Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Four masked faces, against a black background, yellow diagonal lines dividing them. An older man with rough stubble on his chin, in a blue mask; a girl with purple hair wearing a purple mask; a man in a green and yellow mask; a man in a black mask.Still Kicking Ass

The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.

The signs weren't good on this sequel. Adapted from an awful comic book, director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman not returning, both duties handed to relatively unknown newcomer Jeff Wadlow and the trailers making the film seem like a cheap attempt to make a franchise out of one fantastic film. After all that, did the film turn out to be as bad as feared? Not at all, but it's far from the level of quality the first film was at.

While things are often funny and undeniably entertaining, the lack of Jane Goldman is evident, as the wit and charm which helped to make the first film such a hit are missing. Jeff Wadlow tries to make up for this by including many blood, swears and two instances of Chekov's Gun, which feels like lazy attempts to appeal to those who liked the first film.

With Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong's character both dead, two of the strongest elements of the first Kick-Ass film were missing, leaving the film in danger of having a noticeable void. Luckily, Jim Carrey's scene stealing performance as Colonel Stars and Stripes and Christopher Mintz Plasse's evolution to gleeful villain The Motherfucker more than make up for it.

Of the new characters, Donald Faison's Dr Gravity and Justice Forever members Remembering Tommy are fun inclusions. Night Bitch is pretty one-note, and you can't shake off the feeling that her storyline was originally for Lyndsy Fonseca's Katie, with things changed due to her being unavailable. Game of Thrones' Iain Glen feels wasted as Uncle Ralph, a role which was either a poorly written inclusion for the sake of one death or nothing more than set up for the third film.

Kick-Ass spotted some money

Jeff Wadlow does a competent job directing, but doesn't do anything to make his own mark upon the film, failing to stand out. Thankfully though, he manages to leave out two of the worst moments from the source material, instead turning them into some of the films funniest moments. But his grasp of action feels one-note and generic, with the exception being Mother Russia proving she's worth every cent in her fight against the cops, the films standout moment.

While Mindy's storyline was the best one in the first film, it's the weakest here, packed full of cliches, with her revenge on the school's mean girl feeling pretty juvenile.

The films low point is the scene where the typical high school girls watch a music video for British boyband Union J, which tries to show that Mindy is like any other girl, getting the same urges as any other girl her age, but it feels little more than an overlong advert for the band, with the scene serving no actual purpose.

While Kick-Ass 2 is far from the feared and expected disaster, it manages to be little more than merely alright. Should a third entry into the franchise come, hopefully Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman will make a return.