Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

Kick Ass 2

The first Kick Ass film was pre-hyped and criticised for its alleged ultra-graphic violence, but in the end the simple premise of real people working hard to earn their superherodom (as opposed to those who get bitten by spiders or spend millions on gadgets) won fans everywhere. It also made stars of Brit Aaron Taylor-Johnson and the then 13-year old Chloe Grace Moretz, who played Kick Ass and Hit Girl respectively.

Well, the kids are back and they are as good as ever, but perhaps inevitably lightning strikes sharpest in origin stories, and this follow-up feels one-note and boringly gratuitous by comparison.

Orphaned Hit Girl battles her desire to ditch school and go vigilante on the streets, while Kick Ass longs for a team he can join to carry on the good work that gives his life meaning. Thanks to social media, he finds a like-minded gang just as his nemesis from the previous film (Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse) decides to turn to the dark side.

Director Jeff Wadlow works with source material written by the comic book’s creator, Mark Millar, but Wadlow’s previous success with short films belies his capacity to wring a feature length movie out of this simple set-up. The fun of the first film was largely in watching the superhero personas choose their masks and practice their skills. Here, that’s been done already – so all we get is a lot of mindless fighting in alleyways before a slaughterhouse of a set-piece.

Even the addition of Jim Carrey brings nothing – his performance feels muted and he is virtually unrecognisable in face and style. One feels Johnson and Moretz, and their legions of fans, have been sadly let down.

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