Sequels tend to just get bigger and bigger than the last, and Kick-Ass 2 is no exception. While the first was the origin story of only a few superheroes, this film tackles an entire league of super heroes and newly anointed super villains. The first had the novelty of a 10 year old girl slinging profanities and slicing limbs. The sequel adds cannibalistic super villains and a slew of new heroes who are trying to save the day.
It opens up the universe to include just what happens after one nutjob becomes a superhero – many more insecure, longing individuals follow suit. We’re introduced to “superheroes” Remembering Tommy, Night Bitch, Dr. Gravity, Colonel Stars & Stripes and more. Each has their own personal story on why they decided to take up the life of super-hero-dom, but with a twist on the old tired tell. Battleman even takes the Batman story as his own as he tries to fit in with the group. It’s these nods to the superhero tropes that make Kick-Ass a bit more fun than the traditional superhero films that we’ve all come to know like The Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, etc. It takes these standards and practices and flips them just enough to make them interesting without taking them too seriously.
This films explores Hit-Girl, Mindy, as she tries to give up the mask to pursue a normal life. Her sudden new friends, led by Brooke (Claudia Lee) as the Queen Bee of high school, show her the ins and outs of puberty including the One Direction knock-off Union J and how to be popular. While shallow and derivative, their conversations serve as a commentary on the overall state of how teen girls are portrayed in the media. The scene where Hit Girl feels the first burst of sexual attraction is a great tongue-in-cheek moment for how tween girls are expected to react to popular media. And it’s hilarious. Then down the road, she takes it a step further by standing up to her bullies with “the sick stick.” As not to ruin the gross outcome, I’ll just leave it at that.
Meanwhile, Kick-Ass is learning the consequences of his actions and becoming a man. Their journeys to growing up run parallel, but couldn’t be more different. Dave learns the value of relying on others, the need for a support system while Mindy tries to find a support system of her own inside to “safe” enclave of traditional high school. Big mistake. Christopher Mintz-Plassse is also falling deeper in to the super villain world while this is all happening. I was expecting the rape scene after the comments from Mark Millar and that whole aftermath, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the non-rape scene, where it could have gone just as dark and twisted as possible but instead decided to make “The Mother Fucker” the punchline.
On top of that, Jim Carrey has drummed up more attention for the film since he came out saying it was too violent for him to support post-Sandy Hook. While his role was uber violent, he put in a fantastic performance that he got lost in. I honestly don’t think I ever would have pegged his character as Carrey – his mannerisms, voice, and even face were all so radically different than his previous roles. While he does perform a couple gruesome acts, it’s not like they exist in a vacuum. He was doing it for the betterment of society, using his cruelty to bring down the bad guys he used to work with. While violent, Kick-Ass 2 stands apart from other superhero movies of the summer because viewers actually see the pain inflicted and the consequences of trying to be the hero.
Maybe I’m giving too much credit to the writers/director, but I don’t think I am. The film is poking fun at the state of how media treats teenagers and superhero films, and I thought every bit of it was hilarious, entertaining and, yes, fun, while also being able to actually show the repercussions of their actions. More violent and extreme than the first film, as sequels tend to be, but overall Kick-Ass 2 is a worthy successor in the Kick-Ass franchise. If you liked the first, you’ll certainly dig this one.