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Kick-Ass 2’ is a limp retread of the original

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson is back in Kick-Ass 2. The real question is if we should care.

Two stars

Kick-Ass 2 Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Directed by Jeff Wadlow. Rated R. Opens Friday.

The “realistic” superheroes of Kick-Ass turned out to be only slightly less fantastical than Batman and Iron Man, and sequel Kick-Ass 2 similarly tries to have things both ways, commenting on and sending up the superhero genre while embracing all of its clichés. Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns as the title character, a high-school geek who decided to put on a costume and become the first real-life superhero. Having sparked a movement of civilian superheroes, Kick-Ass must face off against his emboldened nemesis Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), now calling himself the Mother F*cker. Meanwhile, Kick-Ass’ former ally Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) spends half the movie stuck in a lame retread of Mean Girls. With its unfocused plot and abundance of superfluous new characters, Kick-Ass 2 is limper than the first movie, although it retains some of the humor. Unfortunately, it also retains the glib, cynical violence, once again producing a superhero satire completely lacking in self-awareness.

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