Chloe Grace Moretz
KICK ASS was a welcome kick in the pants to the superhero genre, with director Matthew Vaughn bringing to life a violent, subversive world of teen crime fighters aware and inspired by popular comic mythology and movies. It ended with the well-meaning underdog finding the hero within and the exciting promise of a new, original franchise in a crowded space.
So, were you excited to see Kick Ass and Hit Girl pick up where they left off in the sequel? Too bad. They spend most of the movie going back and forth, deciding whether or not to fight crime.
But that's not even the biggest problem in this disappointing follow-up. The entire script by writer/director Jeff Wadlow is missing the clever, rebellious tone of the original. Wadlow thinks the foul mouthed teens, graphic violence and self-referential narration are cool, but doesn’t get the other qualities that made the first movie so special. Instead, you're treated to another tired, unfocused superhero movie with outdated boy band parodies and characters wearing "witty" shirts that say I Hate Reboots. The director also doesn't seem to be up to the action element of it either. The fight scenes feel fake and cheesy, with an over reliance on CGI gore and slow motion.
KICK ASS 2 also loses all the great character work of the first film, instead throwing in a number of undercooked subplots that don't amount to anything. There's the cliché high school drama, the boring parental tension between Dave and his dad, a best friend betrayal with zero consequences, and the complete dismissal of Katie, Dave's girlfriend, for no reason. (If anything Katie should've become Night Bitch. It would've made much more sense than shoehorning in another romantic interest.) There are also three back-to-back deaths that compete for emotional impact, making none effective. And the less said about the rape scene—which is played for laughs and then never addressed again—the better.
Both Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Moretz are on auto-pilot, clearly not connecting with the character or story this time around. And who could blame them, especially Moretz who went from the memorable Hit Girl of the first movie to a high school "mean girl" trying out for the dance team in the second. Christopher Mintz-Plasse at least gets something to do as the budding supervillain The Motherf*cker. The only other person worth mentioning is Jim Carrey, who seems to be having fun playing Colonel Stars and Stripes, though he's only in the movie for about five minutes (and his two best lines are both in the trailer).
And can we agree that ending it on a romance angle between Kick Ass and Hit Girl is probably the absolute worse decision they could've made?
Commentary with stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz and writer-director Jeff Wadlow: The young stars have great chemistry and plenty of stories from the set, which seems like a lot more fun atmosphere than what ended up on the screen.
Alternate Opening (3:14): The filmed beginning is quite different than what we got, showing Kick Ass still patrolling the streets and happily dating Katie. With optional commentary by Wadlow.
Big Daddy Returns (2:06) Storyboards showing Wadlow's original intention to have the ghost of Big Daddy come back during the cemetery fight scene and offer Hit Girl some wisdom. Exactly as awful as it sounds and shows Wadlow's terrible instincts with the script. With commentary by Wadlow.
Extended Scenes (14:04): Nothing of note, with commentary by Wadlow.
The Making of KICK ASS 2: At nearly an hour, this five-part feature focuses on the director, the cast, the action, the production design and the big finale sequence.
Hit Girl Attacks (5:15): Three very short featurettes show how they put together the van fight sequence.
I didn't have high hopes for KICK ASS 2 once director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman left, but I never thought it would squander things this badly. There's really nothing worthwhile presented in the sequel, aside from coasting on characters you already liked from the first movie.
Extra Tidbit: Fox wants to give Wadlow the X-FORCE movie after this? Really?