Kick Ass 2 – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

kick ass 2Kick Ass 2 – 3.5/5 – There is something to say, about overtly violent movies.  What can get lost in them is the fact that the violence can overshadows the overall film, drowning out the aspects of character, story, etc.  Thankfully, like its predecessor, Kick Ass 2 finds a way to be overtly conscious of its characters, story, but still stay true to the comic’s violent roots.  Overall, with a faster pace structure, Kick Ass 2 delivers.

Premise:  In this sequel, the costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass has inspired a movement.  Masked Super Heroes start to populate, creating a new force to be reckon with.  Kick-Ass decides to join with a group of normal citizens and form Justice Forever.   Along with this, we have Hit-Girl, trying to adjust to a normal life but still fight crime, and Red Mist returning to plot his revenge that will change the tide in the fight against these new heroes.

Reprising their roles from the original film as Kick-Ass/Dave Lizewski and Hit-Girl/ Mindy Macready are Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz.  As these ‘masked’ crime fighting teenagers, they give you what you would expect from the first film.  They both are distinct, volatile, but very charming on screen.  No matter if it is with their interaction with each other, or other people in the film, they provide the spunk that keeps the film funny, dramatic and wonderfully entertaining.  The one aspect that stands out more than the original is how the film focuses on characterizing their persona.  In both characters, you see a humble ‘confliction’ that is both personal and heart wrenching.  Even for this conflict, it also affects the way they live their lives in this film.  This aspect brings you a little bit closer to them than the first film, but doesn’t create too much difference to make it seem disjointed.  As the main villain, reprising his role as Chris D-Amico is Christopher Mintz-PLasse.  Just like the first film, he is an aloof of sorts, but his villainy roots are at the forefront of this sequel.  In the beginning, you watch as he takes up a new persona, called the Motherfucker.  As you watch him in the film, he gives us a very unique individual, that does borderlines on cartoonish at times.  The reason this kind of tone comes about is because of the wacky dialogue or inept behavior he has as he becomes the villain.  Even for these drawbacks, he is still entertaining to watch on screen.  With the rest of the cast, you have a lot of expected things you would see in a film based around an ‘action/comic’ genre.  You have Morris Chestnut as the ‘moral’ rod father figure Marcus to Mindy, Clark Duke as Marty/Battle Guy, Kick-ass’s friend/companion, and a few others that could be classified as good guys, bad guys, or common spectators that makes the film move along.  Some characters from the first got push to the side lines (like Kick-Ass’s father and girlfriend) but it doesn’t deter from the film.  Out of some of the new comers, the two stand outs are Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes and Olga Kurkulina as Mother Russia.  As the leader of the ‘Justice Forever’ group, Jim Carrey creates a whimsical but stern individual in Colonel Stars and Stripes.  His vigor is top notch, and his interaction with the group and others show he is a true force/leader to be reckon with.  As Mother Russia, Olga gives us a strong, visceral but awesome woman, who is crazy but also scary to watch on screen.   Her action scenes are bombastic, and she provides a great formidable opponent for Hit-Girl.

In this film, as it is a sequel, you will compare and contrast the direction and tone with the first.  The sequel has a new director (Jeff Wadlow) and you can tell from the beginning, that he gives us a different kind of tone/flavor than the original director (Matthew Vaughn).   The most obvious thing that is different in the film is the pacing.  Unlike the first film, you aren’t left with developing any main characters, or providing a trivial backstory.  With that being left out, you get thrown right into the story of this film, as you’re already familiar with Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl, and the rest of the cast from the first film. With any introductory narrative out of the way, it creates a very fast pace linear direction in the first two acts.  In the first act, we see how everyone is affected from the outcome of the first film.  More masked heroes hit the streets, as they have been inspired to be a force of ‘good’ like Kick-Ass.  As Kick-Ass himself sees this, he decides to get out of his rut and returning to his fighting roots.  In doing this, he has to train with Hit-Girl so he can become and even stronger fighter.  Paralleling Kick-Ass’s drive dilemma of living both a regular and super hero life is Hit-Girl’s life, as she tries to adjust to being a normal girl, but wanting to also stay being Hit-Girl.  She has this partial conflict because a promise she gives to her new father figure, as well as her deceased father, Big Daddy.  As the film moves along, it does well in developing this conflict in the characters, while also sticking to the dark humor script.  Even with this new layer, you still have your ‘over-the-top’ action sequences and goofy situations.  Once we have a definition for this film’s purpose, we are then re-introduced to Chris D-Amico.  He has turned cold, and wants revenge on Kick-Ass.  With this, he creates a new persona (The Motherfucker), as he begins to devise a plan to accomplish his goal.  As cartoony as some of the scenes with him are, you still are witness to a progression, albeit common for a comic book film, of someone that evolves from their innocence to an evil path.  As he watches Kick-Ass team up with Colonel Stars and Stripes and form Justice Forever, he decides to counter this, he must form his own ‘evil’ group.  Once we get through both groups, their little ‘action scenes’ and obvious distinctions, we have a few ‘changing of the tide’ moments.  First, The Motherfucker has to confront his Uncle about all these ‘antics’ he is doing.  This is one of those pivotal moment, as it pushes The Motherfucker over the edge, leading to a barrage of death and destruction that affects Kick-Ass.  Once the destruction hit’s Kick-Ass where it hurts the most, you see as Kick-Ass has his own ‘pivotal’ moment with Hit-Girl.  These moments aren’t as ‘shocking’ as the first, but even when their convenient for plot progression, you are still reactive in some emotional way.  Once the film gets defines the ‘who we are’ for both Hit Girl and Kick Ass, we head into an ‘all out’ war between Justice Forever and The Motherfucker’s group of villains.  Here, we get the obvious exaggerated fights, deaths and common ending you would expect from a comic/action film.  Once the film closes the door, you realize that the film was entertaining, and had some redeeming values.  You also become well aware at some of the logical gaps that were taken to get to a ‘closure’ (but not going to talk about them as it would spoil the film).

The visuals of the film can be split into two things.  When you talk about the visual aspect of the environment, it isn’t anything you haven’t seen in a modern comic book film.  You have your typical city (New York), and the obvious scenarios that crop in to make each situation relevant for the audience.  When it comes to the costumes, it is a whole different define.  With the sequel upping the ante on the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’, you have a wide variety of costumes, weapons, and other things for these guys to play with.  This helps create and individualistic tone, helping you provide distinction to others, even if they are supporting characters.  The score of this film isn’t as good as the first, but it does enough to provide some layered element to the film.

Overall, Kick-Ass 2 is a sequel that provides some new elements, but with the face pacing and overtly gruesome violence, it stays true to the original.  The main players are good in the film, and the story does enough to keep you involve.  If you’re a fan of the first film, you’ll definitely want to check this film out.  If you’re a fan of ‘off-beat’ comic book films, I’d say, give it a chance.  You’d be mildly surprised.

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