Here's the thing about Kick-Ass...
The first film was a big deal when it came out, mostly thanks to its fun premise of a regular dude becoming, or at least, trying to become a superhero in the real world. It was a big hit, the winning combination of Chloe Moretz's Hit Girl and Nicolas Cage's Big Daddy mostly to thank for that.
To be honest, the first Kick-Ass was pretty overrated: it wasn't particularly funny (Cage being a glorious exception) or particularly well made and its odd tonal shifts made it seem like a film that didn't know whether it wanted to be a comic book movie, a spoof or a real world-set satire. With this sequel, this looked like the perfect opportunity to bring some focus to the franchise and finally take it in the right direction. Sadly, with Kick-Ass 2, we get even more inconsistency as the film takes one character in an interesting direction and another straight down to the sewers. Kick-Ass himself is given a fun subplot (the film is given nothing but subplots) in which he joins a Justice League-style superteam with Jim Carrey's Colonel Stars And Stripes at the helm and the likes of Dr Gravity and Night Bitch as team mates. This Justice Forever side plot is admittedly enjoyable and easily makes up the best part of the film. It also comes at exactly the right time: post-Avengers, pre-Justice League. Unfortunately, it is mixed in with quite possibly the worst thing to happen to Hit Girl since... ever. Somehow, the first film's best asset is given a trite subplot in which she tries to fit in with the popular girls at her high school and gives up being Hit Girl. The writing during this entire Mean Girls scenario is so bad it makes She's All That look like The Dark Knight. Packed full of cliches we've seen in teen movies for over 20 years, full of lines that no human would ever say, full of cartoon characters, culminating in a juvenile scene in which three mean girls vomit and shit themselves.
By this point, you'll be begging for Jim Carrey and his goofy minions.
Hell, you'll even be begging for McLovin!
Yes, as promised at the end of Kick-Ass, our villain this time is Christopher Mintz-Plasse's Red Mist, who decided to rename himself The Motherfucker after brutally murdering his mother in yet another one of the film's weird tonal shifts. Most of the time, The Motherfucker's either making up stupid names for his own team-mates (Black Death, Mother Russia), making groan-inducing pop culture references or being a rich little douchebag. In one much talked-about scene, he attempts to rape Night Bitch but fails to get an erection and gives up on the idea. The scene is most definitely in poor taste and it becomes impossible to really laugh at the character's jokes post-that. A surprisingly spot-on John Leguizamo pops up as The Motherfucker's mobster helper but alas ends up being criminally underused. In terms of tone, this one is also all-over the place: parts of it are TV-quality teen dramedy, parts of it are dark, serious and bloody and parts of it fall into kinda clever comedy/spoof territory. Sadly, none of it gels and this time, as good as Jim Carrey is and as entertaining as Mintz-Plasse's team mates are, we don't get a Big Daddy or a Hit Girl to save the day. Parts of the film do work, mostly the Justice Forever stuff, but on the whole this is just as flawed as the first Kick-Ass and, at times, much more flawed.
Messy direction and even messier writing let this sequel down and even the occasional fun moment isn't enough to make Kick-Ass 2 more than a disappointment with the odd good idea. And so the curse of 2013's not-very-good comic book movies continues...