Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey is wrong
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writers: Jeff Wadlow (screenplay), Mark Millar (comic book)
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey
Synopsis: The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
Jeff Wadlow’s Kick-Ass 2 has a lot of similarities to Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 film, Kick-Ass in terms of style and the tone we get in the film. The action set pieces are a lot of fun and the comic-book heavy set violence is pretty much the same, which will set this movie apart from most other comic book movies. I love how it plays off the first film in so many ways and it goes back to the story of the first film several different times which brings the two pretty close. The camera, while not quite as good as the first film, is still used well here, especially when we get to the action pieces. However, Wadlow’s version is much, much cheesier and he missed an opportunity that could of elevated this movie to a completely different level but instead it kind of takes a back seat. So while it’s a lot of fun, it’s pretty shallow and you won’t walk away with much other than a good time for 2 hours.
It’s not very often when I have such a strong love/hate relationship with a script like I do for Kick-Ass 2. Whadlow’s screenplay is such a missed opportunity that it sickens me and the direction of the script becomes nothing than an extremely conventional, over-played story where I very much struggled to get through the third act. The story picks up just a few years after the events of Kick-Ass where Hit Girl is now a freshman in High School and is of course, dealing with her identity as a young girl, who just also happens to fight crime. The premise of her dealing with that is interesting, especially given she’s a fun character, however, the middle of the story turns from Kick-Ass 2 to Mean Girls which becomes extremely distracting and unnecessary. Hit Girl’s relationship with Kick-Ass is also amazing but there’s little play on it, until the end where we get a little bit more. But this is a missed opportunity to play on a very strong relationship that would of elevated this to a high level. Hit Girl’s relationship with her foster dad is also amazing and while they do focus on that, it also could of been played better given how fascinating it is. Meanwhile Kick-Ass, who we can’t forget is the main feature, is also struggling with is identity. He ends up joining a way cheesy, Avengers-like, “superhero” group so he can fit in and belong to something bigger. But it becomes over-the-top and way too goofy for the tone of the film and the direction it needed to take. Jim Carrey’s character is amazing but again, under-played and under-utilized. Instead, the movie becomes a Spider-Man parallel universe with a terrible villain who’s plot is ridiculous, un-interesing and mundane. Overall, the story lines between Hit Girl and Kick-Ass we’re really good and an opportunity to explore something great but instead it becomes nothing more than a cheesy adventure story. But if you can get past that, it’s still mostly fun, especially with the action and visuals.
Chloë Grace Moretz is amazing and her character is incredibly interesting. As a young teenage girl, she is struggling between keeping a promise and realizing her identity and her soul is to be Hit Girl. She’s adorable and plays it off extremely well. She also draws you into the story, and while everything else can dissipate, she’s the stand out. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is pretty much the same guy from the first Kick-Ass, which is okay because I loved it. He’s good and brings some emotion to the character. His chemistry with Moretz is good and again one that should of been explored more. Jim Carrey…well he’s wrong about this movie. The violence isn’t overbearing and he’s amazing in his role. His character should of had more to do but for what he does, he’s amazing. I’m not sure what he thought he was signing up for because it’s very similar in terms of tone and violence from the first film. The rest of the performances are stereotypical, cheesy, comic-booky and bring down the rest of the film. They were’t all bad, some were, but it didn’t fit the rest of the story and the blame for that can go more to Wadlow than the actors. I’m giving this section an A-, but only because Moretz, Taylor-Johnson and Carrey were so great.
At one moment during our screening, I literally turned to my friend and said, the music in that moment (the scene we just watched) was definitely Henry Jackman. Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson get the nod to score here and I’ll recognize a Jackman theme like there’s no tomorrow. This is the second go-around for Jackman as he did the first Kick-Ass with three other composers. He’s amazing and his themes are incredible for this movie. They’re perfectly timed and a ton of fun for what we are getting. Perhaps a little over-dramatic at times but this movie is silly and goofy and the score reflects that, yet it gives you this sense of an awesome comic-book epic that is just fun to listen to. All-in-all, give me more Jackman and more of these themes please.