It’s somewhat surprising that many of the fight scenes in Kick-Ass 2 aren’t all that memorable, given they were the only thing worth remembering in Jeff Wadlow’s Never Back Down. The highway sequence in particular is a victim of bad post-production. Still, the sequel’s new director admirably keeps the manic mix of R-rated comedy and action seen in Matthew Vaughn’s original while omitting the terrible attempts at shock-drama that polluted Mark Millar’s comic – the ultra-violence is already full-on without the need of animal decapitation, child slaughter and gang rape.
While the crime-fighting craze has spread to other wannabe vigilantes, Mindy hangs up her Hit-Girl suit to give ‘regular’ teen life a go. The parallel between the boy-band obsessions of dolled-up teenage girls and the fanboy superhero adorations of costumed geeks is a surprisingly novel illustration of otherwise typical high-school identity themes. They even manage to spin a pretty good subplot about Mindy’s sexual independence grown from the ashes of her stolen childhood.
However, the huge focus on Hit-Girl comes at the expense of Kick-Ass himself, who’s little more than a narrator in the film – it makes a particularly heavy tragedy in the third act feel lighter than it should. Side-characters are also denied their times to shine, with Jim Carrey’s scene-stealing Colonel Stars and Stripes leaving the stage long before we want him to. Fortunately, Christopher Mintz-Plasse transcends as villainous douchebag The Motherf–ker – he’s like an angry internet troll who actually goes through with his threats.
The crude quips (“I’ll be immortal, like an evil Jesus!”) are unapologetic in delivery; you’ll take them as either vulgarity or hilarity. Luckily, Kick-Ass 2 taps into my juvenile sense of humour, even if some of the gags went limp (one being literal). It could have also done without the terrible CG diarrhoea…