‘Kick-Ass 2’ Fails to Find a Balance Between Comedy and Brutality

While the hilarious brutality of Kick-Ass might have been lost in the sequel, it brings forth something all together new and, forgive me for bringing up Man of Steel again, but if you’re looking for a movie that puts superheroes into a more realistic setting, stop looking for a guy in a blue body condom and start looking for a beat up teenager in a green wetsuit.

A few years have passed since Dave first became a superhero for the heck of it and got tangled up with a couple of real-life vigilantes and helped take down a crime family.  Now new homemade superheroes are popping up all over New York City and Dave, partially because he is bored and partially because he was dumped by his girlfriend, decides to step back out into the game.  This time, however, he enlists the help of Hit-Girl who has grown up into a teenage girl.  Still fighting crime and cutting evil’s bits off, she tries to balance the promise she made to her dad, the dearly departed Big Daddy, and her adopted dad’s hope that she can still lead a normal and safe life.

Meanwhile, Chris, the man formerly known as the turncoat superhero The Red Mist, has been thirsting for revenge ever since Kick-Ass killed his dad with a bazooka and has become the world’s first super villain, a name that I cannot repeat here.  Determined to make Kick-Ass pay for his father’s death, the name I cannot repeat here assembles his own team of bad guys and begins to wage an all out deadly war against superheroes.

While Kick-Ass 2 starts slowly, goofy, and awkwardly, I’m starting to wonder if it wasn’t done on purpose to gently ease the audience into the heavy stuff that it has stored in the back room ready to douse on the unsuspecting moviegoers like a bucket of Carrie pig blood.  This movie goes dark and it goes serious quick.  In some ways, it works — as I said, it out-realisms Man of Steel and does pose some very interesting dramatic questions about self and image.

What it loses, sadly, is the humor and frenetic energy of the first.  When I first watched the original Kick-Ass I made the statement that some of the Hit-Girl fights rivaled and surpassed the fights in the Matrix sequels.  Honestly, it’s an opinion I still hold.  In Kick-Ass 2, there are no memorable action sequences.  Not a one.  As a matter of fact, aside from a nice but not thrilling van fight sequence, Kick-Ass 2 is actually pretty action thin.

It’s also thin on laughs.  As Chloe Grace Moretz has grown up, the laughter derived from saying her saying endless profanities and killing people has diminished quite a bit.  As a result, the wrongness and shock value of Hit-Girl has been forever lost, but the movie doesn’t seem to understand this.  It doesn’t understand that the iron is no longer hot.  Still, Hit-Girl is presented as though she is still edgy and she’s not.

Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes is wasted in this movie.  To be honest, under all of the heavy makeup, his part could have been played by Precious and no one would have known.

So, Kick-Ass 2… not as funny and not as action packed.  What does it have?

It’s got a more than decent look into a world where superheroes and super villains are real.  The steps that characters take are logical and would probably work even if the absence of a competent police force is a little weird.  I would even venture to say that the villains of Kick-Ass, despite their extravagance, are probably some of the most clever comic book villains I’ve seen in a while.  Screw killing the heroes in costume, they are smart enough to track them down out of costume while they’re alone!

As I said, though, Kick-Ass 2 goes dark and I would almost say a little too dark for a comedy.  If the laughs aren’t there, even at black humor, the movie appears cruel and this movie gets really cruel.

Still, it’s not a total loss.  It is a decent movie and it’s a decent sequel, but it’s not the vibrant shower of blood and inappropriateness that I was hoping for and for that, it’s a disappointment.

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Written by Jason Gaston

Father, teacher, writer, photographer, artist, actor, male model, and inventor of the semicolon.

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