Sunday 18 August 2013

Kick-Ass 2 (2013) - Jeff Wadlow

Kick-Ass might be the protagonist in Kick-Ass, but we all know it's Hit Girl that truly kicks ass.

Clearly the writers have realised this, creating a much larger role for ChloĆ«-Grace Moretz's character in the sequel beyond simply the humorous side-kick.  Yet before you can celebrate the inclusion of a female hero amongst all the boys playing dress-up, Kick-Ass 2 soon descends into Spiderman meets Mean Girls.  Stripped of her mask for most of the film, this is more teen movie than superhero movie with all the trappings you'd expect: bitchy girls, high school canteen arguments, and plenty of puke and fart gags.  And with Moretz fast growing up, the shock of a young girl f'ing and blinding for ninety minutes is lost.

Kick-Ass himself (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) remains a geeky douchebag, though like all super heroes he's more symbol than man.  That leaves the periphery characters to pick up the slack: a misfit band of unlikely heroes with plenty of comedy potential.  Jim Carrey's role as Colonel Stars and Stripes is more minimal than pre-release material would have you believe, but thankfully Christopher Mintz-Plasse's return as super villain The Motherfucker pushes him beyond McLovin'.

At its heart, Kick-Ass 2 is a love letter to geek culture - from the comic book cut outs, to the use of the Tetris theme tune in one fight sequence, and the narrative based on typical comic book themes.  Here, with seemingly no power comes great responsibility.  And, as with the majority of super hero films, the protagonists must learn to balance living as their hero counterparts with the real world.  This manifests as a collision between puerile comedy and teen drama.  Kick-Ass 2 doesn't quite succeed in either extreme, but still manages to be more entertaining than some of the official comic book films of recent years.