MRR Review: "Kick-Ass 2"

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

MRR Review: "Kick-Ass 2"

--Rating: R (strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity)
Release Date: Aug. 16, 2013
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Length: 103 minutes
Director: Jeff Wadlow

Expecting any sequel movie to look and act like the original that preceded it is like expecting a young child to carry the same appearances and manners of an older sibling. They are not twins and were not made at the same, so of course you should expect something a little different from the successor than from the predecessor. "Kick-Ass 2" is no exception to this cinematic truism.

Of course, to make a sequel film, at least some of the characters and some of the bits and pieces of the original storyline have to be present and recognizable. Again, "Kick-Ass 2" is no exception to this rule. However, "Kick-Ass 2" brings more to the big screen than the original "Kick-Ass" film did three years earlier.

In this action-adventure film, viewers are sure to see more action, profanity, violence in gory detail, costumed characters, and character development. Viewers can also look forward to seeing more stars performing their craft skillfully and even some life lessons being taught that were not fully expressed in the first "Kick-Ass" film.

"Kick-Ass 2" picks up where the first film left off, with Dave Lizewski, aka Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and Mindy Macready, aka Hit-Girl (Chloƫ Grace Moretz), attempting to balance their crime-fighting night lives with the rigors of being students and young adults during the day. Meanwhile, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) can't let go of the need he feels for revenge after the violent loss of his father at the hands of his arch-nemesis and plots the permanent end for Kick-Ass and anyone else associated with him.

Dave and Mindy's plan for starting the first-ever super team runs into a few bumps in the road initially. For one, despite his victories in conflict and combat, Dave really isn't a seasoned fighter and is in need of serious training from Mindy. She's more than willing to supply the necessary lessons to help him out. The other obstacle standing in the way of the crime-fighting duo is Mindy's guardian, Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut), who takes her socialization most seriously and insists she have school and crime fighting in her life. However, nothing is stopping Chris from carrying out his plans for vendetta, with the loss of his mother, Mrs. D'Amico (Yancy Butler), and the advice of his twisted butler, Javier (John Leguizamo).

While the superheroes and villains were something like a New York City secret society in "Kick-Ass," suiting up and choosing a side to fight alongside is more of a team activity in the sequel. In this film, the teams to be a part of are Justice Forever and the The Toxic Mega C-nts. The characters and their names are meant to provide comedic relief, and the Justice Forever crew delivers with such names as Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and his canine sidekick, Eisenhower; Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison); and Battle Guy (Clark Duke). Of course, their counterparts also have their ridiculous names and characters, such as Black Death (Daniel Kaluuya), Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), and Ass Kicker (Augustus Prew). But it's not just comedy relief that the two crews bring to the film. They also bring one great head-to-head brawl at the end of the film, where somewhat unevenly matched opponents bring plenty of climactic action.

"Kick-Ass 2" is a good film because it is not just another retelling of the same story that was presented in the first film's opening. These characters have a new story to tell with new emotion that they have not felt before. Along with the new emotions that are exhibited, the characters also grow and develop into new human beings, as well as face new problems that go along with their new lives. They have to face personal responsibility for their actions and deal with these responsibilities as they pertain to their communities and their families. These actions and realizations make "Kick-Ass 2" a sequel worth watching. Even if it does not have the whimsically free storytelling that the first film had, this movie shows that real things happen when people engage in acts of violence and perform actions that they cannot take back. People die in this movie all the way up to end, just like in the first film, but somehow the deaths aren't just passing action scenes; they feel more real. And with that added realism, the sequel "Kick-Ass 2" performs what a second film should do: it makes viewers think deeper than they did when they saw the original.

Rated 3 of 5 stars