A 2010 action-comedy co-distributed by Lionsgate (in North America) and Universal Pictures (internationally), based on the comics by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. Our page on the comic is here.Dave Lizewski is an Ordinary High School Student and a big fan of Comic Books, with one burning question: How come nobody's ever tried to be a superhero in Real Life before? After he gets mugged, the question drives him to obsession, and he decides to answer it by becoming one himself. He orders a wetsuit and a diving mask and tries to fight crime. It doesn't go all that well. He gradually learns and gets better, with a little help from a more experienced pair of costumed vigilantes, a father-daughter team bent on hunting down the Big Bad.Along the way, it manages to deconstruct pretty much every superhero trope out there in an attempt to (somewhat) realistically answer the question, "What would happen if someone with no special powers tried to be a superhero?" And promptly reconstructs it with a vengeance halfway through.A sequel is planned for 2013, with Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz attached to reprise their roles. The legendary Jim Carrey will also join the cast as The Colonel.
While Big Daddy questioning Hit-Girl on John Woo was in the comics, it helps that he starred in one John Woo directed film, Face/Off.
Adorkable: Dave is the picture of the well-meaning and kind-hearted dork next door. Even when beaten up. Red Mist also applies, even when surrounded by mafia thugs. In addition, Dave's "fighting style" is meant to be hilariously awkward and dorky, as opposed to the way Big Daddy and Hit-Girl fight.
Anti-Climactic Unmasking: Early in the film, our hero is stripped of his clothes by paramedics, but even after he's become famous, no one associates the hero with a random mugging victim.
Anti-Villain: Red Mist, he tries to root out Kick-Ass to see if he's screwing with his father's business, but otherwise, just wants to have friends with the same interests and is a nice guy, besides the whole "I wanna be a Mafia don" thing. He's obviously torn up when the Mafia's going to execute him, anyway.
Apathetic Citizens: The reason Dave becomes a superhero is because he greatly dislikes this trope. Dave goes out of his way to point out that standing by and doing nothing while evil is going on is a bad thing.
Kick-Ass: Three assholes laying into one guy while everyone else watches, and you want to know what's wrong with me?
Kick-Ass: Even with my metal plates, and my fucked up nerved endings, I gotta tell you: that hurt. But not half as much as the idea of leaving everything behind. Katie, my dad, Todd and Marty, and all the things I'd never do, like learn to drive, or see what me and Katie's kids would look like, or find out what happened on LOST...
Big Applesauce: The film's set in New York, a city that really lends itself well to superheroism. However, the skyscrapers and and the skyline we get to see are really in Toronto. Yet despite the skyline being Toronto's much of the movie is really filmed in Hamilton.
The first time Kick-Ass tries it, he's nearly killed. The second time, he barely manages to hold off the thugs. The final BDH moment is played perfectly straight and is a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
"Hey, why don't you pick on someone your own size?" (promptly shoots the Big Bad with a Bazooka)
Also played straight by Hit-Girl. Twice. Once when Kick-Ass is about to be sliced open by Razul, and again when he and Big Daddy are just about to be set ablaze by Frank D'Amico's men.
Big "NO!": Big Daddy lets out two of them when Hit-Girl is shot by Red Mist. Later, Hit-Girl yells one when Big Daddy is burning to death.
Black Comedy: How else are you going to make a 9-year old girl brutally murdering a roomful of people watchable? See also Soundtrack Dissonance. This, unsurprisingly, didn't fly well with some film critics. Examples of this trope appear all over this page, but in addition, there's at least one that doesn't fit well into any more specific trope:
Big Daddy: Good job. I'm so proud of you, baby doll. Are you okay?
Hit Girl: Mhmm... but getting shot, Daddy... it hurt a lot more than when you did it.
Big Daddy: That's because I used low velocity rounds, child...
Blatant Lies: Frank's bodyguard insists to his boss that everything is under control... while retrieving a bazooka to kill Hit Girl. Red Mist immediately calls him out on it.
Bloody Hilarious: Much of the movie's humour is derived from graphic, over-the-top violence, including the (in)famous "first Hit-Girl scene".
When testing her bulletproof vest, Hit-Girl is blown backward several feet.
