Friday, 16 August 2013

Kick-Ass 2

Following the recent influx of sequels and hard driven franchises, 2010’s cult classic release of ‘Kick-Ass’ has earned a follow up film promising to replicate it’s predecessors success. Shocking audiences three years ago with its gratuitous comic violence combined with its foul mouthed underage actors, it soon built up a considerable following earning cult status due to its relatively small scale production. As with all sequels, their primary (yet very much disclosed) purpose is to rake in the profits made from fans of the predecessor who know what they’re getting in for and this applies all too well with Kick-Ass 2. Containing vast pop culture references as well as a noticeable ‘Hollywood gleam’ of indulgent CGI, Kick-Ass 2 attempts to appeal to everyone yet inadvertently appeals to no one.
As we pick up from the well rounded ending of its predecessor we join Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) trying to blend back into high school all whist maintaining his superhero alter-ego, joining him is newly appointed ‘partner in crime’ Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), who now craves acceptance in High school after years of home schooling. After events transpire and Hit Girl finds herself unable to fight crime, Kick-Ass finds a superhero team named ‘Justice Forever’, led by the eccentric Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) but when super villain the ‘Motherfucker’ (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)demands revenge on Kick-Ass for the death of his father, the team meet their match.

Admirably boasting a very different plot from its predecessor, this is about the only dose of originality present in the film with the remainder of the running time desperately attempting to replicate the success of the original, resulting in disaster. With an established unique style the 2010’s Kick-Ass was a thrill to watch, witnessing justice fuelled eccentrics taking down the sinister enemy, however here this is turned on its head as we watch the bad guys horrifically murdering the good guys, and quite understandably it’s no fun at all. With horrific violence being used throughout, many sequences of Kick-Ass 2 felt oddly disturbing as comic violence would play out to a childishly offbeat soundtrack in a ‘real world’ environment. The films tone is so desperately obscured that its identity crumbles, thinking it’s a serious and bleak superhero film one minute, then the next changing to supposedly thrilling unjustifiable comic violence, when the audience simply isn’t ‘in the mood’ following scenes of such depressing realism. Such action scenes are no doubt executed with considerable style and are very well choreographed despite their loud and unwanted presence. The tonal balance isn’t aided by a jarring ‘coming of age tale’ surrounding hit girl which undoubtedly provides for some of the best scenes and laughs of the whole film, but which also however provides for some of the worst and certainly the most whimsical. One in particular containing washed up x-factor contestants ‘Union J’ was poignantly awful, summarising in one 3 minute scene the failure of Kick-Ass 2 being unnecessary, boring and just damn awkward.  

Doing very few things to keep its audience stimulated, Kick-Ass 2 is a lame attempt to find box office success and similar cult status. With tonal infrequencies running underneath the film throughout, Kick-Ass 2 simply doesn’t work and suffers from indulging in a multitude of irrelevant sub plots as well as using gratuitous violence to tell its already bleak story. Being very little fun at all, Kick-Ass 2 is simply too serious for its own good.

4/10- Frequently disturbing, Kick-Ass 2 is tonally indifferent and constantly confused.

Calum Russell

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