A witless, mean-spirited sequel, “Kick-Ass 2” has the emotional maturity of an arrested 12-year-old and the ethical compass of a turnip. Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns as the teen screw-up turned masked avenger of the title, Chloë Grace Moretz is subject to icky sentimentality as Hit Girl tries to mainstream into high school, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is more obnoxious than ever as a super-villain with an unprintable name.
The movie doles out the ultraviolence with an enthusiasm that’s meant to be cheeky but just feels ugly and small. When a baddie kills a squadron of cops, the larkish inventiveness of their deaths — ooh, that one got a lawnmower to the head! — sticks in your throat. Coarseness sells, I guess, but does it have to be this unbearably smug? Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.