Later, Frank D'Amico is blown out the window of his office by Kick-Ass wielding a bazooka.
Bowdlerize: In Russian movie theatres, the film comes in two versions of the dub: "censored", with most cusswords replaced by euphemisms or less nasty substitutes (but with an occasional Precision F-Strike here and there) and "hardcore", with the profanity almost intact. The latter, unsurprisingly, is much harder to find. An alternative poster used in some cinemas promotes the film as "Kick A@$". At some theaters the ticket stubs for the film read, "KICK-A** ". This has caused some to dub the movie, "Kick-Ass-Terisks."
Brick Joke: While in the comic book store, Todd and Marty discuss who would win in a fight: Kick-Ass or Red Mist. It's pointed out that this doesn't matter because they are on the same side. Then the climax of the movie happens, when Kick-Ass and Red Mist actually do fight each other. They're pretty evenly matched, but Kick-Ass wins, or at least manages to pick himself up off the ground first.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Big Daddy and Hit-Girl (in particular) are capable of crazy stunts and incredible exploits by virtue of good ol' training and perseverance. Hit Girl is one of the few believable versions of this trope. She weighs like 50 pounds; it is within reason that she can do a wall-run. Of course, then there's the part where she slices a man's leg off with a single swipe, but we'll give that to Rule Of Cool.
Cheap Costume: All superhero costumes in the movie are - intentionally - as corny as the names are. Kick-Ass seems to be the only one aware of the fact enough to point it out. Big Daddy's, however, is filled to the gills with armor, and Red Mist has the decency to put some effort into his costume.
Frank D'Amico's knowledge of kung fu. Also, Big-Daddy is shown shooting Hit-Girl in the chest at the beginning, so she won't be surprised when it happens for real. It does.
Subverted with Kick-Ass's increased tolerance to pain. It doesn't really matter when he and Big Daddy are being tortured to death, as his dulled nerves are still overloaded with agony. Although he may have been able to wake up faster from being knocked out.
Clean Cut: In the first demonstration of her skills, Hit-Girl cleanly and casually slices a thug's leg off.
Cluster F-Bomb: Even before the release, the film gained notoriety for Pulp Fiction-level amounts of naughty words, many of them coming from the mouth of a 12-year old.
Cold-Blooded Torture: To Frank D'Amico and his goons, gruesomely torturing someone to death is something as trivial as drinking a glass of water. In addition, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl crush a mafia goon in a car recycling press without a slightest hint of remorse soon after their first appearance, reinforcing their Anti-Hero status.
Combat Pragmatist: There's a way for a costumed avenging man with no superpowers to take out a dozen armed goons at once. "Batman" Big Daddy uses guns, shoots to kill with law enforcement precision (helps being an ex-cop) and his "Batman" costume is apparently made of ceramic ballistic plate armor.
Concealment Equals Cover: The kitchen counter in d'Amico's place. It's nearly six feet deep and takes a lot of fire, but it's mostly empty, as shown when Hit-Girl climbs inside it and peeps out the bulletholes.
Conversational Troping: Dave got the idea to become Kick-Ass because he and his pals love comic books. Needless to say, they talk about superhero tropes a lot.
Dawson Casting: Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Red Mist) and Lyndsy Fonseca (Katie), as well as several other actors, are in their early 20's yet play teenage characters. Somewhat averted with Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Johnson was 19 when the film was released.
Death by Origin Story: Subverted, parodied and lampshaded with Dave's mother (she dies from an aneurysm during breakfast), played straight with Hit-Girl's mother and Big Daddy's wife (she kills herself with a drug overdose while her husband is in jail and she is pregnant with Hit-Girl). Also, it could be argued that Frank D'Amico is this to Red Mist the supervillain.
Decon-Recon Switch: The first half of the movie is a deconstruction (superheroes don't exist in Real Life because if anyone tried it, they'd be killed on day one) and the second half is a reconstruction (... but if they somehow survived long enough to learn the ropes, they would indeed be completely awesome!) of the superhero genre.
Decoy Protagonist: The way the first scene is done implies that the monologue is that of the person on screen. Then he plummets off a skyscraper and smashes a taxi when his wings fail to generate the lift needed to pull up.
