Reverence for comic creator Mark Millar runs through the veins of 'Kick-Ass 2.' The affection is often on the nose: One minute, crime fighting high schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is seen in front of a poster for Millar's 'American Jesus.' In a later flashback, his Dad hangs a piece of 'Superior' art on Dave's wall. The tips of a the hat are a blockade for writer/director Jeff Wadlow, whose passion for Millar's source material disables him from streamlining 'Kick-Ass 2' into a functional action movie.
There are too many moving parts, from Kick-Ass' attempts to form a DIY Justice League, to vengeful mob son Chris D'Amico's (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) emergence into New York's first supervillain, to the awkward high school story of Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz). Balancing the schizophrenic story is a chore for Wadlow and the audience, and yet 'Kick-Ass 2' still manages to deliver a smattering of fun, living up to the tonal roller coaster ride of the original.
Picture this scene: Playboy and Universal Pictures host a wild party outside at Comic-Con the other night. There are stuntmen on ziplines, Playboy bunnies, lots and lots and lots of alcohol. Now imagine showing up to that party the very next morning at 9am. There are no stuntmen or models and the only alcohol left are the many random bottles still strewn around. This is when and where I meet 'Kick-Ass 2' director Jeff Wadlow.
We both look and feel a little...worse for wear. A member of the cleaning crew is nice enough to cover over with some Windex and clean off a small area for us to sit. I feel hungover. I feel like I'm back in college. It all feels very...'Kick-Ass.'
And with that, we're off and talking Comic-Con, the challenges of making a sequel and casting Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey has been out of mojo for a while. His last couple films include 'Mr. Popper's Pengiuns,' the motion-captured 'A Christmas Carol' and last month's bomb 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.' That may explain why he's getting back together with one of his oldest collaborators for 'Ricky Stanicky.'
It's a little weird that a movie about the dangers of doing something so long that it becomes rote and stale is, at times, incredibly rote and stale. Write what you know, I guess; 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' has a couple big laughs, a few small laughs, and a whole lot of going through the Hollywood mainstream comedy motions. As a movie, it's a mess; in select moments, it's occasionally hilarious. It's probably best appreciated as a playlist of highlight clips on YouTube.