Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Moretz tore up the big screen in 2010's awesomely violent Kick-Ass, but replicating the smashing entertainment of the first movie proves to be an issue in the follow-up. Kick-Ass 2 packs some of the same punches as its predecessor, but it's just not as much fun. Hit-Girl (Moretz) makes killer moves, Kick-Ass (Johnson) fumbles through crime-fighting, and as usual, evil roams the city streets. There are new tweaks, though: Jim Carrey turns up as a superhero who takes his night job way too seriously, and the new villain in town is The Motherf%&*^r (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), previously known as Red Mist. Still, it's not enough to top, or even match, the excitement of the original.
We find Mindy (aka Hit-Girl) entering high school after the death of her father (RIP, Big Daddy). She's not adjusting very well, and in no time, she enlists Dave (alter ego Kick-Ass) to skip class to start training with her. The problem is, now she's under the care of Detective Marcus (Morris Chestnut), and she agrees to put aside crime-fighting for his sake. It's a huge bummer, because Hit-Girl is one of the best parts of the film. While Kick-Ass 2 benches its best player for most of the movie, it does bring in a team of new characters, but they fail to fill the void completely. To get more of my thoughts on Kick-Ass 2, just keep reading.
With Hit-Girl out of the picture, Kick-Ass joins a growing group of vigilante superheroes headed by Colonel Stars and Stripes. Carrey gives a commanding performance as the reformed mobster-turned-caped crusader. It's an original role totally tailored to his comedic persona, and it's fantastic to see Carrey enjoying himself so much on screen. Likewise, some of the other characters in the crew are entertaining: Donald Faison is a welcome asset to the team as Doctor Gravity, and returning cast member Clark Duke is great as Marty/Battle Guy.
Despite the additional characters, the film lacks spark. With its fresh characters and shocking turns, the first movie is a novelty, but this sequel just takes all the elements of the first — mainly, the violence — to the extreme. Bullets and blood are one thing, but beheadings are another, and it's all just too much. Characters die gratuitously and the plot becomes really dark. Example: The Motherf%&*^r's mom gets electrocuted to death in a tanning bed and his idea of acting out is to form an evil organization to terrorize the city. It's not shocking, it's just sad and over the top.
Still, catching up with our favorite amateur heroes is amusing, even if their new adventure isn't completely satisfying. If you loved the first one, there's a good chance you'll think this one kicks at least a little bit of ass.