The Commerce Journal

August 29, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 fails to live up to original legacy

Jordan Wright
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Returning to the big screen with all of its predecessor’s energy and playfulness but none of its intelligence, “Kick-Ass 2” is a heavy contender for biggest guilty pleasure of the year. The sequel to the 2010 superhero satire is full of all of the laughs and playfulness that made it so special but without the brain that made genuinely good.

Picking up a few years after the original, Dave Lizewski (reprised by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) returns to the life of real world superhero Kick-Ass after finding the return to mundane civilian life too unfulfilling. His return is assisted by Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) who trains him to tackle the lifestyle despite trying desperately to make a normal life for herself.

Meanwhile, Christopher Mintz-Plasse returns as Red Mist, taking a new villain moniker to plot revenge against Kick-Ass and take down the rising trend of real life superheroes.

The chemistry amongst the actors, quality of their performances and the rock solid direction of “Kick-Ass 2” remain amongst the films high points. Let it not be said that the movie fails to entertain. Unfortunately, this entertainment does come at the loss of substance.

Where “Kick-Ass” was a fairly clever deconstruction, satire, and ultimately, reconstruction of the modern superhero genre, its sequel has thrown all of those pretenses out of the window and devolved into a slightly grittier fantasy. Not a bad one per se, but there’s something udeniably disappointing about watching something smart turn into everything that it was trying to study, avert, and parody.

The unfortunate truth is that “Kick-Ass 2” is just a dumb popcorn blockbuster, something that its predecessor jumped through hoops to avoid and succeeded in doing for the most part. However, just because it checks its brain in at the door doesn’t prevent it from being a fun crowd pleaser in its own right.