The first Kick-Ass was an easily forgettable ultra-violent schlockfest. As far as I was concerned, the two selling points of the film were Nicolas Cage’s typical bat-crap crazy over-the-top performance as Batman-like "superhero" Big Daddy and the simple shock value of watching a 12-year-old Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl killing men ten times her size while spewing curse words that would make a sailor with Tourette’s blush.
Unfortunately Nicolas Cage’s character died in the first film and the simple novelty of listening to Moretz recite a bunch of F and C-words have gone stale, especially now that she’s fifteen. Go to any mall near you and you’ll overhear fifteen-year-old girls say the same words ad nauseum.
In fact, the most amusing aspect of Kick-Ass 2 is a ridiculous photo of Nicolas Cage in Hit-Girl’s secret lair. If writer/director Jeff Wadlow showed the audience this picture for 103 minutes instead of wasting millions of dollars and thousands of human hours on this veritable piece of crap, it would have been a hell of a lot more entertaining experience.
As it’s the case with the second chapter of every superhero series, the "based on real life" superheroes of the Kick-Ass universe decide to forego their uniforms and give a shot at a normal, boring life. We’ve seen this plot in Spider-Man 2 and Superman 2 before, as well as countless others.
Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), whose mob boss dad was killed by Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) forms an army of super bad guys in order to kill him. Meanwhile, Hit-Girl tries to settle into a normal high school life.
Kick-Ass 2 presents the year’s most embarassing scenes that backfire pitifully while trying to construct pure shock value. Just the scene where Hit-Girl gives instant diarrhea to a bunch of Mean Girls knock-offs made me feel sorry for anyone involved with it. On the other hand, if you refuse to end 2013 without laying eyes on runny CGI feces that looks like it was slapped together in two minutes, then don’t miss Kick-Ass 2.
The Kick-Ass series are based on a comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., whose graphic novel was the basis for 2008’s Wanted, still the worst and most despicable film of the last decade in my opinion.
Wanted and Kick-Ass both suffer from the same obvious tonal issues. On one hand they’re chock full of preachy monologues about how the story takes place in "the real world" and how in "the real world" real violent choices have real violent consequences.
Yet when it comes to action scenes it cannot possibly present a more careless, tasteless, unnecessarily ultra-violent cartoon action constructed for nothing but pure shock value. It tries to meld the real-life consequences of Watchmen (There’s even a nod to an iconic frame from it) and an über-violent version of the 60s Adam West Batman show. It’s as if the screenplays for these films are the results of the collaboration between a high school ethics teacher and a psychotic 12-year-old.
Of course cartoon action has a place within the genre, 2007’s excellent Shoot ‘Em Up is a good example of how this can be achieved tonally and creatively. But when a film goes out of its way to remind us at least three times that "This is not a movie, this is real life" and then shows us a giant Russian woman wearing a red bikini destroy four police cars with her bare hands, the hypocrisy becomes too much to bare.
Jeff Wadlow only made two B-movies that no one, including Jeff Wadlow, ever heard of and he’s given full access to a major summer blockbuster? Which studio executive on a month-long cocaine fueled bender made this informed decision? When this is the case, of course it’s not surprising that Kick-Ass 2 is nothing but amateur hour, barely worthy of a straight-to-DVD release. Say what you will about the first film, but at least Matthew Vaughn has a delectable style.
It’s always bad news when the best part of a screening is when the phone belonging to the guy sitting next to you goes off and the ringtone is Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again On My Own. That made me laugh, but it’s highly unlikely it will happen to you as well, so please stay away from this piece of cinematic CGI diarrhea excrement.