“My dad made me promise I’d never stop defending this city.”

Chloe Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl is as solemn as she is deadly when asserting this apparently sacred mantra. Aaron Taylor Johnson’s Dave Lizewski (aka Kick Ass) can immediately tell she’s not joking. Especially since both are in serious hand to hand combat training with Mindy doing most of the kicking ass. Other makeshift costumed heroes, inspired by the pair have also adopted this same philosophy of protecting citizens.

In the sequel to the wildly popular Kick Ass, our street guardians take fighting crime to a such a visceral , blood and gore level, it’s almost scary. However, it won’t hinder one from taking pleasure in seeing the resolute Dave and strong minded Mindy take down the cities’ bad guys any way they can no matter how much blood is spilled. It’s perfect compensation for their boring high school lives. And besides, there’s a new sheriff in town called Colonel Stars and Stripes(Jim Carrey) who wants to make it fun. “Otherwise, what’s the point?”, he muses.

Unfortunately one makeshift hero, Christopher Mintz-Plasse’ Chris D’Amico (aka Red Mist), has become increasingly bitter(not to mention pissed off) at Kick Ass for killing his dad (Mark Strong) in the original. He sadistically turns to the dark side, renames himself the Mother#@*&ker, and with the help of tons of wealth and his bodyguard/servant Javier (John Leguizamo), he buys and bribes a band of diversified baddies he calls his Evil Army. All for the express purpose of killing Kick Ass.

Director Jeff Wadlow attempts to advance the character and story arcs of theMillar/Romita graphic novel with ample success. The laughs are still there, but serious overtones make Kick Ass 2 a totally different animal from it’s 2010 predecessor. The fight scenes, especially with Hit Girl and Evil Army’s Mother Russia( Ukraine body builder OlGa Kurkulina) get really nasty, so nasty the local police start a serious crackdown on masked heroes; Dave and Mindy’s friendship tightens, but totally unlike the formers’relationship with another; and Carrey’s Stars and Stripes organizes a crude street version of the Justice League dubbed “Justice Forever”, which includes hot looking Lindy Booth as Night Bitch and Donald Faison, a physics professor naming himself Dr. Gravity.

It’s after the fact of course, but despite Carrey’s withdrawal of support for the movie due to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, he puts on a great show as the Justice Forever leader and is barely recognizable behind a mask. It’s a major credit to his comic ability bashing bad guys across the head with bottles and being funny in unison. There’s a major hilarious scene between him and The Hangover alum Ken Jeong.

While Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn played up our heroes for big laughs,Jeff Wadlow’s Kick Ass 2 takes it to a much expected, and therefore relieving, mature level, which the dialogue reflects sufficiently. These guys are coming to terms as to who they really are. Painful sacrifices are made, but it helps all of them to grow.

The rest of this colorful entourage all get their chance to shine as they prepare for Evil Army’s and Justice Forever’s inevitable showdown. It’s a battle royal that eventually condenses to our primary defenders in a bone crushing clash of their own. For those of you who remember the old 1960’s Batman tv series (including yours’ truly), this is no Wham!!, crash!!, bam!! type mix.

Some may be disappointed that the high spirited jubilance of Kick Ass doesn’t exactly resonate in the follow up. However, it doesn’t completely crush the possibility for another chapter. Stay through the credits, and you’ll find out why.