Breathe a sigh of relief, my friends, because it is safe to say that Kick Ass 2 kicks ass… again. There are no cheesy sequel moments trying to cash in on a joke already made, and for the most part it doesn’t feel like a desperate ploy to steal your money. It is the best type of sequel: the plot builds off of the first film, the characters never stop developing, and there are new perspectives to enjoy that separate it from the first installment. I give Kick Ass 2 a score of 5 clean shin-breaks, 14 dislocated shoulders, 7 hired goons through windows, and 3 hamstrung villains out of a possible total of 38.
First off, be warned, this is not exactly a peace activist film. Choreography and cinematography do an excellent job of making the punches look like they hurt. A lot. And that’s just the hand to hand stuff. There are more knife wounds, severed limbs, minivan run-overs, vicious dog attacks, blunt weapon beatings, and brute-force decapitations by Ukrainian body builders than you ever thought it possible to fit into a single film, but it’s all in the spirit of fun. The way it’s filmed (and the catchy soundtrack accompaniment) makes it look violent, yes, but violent in a wild party sort of way. You may find yourself regretting that you ate so much popcorn, and the humour may be a little too perverse in parts, but for some reason it just adds up to an entertaining (albeit slightly repulsive) experience. It’s not quite at the Tarantino “spray” level, but still, if you are weary of too much bleeding and bruising, be forewarned, you may have to turn your head a few times and just focus on the upbeat music.
The movie picks up right where the last one left off and the characters never stop growing. This is mostly due to a fantastic script and spot-on acting. Chloë Grace Moretz, especially, was superb. She can be viciously stabbing a guy one minute and swooning over boys the next. Wonderful. I do think, however, that wardrobe and set design collaborated on her school girl image a little too much; it feels like Hit Girl’s go-to camouflage in the “real world” is layer upon layer of pink: her room is pink, her wardrobe is pink, her lipgloss is pink… even her friends are coated head to toe in more shades of pink than Professor Dolores Umbridge. Yes little Mindy is supposed to look like an innocent girl when she’s not stabbing people in purple leather, but I think the blonde bangs get that message across just fine.
There is still a lot of mockery of “real” superheroes vs. the comics, which comes across as simultaneously serious and funny (they heed the warnings but go ahead with the BAM! POW! SMASH! all the same), and the hundred or so individual costumes are each as creative and hilarious as the last. Big Daddy’s costume (the not-quite-copyright-infringement-Batman-looking one) hangs ominously in a glass box in the hideout’s background – oddly enough, just like the Robin costume hangs in the Batcave… coincidence? And while they fight like “real people” with “real danger” and get “really hurt”, there is still that little bit of Hollywood magic holding me back from complete belief; I am not referring to the fighting in 4-inch heals or the limited breathability of leather, but of the fact that one can dodge bullets and beat up thugs whilst on top of a van driving at full speed on the highway all with one’s hair blowing freely in the wind. For heaven’s sake, I can’t even drive with the window halfway down in a residential area. Puh-lease.
Hilarious, gripping, action-filled, creative – Kick Ass 2 helps me to believe that there is hope for sequels after all. It is a little crude, filling one too many swear-jars and making use of all possible mediums of should-I-be-laughing-at-this humour, but as an entire package, Kick Ass 2 is a success and I highly recommend it.