“Kick-Ass 2″ Casting Review

**MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**

Following up on the huge success of 2010’s Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2 brings us back to the lives of self-made vigilantes “Kick-Ass” and “Hit-Girl”—reprised by actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz, respectively. Based off of the graphic novel, this sequel takes place a few years after the events of the first film. Taylor-Johnson’s “Dave Lizewski”, aka “Kick-Ass”, has given up the mask and tries to live a normal life as a prototypical high schooler. Moretz’s “Mindy” is the complete opposite, and ditches class every day to suit up in her purple duds and prowl the city for bad guys. As the story progresses, Mindy eventually takes David under her wing, and trains him in the ways of advanced ass-kickery. However, before the two can even become a dynamic duo, their characters make complete 180s and Mindy gives up the cape, while David delves even deeper into the world of crime fighting, and even joins a rag-tag team of superheroes to patrol the streets and make the world a better place, or at least pretend that they are.

Casting in movie sequels is always an interesting affair. It’s crucial to retain the principal actors from the previous film while also adding some new characters to keep things interesting. For obvious reasons (their characters got killed in the first Kick-Ass), Mark Strong and Nicolas Cage do not reprise their roles in this sequel. Rather than “replacing” them with several new well-known actors (which is all too common), Kick-Ass 2 takes a different approach by instead focusing the spotlight more on the two lead players—Mindy and David. Yes, there are some new casting additions in this sequel, most notably Jim Carrey and John Leguizamo, but they never really pull focus from the film’s central characters. Carrey plays “Colonel Stars and Stripes”, another self-made vigilante that recruits Kick-Ass to his merry band of heroes, while Leguizamo plays “Javier”– Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s lead henchman.

As previously mentioned, rather than adding a slew of new actors to the mix, Kick-Ass 2 focuses its attention on its core characters, and the concept of teenagers becoming superheroes, and the obstacles that they must face in order to do so. This is a fantastic approach as it further sheds light and expands upon characters we thought we knew—specifically David, Mindy, and Mintz-Plasse’s “Chris D’Amico” aka “The Motherf*cker”. Even though these characters were introduced and established in the first film, the sequel takes the time to further expand on their lives and really show how the events of the first film changed them. The characters David and Chris continue to learn what it takes to be a hero and villain respectively, while Mindy tries to retire from crime-fighting and give a go at being a normal teenaged girl—at the behest of her guardian “Detective Marcus”, played by Morris Chestnut. The scenes where Mindy is trying to be normal are hilarious and readily draws inspiration from the film Mean Girls, except for the fact that Mindy isn’t afraid to physically punish the popular girls that torment her.

Other interesting characters worth noting in this outing are some of the new heroes and villains that butt heads. Besides Carey’s Colonel Stars and Stripes, Kick-Ass is joined by “Night Bitch”, which is probably my favorite character name in the entire film. Played by Lindy Booth, Night Bitch is a sexy superhero that also acts as a pseudo love interest for Kick-Ass. Scrubs alum Donald Faison plays “Dr. Gravity”, another hero on Kick-Ass’ team who wields a special baseball bat that is able to alter the affects of gravity—at least that’s what he tells people. In an interesting twist, Kick-Ass’ high school friend “Marty” (reprised by actor Clark Duke) gets in on the action and moonlights as the hero “Battle Guy”. Rounding out the heroes, Steven Mackintosh and Monica Dolan play the crime-fighting duo “Remembering Tommy”—a husband and wife team bent on avenging the loss of their son Tommy by helping to make the streets a safer place. Remembering Tommy is probably one of the more “classic” superheroes in this film, i.e., they were normal people until a horrible tragedy forced them to become something greater, a la superheroes. Although the heroes in Kick-Ass 2 are meant to be funny and satirical, Remembering Tommy is a pleasant throwback to traditional superhero lore. The fact that Mackintosh and Dolan look like your average suburban mom-and-pop (a creative departure from their graphic novel version), make their heroism all the more heartfelt. The casting of Kick-Ass’ team works well here, and you really feel their genuine passion for what they do. It would have been nice to see a little more chemistry and back-and-forth banter between some of the other heroes (think Joss Whedon’s Avengers), but given the scope of this film, it’s understandable that there wasn’t enough time to expand on every single person.

On the villain side, The Motherf*cker is still the number one baddy here, and Mintz-Plasse lends his usual awkward charm as he delves into his dark side and truly becomes something evil, albeit still kind of goofy. Besides The Motherf*cker, the standout villain here is “Mother Russia”, a scary and hulking Russian woman, played by “Olga Kurkulina”. She’s terrifying, menacing, and definitely gives Hit-Girl a run for her money.

Funny enough, the standout character from the Kick-Ass movie franchise has always been Hit-Girl and Chloe Grace Moretz. When the first Kick-Ass came out in 2010, pretty everyone who saw it raved about Moretz, who was a relatively unknown actress at the time. In addition to being a great young actress, Moretz proved that she could be a badass action star, which is no easy task by Hollywood standards, especially when you are barely a teenaged girl (Moretz had just turned thirteen when the first movie hit theaters). Not surprisingly, since the first Kick-Ass, Moretz has had no shortage of work and continues to be in high demand. She’s been in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Let Me In, Texas Killing Fields, Hick, Hugo, Dark Shadows, and had a memorable recurring character in the hit NBC series 30 Rock, to name a few. She’s next coming out in the Carrie remake. Kick-Ass 2 is a great return to form for Moretz, and, once again, she easily proves why she is one of Hollywood’s hottest young stars.

Extra viewing tip: Like most sequels, it’s best to see this movie after having already watched the first Kick-Ass. The sequel definitely assumes that the audience is aware of a few key factoids from the first film, although none of it is too complicated for the average moviegoer to pick up. Still, it’s always good to see the first as it provides all the necessary context and backstory surrounding this film’s world.

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Kyle

One Comment

  1. Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    With all of the characters to develop and redevelop, the film moves at a fast pace which can be uncomfortable for those who try to maintain focus on a particular genre. It’s a roller coaster ride of action, comedy, and drama, with the focus being on the action and comedy. Despite the continuous jumps between the three genres, I felt that the film had a lasting appeal in regards to each category. There was an adequate amount of laughter accompanied with many of the serious moments, as well as the “ass-kicking” moments of action.

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