Movie Reviews

'Kick-Ass 2' (2013) Movie Review

An exercise in unnecessary excess

Kick-Ass 2 movie review
Chloe Moretz, Aaron Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Kick-Ass 2
Photo: Universal Pictures

I can understand where the filmmakers are coming from on this one, I'm finding it hard enough to find the energy to just write a review of Kick-Ass 2. Just imagine if I had to write and direct the actual movie.

Kick-Ass 2 may in fact serve as evidence even Hollywood has become bored with its tired routine of sequelizing every film possible in hopes of a lucrative franchise or, at the very least, enough films to release a trailer with the accompanying phrase, "The conclusion to the epic trilogy..." Well, chances are the Kick-Ass franchise will have to end as a duology as this sequel to the mediocre, 2010 original more or less tells the same story, but can't even seem to muster up any measure of excitement in the process as it goes through the motions without much of a pulse.

'Kick-Ass 2'
Review
Grade: C-

Kick-Ass 2"Kick-Ass 2" is a Universal Pictures release, directed by and is rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity. The running time is .

The cast includes , , , , , , , , and .

For more information on this film including pictures, trailers and a detailed synopsis .

The first film introduced Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) as the masked vigilante Kick-Ass and Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz) as Hit-Girl. Together, along with Hit-Girl's father, they took down crime boss Frank D'Amico who just so happened to be the father of self-styled vigilante Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), which is where Kick-Ass 2 begins.

Despite her father's death at the end of Kick-Ass, Mindy has continued her personal training and self-appointed duties as Hit-Girl while Dave hung up the Kick-Ass tights, but only briefly as he is looking to continue his partnership with the 15-year-old and form something of a superhero team. Blah, blah, blah... Mindy's guardian (Morris Chestnut) is all like, "No more Hit-Girl," and Mindy is like, "But..." and he's like, "No more Hit-Girl," and she (all pouty-faced) is like, "Okay."

So Dave is left to his own devices and ultimately teams up with a group of underground vigilantes naming themselves Justice Forever, led by ex mob enforcer Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). It's here we meet Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison), Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), Insect Man (Robert Emms) and other "heroes", but all the while trouble is lurking on the other side of the city.

Chris D'Amico (aka Red Mist) hates Kick-Ass for killing his dad and vows he will find him and kill him, shedding his superhero name and donning his new, supervillain name, The Motherfucker. Dressed in his dead mother's S&M clothing, he assigns his butler (John Leguizamo) the duty of hiring psychopaths and killers to join his army to raise hell around town before finding and destroying his newly named nemesis. This band of ex-cons includes Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), Black Death (Daniel Kaluuya), The Tumor (Andy Nyman) and others.

Things happen, there are a few laughs and the film ends with the obvious suggestion a Kick-Ass 3 is still possible, though I have my serious doubts.

Carrey's performance as Stars and Stripes is brief and occasionally fun and you could tell Faison enjoyed his part as Dr. Gravity, but can we please put an end to seeing Mintz-Plasse as the whiny little punk. How many films must we see him play the scrawny weakling before the collective groan is loud enough to end it? There's a moment in this film where Mintz-Plasse begins training with Chuck Liddell and you think they may actually make the character a bad-ass in his own right. No luck, just the same-old, same-old. Boring!

Writer/director Jeff Wadlow (Cry_Wolf) does little to inject any measure of new energy into the film. In fact I'd argue the narrative sucks the film dry of energy, as Wadlow tried to mash the first film up with the cliched story tropes of high school comedies and comes away with a mixed bag of "I don't know what I want to be." It's like Kick-Ass meets Mean Girls meets every cliche movie with daddy issues ever made. It just doesn't work and while some of the scenes do generate moments of laughter, they are few and far between and can't mask the stale narrative.

Kick-Ass 2 is one of those films that wears out its welcome and quickly begins to feel long. With Hit-Girl no longer the violent little girl of the film, even her character loses its luster and she was the only reason to even see the first movie. I can't say I am necessarily against this film, but a theatrical viewing is far from necessary as any interested party should be perfectly satisfied with a home viewing about three months from now.

GRADE: C-
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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

    Yeah, looks like the reviews for this one are not favorable genrally speaking, but I'm looking forward to catching this on Saturday!

    Looks like this will cap off the summer as the last of big action movie type films. I'd be interested in an article to sort of cap-off the summer for you Brad. Seems like the most disappointing summers you've ever had in terms of these big budget films going by your weekly reviews since May.

    On a personal note, I generally enjoyed many of this year's 'big' films.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    Oh dear, sounds like you didn't have a great deal of fun with this one. I personally loved the first one, it had so much energy and Cage was just great but after watching the trailer for the sequel i remember feeling kinda flat #rental

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    Yeah, that's about what I expected. I didn't like the first Kick-Ass as much as others and this didn't look very good either. I'll be skipping this one.

  • Vince O.

    Well Kick-Ass 3 (the comic) is on its second issue right now so it's almost inevitable that the sequel will see a release (but I'm still shocked that KA2 made it to production after the modest success the first film had on a wave of hype).

    Liked that first comic a ton, didn't think the first film was so hot. Kick-Ass 2 was an infuriating, depressing piece of work to read so I really don't know what to think of the film.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    I thought the first film was dreadful, so I'll definitely skip this one.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    Well that's disappointing. But I loved the first film and am looking forward to checking this out next week.

  • http://crimsondude.tumblr.com James Meiers

    The Kick-Ass 2 comic was a craven cash grab by everyone involved (Millar, JRJR, and the studio) borne from Kick-Ass being optioned to be a movie. The resulting piece of vile trash that has no worth or point as a comic except to highlight the amount "dark and gritty" ultra-violence that sells quite well in comics—as Paul Pope recounted a top DC Comics exec saying, they're publishing comics for 45-year-olds and not kids—because the majority of comics fans have no taste.

    It shouldn't be remarkable that Mintz-Plasse wasn't going to play The Motherfucker if they left in the gang rape or dog decapitation from the comic. Killing a neighborhood full of kids was apparently totally chill with CMP.

    The former is just basic human decency. The latter is a strange example of how violence towards animals is often more emotionally to people, which to me also strikes me as it not being in the movie because the MPAA censors would lose their shit over it, too. The sad part is that empirical evidence shows the MPAA has very little problem with (gang) rape even compared to consensual sex, which is perfectly to be expected from MPAA.

    C– is too good a grade.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    The first film was OK as I recall but simultaneously never left me wanting more and I had no particular plans to see this anyway.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    I'm still gonna see this since I love the first one, but I've never expected much from it. Once Matthew Vaughn left the odds were heavily against it, though I've also heard the second comic isn't nearly as good as the first so maybe it was just destined to be bad based on the source material.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Django/ Django

    Ugh, i thought the first one was entertaining enough but too frantic for any rewatches. And this looks exactly the same as the first so i think i'll skip.

  • dslacker

    Sounds like someone needs a Toronto infusion of real films. Enjoyed the first Kick-Ass, but will wait until this one shows up on cable.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Corbin/ Corbin

    Oh well. I liked the first one, and I'll see the second one at some point.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    The first film surprised me when I watched it for the first time last year. Will check this out but as a rental.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

    Ugh I was hoping that you would surprisingly enjoy it but I guess not :( The first one is one of my top 5 favorite films of all-time and i'm definitely still checking this one out on opening day (Friday).

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

    Really enjoyed the first film but the trailer for this one looks awful and without Vaughn and this review I'm going to wait for rental.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jinjuriki187/ jinjuriki187

    i loved the first one, i thought it was amazing and is in my top 10 favorite comic book films of all time, it was great. and from what i hear if you liked the first one youll also like this one even though it doesnt seem to be as good, but i wasnt really expecting it to be, but im still looking forward to this a lot and im sure itll be one of my favorite films of the summer.

  • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

    I predicted a D+ from Brad, so close! Haha.

    I really doubt there will be a sequel too. I had an occasional laugh with this one, loved Chloe Moretz.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ducard/ Ducard

    I'm glad 'm not the only one who thought the 1st movie was mediocre at best. The only 2 things amusing about that one was Hit-Girl & Nic Cage's wierdly hilarious channeling of Adam West's Batman. (The way that character died was NOT funny at all & really threw off that movie's already tenuous tone.)
    You knew this movie had to be made becuase the 1st was made enough & acquired a certain faux coolness about that it didn't earn. Call it "lemming hip" or "lemming chic"? But I don't have to go see it.

