Daniel Smith
Maricela Gonzalez
August 19, 2013 AT 09:00 PM EDT

While watching Kick Ass 2, what captivated me most was Hit-Girl’s arc. No longer a precocious kid sidekick to Nicolas Cage’s ex-cop vigilante Big Daddy, Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) also known as Mindy Macready is now a teenager training and fighting crime while avoiding the fearsome torture that is high school.

Her storyline solidifies her as a progressive, well-rounded character — a female superhero who isn’t overtly sexualized but is in control of her own journey to adulthood. It’s a shame that there aren’t more characters in superhero movies like her — or even more characters like her in the otherwise not ass-kickingly awesome Kick-Ass sequel.

SPOILER ALERT! The following contains spoilers from Kick-Ass 2.

At the beginning of the film, Hit-Girl continues to serve out her brand of justice as part of Big Daddy’s legacy. But after getting caught in her Hit-Girl uniform by her guardian Marcus (an under-utilized Morris Chestnut), she promises to retire Hit-Girl once and for all and be the teenage girl, Mindy. As Mindy, she struggles to fit in with the popular girls, but surprises herself when even she starts to enjoy the trappings of stereotypical teenage girl culture — boy bands, dance team, and lots of pink. After being spurned by the Queen Bee and her minions, she enacts revenge in a way that only Hit-Girl can. Soon after, she decides she doesn’t need to “fit in” with the overally sexualized high school girls to be herself — but she doesn’t need to ignore the butterflies she feels in her stomach when noticing Aaron Taylor-Johnson’ abs, either.

She has always accepted herself as Hit-Girl the crime-fighting, ass-whooping machine. But she also learns to accept herself as Mindy Macready, a teenage girl who sometimes wears dresses and wants to kiss boys. Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss this point amongst the rest of the limp plot.

I wish I could say that the other female characters also rose above the banality of the film. I kept waiting for a joke to be made about the impracticality of a superhero costume that exposed your entire mid-section, as rocked by Night Bitch (really) and Mother Russia. I’m still waiting.  (To be fair — Mother Russia was enjoyably terrifying, even in her decidedly absurd bikini.)

At first, I cringed at the film’s ending as Hit-Girl kisses Taylor-Johnson’s Kick-Ass. Why can’t they just be friends?! She’s too young! He’s too old! That’s weird! But after a moment I thought — what 16-year-old girl wouldn’t want to kiss her older, attractive friend then drive off like a badass before things got weird between them? If that isn’t a dream fantasy for a great first kiss, then I don’t know what is.

The film concludes as Mindy/Hit-Girl speeds off on her motorcycle to start a new life on the lam from the law. Perhaps the filmmakers are setting up a spin-off sequel that focuses solely on Hit-Girl as she matures to Hit-Woman. But speculation of that sort is can be saved for an entirely different post.

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