tek's rating: ¾
Kick-Ass 2 (R)
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This came out in 2013, but I didn't see it until near the end of 2015. It's a sequel to the 2010 movie Kick-Ass, and more or less an adaptation of the comic book miniseries Kick-Ass 2. (It may also have some details from the comic book interquel "Hit-Girl" and the sequel, "Kick-Ass 3," but there are definitely plenty of differences between the comic books and the movie.) I guess in my review of the first movie, I refrained from spoiling the fact that the "super hero" Red Mist was actually Chris D'Amico, the teenage son of mob boss Frank D'Amico, and that he turned out to be a villain rather than a hero. At the end of the first movie, he's already planning to get revenge against Kick-Ass for the death of his father. It's unclear to me how long after the first movie the sequel is set (different sources may say three or four years, but if the movie itself mentioned it, I didn't catch it). But considering the main actors are a few years older, I'd say three years is a good estimate, though that's different from the comics, which are set much sooner after the original.
Anyway, Big Daddy was killed in the first movie, so now Mindy is living with a police detective named Marcus Williams (now played by Morris Chestnut), who was her father's partner before he became "Big Daddy." And Marcus believes (quite rightly) that Mindy should try to live a normal life. Of course, she doesn't want to give up being Hit-Girl, so she starts training Dave to get better at being Kick-Ass... even though he kind of didn't want to be a superhero anymore. But one day his girlfriend, Katie, sees Dave talking with Mindy, and gets the idea that he's cheating on her with Mindy. (The whole school starts thinking he's a pedophile, for basically no reason, but nothing really comes of that except that Katie breaks up with him.) Anyway... Dave goes back to being Kick-Ass, and meets a guy calling himself Doctor Gravity (Donald Faison), and they team up. Gravity knows another self-styled super hero, Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey, whom I didn't recognize at all). The "colonel" is organizing a group of super heroes. There's a married couple whose son was apparently kidnapped or something; and a girl called Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), with whom Kick-Ass begins hooking up; and a guy called Insect Man; and a guy called Battle Guy, who turns out to be Dave's friend Marty (Clark Duke). The group call themselves Justice Forever, and eventually more people join. (Dave and Marty's friend Todd wants to join, but they make fun of him, and... that doesn't go well.)
Meanwhile, Chris is basically kept as a prisoner in his own house, by his overprotective mother, Angie (Yancy Butler, though I didn't recognize her at all in these movies). At first he's really pissed at her, because he's obsessed with getting revenge, but she wants him to forget about Kick-Ass. Then... he accidentally kills her. (I'd say that drove him insane, if he hadn't already been insane.) But he now has control of his father's money and criminal empire, I guess. Mainly this means ordering around a guy named Javier (John Leguizamo), who is basically the closest thing he's got to a friend. Chris wants him to find someone to train him to fight. This doesn't go to quite the extreme lengths as it did in the comics, but in both mediums, he soon gives up and decides to just pay people to fight for him. So he gets Javier to start recruiting badasses to be super villains, for whom Chris makes up aliases. (The main one is an ex-KGB agent whom he calls "Mother Russia.") And as in the comics, Chris starts calling himself "the Motherfucker." Actually... his father's criminal empire is being run by his uncle Ralph, who is in prison, but basically controls the place. And he wants Chris to stop all this supervillain nonsense... but his plan to convince him to do so backfires. Incidentally, some of the people in Justice Forever mention Motherfucker to Kick-Ass, since Chris has been posting about his group's actions online. But I guess Dave never personally looks at the website, because he has no idea the guy he's been hearing about is Chris... a fact he learns too late. (Man, I wish he would have figured that out sooner.)
Anyway, Dave wants Mindy to join Justice Forever, but she promised Marcus to give up being Hit-Girl. So she tries to fit in at school, and gets to know a clique led by a girl named Brooke. They all seem nice at first, even if they're too stereotypically... teenage girls... for Mindy's liking. (Though she herself does sort of start to feel... something normal.) But of course, when Brooke realizes Mindy could become a rival (without Mindy herself even realizing it), she turns all alpha bitch. Which is obviously a bad move, because Mindy... is Mindy. Even when not kicking ass, she can do a lot of damage. (When she finally gets her revenge, it is really not my kind of scene... way too gross, and not my idea of humor. But hey, something had to be done.)
Eventually, the villains make a ton of trouble, and the police decide to crack down on anyone wearing a mask. Naturally, it's much easier for them to find and arrest the heroes than the villains. And this leads to a tragedy that I don't want to spoil, but at first it makes Dave decide to stop being Kick-Ass. Until the villains kidnap him, which leads to his being rescued by Mindy. And eventually, there'll be a major battle between all the villains and all the heroes. There are two focal points of the battle: the fight between Kick-Ass and Motherfucker, and between Hit-Girl and Mother Russia. And Russia is way more than a match for the usually unbeatable Hit-Girl... at least until a turning point that was pretty easy to see coming, long before the battle even began. And of course the good guys win in the end.
Well, I'm leaving out a few important bits from throughout the movie, including all that happens after the battle. But I'll mention that there's a post-credits scene you should totally check out. Anyway... I definitely didn't like this movie as much as I liked the first movie, nor as much as I liked the comics. But there are enough cool and/or amusing changes from the comics to keep it interesting, if you read that before watching this. And as always, a ton of badass action, as well as both humor and drama, and the characters are reasonably interesting. And I dunno what else to say. I thought it was a fairly fun movie, even if it wasn't really great....