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to how I perceive the film. The marketing has me hook, line and sinker. I'll be checking it out and this review, from what I skimmed of it, won't phase me. Looking forward to some excess. Sometimes you gotta just get dumb - can't be any more ludicrous than all the other superhero films that have come out this year... At least this one isn't trying to be something it's not.

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    I didn't think much of the first film, and so I will be skipping out on this one, especially considering that the reviews aren't thinking very highly of it.

  • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

    Oh, I didn't realise there was a post-credits scene. Is this where you hinted the film ends with the door open for the 3rd film? Everyone in my cinema was so quick to exit, missed it....

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      No, I didn't stay for that, though I have read what it includes. I was talking about the new metal helmet Kick Ass had on the shelf.

      • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

        Ahhh yep. Fair enough. I had a quick listen to the interview with the director and he basically said if it makes enough money there will be a sequel.

        Fingers crossed it's bombs ;)

  • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

    I guess I'm alone in liking this more than the first one... Oh well.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kathrynlynn/ kathrynlynn

      may i ask why you like it better? Did you think it was a better film? or was it just more suited to your likings?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    Whoa, Brad, you gave Kick-Ass a solid B-. Why is it that you're calling it mediocre??

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      Brad says it all the time: read the words, not the grades. It's also possible for opinion of a film to change over time.

      (Had to respond when I saw double question marks)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kathrynlynn/ kathrynlynn

    I enjoyed the first film quite a bit. I liked the world, and the story, and I found most of the characters interesting. I like Johnson, and I think he plays the part well, and I really enjoyed Mortez- and her pairing with Cage in the first.

    But this one....

    forgive me for being trite, but it just sucked.

    The storyline they gave Mortez was so incredibly cliche, and while I thought she did her best with it... I am so freaking tired of seeing the "blonde bitch" vs. high school outcast girl... I wish they had done something more innovative.

    Mintz-Plasse was boring. I couldn't stand watching him scream and yell about nothing. I even hate myself a little for getting a little emotional during one scene where he meets with his uncle and his uncle does something horrible.... Other than that moment, I was rolling my eyes. I thought this whole routine worked in the first one, but all the jokes played out of this storyline just irritated me.

    I wanted to like this movie, I even own the first one because I do really enjoy it. But now that this second one is out, and it was so dull, it almost makes me not want to watch the first one again.

    A highlight for me was the action sequence of hit girl on the moving van- I thought that was different, over the top, and ridiculous- but in a fun way.

    Nothing else really worked for me. There were some laughs, some cool action... but even those miniscule highlights were sucked into the black hole of boring story.

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    I agree with your review. It wasn't the best film when you consider the things that 'make a good film'. With that said, I can say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'd even go as far to say I enjoyed it much more than the efforts DC and Marvel released this year. Maybe it has something to do with the DIY aesthetic (though I am aware of the large budget KA2 has), but I just found this film a lot more enjoyable than MOS, IM3 or The Wolverine, to name a few.

    Kind of sad it's getting as slammed as it is. I don't think it's a bad film. Given how little it's making this weekend, I don't think a sequel is likely. Though I do think much like the first film, it will find some footing and possibly a cult-like status on DVD.

  • Jamie Crump

    I didn't think it was dreadful but I didn't think it was good either. It didn't really feel like the first film at all, the only times that it did feel like the original is when scenes were copied. Moretz was the best part of the film again even though she had to spend most of the film in a sub par mean girls with it's fair share of cringey moments. but whenever she was Hot Girl it was the best parts of the film but that sadly wasn't enough. The rest of the cast were forgettable and although Carrey was playing against type, the character still seemed bland making casting Carrey rather pointless.

    They say they will make another film if they get enough money, the only way it would work is if Hit Girl was the star but the end makes me doubt that and i'd much rather see Moretz star in decent indies Star Wars which she definitely alludes to here... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10241962/Chloe-Moretz-interview-Ive-had-an-interesting-childhood.html