Review by Ken Parker
I really enjoyed the first Kick-Ass movie mostly for it's originality and its messages about being a superhero and being a good person... or at least stand for good. Elements of humor, action and drama were mixed beautifully in one of the biggest surprises for me at the theater in 2010. I have since watched the film numerous times and hoped the sequel would continue the story and capture at least some of what the first one was.
Some mild spoilers
Well, the safe answer, as always, would be, of course not. But I am not playing it safe. Kick-Ass 2 is very good but and has some excellent moments. The movie approaches the original from time to time and in some cases excels, but rarely. It mostly does a great job continuing the character development of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl. Their relationship is handled perfectly as both must discover who they are. This discovery moves them in opposite direction initially but ultimately they are back where they belong.
The stakes are higher as the superhero and super villain numbers increase greatly. The battle of good vs. evil takes on many forms and there are casualties. These casualties help our protagonists (and antagonist) in their finding themselves.
The humor is toned way down as is the originality. Still, the main ideals are there and help make the film powerful. The action is excellent and the supporting cast well utilized. Nods to the original are numerous and it is important to have seen the original. There are cameos by some characters from the first film that are quick so don't blink.
Kick-Ass (Dave) has an adventure that leads him to a group of heroes that were influenced by his being Kick-Ass. Meanwhile Mindy (Hit-Girl) has a more interesting tale as she tries to fit into the high school life. The final moments of the first film as Mindy is introduced into this school life leads you to belief there were going to be a lot of funny and excellent fights with perhaps Dave having to keep Mindy from killing anyone. Instead the high school life is eye opening for Mindy and ultimately sad and depressing. In a way you feel sorry for the girl who cannot exist in that life and while she does get to have the last laugh, it is still depressing.
The movie also deals with more father – child relationship for both Mindy and Dave. Mindy's adoptive father is trying to keep her out of trouble but is asking her to step out of her old life and into a new one, which she tries and fails. Pretty good stuff.
The movie does tone down the violence quite a bit with gun play being limited to a great degree, especially since guns were well over 90% of the violence in the first film.
Chris (formally Red-Mist) has his own journey of discovery. He is all about revenge and is consumed by fate (and something else). Stay until the very end of the credits.
The movie doesn't quite achieve that excellence level but it does manage to deliver some great kicks and punches along the way. A sequel is easily done and it would be interesting to see these characters continue to grow.