Movie review: Kick-Ass 2

When the original was released in 2010, it kicked up quite a fuss. But the fact so many namby-pamby liberal types were up in arms over the film's graphic language and violence meant only one thing: that the film was doing something right.

With original director Matthew Vaughn stepping down from the sequel, choosing to produce this time around instead, the pressure was on for Jeff Wadlow – doubly so – for writing and directing the whole shebang. Nervous times for fans of the original then.

Luckily though, Kick-Ass 2 does not disappoint and delivers yet another two-by-four of extreme action to the face.

Back in the big bad apple and Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is still at high school. But things are a little different now since spending time being Kick-Ass; for one thing, he has a girlfriend, Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca) which is certainly improving the whole school experience for him.

He's also happy to see Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz) enrol at his school; she decides to put aside her Hit-Girl alter ego, and concentrate on just being a regular 15-year-old girl. This entails her actually having a bunch of girl friends, and hanging out having fun.

Dave no longer feels the need to take to the streets as Kick-Ass. But this changes when he realises how his actions have affected people. More people of New York, inspired by him, have taken to donning a superhero outfit and fighting crime themselves. One in particular, Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), is putting together a little band of merry superheroes, going by the name of Justice Forever.

Feeling a kinship with them, Dave decides to dust off his Kick-Ass outfit and join them. His timing couldn't be better either, as Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has decided to reject his former identity as the Red Mist, for an entirely different persona, far darker and badass-er. And this time, he isn't alone.

Although there's a change in director and writer, Wadlow (who has only directed two other features before this) has kept a real sense of continuity and cohesion with his effort. This sequel not only picks up seamlessly from the end of the last, it's also driven in a logical and enjoyable direction.

Like its predecessor, it all comes from a tangible love of the source comic material. But what Wadlow manages to do, somewhat surprisingly, is inject more of everything that made the original so darkly refreshing. This means that Kick-Ass 2 has far more action and is far funnier than the original.

It's a real shame that Carrey has washed his hands of the film, due to the horrific shootings that took place in Sandy Hook in December of last year. He may well not, in his words "in all good conscience, cannot support that level of violence", but in withdrawing his support for the film he is stupidly drawing a correlation between real violence and screen violence. Using screen violence as an excuse for those who commit truly violent acts is, quite frankly a cheap shot that holds no credence whatsoever.

In a troubling on-going, tiring trend of highly predictable and safe superhero fodder, the Kick-Ass films are at least pushing boundaries, in not only attempting to give comic fans something fresh and different, but in succeeding.

Not only that, they also give those who enjoy cosplay, the chance to make costumes that look like those worn in the films.

The heroes and villains of Kick-Ass 2 may not have the kind of resources that the likes of the X-Men crowd and their ilk have access to, but the trade off is, is that when they kick-ass, it's far more entertaining.

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