Sequels to smash-hit comic book adaptations are difficult to get right, especially if the opening installment came out of nowhere to seize the zeitgeist and find instant, long-lasting life as a cult favorite. Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass definitely ticked those boxes, which put successor Jeff Wadlow in a difficult position.
Vaughn remained on board as a producer, but his fingerprints could barely be found on Kick-Ass 2. The original was a breath of fresh air because it was an irreverent, foul-mouthed, smart and subversive deconstruction of the standard tropes audiences have come to expect from the superhero origin story.
Kick-Ass 2, meanwhile, decided to lean into the more controversial aspects of what made the property so popular, but doubling down on blood and profanity at the expense of plot, character and common sense was the wrong move. Matters weren’t helped when Jim Carrey disowned the film and refused to participate in the promotional campaign, but we didn’t know at the time that the finished product was already well beyond saving by then.
A 32% Rotten Tomatoes score, 57% user rating and a box office haul of $60 million was all a major downgrade from Kick-Ass, but as per FlixPatrol, that hasn’t stopped the loose translation of Mark Millar’s work from crashing into the HBO Max Top 20 most-watched list.