Kick-Ass arrived on the heels of an increasingly uninspired batch of so called superheros and promptly rammed a katana in their portly behinds. It was fresh, original and eye-catching, with numerous amusingly shocking moments to either elate or enrage – depending on the sensitivity of the audience member. In short it was an alternative take on the stale superhero genre that utilised stylised violence and black humour to epitomise what an (alternative take on the) adult superhero movie should be.
We join Dave (Kick-Ass) and Mindi (Hit-Girl) at a mid-teen crisis of sorts. Since the rise of Kick-Ass copycat DIY superheros are plentiful, though to be fair they exhibit wildly varying scales of competence and preparedness. Dave initially opts to shelve the green and yellow Spiderman suit for good, and shortly after Mindi is guilted into abandoning the Hit-Girl persona too.
Ultimately it is McLovin… Red Mist… who forces the issue. Now going by the more marketable moniker of ‘The Mother-Fucker’ , he has assembled a small army of dangerous types willing to make people bleed on his behalf. His power over these impressionable types is all the more confusing when you realise that The Mother-Fucker looks exactly like a circa 1980s Prince – only if Prince were white, couldn’t grow a decent moustache and weighed 50 kilos… (wait. Maybe it is 80s Prince!)
New – or returning – superheros are faced with the conundrum of whether they are ‘all in’ or ‘all out’. Once that decision is made they must contemplate which side to join, with neither side seeming totally good, totally bad or even semi-organised.
New characters include a huge Eastern European Amazonian woman built to inflict pain, the well spoken God-fearing Captain Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), and frankly too many other forgettable characters to mention.
Like these characters the film too faces difficult decisions. Should it continue along in the hyper-reality that served as the backdrop of the original film? Or try to put a foot in both sides of the fence by dwelling at times with real world issues such as death and subsequent loss.
As the old Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade said “You chose… poorly”.
With too many new characters and returning characters reconsidering their commitment to superhero-dom like a bandwagoning sports fan, Kick-Ass 2 is a confusing mess at times, with the sombre moments that proliferate the back end of the film killing any developing momentum. It uses 56 letters of the alphabet to tell what should be an ‘A to B’ story.
So when a character in Kick-Ass 2 observes “It’s not a comic book. It’s real life.” It encapsulates all that is wrong with the inferior (in every way) sequel. The newness and creativity of Kick-Ass garnered it many followers, Kick-Ass 2’s most memorable moments come in unfortunate scenes that try to please with violence and gross-outs that only further illustrate an absence of new material.
Sure it has lots of blunt force trauma. It’s only that this time it doesn’t wake us up, it merely deadens our brain cells’ readiness to respond – or care.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. The concept of un-super citizens having a crack at being superheros was an intriguing one. Simply adding many more unlikely types and throwing in some projectile vomiting and diarrhoea might have seemed like the next logical step, but to me it clearly shows a franchise out of ideas.