I loved the original Kick Ass, which seemed eager to give the burgeoning comic book superhero movie market a kick right where it hurts and call it something nasty while it was at it, so I was really looking forward to Kick Ass 2, but in terms of comic book sequels, this is more Spiderman 3 than The Dark Knight. Actually, as terrible as Spiderman 3 was (and it really, really was), that’s unfair to Spiderman 3. Kick Ass 2 is quite possibly the worst movie of the year so far, as it abandons everything that made it good in the first place and instead doubles down on the vulgarity believing that to be the key to success.
In fact, that isn’t damning enough. I like vulgarity. I love The Aristocrats, still the only movie to get an 18 certificate in the UK for bad language alone. The problem is that there are no brains to go with it, there is no satire here. Thsi is for people who think that swearing alone is funny, rather than those who demand a little creativity to go along with it.
I came out of the cinema and couldn’t find a single good thing to say about the film. At no point did I laugh. I didn’t crack a smile. But perhaps I’m a little ahead of myself here. What’s the story?
In Kick Ass, a school kid decided to become a superhero and promptly got himself beaten to a pulp. Repeatedly. Then he stumbled across Big Daddy (Nic Cage) and Hit Girl, real superheroes who did their work undercover, he trained himself up, and together they brought down a crime lord played by Mark Strong.
In Kick Ass 2, the school kid seems to have forgotten all his training, so needs to do it all over again. Hit Girl is mostly retired after the death of her father in the first film. Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprises his role as Mark Strong’s son and sets himself the task of becoming a supervillain, taking a name that is clearly supposed to make us laugh but actually shows the lack of wit and intelligence at play. Hit Girl is now attending high school and struggling to fit in. She councils Dave/Kick Ass to be true to himself but fails to follow her own advice in an atrocious sub-plot homage to Mean Girls which seems to be there purely as an excuse to get some teenage girls to do some stripper-dancing that is apparently what constitutes being a cheerleader.
Oh, and the main thing, a number of people have followed Kick Ass’ lead and labelled themselves as superheroes, lead by Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes. They form more of a support group for victims of horrible crimes than they do a group of masked avengers, and perhaps there’s an interesting story to be had there, but after one mention it’s gone again. Meanwhile, Mintz-Plasse is forming a group of henchmen and is determined to kill off Kick Ass, the man who killed his father.
It all leads to the worst battle-finale you’re ever likely to see, as Kick Ass’ team descends on Mintz-Plasse’s warehouse-hide-out. The two groups clash and the fights (Hit Girl’s aside) is sub-student-film in quality. Jeff Wadlow, writer and director of this installment, should be genuinely embarrassed by the scenes he’s committed to film here.
This is a film without a single redeeming feature*. And not in a “Daily Mail, the world’s gone to hell in a handcart” way, in an entirely risible, “do you seriosuly expect us to put up with this kind of crap?” way.
Film length: 1hr 43 mins – Feels like: 2hrs 15 mins
*You could perhaps argue that Moretz gives a good performance but, despite her talents, she can’t elevate material this poor. It strikes me as a contractual obligation rather than something she’d have jumped at the chance to do.