The first Kick-Ass movie was an inarguable success in many regards (casting, performances, general charisma) and an equally flawed affair in others (evenness, fantasy/reality balance, not enough screen time with Hit-Girl). Kick-Ass 2, however, gets just about everything right. It's a good time from beginning to end, with a story that never leaves you wishing it would get back to the good stuff.
The narrative picks up shortly after the events of the first movie: Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), aka Kick-Ass, is trying in vain to readjust to high-school life after winning a fight to the death with a mob boss, whose orphaned teenage son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is now using his newly inherited fortune to become a supervillain and avenge his dad. Dave doesn't know this, however; he just knows he's bored with being a regular guy. Meanwhile, since losing her own dad/crime-fighting partner, Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz), aka Hit-Girl, has been flat-out lying to her new guardian, Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut), about attending school and being a normal kid. She's skipping class to train at her clandestine hideout, and continues donning the mask by night. Dave thinks of the obvious answer to his dissatisfaction and asks Mindy if they can join forces, and it soon becomes apparent that there are plenty of other self-made superheroes walking the streets, led by a delightfully self-righteous guy who calls himself Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).
As long as it can be assumed that you're interested in a movie like this at all -- based on the premise or affection for the first film -- Kick-Ass 2 delivers. It doesn't get caught up in clumsy exposition or ham-fisted attempts to shoehorn in backstory from the graphic novel. On the contrary, the script is impressively even and well-paced. That sense of balance is also apparent in the movie's net level of ridiculousness, as the amount of insane weaponry (Hit-Girl owns a lot of nunchakus), crazy motivations, and over-the-top events remain consistent from the start. What's also steady is the body count, as people are getting impaled and dismembered all over the place. In addition, there's a subplot that revolves around non-superhero high-school stuff, as there was in the first film, but at least here the main figure in that B-story is the cold and calculating Hit-Girl, rather than the bespectacled and bewildered Dave. And let's be honest, if there's any one thing this franchise needed, it was more Hit-Girl.