Film Review : Kick-Ass 2
I enjoyed the first Kick-Ass film quite a bit when it came out back in 2010. I felt like it improved on the source material pretty heavily. When Kick-Ass 2 started to see heavy promotion, my interest didn’t really pick up all that much. I read maybe three issues of the source material for the sequel. I didn’t care for it. I had hoped that whatever inspired the uptick in quality of the film adaptation might have rubbed off on Mark Millar and guided his hand. I left feeling like there was nothing there of substance.
The film of Kick-Ass 2 is a mixed bag. I don’t feel like it has the level of winking acknowledgement regarding over-the-top violence that made the first film work so well, and I don’t think that in terms of the narrative it holds together as well. I can’t compare it to the comic this time around, so if I let it stand on its own feet it can walk unaided but it definitely has a limp.
The casting is again in top form. Jim Carrey, for the limited screen time he gets, sinks his teeth into the character of Col. Stars and Stripes and plays it completely straight, which is the only way the absurdity of the character can really work. Chloe Grace-Moritz loses some of her charm from the first go around based solely on the fact that we’ve seen her schtick before, but makes up for it by showing how she has genuinely matured as a capable actress in the time since she knocked everyone’s socks off in the first film. She shows some real depth here and handles the melodrama of having her character dropped into the usual round of high-school hell with aplomb. She isn’t the film’s savior, but she is a bright spot.
Much has been made of the controversy surrounding Jim Carrey denouncing the film for its violence. Honestly, the film doesn’t feel overly violent, especially when compared with the original. Everything is amped up in terms of scope but the violence and the action seems restrained compared to what we saw in 2010. The torture scene in Kick-Ass was brutal and effective. There is none of that here. Blood splatter is kept to a minimum, with a severed hand and a few stabbings being the most noticeable blood-lettings. Carrey seemed to be most offended at the casual promotion of gun violence in the film and really, there’s not much to write home about in that department. If you’re expecting anything worthy of a boycott on moral grounds, honestly you’ll have to dig if you’re looking to find it here. The script is juvenile and sophomoric but its an adaptation of a Mark Millar book so what can you really expect. Hell, they cut the animal violence and graphic rape so you know they were hoping that people wouldn’t get too uncomfortable. Although I will admit that the mockery of attempted rape in the film was just as offensive as if they’d gone through with the scene as intended.
Essentially, Kick-Ass 2 is a nice diversion. It doesn’t live up to its predecessor but it isn’t a total wash. Some of the action scenes are quite well staged, even if the finale lacks the punch of the original. Things certainly could have gone down much worse. And for that we can all be thankful.
Rating: 3 out of 5