A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Definitely one of the most anticipated and ultimately disappointing sequels of 2013. The follow up to 2010’s super original, ultra violent, somewhat satirical average-hero black comedy “Kick-Ass” seemed rushed, forced and lacked the flair of the original.
“Kick-Ass 2” is set a couple of years after the events of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and the bazooka. Frank’s rotten, eccentric, spoilt son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) seeks revenge on Kick-Ass and swears to avenge his father’s death no matter the cost. His “Red Mist” alter-ego has been retired to make way for “The Mother*****r”, Chris D’Amico’s new-look malicious, sadistic, leather-weaing super-villain whose super power is his wealth. He hires a vast array of thugs, crooks, goons and average-joe’s to cause havoc and uproar, all pursuing Kick-Ass and his newly formed group of hero’s “Justice Forever”.
The list of disappointing aspects of “Kick-Ass 2” is quite extensive; the plot moved far too fast, rushing over major events of the first film, not leaving any room for these points to develop. For example, Lizewski’s love interest and loving girlfriend Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca) has all of a sudden become separated and highly frustrated with Dave, which is never explained in the slightest.
Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) has transformed dramatically from the innocent, small but ultra vicious “Hit-Girl” into the hormonal, overly mature “Hit-Teenage-Girl” (so to speak) which just doesn’t fit the character in the same way. She begins to act in a more mature way, but not the ‘mature’ that we associated with the “Hit-Girl” of the first film; there was an original and controversial sense of irony when watching the sweet youthful renegade use obscene language and ultra violent fighting tactics. Now it seems like she’s grown up too fast and it just doesn’t seem right.
Jim Carey’s contribution to the film is one of the most dissatisfying features of “Kick-Ass 2”. The trailers made it seem like he was a central and important protagonist. Instead, his character was never developed and instead had a list of characteristics that didn’t mean anything (like being a born again Christian).
“Kick-Ass 2” attempts two things, to be different to the first “Kick-Ass”, but at the same time, to be similar to “Kick-Ass”. How is this achieved? The simple answer is, that it isn’t. Odd changes in plot, characteristics of certain people, overly rushed inclusion of an extensive supporting cast, forced throwbacks to the first film and an overall sense of gratuitous magnitude when comparing the second to the first make this film an underwhelming and poor picture.
The original “Kick-Ass” worked so well because of its original take on the superhero story, showing an average kid become an average superhero, and nothing more. Basically it had a happy ending, however it was a cautionary tale, appealing to those who believe they possess any special power or ability.
By bringing in characters who do actually possess superhero-like powers like ‘Mother Russia’, (an enormous, psychotic, barbaric juggernaut of a lady) can be seen in two different ways. The first is that it is trying to show how out of of his depth Kick-Ass is, and the second is that it has defeated the purpose of the first film entirely. Having watched the second film twice now, the latter point definitely shines through. Kick-Ass is a weak, defenceless nerd who fights everyday thugs and criminals. His nemesis, Chris D’Amico is too, a weak, defenceless chicken who hires thugs and criminals to reek havoc and fight his battles for him. ‘Mother Russia’ ruins the down to earth nature of what these films should be about. Furthermore, the teaser for the inevitable third Kick-Ass instalment implies an even grander scale of film as the sequel, showing a new, metal mask on a stand. This has the potential to get even more out of hand, which is deeply saddening.
The final feature that really makes “Kick-Ass 2” a weak film is the blatant and undisguised change in actors for certain cast members. Dave’s best friend Todd (Evan Peters) was replaced by the dull and featureless Augustus Prew who, like Katie, has developed a distanced connection to Dave which is also unexplored and unexplained. The most disappointing change however concerns the role of Marcus Williams. Morris Chestnut replaces Omari Hardwick as the detective who has inside information on Mindy and her alter-ego. The changing of cast members is sometimes necessary, and it would be hard to believe that it would have been a deliberate move; it’s just so obvious when an actor is replaced for the same role that it is distracting and results in a disconnection to the film. On top of the already highly disappointing features of “Kick-Ass 2”, these just added insult to injury.
So ultimately, “Kick-Ass 2” was a major let down. It was built up extensively, it showed so much promise and looked like it was going to take the first instalment and make it 10-times more exciting, funny and cool. However it basically tried too hard to cram in too much and as a result, it shot itself in the foot and what was left was a rushed, underdeveloped plot with no room for anything to flourish. A major let down.