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Kick-Ass 2
Release Date: Aug. 16, 2013
Reviewed: Aug. 19, 2013, 1:20 a.m.
Kick-Ass 2 image “Looks like we’re almost out of beer.”
Get Lasik.
Hit me Chloë, one more time.
By: Christian Treubig
Kick-Ass 2 image
Give the ball to LeBron!

As I sat there at the drive-thru ATM and stared at the negative account balance, panic set in. Don’t get me wrong; I still love my wife with all of my heart, but I really wish she had shown a bit more restraint and not managed to spend ~$6500 last night. She’s in Las Vegas with her besties, and from what I can gather, it seems that they had quite an evening at a Thunder From Down Under revue. I trust her, though. She posted this photo on her Google+ account to reassure me that it’s just some good old-fashioned fun. She posted several others as well, which I’m sure are innocuous, though I can’t confirm because they are blocked by the CyberNanny adult content filter that she installed for my protection.

Now I know most men would probably balk at the idea of letting their spouse gallivant around Sin City in their best pair of heels and a padded bra, but my wife is nothing short of a saint, so she’s entitled to a little solo blowout. Heck, this is a woman who, every Wednesday morning, lets me eat pancakes topped with syrup and butter. (I sometimes sneak in a similar meal on Sunday, as she usually sleeps over my brother’s house on Saturday night to spend time with our nieces and nephews.) If I curb my cravings and skip the butter, I am promptly rewarded with permission to view the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays (numbers 10 through 4) on the small TV.

While I’m more than willing to forgive, I’m no pushover, so my wife will certainly be hearing about this latest financial boo-boo. She knows my situation. Back in ’08, my bank raided my checking account to help cover their staggering mortgage losses. They assured me that such oddly drastic measures were provisioned for under Bush’s TARP plan; I’m a patriot, so I didn’t complain. However, this led to quite the pickle a few weeks later. As part of a truce deal with the neighborhood youths who made a habit out of throwing large rocks through my bedroom windows, I offered to provide them with full-size 100 Grand candy bars every Halloween. In ’08 though, my depleted funds simply made that impossible, so I tried to sneak by with the fun-size variety.

No dice. Now, every morning before work, when I hop on my bicycle to trek to the bus stop, I have two choices. I either pay the awaiting children ten dollars each, or just make a break for it, and while at work put in a call to State Farm to let them know they will likely be receiving a claim that evening for another act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against my formerly beautiful home.

While I usually take the safe option and just pay up, I didn’t have time for those formalities today. I overslept, and if I missed the bus I would not have time to pick up donuts for the office, which has been my responsibility for the past eleven years. I go to Krispy Kreme first, and then Dunkin Donuts, as the new interns prefer the latter’s coffee. Needing to make time, I burst out the front door on my Huffy, as the kids chased me down with reckless abandon. I finally managed to pull away and, with my tie flapping in the breeze over my shoulder, turned around to blow a mocking kiss at my pursuers. But then, just moments later, a horrifying realization… I had forgotten my helmet. There was no way I could risk travelling the remaining 1.5 blocks to the bus stop without proper cranial protection. I needed to return home, but of course I would now need ample funds to hopefully calm the tempers of the angst-ridden adolescents patrolling my driveway. I choked on the exhaust fumes of a Jeep Liberty for nine minutes in the ATM queue before finally shuffling forward to enter my mother-in-law’s birthday into the PIN pad.

You can understand my hesitance to view a film about hyper-violent juveniles after the beatdown I received upon returning home this morning, but my dueling confidant insisted. He arrived at the hospital in his flatbed pickup, and tossed me and my full body cast into the back. I managed to get through Kick-Ass 2, though for much of the runtime I was distracted by the popcorn being tossed by various patrons at my gaping mouth, immobilized by multiple jaw fractures. And those intermittent distractions were more than welcome, else I don’t think I could have gotten through 90 minutes of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin, somehow dominating screentime in a film also starring Jim Carrey and Donald Faison. McLovin portrays The M*therf**ker, the bratty rich kid turned self-proclaimed world’s most evil super-villain, intent on avenging his father’s death via assassination of the movie’s eponymous faux-superhero. It isn’t too difficult to comprehend his level of annoying-ness on display here. Simply picture that crackly-voiced, awkward, unlikeable teen from Superbad, but now with a pathetic attempt at facial hair and wildly misplaced thespianic swagger, angrily screaming non-stop at every other character that passes through the frame, for the whole damn movie. I’ve now contemplated murder twice in my life: on McLovin’s third line of dialogue in Kick-Ass 2, and when my co-worker refused to trade me Jaromír Jágr in our Eastern Conference fantasy hockey roto league.

Kick-Ass 2 follows the exploits of spoiled suburban white kids who weren’t ambitious enough to make the JV basketball practice squad, instead pretending to be superheroes to justify going through another day without slitting their wrists. It’s a cinematic wet dream for any former/current high school student with zero grit and couldn’t handle it when one of their classmates laughed at them for missing a belt loop on their khaki shorts three weeks ago. (Black inner city kids dealing with actual “bullying”, i.e. getting shot at, won’t find this film nearly as compelling… it’s a whites-only movie.) Why focus on building a more fortified sense of self when you could just fantasize about inducing vomiting and explosive diarrhea in your school’s obnoxious queen bee, as exhibited in wonderful detail in this flick.

