2010’s Kick-ass was a movie not without problems, but what problems it had were easy to forget because it was actually fun. It melded over the top violence and profanity with an upbeat and optimistic “holy shit we’re superheroes” tone which gave the movie a unique energy, and a couple of brilliant casting moves made the whole endeavor…. well fun really is the operative word here.
It’s 3 years later both in our world and theirs and Kick-Ass 2 is here and you know what? It holds up pretty well!
Kick-Ass and Hit Girl are now in high school together (which is weird, either Hit Girl is a genius and skipped some grades or Kick-Ass is an idiot and failed some). Kick-Ass is semi retired but Hit Girl is cutting class to train. Kick-Ass is bored and wants to start up again while Hit Girl is chafing under her guardian Marcus’ insistence that she give up being a hero and try to live a normal life.
Naturally it doesn’t take long for them to start training and fighting crime together again and after a first incident Kick-Ass is energized to do more while Hit Girl decides to accept Marcus point that she needs to have a childhood and give up the fight, and so begin the actual story lines for each character.
Hit Girl now throws in with a group of popular girls for the bulk of the second act the leader of which may as well just be Regina George from Mean Girls (yes, I’ve seen that movie) while Kick-Ass meets a team of other costumed superheroes, all inspired by his initial turn as Kick-Ass) led by a nearly unrecognizable Jim Carrey as Col. Stars and Stripes.
At the same time Chris D’Amico, formerly Red Mist from the first film is being driven mad over his fathers death at the end of the first movie and after his mother’s untimely death re-imagines himself as the worlds first super villain “The Motherfucker” and starts recruiting an army of killers and styling them as villains all with the goal of finding and killing Kick-Ass for revenge.
Chief among The Motherfucker’s new recruits is Mother Russia, a former KGB heavy hitter played by Ukrainian/Israeli bodybuilder Olga Kurkulina. Kurkulina is a certain kind of wonderful as the truly evil Mother Russia. She’s not exactly a great actress, but she’s perfect for this role. Her timing is great and her ability to intimidate and scare is genuine, pretty much I expect she’ll show up in The Expendables at some point especially given that her solo action sequence against an army of cops is one of the highlights of the movie.
Basically everyone in the movie is good though, and each of the primary characters get a decent hero moment in an action sequence somewhere. Carrey is the standout acting wise though if only because as I said if I didn’t know it was him going in I don’t think I would have recognized him.
If the movie has any drawbacks as compared to the first its that despite the plot being more complicated it’s actually quite a bit more predictable. You pretty much know each of the main characters arcs after the first act because you’ve seen them all before. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though because they are very well executed and the movie is funnier than Kick-Ass was. It’s also less violent (although make no mistake, when it’s violent it’s very violent).
It’s also worth pointing out that as with the original the tone of the movie is quite different than the tone of the original comics. Where the comics were fairly grim stories about sociopaths wearing costumes the movies are imbued with a kind of reckless optimism and heart which really works when paired with the ultra violence.
All in all Kick-Ass 2 is a great movie and well worth seeing, and after a summer of only a few hits and a lot of misses it’s nice to have another solid hit.