The first Kick-Ass film was released in 2010 and to my surprise was not only slickly directed, funny and full of unique and engaging action along with fun and interesting characters but has also since become my favorite film based on a comic book (and one of my favorite films period). Three years have since passed and the director from the first Kick Ass (Matthew Vaughn) and the screenplay writers (Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn) have been replaced by Jeff Wadlow who was in charge of both the script and for directing Kick Ass 2. Sadly whilst some parts of Kick Ass 2 prove to be a welcome continuation of the first film, other moments simply fell of out place and are at times poorly done.
As we continue the journey at the start of Kick-Ass 2 Dave has retired from being Kick-Ass and Mindy is skipping school to continue training as Hit Girl. Sure enough Dave gets the urge to become Kick-Ass again and to form a super hero team and thus starts to skip school in favour of being trained by Hit Girl in the hope of becoming a team with her. Oddly though we are left wondering what Davids motivations are to become Kick-Ass again, with the only reasoning given being that he was bored. This in of itself isn't a terrible reason within the scope of this film, but is none the less and area that could have had more attention given to it. This result of Dave training with Mindy is of course Dave getting beaten continuously as he trains and in an obvious but none the less fun homage to the first film shoot by Mindy whilst wearing bullet proof material. This along with the evolving relationship between Dave and Mindy proves to be the films greatest and sadly underutilised asset.
As Mindy and Dave finally appear to be making some progress with the training, the surreal world that Hit Girl inhabited collides with that of the world that Marcus(Mindy's guardian) inhabits. This ultimately results in a Mean Girlsesque scenario whereby Mindy no longer dons the costume or attitude of Hit Girl and attempts to live a normal teen life. This is a point in the film I imagine will be divisive amongst fans, I however found it to be a refreshing change of pace for the character and one that added more depth to an already interesting character. Sadly not all elements in Kick-Ass 2 work as well as this. For instance as this is occurring Chris D'Amico who was Red Mist in the first Kick-Ass becomes 'The Motherfucker' and begins to plan his revenge on Kick-Ass. Unfortunately in this film Chris D'Amico is elevated to being the lead villain but lacks the presence to fell like a genuine threat and has his goons do all the dirty work for him, which leaves the villain nonthreatening at best. For obvious reason this is not ideal and the film had several opportune moments to give The Motherfucker moments that could lead you to genuinely see him as a villain and threat, but the film at each instance attempts to lighten the moment with humour. This humour more often then not is not only out of place and a detriments to what is meant to be the threat in the film but is also profoundly unfunny. Thankfully their is one new inclusion who is simply a joy to watch who comes in the form of Colonel Stars and Stripes played by Jim Carey who Kick-Ass joins along with several other 'super heroes' forming Justice Forever.
The action scenes prove to be rather hit or miss and in general lacked the intensity and originality of the action present in the first film where I found each action scene to feature its own identity and be wildly entertaining. In terms of the action the worst sin present is some middling use of shaky cam. Shaky cam is something that can be used to great effect, but here its only achievement is to disorient and confuse the viewer in a negative manner. This isn't the case for all the action present which makes it all the more confusing that it is present at all and it isn't so prevalent as to ruin any of the action scenes, rather to simply detract from some moments. One highlight of the film and a stupendously fun action scene involves Hit Girl fighting several of 'The Motherfuckers' goons upon a moving van. Sadly despite some spectacular scenes of similar quality to this their is sadly one unforgivably bad scene (more on that soon).
Kick-Ass 2's most egregious of errors is its humor often falls flat, most notable is the humor surrounding the 'new' villain who names himself the Mother Fucker as previously touched on, who comes of as uninspired and as if it assumes it is more amusing then it actually is (it also doesn't help that the Mother Fucker doesn't fell at all threatening throughout the film). Worst of all is Kick-Ass 2 not only uses toilet humor but does so in a way that is anything but funny, which results in easily the worst scene in the film involving stupidly over the top projectile vomit and spectacularly poorly done diarrhea effects. If this wasn't poor enough the film then seems to take such pride in said scene and references it during the climactic battle of the film.
Despite the several faults present the evolving relationships between Mindy and Dave manages to mostly save the film from itself and what it doesn't make up for Jim Carey's brief but scene stealing role as Colonel Stars and Stripes certainly comes close at doing so. Hence whilst I can't say that I wasn't hugely let down by Kick-Ass 2 I am also likely a bigger fan of the first film then most and no doubt had higher hopes and expectations for Kick-Ass 2. Hence whilst Kick-Ass 2 is not as good as the first Kick-Ass it still manages to inject enough quality action, fun characters to come recommended to fans of the original despite some middling use of shaky cam and one truly terrible scene. However if the original didn't wow you as it did me, you may be better of waiting for a rental if not skipping th.
Note: I must mention that whilst the score in Kick-Ass 2 fails to reach the dizzying highs of the first films score, it is none the less more then up to the task and features several well done variations of themes from the first film along with some new well fitting themes.