The first Kick-Ass acted as a Watchmen-esque deconstruction of superhero movies, looking a the real life implications of what being a masked avenger actually were, but all the while with a gleeful, blood-splattered grin on its face. There’s a lot of gore in the film’s recently released sequel, but instead of a grin Kick-Ass 2 has more of a leer.
It’s not a bad film. It’s just that it feels simultaneously less indie and more overt in its aim to shock; the fighting is violent, but it’s either bloody for the sake of it or just too unrealistic. When skirting with the themes and tone of the first we get a taste of brilliance, but all too often it’s at a superficial level. The film seems to misunderstand what was so enticing about the original. It wasn’t gore that made the first so awesome, but Jane Goodman’s writing. Here the quality of the script seems to have been a second concern to shoehorning offensive phrases in. Which is funny, but lightweight.
In the end though, it’s only a comparative failure; a fine film on its own but empty when compared to the daring Kick-Ass itself. The main problem seems to be director Jeff Wadlow. The man behind Never Back Down was never going to match up to Matthew Vaughn, but it seems he tried. There’s some great moments – Chris using his mother’s bondage clothing for his costume, Mindy pausing when a muscled Dave takes his shirt off – but they’re bogged down by a nasty spirit.
What Kick-Ass 2 isn’t bogged down by is its in-jokes. Not that there aren’t plenty, but Wadlow manages to sneak them in conspicuously enough that they don’t distract you from the story. That means many are hard to spot, but don’t worry, because today I’ve brought together ten of the biggest things in Kick-Ass 2 you probably didn’t catch the first time around. Some are so awesome they actually help make up for the lacklustre film.
A SPOILER WARNING is obviously in effect.
Honourable Mention – Union J Aren’t A Joke
I’ve never seen the X Factor and had never heard of Union J before, so assumed their appearance in the film was a simple parody of One Direction type boy bands. Turns out they’re not, which makes me question what is worse; me not knowing the semi-finalists of a TV talent show or a supposedly subversive movie giving prolonged screen time to a popular boy band.
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