Development Hell: The sequel. It was initially announced to be made for a 2012/2013 release but is on hold due to Aaron Johnson taking time off acting to be with his daughter and Matthew Vaughn directing other projects. It's now set to a 2013 release and to be directed by Jeff Wadlow (with Vaughn's blessing/supervision).
Disability/Coconut Superpowers: Kick-Ass' high pain threshold because of nerve damage. Apart from being a nice Hand Wave explanation for the amount of beating he can take, it's highly budget-saving.
Dissonant Serenity: Some of Hit-Girl's gory fighting scenes are set to rather pleasant music. The effect is quite jarring.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: Used several times. Dave and his friends are repeatedly threatened by 2 thugs early on in the film. One black, one white. Later, Dave/Kick-ass goes to confront a drug dealer who had been harassing Katie. The dealer is black and his buddies consist of 4 other black guys, 2 white guys, and a white slut. Finally, Italian mobster Frank D'Amico has a gang filled with mostly Italians but his personal bodyguard is black.
Red Mist also serves as a counterpart to Hit-Girl, in that both of them have parents that are involved in very dangerous work. But while Hit-Girl actually has her father's love and approval, Red Mist is a “Well Done Son” Guy who spends the whole movie trying to impress his father, who ironically enough already tries to spend time with him doing normal things.
Their parents are twisted mirrors of each other as well. Frank D'Amico is successful and acts relatively sane, but he also orders executions and even gets his own hands dirty when his men fail to get the job done. Big Daddy has been driven underground and is kind of creepy, but also comes across as far less of a bastard than the man he fights.
Exaggerated Trope: As well as deconstructing superhero tropes, the movie plays many of them straight, but overblown to the point of absurdity.
Executive Meddling: Averted, or rather 'avoided'. It seems that before ending up in Lionsgate Studios, the producers of the movie tried several other studios who all had the same ultimatum: "We'll take it, if you drop Hit-Girl or make her 19." Thankfully, they didn't.
Fake American: Aaron Johnson (Dave) and Mark Strong (Frank D'Amico) are both English. Also, Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher, who play two of D'Amico's henchmen.
Fanservice: Katie, semi-topless, having Dave help her apply the self-tanner. Place your own "tanning cream" joke here.
Fingore: Frank D'Amico's goons cut off a drug dealer's finger as a punishment for stealing cash and drugs from Frank, not believing him when he says that his coke was stolen by Big Daddy (or rather, a guy in a mask and cape but not Batman).
Heroic Wannabe: Kick-Ass spawns a costumed superhero craze, so no wonder people start dressing up like him. One of them is mistaken for the real one and murdered by Frank D'Amico. The fact that he is a superhero wannabe himself adds to the hilarity. It also creates a Sequel Hook when it's mentioned at the end that various other masked crimefighters have started appearing.
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Big Daddy and Hit Girl. They adore each other very much, but her father raises her to be a foul-mouthed killing machine by training her from infancy, and the training includes testing body armor by shooting her with guns. Marcus, Big Daddy's former partner in NYPD, does not take it well.
Hot for Teacher: At first, Dave daydreams about boning his English teacher, who is somewhat MILF-ish. She seems to be at least somewhat aware of him staring at her boobs, but doesn't cover up her cleavage.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A non-romantic example: Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. Also Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl to a lesser extent.
Improvised Weapon: After Hit-Girl runs out of ammo, she throws the gun itself at a goon. It distracts him just long enough for her to take his gun and try and shoot him with it (turns out that gun was out, too). A couple minutes later, she uses a set of kitchen knives to take out the aforementioned goon.
Indy Ploy: Dave walks into a gang hangout to tell Razoul to stop bothering Kate. He's not ready with a response when Razoul asks him "or else what?"
Apparently, it takes Kick-Ass about five minutes of reading the manual to master the use of the Jetpack. Lampshaded by Hit-Girl when she tells him she expects him to be able to use it without so much as a practice run. That being said, he does show up very late to the final assault...
Averted by Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, who are shown to devote their entire lives to training their skills - and by Dave/Kick-Ass, who spends a typical movie-style length of time training (he mentions weeks) with no expert assistance, and is almost worthless in a fight.
In the beginning of the movie, we see what looks like our narrator about to fly and instead turns out to be an Armenian with a history of mental illness flattening a taxi-cab instead. In the final act Kick-Ass really does fly, using a jetpack armed with a pair of gatling guns to save Hit-Girl.
The comic contains the line "What works on the page doesn't always work on the screen."
It's All My Fault: Kick-Ass comes to this realization when he and Hit-Girl are heading to D'Amico's headquarters after Big Daddy's death; if he hadn't trusted Red Mist, Big Daddy wouldn't have gotten killed. Hit-Girl agrees with him.
Kick-Ass: If it wasn't for you, I'd be dead.
Hit-Girl: And if it wasn't for you, my dad wouldn't be.
Jail Bait Wait: One of the few wholesome versions of this trope as Todd, Dave's lanky friend, watches Hit-Girl single-handedly thwart Big Daddy and Kick-Ass's online execution, much to his chubby friend's disgust.
Todd: I think I'm in love with her, dude.
Marty: ...she looks like she's about eleven years old!
Todd: I don't care! I can wait! I solemnly vow to save myself for her!
Right before Hit-Girl's Joan Jett-powered moment, the music sounds suspiciously similar to the intro of "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down. The composer has stated that he had never heard "Kryptonite" prior to writing the piece. Which becomes oddly eerie given that "Kryptonite" is used as a codeword by Big Daddy in his final scene.
Additionally, the music playing while Big Daddy is killing the Mafia mooks in the warehouse is the theme from 28 Days Later, but there's a shorter version called "Big Daddy Kills" on the album.
Stranger still, the central four notes of the piece are used throughout the film as Big Daddy's theme, and on the DVD Commentary the director seems completely unaware that the piece is from another film, repeatedly praising his composers for inventing it.
When Hit-Girl is saving Kick-Ass and Big Daddy from being executed by D'Amico's thugs, both the soundtrack and the scene itself are reminiscent of the dockyard fight in Batman Begins.
Karma Houdini: The two street thugs who steal Dave's money and books in the beginning and who stab him when he first tries out the Kick-Ass identity disappear after that scene and never get their due.
Katanas Are Just Better: Red Mist grabs a katana in the final showdown, going to slice Kick-Ass into bits. There were several other melee weapons around, and they were more accessible too. He took that katana out of some closet or locker and the way he seemed to revere it a bit as he took it suggests it was the best sword they had. As a comic book geek himself, it would make some sense that he would think this.
Kick the Dog: Big Daddy and Hit Girl get one of D'Amico's goons to spill the goods on him by cuffing him to a car inside a compactor. Once he's done talking, Hit Girl turns the compactor on, squishing the mook into a bloody heap of scrap as he pleads for his life.
Kids Are Cruel: Hit-Girl slaughters crooks and mobsters with huge gusto and a certain sadistic glee. However, she does not harm innocents, and loses her meanness while out of costume - just not her foul mouth.
Kid Sidekick: Hit-Girl is a Deconstruction. The training she has undergone in order to mentally and physically stand up to grown men has left her as one screwed-up nine-year-old. This comes through especially well considering that Big Daddy is actually a very caring parent outside of that training, and yet the movie still makes it clear that he's depriving Hit-Girl of her childhood, and is very much in the wrong for doing so.
Lighter and Softer: The amount of tone change is probably too much to go into. Let's just say the comic pegs the dial for cynicism and cruelty, while the movie actually strives for optimism and compassion.
Little Miss Snarker: Much like in the comic, Hit-Girl is incredibly sarcastic and foul-mouthed. Which doubles in hilarity when you see the interview saying that Chloe Moretz (Hit-girl's actress) initially went for the part because her parents loved the script and showed it to her. Chloe Moretz insisted that on the set, she could only call it "the film" and at home, "Kick Butt". She herself was shocked at her role.
Lonely Rich Kid: The bodyguards that Frank D'Amico has for his son Chris never let any potential friends approach him. Also, Frank shuns Chris for being a comic book nerd and won't even let him partake in "the family business", leading to him trying to combine two in one - taking on the role as Red Mist.
This Loser Is You: The teenage characters are literally mouthbreathers. This is scaled back slightly from the comics. Then this trope is told to fuck off once the final battle commences.
Kick-Ass himself to a certain extent, as his nerve damage and surgical metal plates (the result of a hit-and-run) left him with an enhanced ability to take a serious beating.
Hit Girl takes a horrific beating from two grown men... Then she wipes the blood off and she isn't even bruised.
Mafia Prince and Queen: Chris/Red Mist and Mrs. D'Amico. Chris is aware that his father's a crimelord, apparently, and wants to be just like him but spends most of the movie without realizing just how terrible his father's deeds really are. Mrs. D'Amico gets too little screentime to tell if she knows or cares about her husband's exploits.
Malevolent Masked Men: The kidnappers appearing on the Kick-Ass and Big Daddy torture video all wore balaclavas, with the exception of one, who wears a red supervillain mask. Katie Deauxma, originally excited at the prospects of seeing a clean, good old fashioned retirement video starring Kick-Ass, stops smiling when she sees the masked goon introducing himself and his captives to the viewer. In a draft script posted on the internet, the "Baby Goon" brings supervillain masks, but the "Sporty Goon" rejects them and asks for balaclavas instead; however "Baby" gets to keep his supervillain mask.
Mistaken for Badass: Frank assumes that Kick-Ass is the one dismantling his operations because he's the only well-known costumed vigilante.
Mistaken for Gay: This trope is carried over from the comic, but in the end Kick-Ass explains to his girlfriend that he was straight all along and gets some poontang as a reward.
Mood Whiplash: The movie tends to swing between comedy and drama, particularly in the final act.
Mook Horror Show: In the corridor scene during the climactic battle, the camera frequently shifts to an already jittery Mook lingering behind everyone else. Hit-Girl eventually gets to him, taking his gun and trying to shoot him with it. Since his gun turns out to be empty as well, we get to see just how shaken he is from the experience. He knows that Hit-Girl is backed into a corner and unarmed, and he still absolutely refuses to even go into the same room as her. The other Mooks have to hand him a fairly big gun and then hold him at gunpoint with an even bigger gun to get him to finally face her again. It doesn't go well.
Mugging the Monster: At the end of the film Hit Girl is attending regular school for the first time as a civilian. Dave remarks that she doesn't need him looking out for her as we see Hit Girl beating up bullies attempting to rob her lunch money.
Murder.com: Frank D'Amico plans to stream the execution of Kick-Ass and Big Daddy live on the internet in place of Kick-Ass's unmasking. Too bad it gets reversed. Furthermore, his son had set up a nanny-cam disguised as a teddy bear to record Kick-Ass's unmasking at the lumber yard. Too bad for the goons that Big Daddy showed up first.
Never Trust a Trailer: The movie, while still funny and brilliant throughout, actually has a whole lot more drama and tragedy than the trailers show and is much more akin to Watchmen than your typical Michael Cera teen comedy. Which makes sense considering this trope also applied to the Watchmen movie itself.
No Kill Like Overkill: "Fuck this. I'm getting the bazooka." And shortly after that, Dave uses miniguns mounted on a jetpack. And then blows up Frank D'amico with the aforementioned bazooka.
Basically whenever Big Daddy or Hit-Girl make an appearance.
Kick-Ass manages to invoke one when he arrives with the minigun-armed jetpack.
Hit-Girl gets one of her own: Bazooka?!
One Girl Army: Hit Girl. Big Daddy is usually there since they work together, but she can handle a lot by herself. When Big Daddy and Kick-Ass are captured, she is forced to as well.
Big Daddy is an One-Man Army as well (unlike the comic version), and it shows most prominently during the warehouse footage scene. Both Big Daddy and Hit-Girl make Kick-Ass look very incompetent in comparison until Kick-Ass starts to work towards becoming a more effective hero in the final fight against Frank D'Amico.
The Paragon: Kick-Ass prides himself on inspiring people to help each other and believe in truth, justice... you get the idea. He tries to quit after realizing he was barely even an amateur next to highly-skilled superheroes like Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.
Passing the Torch: Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl retire from superheroism after the final battle, citing that the number of new masked superheroes can continue the crusade.
Pay Evil unto Evil: Big Daddy and Hit-Girl demonstrate this trope quite a bit throughout the movie.
The Peeping Tom: The hidden camera-bear was originally used by Frank D'Amico to spy on the nanny - while she was changing, showering, etc.
Pet the Dog: Though it ultimately costs him and the other mooks their lives, when one of D'Amico's door guards sees Hit-Girl (in disguise as a student) standing outside the door, he immediately tries to help her, even admonishing his fellow employees for their apathy.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Hit-Girl, who severs limbs with ease. Subverted in the final confrontation: Frank one-hits her into near unconsciousness.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Aside from a few isolated incidents and the final battle, Kick-Ass doesn't actually do a lot of heroic deeds. Noted by Big Daddy and Hit-Girl.
Pop Goes The Human: The Mook who gets shoved into an industrial microwave, who is the same mook that claimed that Fingore Mook was selling him D'Amico's coke. Even after Fingore Mook was killed.
Posthumous Narration: Played with. Dave hilariously breaks the fourth wall during the torture scene, telling the audience that now they're obviously assuming he'll make it since he's alive to narrate it. He then proceeds to call them a bunch of smartasses and name a bunch of other movies that happen to be narrated by dead/dying characters.
Porn Stash: When Red Mist sets the security camera disguised as a teddybear to play back the camera footage of Big Daddy, all the other video clips have thumbnails of a partially-dressed woman.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The film version hews close to the book, but is its own beast. For the most part, things are changed to be more idealistic or happier endings. If they'd kept it any closer to the original, it'd lean into a Watchmen-style "so-the-same-it's-almost-pointless-to-have-two-versions" adaptation. Some notable changes included:
The paramedics taking off the wetsuit instead of Dave doing it himself. Explained away by him asking one of the paramedics to promise not to tell.
In the film, Dave becomes a Superhero because he was disgusted over how no one actually takes a stand against in-justice. In the comics, he was just bored and thought it would be fun.
The movie actually has Dave hook up with Katie Deauxma, whereas in the comic he didn't. This is largely due to the difference in the approach he takes. In the comic, he confessed his love for her in public, completely embarrassing her and getting her angry enough to call over her boyfriend to kick his ass. Here he gets down on his knees in private and tells her that she deserves better. He says that he hates himself for lying to her and honestly doesn't expect her to care. When she does invite him to stay, it's actually heartwarming. Though he still decided sneak into her room in true stalker fashion. And got hairspray to the eyes and a thorough walloping with a tennis racket for it. Also note that in this version, Katie isn't the absolute bitchwhore she is in the comic.
Big Daddy's backstory actually has him as a hero cop instead of his gigantic lie in the comics. At least he dies knowing Hit Girl was alive. The movie portrays him more sympathetically, but still makes it clear he's being a douche for ruining his daughter's childhood. At least he was doing it for something, as opposed to the comic version, whose reason for screwing his daughter up can be summed up as "Man, wouldn't this be awesome?" The movie even appears it's going to play Big Daddy's background straight at first until Big Daddy's former cop partner confirms it on screen.
Red Mist is portrayed with a lot more sympathy, simply wanting to help his father and maybe hang out with Kick-Ass. He actually regrets what happens to Kick-Ass instead of getting totally excited about it like his comic counterpart. This helps him avoid becoming a Complete Monster, as he did in the comics. At the end, he takes over his father's business and becomes the first costumed supervillain. In the comics, he becomes an Internet Tough Guy. Both do share the same obscene name after this happens, however.
Hit-Girl being 15 in the second film (see Age Lift above). It's been several years, Chloe Moretz has grown up noticeably.
Prisons Are Gymnasiums: In Big Daddy's autobiographical comic book, he is shown working out like crazy when doing his time in jail.
Punch Clock Villain: Chris D'Amico and Dave are both comic book nerds, they get along pretty well when Dave thinks Red Mist is a good guy, and Chris begs his father not to hurt Kick-Ass as he's convinced he's just a harmless nobody.
Reality Ensues / Rule Of Cool: The first act of the movie shows what's it like to be a vigilante in the real world, especially if you are a teenage nerd with no fighting skills wearing a silly costume. However, the second act introduces incredibly powerful, highly badass superheroes who can do crazy shit by virtue of Charles Atlas Superpower, and the third act is an unashamed love letter to awesome, reality-defying superheroics.
On the commentary track, director Matthew Vaughn talks about how amazed he was during a test at what he could see through SAS night specs. They ended up putting a green tinge on the night vision scenes to let the audience know what was going on.
He also talks about the flames during Big Daddy's death and how he wasn't happy with the CGI fire because it "always looks fake". So they shot real flames at 1,000 frames per second and put them over the scene, just to find out that it looked exactly the same.
Reconstruction: Another interpretation of the movie, as pointed out by this review. The film acknowledges that superhero tropes can be moronically ridiculous when applied to Real Life and mocks them for it. Somewhere during the second act, however, it swerves off into classic superhero tale territory, and, while keeping its tongue-in-cheek tone, revels in intentionally overblown superheroic exploits.
Redemption Equals Death: It's implied that Damon McCready/Big Daddy realizes his mistakes like training his daughter to be a death machine. In fact, when she says him he's the best father in the world, he, just before dying answers "No. I just love you".
The Reveal: For half the movie, we know that Big Daddy and Hit-Girl got something important and expensive delivered, and it has gatlings attached to it. We finally get to the big battle scene, and Hit-Girl is cornered behind a desk, and it's the perfect time for a Big Damn Heroes moment, and then Kick-Ass enters... rising into the scene from the bottom of the window, and this scene is taking place in a skyscraper, and he's riding a jetpack, and he blows away a room full of Mooks with miniguns on the shoulders to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic as sung by Elvis Presley!
Hit Girl's nightvision rampage resembles Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer, where Hit-Girl's apparently using the USP with a tactical knife attachment. Which is what some criminals were playing earlier on in the film.
When Dave was partly distraught about the prospect of his death because he won't get to see what happens on LOST.
Then he says "If you're reassuring yourself that I'm going to make it through this since I'm talking to you now, quit being such a smart-ass! Hell dude, you never seen Sin City? American Beauty? Sunset Boulevard?"
"With no power comes no responsibility" references the famous mantra of the Spider-Man franchise.
"I WILL AVENGE YOU, MOTHER!!!!" in a style reminiscent of Tobey lurking around ol' Uncle Ben's grave in said Spider-Man franchise. And then you get told off by Dave for expecting that.
When Kick-Ass dons his costume for the first time, this is accompanied by upbeat music resembling John Williams' Superman march. Also, when Red Mist rides through the city in the Mist Mobile, the soundtrack heavily resembles the Batman theme from the Tim Burton movies.
The Mook that gets thrown under a bus to establish Red Mist as a superhero is named Tony Romita. John Romita Sr. was the second penciler on the original Spider-Man comic book and one of the most influential and best-known. His son, John Romita Jr., is also a comic book artist well-known for his own take on Spider-Man and, of course, the Kick-Ass comic book itself.
The shoot-out in darkness is one big 'Hello!' to Equilibrium.
The music that plays during Big Daddy's assault on the warehouse and the end of the pitch-black shoot-out are the themes from 28 Days Later and Sunshine, both directed by Danny Boyle.
The yellow car driven by Dexter Fletcher's character is the same one his character drove in Layer Cake, also directed by Matthew Vaughn. Both characters are called Cody.
After he gets numerous metal implants to reinforce his broken bones, Dave is compared to Wolverine.
For those of you who watched the 2003 anime series .hack//Dusk, look very carefully in the background of the comic book store and you'll see a cardboard cutout of Rena in the background, as well as several Hellboy posters.
In one scene Dave and his friends are reading an issue of The Runaways.
When Dave is leaving the hospital, his Dad puts a copy of Watchmen in his bag.
Small Girl, Big Gun: Averted by Hit-Girl. Although she has her father's extensive arsenal at her disposal, her weapons of choice are pistols like the Glock 23 and HK USP Compact that fit her small hands. Realistically, any larger firearm would be very difficult for someone of her size to operate well.
Superheroes Wear Capes: Played straight with Big Daddy, Hit-Girl and Red Mist. Kick-Ass tries wearing a cape, but quickly tears it off, understanding that it would make his already moronic costume even sillier.
10-Minute Retirement: Dave briefly retires from being Kick-Ass after he realizes he's in over his head. He's convinced to pick up the mask again to help Red Mist and later Hit-Girl. It seems like he and Hit-Girl are going to retire from superheroism for good in the ending, if not for the blatant Sequel Hook.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted by Hit-Girl and Big Daddy (who, ironically, wears a costume reminiscent of a superhero known for his "no kills" code). Kick-Ass, being The Cape, seems to believe in the code but throws it out of the window in the final act. Red Mist, at first, appears to be reluctant to kill innocents, but then gets into his father's business.
Tomboy: Hit-Girl's favourite toys are knives and guns, and she has quite a potty mouth. Sometimes, she pretends to be a "girly girl" to prank her father.
Took a Level in Badass: Kick-Ass goes from being beaten by street hoodlums to beating street hoodlums to committing some genuine badassery at the end.
Tragic Hero: Big Daddy. First, as a cop, has his reputation destroyed by Frank D'Amico, then his wife committed suicide. All this turns him into a violent, but sill a good man inside, Vigilante Man. At the end he tragically dies burned leaving Hit-Girl the goal to finish his personal vengeance.
Training from Hell: Though not explicitly shown, it's logical to assume Hit-Girl underwent this. It doesn't help that Big Daddy educates her on being shot by actually shooting her (she's wearing a Bullet Proof Vest). For whatever it's worth, he admits to using low-velocity rounds when she says that getting shot by actual criminals was more painful.
Villainous Breakdown: In the wake of Big Daddy and Hit Girl's continued disruption of his business, Frank D'Amico starts using drugs again and kills a Kick-Ass impersonator in broad daylight, both of which cause his Dragon serious concern.
Waif-Fu: Averted somewhat by Hit Girl. She relies a lot on the use of weapons (including knuckledusters) and dismembers low-ranking thugs with ease, and when faced with an opponent who is equally skilled at hand-to-hand combat but has the distinct advantage in terms of height and weight, she's actually only barely able to keep up.
A room of Hit Girl and Big Daddy's house is decorated like this.
And again at one of their safehouses (though we can probably assume all their safehouses are like this).
“Well Done Son” Guy: Red Mist to Frank D'Amico. Interestingly enough it starts to turn into a subversion as it's obvious D'Amico loves him and worries about his safety...and then his last words are "I wish I had a son like you." to Hit-Girl.
Angie D'Amico vanishes without trace halfway through the movie, but her role is extremely small and often goes unnoticed.
As well as Gigante, the corrupt NYPD cop, who's also got a tiny role.
What the Hell, Hero?: Several, but most notably when Big Daddy gets called out on raising his daughter to be a vigilante, depriving her of her childhood.
Though he does say that Frank D'Amico owes her a childhood. This implies that he really deeply down wants his daughter to have a childhood, but raised her to become a vigilante to help her protect herself in case anything ever happened to him.
Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Hand Waved: Hit-Girl and her Big Daddy buy weapons and cool gizmos like a jetpack (Big Daddy installed the gatling guns later) off the Net. Hit-Girl is shown stuffing mob money into a sack early on, revealing where they get the funding. Kick-Ass orders his costume on a diving supply site and the batons on Ebay. Red Mist's Cool Car and costume are provided by his mobster daddy.
Who Are You?: Used a couple times; most notably when Kick-Ass saves the guy outside the store, and the guy with the camera phone says it:
You Have Failed Me: Frank D'Amico has one of his men executed for botching a drug deal. He doesn't believe the man's pleas that a lone mystery man was responsible.
You Killed My Father: Frank D'Amico drove Hit-Girl's mother to suicide and later orchestrated her father's murder. Hit-Girl attempts to kill Frank in retribution, but it is Kick-Ass who deal the final blow... turning Frank's son Chris "Red Mist" D'Amico into a vengeful costumed supervillain.
You Leave Him Alone: What Dave shouts to give himself the courage to defend a mugging victim from being murdered by 3 thugs.