The epic sequel to 2010s Kick-Ass is finally here, and it punches everything up a notch.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Chistopher Mintz-Plasse are back, and reprising their roles as Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Chris D’Amico. Mindy Macready (Hit-Girl) is trying to deal with the death of her father, Big-Daddy, and finds that the only way to do this is by fighting crime and training Dave Lezewski (Kick-Ass) during school time. However once Marcus – the cop who is now taking care of her – finds out, he makes her promise to give up being a caped-crusader and live a normal life. With Hit-Girl out of the picture Kick-Ass must roam the streets on his own, until he finds what he has always been looking for, a super-hero team. The team – Justice Forever – consists of Doctor Gravity, Remembering Tommy, Night-Bitch, Insect-Man, Battle-Guy and Colonel Stars and Stripes, along with Kick-Ass they wander the streets fighting crime and helping the poor, and at one point have a group photo taken which is a direct reference to Watchmen.
However this is reality, and revenge is always around the corner, this time shaped into Chris D’Amico’s new super-villain alias ‘The Mother-F***er’. ‘The Mother…’ creates his own team of super-villains and begins to terrorize the city and destroy everything which Kick-Ass holds dear. Can the green wetsuit-wearing hero defeat his nemesis, restore order, and avenge the ones he loves, or will he end up a bloody mess like so many before him.
The lead roles are taken so well by Taylor-Johnson, Moretz and Mintz-Plasse once again, but we had already seen them like this in the first film. The real stand out role in Kick-Ass 2 is given by an unrecognisable Jim Carrey as the ex-mafia, born-again Christian hard man Colonel Stars and Strips, who leads Justice Forever. Although in the comic books they are actually two separate characters – Colonel Stars and Lieutenant Stripes – putting them together to make one character worked really well. Carrey shows that he is not just a simple comedy actor here, as he portrays the ex-goon so flawlessly, and really brings the characteristics of the Colonel from the vibrantly coloured pages to life.
One major thing that Kick-Ass brought to the table in 2010 was the shock-factor, which is not used very widely in superhero films due to them being primarily aimed at families. As Kick-Ass is based in the real world though – in other words, people don’t have super powers – then what occurs must have some realism to it. Therefore people are going to get killed and profanity is going to be spewed left, right and centre. The first film achieved this shock-factor, with blood jumping across the screen and a 11-year-old girl saying c***. So attempting to have the same effect was a difficult challenge for Kick-Ass 2. However they made it work, the gore and effects are largely the same as they were in the first film, which is not a bad thing as they are in-keeping with the comic book theme – comedic violence and not Tarantino-esque. But what makes it slightly more controversial – certainly for the American audience – is the language used, it seems as if they have actually tried to slide a bit of the British crude, sexual comedy into it, with lines like; “I’ll kick you in your snatch” and referring to certain ladies as ‘axe-wounds’.
What is really great about the Kick-Ass films, is that they stick so closely to the source material, which is something that the fans of the comic books will love. Majority of the time, with graphic novels, comic books and with books in general, so much is changed that it is not the story you fell in love with when you first read it. When reading the Kick-Ass graphic novels there were so many scenes to it which were just spectacular on paper, and therefore in your mind would be great to see on the big screen. Although there are a few exceptions, most of the best parts were created in the films and were done so well, literally being shot-for-shot in the film as they were panel-to-panel in the comics.
As Matthew Vaughn did an amazing job with Kick-Ass, Jeff Wadlow has done just as good a job with Kick-Ass 2. Together they have captured the characteristics of the heroes exactly, and have created films which are not just for fans of the comic books to enjoy, but for everyone.
The Kick-Ass 2 graphic novel was much darker than the first, and the film-makers brought that to the big screen very well. Capturing the main sombre themes but still making it an enjoyable, hilarious thrill-ride. What more can comic book fans ask for than a gigantic super-hero fight – like in the incredible ‘Civil War’ novel – and right from the beginning we all knew that it would happen, but who knew it could look so good.