Judging from the reports out of Comi-Con last month, Hollywood's love of superheroes isn't stopping anytime soon.
That makes another "Kick-Ass" movie all the more welcome.
The genre could use a little tweaking and some reimagining, especially when it comes from people who clearly love comic books and caped crusaders. And if the sequel doesn't quite match the giddy rush of the 2010 film, it's still more fun than any superhero movie this year.
The title character is Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a teen who adopts a superhero persona because he's tired of being bullied. But the real star of the sequel (and the original) is Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young girl named Mindy who was trained from birth by her father to avenge her mother's death.
Dad (Nicolas Cage) was killed in the first movie. Mindy now is in high school and her guardian is her father's old police partner (Morris Chestnut), who doesn't want her playing vigilante anymore.
Instead, she finds herself battling a different foe - high school mean girls. And Mindy is better equipped at handling gun-wielding killers than manipulative ice queens. Seeing the character try to adapt in that world is one of the things that keeps the sequel, written and directed by Jeff Wadlow, fresh and lively instead of a retread of the first movie.
WHAT: "Kick-Ass 2"
STARS: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, Morris Chestnut
STORYLINE: Dave and Mindy (Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl) deal with being superheroes and high school students while Red Mist adopts a supervillain persona and assembles a team of killers to get revenge for his father's death.
DIRECTOR: Jeff Wadlow
RATING: R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content and brief nudity.
With Hit-Girl retired, Kick-Ass goes in search of new partners and discovers a crew of superhero wannabes that donned costumes after the attention his exploits received in taking out mobster Frank D'Amico. The crew, which calls itself Justice Forever, is led by Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), a born-again ex-mob enforcer turned patriotic masked vigilante.
Justice Forever has a worthy foe in Chris D'Amico, Frank's son, who wants revenge against Kick-Ass for killing his dad. Chris, who tried to be a superhero called Red Mist in the first film, decides he's better suited for supervillain status, and his true superpower is having access to all of daddy's money. He gives himself an unprintable moniker and uses the money to assemble a team of crooks and killers to do his dirty work for him.
Most superhero movies are PG-13 at worst and designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. "Kick-Ass 2" revels in its R rating in all its profanity-spewing, blood-spurting glory, delivered in a hyperstylized way to mimic the panels of a comic book.
It's not for kids. Frankly, it's not for some adults. But fans of the original should get a kick out of the sequel.