I saw Kick-Ass 2 a couple of weeks ago. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. The film's tone shifts so often, sometimes within a scene, that it kept me off balance for nearly its entire running time. Sometimes, it's a comedy. Sometimes, it's an action adventure. Sometimes, it's a gruesome and tragic horror show.
Here's the setup: it's a year or two after the events of the original Kick-Ass (which I quite liked. See my review at the link). Our hero has hung up his costume, and second (but more interesting) lead Hit Girl has done the same. But it's boring in the real world, and someone's gotta take on evildoers. Soon enough, our leads are back in harness: and just in time. Evil has a plan.
With a setup like that, a film can go anywhere. Kick-Ass 2 goes everywhere. It's an adolescent comedy, a superhero teamup movie, and a horror movie all at the same time. Do you like vomit gags? Kick-Ass 2 has 'em. Do you like that shot in which the team walks, slo-mo, abreast toward the camera? Oh, yeah. How are you with graphic torture and murder? Sexual assault? An underage girl using a pair of pliers to rip off a man's penis? Yeah, me neither.
The film has another strange feature: its title character isn't particularly interesting. Aaron-Taylor Johnson plays Dave Lizewski (aka Kick-Ass) as a bland nobody, someone who comes fully alive only when in costume. While Lizewski (who made a fine lead in Godzilla) does the job, he has a real handicap: he's cast opposite Chloë Grace Moretz, who's a genuine movie star. Not only does she have the more interesting character (a 9th-grader so damaged that she's only happy when killing), but she's a better actor; she brings a maturity and sophistication to her performance that reminds me of a young Jodie Foster.
So, toss together a number of dissonant elements, put your best performer in a supporting role, and bake until strange. If that sounds like a good recipe to you, you just might enjoy Kick-Ass 2.