In 2008, comic writer Mark Millar unleashed Kick-Ass on the world. A parody of the genre, Kick-Ass told the story of Dave Lizewski, a high schooler, who decides to become a vigilante and ends up falling into a real war between gangsters and the father/daughter duo of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. Hit-Girl (real name: Mindy McCready) was the standout character of Kick-Ass , a deadly, foul mouth 11-year-old, trained by her father to eliminate crime from the streets, with little patience for pleasantries. The 2010 film, directed by Matthew Vaughn made an instant star of Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl and was a critical and commercial success. Naturally, a sequel was commissioned, based on Millar's own follow-up, Kick-Ass 2 , this time directed by Jeff Wadlow, incorporating elements from the Hit-Girl comic book as well. Dave Lizewski’s world was about to become a whole lot bigger as a new wave of vigilantes inspired by Kick-Ass take up the cause to clean up the neighbourhood.
The Setup (Comic):
After teaming with Hit-Girl to take down underworld mobster Johnny G and Hit-Girl herself retiring following the events of Hit-Girl , Dave Lizewski a.k.a. Kick-Ass continues to keep New York City safe as he comes into contact with new vigilantes, forming a superhero team. Little does Kick-Ass know that an old enemy has returned, seeking revenge and will do anything to destroy Dave Lizewski’s life.
The Setup (Movie):
Following the death of crime lord Frank D’Amico, Dave Lizewski a.k.a. Kick-Ass trains with Mindy McCready a.k.a. Hit-Girl to keep New York City safe. Along the way, he's joined by a new team of vigilantes, inspired by Kick Ass’ actions. Unbeknownst to Kick Ass, Chris D’Amico, the former Red Mist plots revenge against Kick-Ass for his father's death and to tear down the superhero uprising in New York.
Kick-Ass 2 was immediately greenlit after Kick-Ass proved to be a smash hit. Unlike the comic of the same name (which took place after the Hit-Girl miniseries), the film would transpose elements of that miniseries into Kick-Ass 2 , splitting its time between the exploits of Kick-Ass and Justice Forever, with that of Mindy McCready navigating high school. The comic mostly focused on Kick Ass and his battle with The Motherfucker, whereas Hit-Girl, who was in a state of forced retirement, had a relatively minor role until the final issues.
After saving the city from Johnny G, Kick-Ass trains with Hit-Girl (herself in retirement after being reunited with her mother and promising her stepfather, Marcus Williams to give up crime-fighting). Dave discovers that his actions have inspired a new wave of vigilantes and costumed heroes, eventually joining Justice Forever, a superhero team led by Colonel Stars. The team lead a crusade against the local gang families, attracting the attention of Chris Genovese, (now operating as the supervillain, The Motherfucker), who seeks revenge against Kick-Ass for killing his father. Knowing Kick-Ass’ identity from his time as Red Mist, The Motherfucker leads his own team to the neighbourhood of Katie Deauxma, Dave's unrequited crush and proceeds to kill hundreds of innocent civilians, including Katie's father before sexually assaulting her. In addition, he brutally murders Colonel Stars at the Justice Forever HQ. Detective Vic Gigente (who secretly works for The Motherfucker as an informant) uses the incident to scapegoat the superheroes for the deaths, rounding them up and taking them into police custody. However, Kick-Ass avoids being arrested as his father takes his place, having discovered his son's alter ego. Unfortunately, Dave's father is killed in prison by The Motherfucker’s gang. The Motherfucker attacks the funeral, shooting up the mourners and detonates a bomb in the coffin. Hit-Girl launches into action, killing the henchmen and rescuing Kick-Ass in the process. Out of retirement, Hit-Girl joins Kick-Ass as the pair raid The Motherfucker’s lair. They learn the supervillain is planning a second massacre in Times Square, blowing up every comic store in the city to distract the police. Kick-Ass alerts all the remaining heroes to meet him in Times Square to confront The Motherfucker and his gang, while Hit-Girl warns her stepfather about the plan to distract the police with the bombings so they can aid the heroes.
In Times Square, The Motherfucker begins his attack, but is met with resistance by Kick-Ass and his team. The police arrive, but are unable to distinguish between the heroes and villains, thus arresting everyone, allowing The Motherfucker to escape. Kick-Ass chases his nemesis to a rooftop, who is severely wounded after taking a fall. Hit-Girl rescues Kick-Ass and attempts to steal a police car to escape. However, Hit-Girl swerves and crashes in order to avoid Gigente, where she is promptly arrested. Gigente also arrests Marcus after he tricks him into revealing that he knew his stepdaughter was Hit-Girl. The comic ends as a disgraced Hit- Girl enters the back of a police truck as the crowd cheer her on.
When it comes to the movie adaptation of Kick-Ass 2 , there are a number of changes, including a significantly different ending. At the start of the film, Katie Deauxma breaks up with Dave, after accusing him of cheating on her with Mindy (the two were never a couple in the comic). Furthermore, Justice Forever is led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (combining the characters of Colonel Stars and Lieutenant Stripes from the comic), although his death is very similar. After being dumped by Katie, Kick-Ass begins a relationship with Night-Bitch, wherein The Motherfucker attempts to rape her to anger Kick-Ass, but is unable to perform the deed (highlighting his incompetent, comedic nature). The film also integrates parts of the Hit-Girl comic as a subplot, showing Mindy attempting to lead a normal life in high school and having to deal with bullies (who prank her on a date). The film's climax takes place at The Motherfucker’s lair, instead of Times Square and plays out pretty much the same way, with Kick-Ass confronting his rival on a rooftop, but this time, The Motherfucker falls through the building, into a shark tank and is horribly mauled. After the fight, Mindy leaves New York and tells Kick-Ass that the people still need him, who begins upping his training regimen and upgrading his equipment.
Kick-Ass 2 is a fun continuation of the unconventional superhero story. Whereas the comic focuses almost exclusively on Kick-Ass and his war with The Motherfucker, the film splits its time with Mindy, having been forced to retire from the superhero game, as a normal high schooler and her difficulties integrating into civilian life. The comic benefited by handling this storyline in a separate miniseries, but the movie combines both the Kick-Ass 2 comic with the Hit-Girl comic, which at times leads to an uneven narrative. While the movie ends on a more definitive note, with Mindy leaving and The Motherfucker crippled, the Kick-Ass 2 comic is the second part of a trilogy as Hit-Girl is arrested, taking the rap for Kick-Ass, ending events on a more sombre tone. With a Kick-Ass 3 movie reportedly in development, this superhero parody franchise is gearing up for its final chapter.