The first film followed the exploits of geeky do-gooder David [played by Taylor-Johnson] and martial artist Mindy [played by Chloe Grace Moretz] -- ordinary kids who don disguises and enact vigilante justice on the streets of their not-so-fair city under the superhero names of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl.
This time around, Dave has honed his skills to better battle evildoers, while Mindy does her best to fit in at her high school. Original "Kick-Ass" cast member Christopher Mintz-Plasse also returns for the Jeff Wadlow-directed sequel as Chris D'Amico, a wealthy villain with his own secret identity.
"It was a challenge, for sure," Taylor-Johnson told reporters in New York recently about reprising the role of Dave/Kick-Ass.
"Me and Jeff really were working alongside right in the beginning to develop that again. It's really hard for me. I'd go from a character [in another film] and I'd erase it and I'd jump to something else because I'd find it a lot easier, but to go back to something and then try to make it feel like the same person is actually a lot harder than it seems," explained the 23-year-old actor, who married director Sam Taylor-Johnson and fathered two children with her since making the original "Kick-Ass" movie.
"I'm very particular about things. If I saw the first one again I'd be like, 'Oh, I wish I had done this or that.' So I'd actually want to take the character to a whole new level, but then he wouldn't be the same character. ... It was just getting back to that personality and the real soul and the essence of the character. So it did mess with my head a little bit, if I'm honest," said Taylor-Johnson, whose recent credits include the high-profile big-screen dramas "Anna Karenina" and "Albert Nobbs."
"You're such a fantastic actor," said Wadlow, who was sitting beside Taylor-Johnson at the press conference. "When we first started ['Kick-Ass 2'] there was this question. It had been a few years and you have a family now and the roles you were playing had grown up and some people were like, 'Is it going to be weird to see Aaron slip into the role of Dave?' But you were so into the details like the shoes and the jacket -- I think they saved the glasses for you [from the first film] -- as soon as you got your hair back there, you were Dave again. Immediately."
Taylor-Johnson said there are a lot more fight sequences in the sequel and he had to prepare accordingly for them.
"I did a lot of fight training, a lot of mixed martial arts boxing, jujitsu. Things like that. And that gets you properly into shape and then I went on set and Chloe would kick the [expletive] out of me. ... No matter how ripped or how in shape I'd be, she could still throw me across the room."
Taylor-Johnson said stunt doubles were always on standby, but the actors were urged to do as much as they physically could.
"We're pretty much encouraged to do it all. [The filmmakers would say,] 'Get in there.' 'I don't want to.' 'No, get in there,'" Taylor-Johnson recalled. "The great thing about playing these roles is there's a bonus in it, like we get to dress up as superheros and do some amazing cool [expletive] and I remember seeing Chloe do all that in the first one and saying, 'I want to do that.' And they were like, 'OK, we'll give you [and Mintz-Plasse] a fight scene, but you guys should just slap each other.' ... We get to do some good stuff here. And we're surrounded by an amazing stunt crew and everything."