As soon as I saw the first Kick-Ass, I was excited at the prospect of a sequel. It was one of those films that isn’t really trying to be artistic or weighed down with meaning, but still managed to rope me into the story. When I had a poke around on the internet I discovered that it was based on a comic series, so I was comfortable in the knowledge that before long a sequel would be released. As is usually the case with sequels, it didn’t quite live up to its predecessor.
Be that as it may, Kick Ass 2 was incredibly entertaining. The ultra-violence is back, the lines are full of curses, as is the incredible silliness of the characters. These elements come together in a way that can be either hilarious (if you’re not too uptight) or shocking and offensive (if you’re a massive wanker). Basically what I’m trying to say is that seeing regular people attempt to be superheroes in the real world is fucking awesome.
The film begins with Dave Lizewski; a young nerd with a love for narration. After giving up his life as the scuba-suit wearing superhero Kick Ass, he is wondering what he wants to do with his life after high school. Considering that in the previous film he managed to inspire a movement of regular people to dress up like superheroes and help those in need, he feels a bit bored with regular life. I suppose that would happen to me too if I got to shoot up a bunch of gangsters with Gatling guns from a fucking jet pack (which is just as awesome as it sounds, so if you haven’t seen the first Kick Ass, go do that now).
Now since this film is about a high school nerd, there has to be a love interest right? Well, yea, kind of. There’s his girlfriend from the first film which is only in it for five minutes. In one scene she manages to completely destroy everything her character was built up to be. It seems like in the last few years she’s turned from sensitive, caring, and willing to give a guy a chance to explain himself to being a total bitch. You’d expect this to be a major theme over the rest of the film but… Dave seems to get over it almost immediately in favour of another ridiculously named superhero.
Now for our secondary protagonist, Mindy McCready/Hit Girl. This foul mouthed, now fifteen year old vigilante is struggling with maintaining her life as a super hero while attempting to live a normal life since the death of her father. Unexpectedly, most of her screen time is dedicated to her high school life. In spite of my general disdain for any film based in tweeny-high-school-land, this turned out to be pretty enjoyable at moments and actually made her seem like more of a sympathetic character rather than the somehow-super-powered, casually amoral little bundle of crazy from the first film. It was almost too much fun to watch a bunch of fifteen year old girls that were comprised of overt sexualisation and cartoonish evil suffer some serious retribution after they foolishly mess with somebody who is clearly smarter and essentially better than them.
So the heroes have both gone through a few changes in the time that has elapsed since the last film and as with any sequel, we get to see some new faces too. Enter the most disappointing Jim Carrey character ever!
Carrey plays a superhero named “Colonel Stars and Stripes”, a character for every superhero in the city to rally behind. While the character is likable enough, there is absolutely no hint of that Carrey spirit in his performance. It makes me wonder why the casting director would fork out the money for such a big star when they essentially didn’t use him for anything but marketing. Be that as it may, Stars and Stripes was necessary as a bit of a foil for all of the profanity (being a born again christian) but still smashes out some quality fight scenes and bad-ass bravery. I think the only reason I was disappointed by him is because he’s played by Jim fucking Carrey, a man who I will happily declare to be the funniest man in existence. The script just doesn’t do him justice. Carrey should be above a character whose main gag is the ability to train a dog to bite dicks off.
Now that we’ve discussed the heroes, what of Chris D’Amico/Red Mist? At the end of the previous film we see him happily declaring that he wants to take up a role as the first super villain. At first he was really just following the orders of his scumbag crime-lord of a father (the big bad of the last film). He seemed to genuinely like Kick Ass, and seemed truly sorry that he almost got him killed (while not really worrying himself too much about the fact that he mercilessly shot an eleven year old girl). His real descent to the dark side began when Kick Ass blew up his father with a bazooka.
So now that we’re on the subject of the relationship between Chris D’Amico and Dave Lizewski… It’s time to talk about plot holes!
So seeing as Kick-Ass and Red Mist fought during the climax of the first movie, you’d expect there to be a bit of concern from Dave that Chris D’Amico is still hanging around… I mean, Chris saw Dave with his mask off in a live broadcast showing his brutal torture at the hands of his father. In spite of this, D’Amico still has trouble finding out the secret identity of Kick Ass. In fact, everyone does! Nobody but Dave’s girlfriend, Hit Girl, and possibly Hit Girl’s foster father actually know the identity of Kick Ass. Did the writers forget that he was broadcast with his mask off for the whole world to see? That all of his friends saw him get tied to a chair and nearly burned alive? For some reason, when Dave’s best friends discover that Kick Ass is among them, their minds are blown.
Now for Dave. It is established that he knows that Chris D’Amico is Red Mist. So… Dave and Hit Girl both conveniently forget that the last time they met D’Amico, he tried to killed them both. They don’t realize that there’s an murderous son-of-a-crime-lord out there, likely plotting their demise. You know, until he sends Dave a freakin text message. How did Dave never report Chris to the police? I assumed that after a shootout in a highrise building involving jetpacks and bazooka explosions, the cops might be kind of interested. I’m pretty sure that investigating the bloody murders of a big bunch of hit men and the disappearance of a crime-lord would rate as pretty fucking pertinent on their to do list (I say disappearance because there isn’t really any body left after his death-by-explosion).
The second major plot hole comes along in a way that you may not notice. Hit Girl gives the location of the final showdown to the police long before it takes place. They somehow only manage to conveniently show up after the action packed climax. This is completely forgivable though, because the epic finale is spectacular. Watching the ultimate comic nerd fantasy play out for each of the characters is a wonderfully fulfilling experience. There is definitely some suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this, much like in the first Kick Ass (sometimes a bit too much for a film that was meant to be grounded in reality) but in the end it still leaves you with the feeling that you spent your movie money well.
In the end, in spite of all the plot holes, graphic violence, and the terrible things that happen to the characters in Kick Ass 2, it still manages to be an uplifting story if you don’t read into it too much. It isn’t meant to be heavily analyzed, it’s meant to be devoured like an unhealthy chocolate bar that you just can’t help eating. It’s a ridiculous, fun filled thrill ride packed with cheesy one liners, over-the-top violence and hilarious super hero names. If you don’t enjoy this film, then you’re either dead inside or an over-protective parent. Or both.