Crude, crass, callous and filled with carnage, Kick-Ass 2 commands our attention. Half smart-allecky satire, half semi-plausible vigilante fantasy, the movie is a worthy, if inferior, successor to Matthew Vaughn’s original. The series’ first director and co-writer remains on board as producer, but the creative reins have been handed down to the little-known Jeff Wadlow.
2010’s Kick-Ass, a brilliant, brazen, charcoal black action-comedy about a shy, nerdy teen trying to make it as a crime fighter was a breath of fresh air, the anti-Spiderman young superhero adventure I’d been waiting for. This screwy, savvy, self-conscious and self-satisfied sequel fills the screen with even more arterial spray and lays the irony on even thicker. By the second outing, however, it’s getting harder to distinguish Kick-Ass from the polished, name-brand superhero flicks it seemed to offer us respite from.
While still bone-crushingly brutal, Kick-Ass 2 drops its punchy predecessor’s attempt to pass the visceral, vicious violence off as something shocking or subversive. Gory, gimmicky, and grisly, the first film was deliciously and insolently provocative; it introduced crime-fighting children who toted guns, shot to kill, and cursed like Samuel L. Jackson. A joke is rarely as funny the second time you hear it, but Kick-Ass 2 offers a fresh infusion of comic energy in the loose, flippant approach to its source material, the ongoing Marvel series by Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr.