Shocking, moving and funny, but not necessarily in that order, “Kick-Ass 2” is based on volume 2 of Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.’s violent comic book series. But one needn’t be familiar with it to appreciate this sturdily concocted sequel; it does make the experience better if viewers at least saw the first film. Then again, those who read the recent series will just as heartily appreciate the close adaptation, its major alterations still consistent with the established movie continuity.
The main movie character is way more likable than the comic version, largely because of Aaron Johnson, showing considerable growth and comfort as the now-giddy costumed vigilante. But Chloe Moretz gets to be even more likeable than when she first appeared as Hit-Girl, her breakout character a more endearing, well-developed teen this time. And Jim Carrey contributes well as Col. Stars and Stripes, looking strikingly similar to Romita’s drawings. Director-screenwriter Jeff Wadlow’s foray into comic book mythology shows promise; his laudable work on “Kick-Ass 2” augurs well for his next project, Marvel’s “X-Force.”