This is going to sound crazy, but I had high hopes for Kick Ass 2. I know that sounds baseless and ridiculous, but it’s the truth. Believe it or not, I actually liked the first movie in this series. I thought it an appropriate mixture of violence, comedy, action, comic book humor and decent dialog. I enjoyed the original Kick-Ass enough that when I saw the trailer for the sequel, I immediately put it on the Watch List.
The Watch List is exactly what it sounds like, a list of movies I need to watch and review. Some movies get put on the list because they’re highly anticipated, enveloped in buzz and peppered with hype. Others are added because the movie looks different and new. Sometimes I even get requests and I add those immediately (I’m working on getting to The Pact review; I promise you!). Other times I add movies that I think you folks might enjoy based on the data I dig up, using my nifty website analytics tools (and some help from the NSA).
At any rate, seeing as Kick-Ass had already made the Watch List and I was looking for a low-key and cost effective activity, I suggested watching it to my husband when he asked me what I wanted to do this past Friday. *Christoph quickly agreed when I suggested the movie and then asked me where we should go for dinner. We wanted to make an evening out of it, but we also wanted to keep that evening cheap. We were at a loss since we’re still relatively new to the area; so, we decided to ask the Internet for assistance.
I pulled out my phone and Google answered my call. Google told me that there was a local watering hole nearby which was once featured on the T.V. show, Man v. Food. The place looked divey and interesting so Christoph and I grabbed our stuff and headed on over immediately. After our dinner and drinks adventure, we were on our way to the theater. I was excited and possibly a little buzzed. Since I couldn’t drive and because he usually does the driving when we’re together anyway, my husband drove us across town for some Hollywood goodness.
We scored a parking spot almost immediately so we were in high spirits from the get go. The theater itself was fairly empty though and I tried to shrug that fact off optimistically. I figured the place was barren because it was relatively early on a Friday night. Unfortunately for us, I was wrong.
We meet up with our former super buddies, Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) as they’re attempting to assimilate. These two love being super heroes, but they also want to live normal lives. They think that they’ll find happiness in a renewed anonymity; they think it’s the right thing to do. Sadly it’s not; Kick-Ass (David Lizewski) & Hit-Girl (Mindy Macready) didn’t choose the super hero life, the super hero life chose them.
Kick-Ass decides to embrace his super hero tendencies while Hit-Girl goes the other way. He joins a group of organized superheroes under the leadership of a reformed bad guy. Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) is the man in charge and Kick-Ass is feeling like he’s found a second home with him. There’s only one thing left that Kick-Ass needs in order to feel like he’s part of a legitimate crew: his partner, Hit-Girl.
Regrettably, Hit-Girl promised her adoptive dad, Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut) that she’d quit the crime-fighting business. Regrettably, she’s having a hard time keeping her word. Hit-Girl’s a smart kid and she knows that her word is all she has. As a result, she tries her best to stick to school, mean girl dodging, and cheerleading tryouts.
Kick-Ass 2 is the story of David Lizewski (Kick-Ass) trying to convince his friend Macy Macready (Hit-Girl) to join him in a journey of justice, alongside the likes of any strong soul willing to dedicate their life to maintaining a sense of integrity in this crazy world.
Now, lets get back to the fact that I had hope for this movie. As I already confessed, I liked the first movie. I thought it was a good combination of camp, action, violence and decent acting. I’m not going to attempt to convince you that the first Kick-Ass was genius and that it deserves to be screened, because it’s not; nor does it beckon to be watched. The first movie was major fun though, and fun is one of the top ten things I’m looking for when I go to the movies. If a film succeeds in showing me a good time, I’ll at least call it the next day.
Well, I went on that movie date last weekend and I came home disappointed. For the record: it’s all Kick-Ass 2’s fault. The first thing that caught my attention was the horrible dialogue in this film. No one talks like these people: not comic book heroes, not villains, not regular people—no one. Every time I found myself getting into the action someone would say something utterly ridiculous and throw me off my rhythm completely. A girl can’t recover from that sort of thing easily or quickly.
Fortunately, there were some redeeming aspects of this film. Surprisingly, the acting wasn’t as bad as most critics will have you believe. Chloë Grace Moretz was great as Hit-Girl. She’s witty and sure of herself as our superhero, but she also knows how to be a kid on screen. She plays a child well, despite the fact that she’s clearly mature, well beyond the mindset of her character in the movie. Moretz is always in control and she owns every scene in which she appears. She’s a great pick for the role of a young female superhero.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson did geeky pretty well. He’s awkward, but not to the point that it becomes cliché. I do resent that he pops up in the movie shirtless several times, only to reveal a thoroughly ripped body. I resent this because this fucking movie made me feel like a goddamn pedophile until I was able to look this guy up and decipher that he is 23. With that said, Taylor-Johnson does well in that he conveys a lost adolescent rather seamlessly. He bleeds this performance into his portrayal of Kick-Ass and does so effectively.
Jim Carrey plays Col. Stars and Stripes. He does fine at playing a mash-up of characters we’ve all seen in other movies. He just doesn’t put anything new into this role and that’s a let down. I was hoping he’d do more and venture outside his acting safe zone; unfortunately, it was all for naught. Also, I’m still unsure why he even caused a commotion about the level of violence in this movie. While yes, this film is fairly brutal; that’s to be expected. Most comic book based movies are violent because taking down super villains always ends in chaos. It’s the nature of the game, Carrey.
Also, while we’re at it, I’d like to take the time to call out Donald Faison. Every time he was around, I was laughing. I enjoyed him immensely as Dr. Gravity. Faison was funny and Moretz was lethal, it’s too bad the rest of the movie was so devastatingly mediocre.
One of the fundamental problems with this movie is that it can’t seem to decide what sort of movie it actually wants to be. There is such a lengthy homage to Mean Girls at one point that you forget you’re watching a superhero flick. Then, there’s the intense violence; I was almost convinced I was watching a satire of the movie Oldboy for a moment. Finally, there’s the sappy emotional aspect of the movie that made me feel like I was watching a Lizzy McGuire movie with my niece—ten years ago. Lack of consistency in this respect makes Kick-Ass 2 feel disjointed and anticlimactic.
Surprisingly, I’m not damming this movie to the bowels of hell, where only the less- than-average dwell. I’m actually rating it above a D. While the movie was painfully uninspired, it did have its moments. Nevertheless, if I were you, I’d wait and stream Kick-Ass 2. Don’t bother wasting the cash and energy going out to the movies for this. I’m afraid I wouldn’t even pay Video On Demand prices. It will, after all, eventually come on cable. I’m going to recommend you wait for this particular flick to come to a T.V. near you.
Kick-Ass 2 (2013) – C-
C- = A whole lot of OK does not equal great, or even good for that matter.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those innocently associated with the author.