This was never going to be an easy sequel – but it was an inevitable one. Early buzz for the original grew and most reviewers were falling over each other to fan the flames of favour with their superlative-strewn thoughts. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 77% fresh with an average rating of 7.1/10 from 243 reviews, while over at imdb it’s at 7.8/10 from a hefty 280,311 users. At a time when Marvel adaptations were getting into their stride and Warner were sitting pretty with its DC Batman franchise, Matthew Vaughn looked to subvert these Hollywood iterations with something fresh and totally unforgiving. A production budget of $30m saw a worldwide return of just over $96m – and with a hoped-for franchise opener like that, I’m sure the Execs screaming for a sequel could be heard around the world.
And then there’s the current numbers for Kick-Ass 2 – 29% rotten with an average of 4.7/10 from 132 reviews, but tellingly an average audience rating of 3.8/5 from 68,001 users. A quick surf over to imdb tells a similar story – 7.4/10 from 15,252 users. The pertinent information here is the reaction from the media towards Dave Lizewski’s latest “adventures”. It seems even BoxOfficeMojo are getting in on the act, citing an awful opening weekend putting Kick-Ass 2 at #5 on the list. Admittedly it is down $6m on the $19m taken by the original on its opening, but that was an April 2010 that offered Death At A Funeral, Clash of the Titans and Date Night amongst others. One could posit that a summer holidays release, backed up by not exactly stellar reviews wouldn’t help. And let’s be honest, taking nearly half your production budget in an opening weekend isn’t that bad! So, where did it all go wrong as far as the printed and online media are concerned? Damned if I know!
But here’s what I do know. Kick-Ass 2 is good. It was never going to have that “below the radar” feel of the original and we were certainly better prepared for Hit-Girl’s foul-mouthed antics and blood-soaked endeavours. While some could point to “stunt casting” when it comes to Jim Carrey‘s portrayal of Colonel Stars and Stripes, I would say “bravo” to the powers-that-be. Mr Carrey was a perfect fit for the role, with particular mention being made for the wonderful prosthetics used to give his face a fantastic “world worn” look. My only disappointment with the movie was Christopher Mintz-Plasse. As much as he was clearly trying to fill the hefty boots of “super-villain” it just wasn’t convincing enough. I understand he is clearly the antithesis of all that is “super-villain”, but it still felt too lightweight. This however did not really detract from the whole. In all fairness, Kick-Ass 2 is more about Hit-Girl’s journey than Kick-Ass’, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing. Some may balk at its excessive violence, but hey, it goes with the territory. For me, Kick-Ass 2 works and overall, works well. As with a very large proportion of Hollywood’s output, it ain’t going to change the world, but it is worth seeing.