Kick-Ass 2

Directed By: Jeff Wadlow

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, and Morris Chestnut

Many good movies don't need sequels.  The Wolfpack never needed to hit the Strip (or any other place of debauchery for that matter) after their wild outing in The Hangover.  Badass spy Bryan Mills had no need to go beat the hell out of Albanian baddies after the brutal hunt for his daughter throughout Paris in Taken.  Cindy and Brenda certainly didn't need to come back after the Stevenson County Massacre in Scary Movie.  In the case of each of these unnecessary sequels, we all know things didn't go so well from a quality perspective.  The Hangover Part II, Taken 2, and Scary Movie 2 all have one thing in common.  They suck.  If Kick-Ass is the perfect combination of optimism and naïveté, then this weekend's Kick-Ass 2 is an ugly combination of crudeness and disappointment.  Like these other movies, the beloved superhero movie needed no sequel.

Life has never been the same since the events of Kick-Ass for Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).  Out of the superhero game and just going through the motions of his senior year of high school, Dave is bored out of his mind.  Still in the superhero game as Hit-Girl and ditching school on a daily basis, Mindy tries to avoid the ire of her guardian Marcus (Morris Chestnut) while saving the people of New York on a daily basis.  Bent on getting revenge for the death of his father at the hands of Kick-Ass, Chris D'Amico kills his mother so that he can make his revenge fantasy a reality and become "The Motherf*cker", the world's first supervillain.

Dave decides to get back in the game and hit the streets.  Donning the green and yellow suit once again, a reborn Kick-Ass joins Justice Force, a superhero organization headed up by ex-mob enforcer and born-again Christian Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).  With fellow superheroes Night-Bitch (Lindy Booth) and Doctor Gravity (Donald Faison) on his side as well, Kick-Ass has joined a pretty formidable team.  Meanwhile, Chris begins putting plans in motion to take out Kick-Ass.  Learning of the Justice Force, the Motherf*cker forms his own group, the Toxic-Mega C*nts.  Comprised of some of the world's most vicious criminals, Chris has built an unstoppable team.  He makes this known by targeting those beloved superheroes the people of New York love.  Unfortunately for Dave, he won't have any help dealing with Chris from the one superhero he wants, Mindy.  Thanks to Marcus, she's retired the costume of Hit-Girl and tackled a whole new challenge, high school.

Kick-Ass 2 completely fails to live up to its predecessor.  There are two abundantly clear reasons for this.  First and foremost, the cast has aged significantly.  It's hard for the 23 year-old Aaron Taylor-Johnson and 24 year-old Christopher Mintz-Plasse to believably portray 17 year-olds Dave Lizewski and Chris D'Amico.  They're not so young for these roles anymore.  Second, we're no longer in the hands of Matthew Vaughn.  Directed by Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down), Kick-Ass 2 loses the balance of being a deft, edgy superhero action comedy.  Wadlow opts to focus on comedy, the cruder and ruder kind at that.  Pulling grotesque comedy from the Scary Movie playbook and tasteless violence from virtually every recent horror movie's playbook, Wadlow dishonors Vaughn’s work with this Kick-Ass sequel.

The cast gives a mixed bag of performances, and there are hints of that magic that made the original film so infectious.  For his part as our titular character Kick-Ass, Aaron Taylor-Johnson delivers the same lovable, down-to-earth guy.  Though he spends a good chunk of the time trying to mask the bass in his voice, Taylor-Johnson manages to deliver some decent action and humor along the way.  For her part as Hit-Girl, Chloë Grace Moretz certainly kicks lots of ass and takes plenty of names.  However, she's also dealing with her own little Mean Girls storyline in the midst of her superhero identity crisis and botches it with a somewhat stiff performance.  As the Motherf*cker, Christopher Mintz-Plasse is admittedly hilarious.  He's just one of the central figures who takes things too far throughout the movie at times though.  Finally, we have Jim Carrey joining the cast as Colonel Stars and Stripes.  With his trusty dog Eisenhower, he certainly beats down some baddies.  Carrey, though, is not as funny as he could have been as this colorful character. 

I'm calling it three years early.  The 2016 X-Force movie will suck.  If Kick-Ass 2 is any indication, don't get your hopes up for the long awaited Marvel movie in the pipeline.  Jeff Wadlow is writing and probably will be directing that comic book flick as well.  Like Kick-Ass 2, this movie probably won't live up to its potential.  This weekend’s superhero action-comedy gets a 0.09% rating.  Have some gin and tonic with this one.