Back in 2010, fanboys rejoiced at the release of a live-action flick based on Mark Millar's Icon graphic novel, Kick-Ass. The story was about a comic nerd who decides to try being a real life superhero. Though the box office was hardly super (a paltry $48 million), solid home video sales meant that a sequel was a no-brainer.
As a movie, Kick-Ass' real kryptonite has always been it's uneven tone. Cheesy outfits, foul-language, and crazy hyper editing meant that nothing ever felt real in the slightest, even though the premise was supposed to be about how a real person would fare in a world of real life thugs. If anything, KA was too comic-booky.
Kick-Ass 2 is more of the same. Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) are bored attending high school, longing to put back on the spandex. A promise to an adult guardian leaves one of them out of the heroes game while the other joins a team of wannabe costumes vigilantes that have been molded after the exploits of the original Kick-Ass.
Jim Carrey plays the group's leader, Colonel Stars and Stripes. In the wake of Sandy Hook, Carrey has been outspoken against the gratuitous violence of the sequel—a majority of the fight scenes involve teenage characters. If KA2, truly kicked ass, Carrey's remarks would mean to little to fans of the series. Unfortunately, the follow-up feels more tone deaf than the original. Worse, the jokes are pretty terrible. Case in point: Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprises his role as the villain Chris D'Amico, renaming himself Motherf--ker.
That's about as clever as the comedy gets.
Here are five ways Chloë Grace Moretz is still the best reason to get suited up for more Kick Ass.
1. Chloë Rocks: She's has great comic timing (see 30 Rock) and looks to kill (see next month's Carrie remake). Whether or not you're a fan of the KA series, Hit Girl gives Moretz plenty of ammo in terms of character choices. She never bores onscreen.
2. Hit Girl vs. Mean Girls: Mindy Macready promised her father Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) to grow up a normal teen after his demise in the previous film. She would be Hit Girl no more. Her guardian (Morris Chestnut) aims to make sure she keeps her word. In high school, she meets a trio of queen bees led by blond schemer Dolce (Ella Purnell) who feigns interest in the awkward Mindy. There's definitely something here: a super teen who has to play by Gossip Girl rules.
3. The Brawl With the Russian: The best match is between Hit Girl and Mother Russia (real life bodybuilder, Olga Kurkulina). Mother is easily three times the size of Hit Girl. Visually, the standoff reminds us of Rocky's beat down against Thunder Lips (Hulk Hogan) in Rocky III.
4. Hit Girl in Pursuit: A somber funeral turns bullet-ridden. Hit Girl tracks down the assailants! On top a van, she brutally fends off five heavily armed dudes. It's true: Robin wishes he was as cool as Hit Girl.
5. First Smooch: Early on Mindy gets all hot and bothered by a One Direction-clone music video. Underneath that menacing outfit, she's a silly teenager after all. Will she make her pal Dave aka Kick-Ass a partner in k-i-s-s-i-n-g?
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
Has the coolness of this series worn off already? Or is ultra-violence enough? Sound off in the comments!