Film Review: Goofy sequel packs punch with all-star cast, lacks originality

Kick-Ass 2 brings back a classically titular hero and his world of quirky and dysfunctional vigilantes.David Lizewski, or “Kick-Ass,” played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson is put to the test when Chris D’Amico, the son of a notorious mob boss played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, re-emerges as “The Motherfucker,” seeking revenge for his father’s murder by Kick-Ass in the previous film.

The result is a mediocre sequel that delivers on the gratuitous violence and raunchy humor, but lacks the innovation and freshness of its predecessor. What saves the movie is everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed killing machine of a teenager, “Hit-Girl” played by Chloë Grace Moretz.

While the sequel doesn’t quite live up to the original, it manages to please with its trademark satire of superheroes. Mintz-Plasse, who you may know from Superbad, is goofy enough to pull off his second stint as D’Amico, turning steamy S&M gear into a costume for his supervillain agenda. Taylor-Johnson and Moretz have decent chemistry as Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, and a large chunk of Hit-Girl’s story revolves around her trying to fit in as a teenager.

These bits are the high point of the film’s humor, especially when she enacts revenge on a group of bullies for humiliating her, making way for a spectacle of gross-out comedy that will have you wincing and cheering. A new edition is Jim Carrey as “Colonel Stars and Stripes,” the rugged leader of Justice Forever, a group of vigilantes who wind up taking on Kick-Ass as a new member. Like Nicolas Cage in the first film, Carrey is a high-profile actor in an authoritative role. “Stars and Stripes” is more of a comedic character than Cage’s “Big Daddy,” but tragic nevertheless, and Carrey is a fun personality to have on screen. The disappointing thing about Kick-Ass 2 is its tone. Unlike the first film with its colorful characters and environments, the sequel has a gritty cinematography to it, which counteracts the satirical element of everything else. It’s as if the film is trying too hard to be taken seriously while attempting to remain over-the-top and fun. The film felt rushed, with the new characters being underdeveloped and the returning characters becoming static and tiresome. This excludes Mortez as Hit-Girl, who is still the highlight of the franchise. It was a bold move to take her out of the action for most of the movie, but seeing her remain a badass in high school situations makes her even more likeable. Ultimately, the fact that the movie doesn’t really appear to be in on its own joke makes it a bit cheesy. But it allows for fun viewing and will make you root for feisty Hit-Girl no matter what. Hopefully another sequel can somehow reincarnate the originality of the first film.