized masked Hit Girl who stole the show in the first Kick-Ass is now a hormonal 15-year-old orphan.
Meanwhile, Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s spoiled brat reinvents himself as the supervillain named--yes--the Motherfucker, wearing bondage gear, chains, and feathers. When he forms a team of evildoers, Dave hooks up with a wannabe-superhero team led by camo-wearing Colonel Stars and Stripes (an almost unrecognizable Jim Carrey).
A lot of the plot concerns Mindy as she tries to leave her nunchakus behind and fit in with a bunch of, like, totes boy-band–loving mean girls at school. Aside from her delivering the odd amputation, her story feels rote. Totes rote.
It’s not Carrey (an obvious stand-in for the original’s outsized Nicolas Cage) who owns the big laughs here but Mintz-Plasse, a psychopathic wimp who thinks it’s bad-ass to don his mom’s old S & M gear and call himself Motherfucker. And check out his band of baddies, led by the hilarious Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), who looks like a Soviet weightlifting-team reject in a red bikini.
With scenes like theirs, Kick-Ass 2 gets close to the outrageous satire it so desperately wants to be, but it constantly gets sidetracked by oversentimentalized (albeit totally random) deaths of loved ones, tired high-school antics, and pointless carnage.
In the end, it can’t decide if it wants to send up or salute superhero flicks.