(On Cable TV, September 2014) I disliked several aspects of the original Kick-Ass, so in saying that this sequel isn’t as bad merely means that I’m not as repulsed by the results. Not that it’s all that better: the same hypocrisy that permeated the original is on full display here, as an attempt to somehow satirize superheroes conventions ends up doing exactly the same thing, except with extra puerile arrogance. Kick-Ass 2 seems inordinately pleased with its ability to swear as much at it likes, or to indulge is as much pointless violence. The film isn’t merely hobbled by its male gaze –it’s made actively unpleasant by its teenaged male gaze: When more mature viewers are already convinced that taking up a superhero identity is for idiots, the film’s inevitable attempt to show normalcy turning on the characters is far more annoying than satisfying. There are a few good things to say about the film’s younger actors (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloë Grace Moretz have all grown up a bit since the previous film, and it generally suits them) but Jeff Wadlow’s direction is far more ordinary than Matthew Vaughn’s work in the first film, and whatever shocking qualities the original had are here dispersed into a multiplicity of calculated subplots shot indifferently. So: not as unpleasant, but still not good. Hopefully there will never be a third film.