The first thing to say about Kick-Ass 2 is that there are some superlative performances in it. Chloe Grace Moretz, as Mindy/Hit Girl, is just outstanding. There is no way it would work at all without her. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is back as Chris D'Amico, who decides to become a supervillain after he accidentally kills his mother and discovers her dominatrix gear - he puts it on and becomes The Motherfucker (his superpower is money - nice). His performance is enjoyably over the top. And Jim Carrey may hate the film, but he turns in a superb turn as a born-again ex-mob enforcer who has decided to fight crime, and heads up Justice Forever, a group of like-minded civilians inspired by Kick-Ass.
Those are the stand-out performances, but there aren't many weak spots in the acting. So what's not to like? One of the biggest criticisms of Kick-Ass 2 is that the tone and internal reality are inconsistent. It is.
hey, why wouldn't you throw some sexual violence into a comic?
This movie pulls the same zigzag between our reality and something totally other, but does it throughout. But then, you could argue that it's been set up to do just that. It's at its best when it goes balls-out comic-book, everything turned up to 11 and slightly ridiculous. So it is a bit of a shame that it tries to play the 'this is all real' card so often. Not that we shouldn't be asked to care about the characters. But that's just it: some deaths â memorably that of Dave/ Kick-Ass's father, beaten to a bloody pulp in a jail cell after pretending to be Kick-Ass to save has son when vigilantes start being rounded up are horrific and meant to shock us. Others, the 8 cops taken out in increasingly bizarre ways by one of the villains are no less gruesome but played for laughs.
But these weren't the parts that came closest to jolting me out of the film.
The moment that did that was when the villains break into the home of one of the members of Justice Forever, Night Bitch (Kick-Ass's girlfriend/ fuck buddy). After a chase they grab her and The Motherfucker basically says he's going to rape her. But he can't get it up.
Now in the source material, the comic, that apparently doesn't happen. Not the scene - the performance anxiety. Because hey, why wouldn't you throw some sexual violence into a comic? Especially aimed at a female character who's shown she's up for sex for fun and dresses skimpily. I mean, there's nothing horrible or twisted about that.
And in the film, this scene is played for laughs. And I remember feeling uncomfortable about that. But you are pulled so quickly on and into the next scenes, the next bit of action, that I didn't linger on it. It was only later that I thought back to it and wondered, why do that?
Then there is all the stuff about Mindy trying to learn to fit in at high school when her guardian insists she give up being Hit Girl and start actually attending school, as opposed to hacking into the computer to give herself a perfect attendance rate and then spending all day training and kicking ass.
The school stuff didn't really bother me. In short Mindy starts hanging out with the most popular girl, who takes her under her wing. But Miss Popular takes offence when Mindy's audition for the dance troupe is better than hers, so her and her cronies basically arrange for Mindy to get dumped in the woods when she thinks she's on a date. To get back at them, Mindy brings one of Big Daddy's weapons into school - a shock stick that makes you puke and/or shit yourself, and uses it in the cafeteria. It's not very well developed but it is amusing, and it does serve to highlight that Mindy is much more suited to being Hit Girl than a high-schooler.
What really bothered me about this was the casting. I had to look up the head popular girl because I was convinced she had to be at least 25. She's not; the actress is 17. But that's not a problem so much as the very unconvincing acting from her and her cronies. As I said, this section is underdeveloped anyway â it needed more from the people in it than pouting and eye-rolling.
Would I see it again? Honestly, I don't know. I left the cinema wanting to go back as soon as possible. But then I started to think about the plot, the characters, the world... I don't know.