Dave Lizewski (Taylor-Johnson) dons the green wetsuit again, joining forces with super-team Justice Forever, lead by nutbag Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey). Meanwhile, Hit-Girl (Moretz) tries to leave her old life behind, and former loser Chris D’Amico (Mintz-Plasse) reinvents himself as a supervillain.
Three years on from the original Kick-Ass and a similar amount of time has apparently passed for the characters… which explains why they all look so much older, but not what has happened in the meantime. Plot-wise Kick-Ass 2 picks up pretty much immediately where the first film left off. Mindy “Hit-Girl” Macready is carrying on Big Daddy’s work, but it’s not long before she’s promising her adoptive father Marcus (Morris Chestnut) that she’ll put away the nunchucks and be a good girl, leaving Dave “Kick-Ass” Lizewski to hook up with a motley super-team of the vigilantes he inspired.
Escalation seems to be the idea. There are far more characters on both sides of the righteousness divide this time, leading to bigger battles with larger costumed armies. Yet this somehow still feels like a smaller film than before, in large part swapping the city for suburbia, and spending much of its run time on Mindy’s (not unamusing) high school dramas. Carrey has disowned the film for its violence, but it’s not noticeably any stronger than last time, and martial arts take precedence over gun-play. It’s also far less brutal than the comics it’s adapted from. On at least two occasions, it even explicitly sidesteps Mark Millar’s more viciously bad-taste excesses with jokes.
Otherwise, Kick-Ass 2 is an extremely faithful adaptation of its namesake source comic, although it plays faster and looser with the Hit-Girl series it also draws from, and the budget doesn’t stretch to Times Square. Its main deviation is Mintz-Plasse, whose goofy PVC-clad idiot, rechristened The Motherfucker and now leader of evil gang The Toxic Megacunts, is far more McLovin than Millar. While it’s clear that Carrey is intended as this film’s Cage, it might have been a concern that Kick-Ass 2 was lacking a villain of Mark Strong’s stature, but it’s a pleasant surprise that The Motherfucker holds his own.
A more modest success than the first Kick-Ass, but still of-a-piece with its scurrilous predecessor. Nobody flies a jet-pack up a skyscraper this time, but Kick-Ass 2 still has its share of over-the-top action, and the sweary laughs are just about intact.