Kick-Ass 2 is all about attitude. It’s a rare film in that it tries really hard to be really cool, and usually is. It’s nothing but fast-talking teens spewing wildly offensive dialogue with sophistication and incisiveness well beyond their years, coupled with fast-paced, super-violent action sequences invariably sound-tracked with fun-loving rock tunes to keep you from taking the excessive bloodshed too seriously. While the film’s template is spectacular, the script with which they filled in the blanks is unfortunately quite mediocre. The environment of Kick-Ass 2, chock full of irreverent teens, is ripe for zinger after zinger. However, there just aren’t enough good jokes to fill out the runtime, so the dialogue quickly becomes mundane, sprinkled with random curse words in a failed attempt to liven things up.

In concentrating so hard on the “cool” factor, the writers forgot to come up with a plot. There’s nothing moving the story along, which is ok when you’re being wildly entertained by these ridiculously hip juveniles. However, the best stuff is decidedly front-loaded, so when the general quality of the scenes drops from an A- to a C+ about halfway through the movie, and there’s nothing going on, it starts to drag terribly. There’s always the prospect of the eventual and inevitable climactic clash between McLovin’s evil gang and the good-guy superheroes, but there’s no reason to think that we’re moving toward that other than there’s simply no other way to end the movie.

The indisputable star of Kick-Ass 2 is Chloë Moretz, playing the bright-eyed high school freshman/ martial arts extraordinaire, Hit Girl. In an otherwise middling movie, her performance alone is probably enough to make it worth a watch. Moretz is freakishly gifted, a prodigy if there ever was one, and besides Carrey, who doesn’t do much here, she is miles ahead of anyone else acting-wise. Though she surely will, there’s no need for her to develop her talents any further; this is already a superstar-level performance. Hit Girl is so enjoyable to watch not only because of the inspired portrayal, but also because she possesses a worldly intelligence that lends her a charm, a charm at once both innocent and psychotic, that is lacking in all of the other characters. While her teenage peers talk a big game, they are still ultimately just stupid teenagers. Yet, for some reason, Hit Girl is completely absent for massive chunks of the movie. Instead, we’re forced to watch the benchwarming characters/actors attempt to round out a mediocre ensemble cast while the clear alpha dog chills out in the locker room.

The formula for the inevitable Kick-Ass 3 should be simple: Put Moretz on screen for 90 minutes, cursing like a sailor, occasionally slitting the windpipe of a baddie. That’s more than sufficient. I suspect her odd lack of screentime in this movie may have to do with child labor laws preventing her from working long days. So, wait til her eighteenth birthday, and then start shooting #3 ASAP. I’ve already circled the date in red marker on my 2015 calendar, and posted the image on Facebook, with the caption “Chloë Moretz legal… soooo excited.” For some reason it’s getting a ton of unlikes from my friends, pending or otherwise. Whatever, they must not have an eye for talent like I do, so I guess I’ll be at the Kick-Ass 3 premiere all by my lonesome.

SCORE (Out of 10):
Get Lasik.
A film that inspires nerds to get beaten up all across this great nation
By: Steve Loori
Kick-Ass 2 image
Fortune favors the bold and present times favor the pretentious

Let me start by saying that I have been on board with Kick-Ass since the moment I first heard about it. I remember reading about it on IGN when I was in college and the comic book was still a few months from its debut. Based on the brief synopsis, I knew I was going to be hooked. I remember reading that first issue and telling my friend Bill that he needed to start reading it, because it was wild, creative, and innovative. I remember the dude at the comic book shop near my school telling me that he was ordering the book just for me, because I was the only one reading it. Soon enough, though, the book began to pick up steam. I remember around the time of the release of the third issue, there was a massive re-release of the first issue with special artist sketches and other crap formulated in a weak attempt to get moronic fans to re-buy what they already had (I’m pretty sure I own the re-issue…). Not so long after, Hollywood got its dirty hands on the hot property and pumped out a movie pretty quickly. The first Kick-Ass film was rather enjoyable, and it was Nic Cage’s best work in years, but I had a few “issues” with it (that’s a comic book joke). My first grievance was very small – main character Dave Lizewski had straight, blonde hair in the comic book but had brown, curly hair in the movie. This obviously did not make any real difference to the movie, but it was such a minute detail that it was unfathomably easy to fix, which confused me more than angered me. The second and major problem I had with the first Kick-Ass film was that it went further than the comic book. The comics were supposed to release every other month you see, but they kept missing deadlines and delaying it, so by the time the movie came out the comics had only reached about two-thirds of the movie’s storyline. It was not really a problem with the movie itself, but it left a bad taste in my mouth for a while. Since then though, I have kicked the habit and abandoned comic books all together, as it is an expensive and time-consuming hobby. My change of heart over the illustrated antics of capes and cops has worked out as quite the relief; I am far less critical of comic book movies and I can actually relax and enjoy them for what they are now, so I knew I was ready to walk into the theatre and see Kick-Ass 2 with an open mind and a brand new set of non-pre-judgmental peepers.

As far as Kick-Ass 2 goes, the movie is really cool. There just is no other way to describe it. All of the characters are relatable to you or me, and the overall plot is something that would make sense coming after the first movie. Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are having trouble balancing real, teenage life and the job, creating a bit of a distance between the two while developing a clear juxtaposition of average teen with superhero. Meanwhile, Kick-Ass decides to hit the New York City streets and finds new friends who fight crime for their own personal reasons. Some of his new friends are believable in their roles as action heroes, while others stretch the movie into a bit of a farce. At the same time, Red Mist, whose father Kick-Ass killed in the first film, vows vengeance against the man responsible for the defeat of his slain patriarch. He forms a band of supervillains to combat the rise of do-gooders, and that provides a majority of the storyline for Kick-Ass 2.

The protagonist of Kick-Ass 2 is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Aaron has gotten way more jacked since his last time around as Dave Lizewski, which worked out when he played the coolest – and dare I say the most chill – dude of all time in Savages. It makes him a little less believable as a typical nerd, but way more believable for his attempt to live up to his namesake. His partner in crime-fighting is Hit-Girl, who is played by the best young actress I have ever seen, Chloë Grace Moretz. She has done stunning work on 30 Rock, Texas Killing Fields, and (500) Days of Summer, not to mention her role in the first Kick-Ass film. A quick scroll down her acting credits on the Internet Movie Database will show you how accomplished this young girl is, and somehow all before she turns seventeen. Seeing how much she has accomplished in such little time will help you recognize how much little you have accomplished in even more time – believe me, it’s depressing. So the lead cast is excellent, but how is the rest of the cast?

Well, the rest of the cast of Kick-Ass 2 is a mixed bag. Christopher Mintz-Plasse throws his three names into the group of multi-named actors, which is strange because everyone knows this clown by one, solitary word. McLovin plays a wimpy, whiny, over-privileged kid with a chip on his shoulder and a stick up his butt. He does it perfectly, as this is the only type of character that Augie from Role Models should ever play. His main henchman is played by John Leguizamo and The Pest has still got it. It is amazing how good he was as Benny Blanco from the Bronx, and despite his age he has really never stopped being a scene stealer. Despite Mintz-Plasse being a good fit for his role, Leguizamo carries him through their scenes together. Jim Carrey is another major part of Kick-Ass 2. Carrey is the leader of Justice Forever, the group of unified good guys that Kick-Ass runs around with, and the funnyman exhibits a fantastic presence on screen. It is a part that you would never expect from Carrey; I personally never realized it was him when I saw the trailer. Even looking at Carrey, he does not show any of the qualities that have made him a household name over the years, which is an exceptional breath of fresh air for the rubberfaced star of such comedy classics as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber. His character and his look are completely unrecognizable and he still does a stupendous job with the fun character.

For all the hits there were some misses, though. Donald Faison (Turk) plays a hero friend of Kick-Ass named Dr. Gravity. Faison is in Justice Forever, so he has a fair amount of screen time. He is a likeable guy, but all of his funny moments fall short and it makes it tough to get behind his character. Dave’s friend Marty is played by Clark Duke, the nerdy kid from Hot Tub Time Machine. Clark Duke sucks, as usual – I just do not like the guy. Duke makes a mockery of the crimefighting aspect of the movie with his character, Battle Guy. It makes it tough to take seriously when this sloppy dork with lame jokes and no dexterity keeps jumping in and wimpily hitting people with his lame combat shield. He’s like the non-Asian version of Hiro Nakamura from Heroes. Dave’s other friend Todd, played by Augustus Prew, is equally as annoying and does not bring much to the table either. I think it is less about the acting and more about these characters themselves, as they each gravitated to the annoying side, but luckily they were not very integral to the story so the annoyance was only minimal.

What allows the Kick-Ass franchise to be something worthy of our interest is that it makes heroism and crimefighting seem possible. It’s like achieving your dream of becoming a professional athlete – you just need to put in a lot of hard work and you can go for it. There were points in Kick-Ass 2 though that made the realistic vibe much less plausible, which is an unfortunate loss of authenticity for the movie. It does not ruin the experience entirely but it definitely changes it into something less than what it could have been.

Where Kick-Ass 2 shines is with its special effects. The in your face, gratuitous violence is fantastic and truly develops the comic book feel of the movie. Blood is splattering and bodies are being broken before your very eyes, and it all plays out like a beautifully crafted illustration. I was enthralled by the fight scenes; my mouth was watering with anticipation during each scuffle knowing that there would be a big payoff for me when one of the combatants finished the job and became the victor.

Kick-Ass 2 shines in a genre that is overdone and oversaturated because it does it differently. It is not really a comic book based off of the real world or even set in the real world, but rather a story of people who were inspired by the phantasmagoric world of comic books and braved the world around them in a quest to turn fantasy into reality. It is relatable to the average viewer, and it is a fun experience that everyone can kick back and enjoy. Don’t take it too seriously and you’ll find that it is a good time. Don’t take yourself too seriously either, because then you will come off like a prick.

SCORE (Out of 10):