The superhero movie was given the punk-rock treatment in Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass,” an irreverent satire of the genre that scored with critics and audiences alike. But while the film was a mild success commercially, the chances of a sequel seemed pretty unlikely, especially for anyone who read the darker and more sadistic second volume of Mark Millar’s popular comic book series, which is borderline distasteful in its attempts to raise the stakes. Thankfully, director Jeff Wadlow (replacing Vaughn) tones down many of those more questionable moments by mining them for laughs instead of shock value, and it works for the most part, creating a sequel that, although it lacks the provocative originality of its predecessor, maintains the same sense of fun and over-the-top absurdity that made the first “Kick-Ass” such a blast.
Two years have passed since Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl took down mob boss Frank D’Amico, and in that time, hundreds of new superheroes have begun to pop up across the country. Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) continues to wage Big Daddy’s war against crime, but when her guardian Marcus (Morris Chestnut) makes her promise to stop playing vigilante and live a normal childhood as Mindy Macready, Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is left without a partner. As Mindy endures a “Mean Girls”-like nightmare at high school, Kick-Ass joins a superhero team called Justice Forever, led by a former mob enforcer turned born-again Christian named Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) plots his revenge against Kick-Ass for killing his dad, rebranding himself as the world’s first-ever supervillain, The Motherfucker, and assembling an army of criminals and crazy devotees to wreak havoc on the city, which ultimately forces Mindy out of early retirement.