Ah the comic book movie genre, how I both love and hate thee. In the same year that you give me Iron Man 3 and it’s attempt to personalize the Hero and look at what it means to be a man in a mask you also give me Kick Ass. Within a few months of DC comics trying to give us a Super-hero in the “Real world” we are again given Kick Ass.
I would like to believe that Kick Ass 2 performs the task better than both Man of Steel and Iron Man 3. While not as humorous as the first, it certainly is more satiric of the comic film these days. DC Comics after the success of the first Nolan Batman movie felt the horrific need to make their next few movies hyper realistic; which is to say removing much of the fantastical and “four color” elements of comic books and replace that with darkness and grittiness of the late 70s and early 80’s cop movies. Changing them from being things to aspire to and be wondered by into something hollow and even a bit shallow.
Kick Ass 2 does not necessarily fix these things but it does call attention to them. The first film introduces us to a world that quite frankly is ours. Then it gives us Aaron Taylor Johnson as the title character who decides to try to make it a slightly better place by being a superhero. His decisions come with a price and some level of pain. We are introduced to Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) who have also decided to put masks on and try to end crime in their city. It brings a sharp focus to the child sidekick and the concept of being behind a mask and what lessons we teach those around us. Also what sacrifice must be made of your real life to be a hero.
The sequel extends that particular narrative and explores the concept of what it means to be a Hero in the real world. It picks up a few years after the first and ends appropriately as a movie like this should.
It is completely and totally over the top and does a far better job of calling attention to what masked superheroes in the real world would deal with than anything DC has put out this decade. Ultimately what it does that DC has failed to do is remain fun while doing it. To have a plot and characters you actually care about and moments that carry weight because they earned it.
If you are a comic book fan and a fan of the first movie. Go see this.
If you haven’t seen the first one, while not entirely necessary it really does help. Then see this one.
It is looking to be one of the more enjoyable movies in the August death slot this year and there isn’t much else coming out soon that could rival it for sheer violence and fun.
So put on your mask, pull up your big girl pants and go enjoy Kick Ass 2