Kick-Ass did. The sequel Kick-Ass 2 doesn't. Not even close.
Writer/director Jeff Wadow (Never Back Down) takes the helm of this one. He gives Chloe Grace Moretz's Hit-Girl a crisis. She promises to never be a super hero again and tries to connect with her school's most popular girls. It's a disaster and grinds Kick-Ass 2 to a screeching halt.
Hit-Girl doesn't care much about high school angst and neither do we. By the time we get to what made her character so interesting in the first film, it's too late.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Kick-Ass has connected with other costumed characters wanting to make the world better. It's OK as a side-plot but doesn't have enough weight to carry the bulk of the movie. Christopher Mintz-Plasse's Red Mist is now the villain Motherf%&$%#. He has put together a gang of costumed thugs and is determined to kill Kick-Ass for killing his criminal father in the first movie.
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The most fun is an almost unrecognizable, square-faced Jim Carrey. He has a blast doing the super-square hero Colonel Stars and Stripes. Carrey carries the middle part of the film, but his character departs far too quickly, and what little fun Kick-Ass 2 gives us exits with him.
Others reprising roles from the first film are Clark Duke and Morris Chestnut. Neither have much to do other than toss out a plot-pushing line or two.
Moretz (Hugo, Dark Shadows, Let Me In) and Taylor-Johnson (Anna Karenina, Nowhere Boy) are fun together. Both are excellent actors with bright futures. Mintz-Plasse is also an interesting actor specializing in over-the-top characters.
None of them does much to advance their careers with this one.
What made Kick-Ass so fun was the inclusion of fun. Kick-Ass 2 and its excellent actors try, but the fresh, edgy humor of the original is gone. Imitation is not often the best form of flattery. Like its wannabe super heroes, this is a wannabe, paint-by-numbers sequel. Worse, judging by the outtake at the end of Kick-Ass 2, the comic book to movies project is now a franchise.
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, Clark Duke, John Leguizamo, Morris Chestnut
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated R for language, nudity, mature themes, violence. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.