It’s a big story that Jim Carrey withdrew his support for Kick-Ass 2 based on its violent content. One wonders if the actor – whose role in the sequel as a star-spangled sociopath is really just an extended cameo – was ready to stand behind the scene where high school girls projectile vomit after being zapped with cattle prods. Or the one where a super-villain comes up short in his attempt to rape his nemesis’s lover due to a case of erectile dysfunction.
Arriving at the tail end of blockbuster season, this cheaply produced sequel to the surprise 2011 hit arrives in plenty of time to claim the title of the year’s most unpleasant movie. But there’s nothing transgressive about the shock tactics here. Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns as the titular teenaged vigilante, as does Chloë Grace Moretz as the pint-sized Hit Girl, once again squeezed into skintight purple leather that suggests a flesh-and-blood anime figure. A subplot where Hit Girl is ostracized by some classmates and exacts a nasty revenge seems like a dry run for Moretz’s performance in the upcoming Carrie remake; elsewhere, the filmmakers borrow from virtually every comic-book movie ever made while retaining a smug sense of superiority toward the genre (one throwaway line mocks Stan Lee fan boys). Based on this wretchedly produced effort, they haven’t earned it.