Based on the comic, Kick-Ass 2 follows the same line of progression many comic stories go through — the introduction of heroes that leads to escalation and the beginning of supervillains. After the traumatic events of the first Kick-Ass movie, things have settled down for David Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz). While Lizewski longs for action, Macready still patrols the streets, playing hooky to train by day and fighting crime at night while maintaining a quiet facade to keep her new guardian happy. When Hit-Girl hangs her cape to accept adolescence, Kick-Ass joins Justice Forever, a band of superheroes led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).
With his father and mother dead, Chris D’Amico decides to get revenge on Kick-Ass by becoming the world’s first supervillain. Using his money to recruit others to do his bidding, D’Amico creates a gang of villains to target everyone and everything Lizewski loves. Violence — plenty of violence — ensues, but Hit-Girl is nowhere to be found because she’s dealing with high school drama and fighting mean girls. When things hit too close to home for Lizewski, a call is put out to gather all the heroes together for an all-out battle.
It’s a movie loaded with action, and the franchise’s signature comedy comes in many forms — physical, parody, and satire. The movie also has its emotional moments, but the film’s tempo is relentless — an issue that’s exacerbated because of its length of 103 minutes. Kick-Ass 2 seems to have some roots — if the similarities aren’t coincidental — in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, and like it, Kick-Ass 2 brings up media and its influence and use by society. In one scene, as Kick-Ass and Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison) patrol the streets, they’re attacked by two random strangers looking to create a viral video. Fame is the name of the game, and without a dearth of parents in the film, many of the characters look to Twitter and Youtube to broadcast their exploits in hopes of finding some sort of acceptance. The message seems easy to miss, and much of my experience watching the movie was spent distracted by the row of teens sitting in front of me poking away at their cellphones. If a movie like Kick-Ass can’t hold the attention of the audience it’s targeted to, things may be worse off than we think.