A fame-hungry hothead boulders up to our hero Kick-Ass (Aaron
Taylor-Johnson) and asks “how ‘bout a million hits on YouTube?” He
starts swinging his fists while a companion films the altercation on a
smartphone, hoping to capture something that collects more hits than Old
Spice or the Star Wars Kid.
When our villain, self-assigned the no-frills moniker “Motherfucker”
(Christopher Mintz-Plasse) robs a convenience store and discovers there
aren’t any surveillance cameras recording him, his first response is to
say “how is this supposed to go viral?”
Motherfucker joins Twitter (“he’s got like a thousand followers
already”) and rises to fame. “I want to kill Kick Ass with my bare
hands,” he says, all muahahahahaha, to himself. Then adds: “I’ve gotta
tweet about this.”
When a ragtag group of heroes, outnumbered and outmaneuvered, need
support, where do they go to spread the word? Their Facebook page.
Hollywood’s first social media superhero movie, Kick-Ass 2, has
something to say about vacuous celebrity and online exhibitionism. It’s a
great shame nobody — least of all director Jeff Wadlow — seems to know
what that was or whether he ought to have bothered.
Wadlow’s sequel to 2010’s snazzy post-mod comic book pic is based in a
world where vigilantism is synonymous with mental illness. It is
similarly provocative, but the smug self-awareness of the original has
lost its shockingly irreverent edge, displaced by a moral vacuousness
that borders on the nihilistic.