Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kick-Ass 2

Despite a few exciting moments, Kick-Ass 2 (2013; dir. Jeff Wadlow) suffers the same fate as many sequels—it lacks novelty and bogs down in plot.  We learn how the main characters of the first film have fared, and we encounter new characters.  Apparently, a lot of people in the city where the film takes place  want to be superheroes, and they have banded together in gangs that go out at night either to protect the law abiding or to do evil.  Mindy Macready (“Kick Girl,” played by Chloë Grace Moretz), at her adopted guardian’s insistence, is trying to live a normal life, so instead of seeing her do flips and assault super villains, we see her trying to fit in at the local high school.  We see her on her first date, which goes badly.  We see her befriended, and then rejected, by a group of mean girls.  (Faint hints here of Carrie, 1976; dir. Brian De Palma).  Her former associates in super-herodom can’t understand what has happened to her.  This is especially the case with Dave Lizewski (“Kick-Ass,” played by Aaron Taylor Johnson), who in the first film wanted to be a super hero and was befriended by Kick Girl.  There are various twists and turns of plot here, and when things get really dark, Kick Girl comes out of retirement—as we would expect her to.  The first film had novelty and a foul-mouthed 12-year old super hero who was full of energy and hyperkinetic explosiveness.  In this film, we’ve seen it all before.  It compensates for lack of novelty with excess of plot.  It misses the point of what was special about the first installment.  It lacks the balletic energy and form of the first film.  All the same, there are moments of life.  The leader of the gang of heroes that Kick-Ass has joined is Colonel Stars and Stripes, played remarkably well by Jim Carrey (whom I didn’t recognize until the credits rolled and I saw his name).  Carrey disavowed the film after production ended because of its violence, but he brings something special—he inhabits his character so well that we forget or never realize who he is (shades of Man on the Moon, 1999; dir. Milos Forman).

No comments: