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  Kick-Ass 2 When The Red Mist Descends
Year: 2013
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Morris Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Jim Carrey, Lindy Booth, Donald Faison, Clark Duke, Augustus Prew, Claudia Lee, Steven Mackintosh, Monica Dolan, Garrett M. Brown, Yancy Butler, Iain Glen
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Kick-Ass, aka Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) held the prestigious title of the world's first real life superhero, even though he had no particular superpowers and a habit of getting beaten up a lot. But after defeating one gang boss who was running New York City with an iron fist, he's finding a return to civilian life a letdown, and wondering if he should take his costume out of the wardrobe and see about quashing a few bad guys, so what if he is out of practice? Someone else who never gave up the life of the vigilante is Hit Girl, aka Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz), who since her father, the actual first superhero, died is struggling to adjust to a normal existence at school...

Kick-Ass was a popular variation on the superhero movie in the middle of an avalanche of the form, and managed to mark itself out through its broadly satirical approach which supposedly depicted what the whole masked vigilante persona would do if they existed in the actual world of crime and punishment. Except it wasn't really, as aside from having the titular protagonist get beaten up he was soon flying around in a jetpack firing off a million machine gun rounds, thereby making a mockery of any of its professed aims, not that audience cared, they just wanted more superheroes than you could shake a stick at and and the Scottish master of action comic books in dubious taste, Mark Millar, supplied that.

Indeed, there was something deeply unsavoury about much of Millar's oeuvre in spite of his nice guy image in his day to day life, though funnily enough the controversy with the sequel was not centered around a prepubescent Moretz swearing her head off (she does it in Russian this time around) and more about one of its stars getting cold feet about appearing in it. Jim Carrey who played vigilante ringleader Colonel Stars and Stripes publically declared he would not have anything more to do with Kick-Ass 2 now he had finished filming, no publicity, nothing, because he was concerned it trivialised violence in the wake of a number of real life cases which had shocked the world.

Did he have a point? Few seemed to think so, since even more than before this follow-up looked like a fantasy (without actually being science fiction), but he did apparently recognise something unhealthy in the way the movie tapped into a mood that the disenfranchised and victimised could really only assert themselves through violence in these works: every superhero flick ended with a massive fight of orgasmic brutality, even the ones where the characters were flying about or firing energy beams, from The Incredibles to Man of Steel. Naturally, that came with the territory, but seeing this as the be all and end all of winning an argument or more pertinently getting your own back seemed to be saying something to those who felt the only method they could use to make their voice heard above the din of the modern world was to be as aggressive as possible.

In this case, amidst too much moping Dave is a nerd who finds his place in life by extravagantly resorting to physicality, Mindy proves teenage girls have a cause in society by doing the same (as well as swooning over a second rate boy band), and villain Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), hereby rechristened The Motherfucker for deliberately pathetic reasons, uses his fortune for evil, or rather uses his pissy, entitled attitude for evil as that's all that distinguishes him. With moves towards understanding the mindset which takes events into their own hands to feel as if they matter - a couple in the Colonel's coterie have joined after their son disappeared and they were powerless otherwise - when it boiled down to it these were a bunch of people from all walks of life turning into thugs and beating seven shades out of one another. Obviously that had its place, especially in the action genre, but any nod to intellect was washed away in the might is right message Kick-Ass 2 (and its predecessor) simultaneously, unconvincingly lampooned and wholeheartedly embraced. Music by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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