Follow TV Tropes


Film / Kick-Ass

Go To

"With no power comes no responsibility. Except that's not true."

Kick-Ass is a 2010 superhero black comedy action film directed and co-written by Matthew Vaughn and co-distributed by Lionsgate (in North America) and Universal Pictures (internationally), based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. The film stars Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong.

Dave Lizewski (Johnson) 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 Dave 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.

However, Dave gradually learns and gets better, giving himself the name "Kick-Ass" and becoming an Internet sensation along the way. He then gets caught up in a battle beyond his expectations when he crosses paths with a more experienced father-daughter pair of vigilantes — Hit-Girl (Moretz) and Big Daddy (Cage) — who are hellbent on carrying out a revenge plot against Mafia boss Frank D'Amico (Strong).

Along the way, Kick-Ass manages to deconstruct pretty much every superhero trope out there in an attempt to answer the question "What would happen if someone with no special powers tried to be a superhero?" ... and then reconstruct it with a vengeance halfway through.

A sequel, Kick-Ass 2, was released on August 15, 2013, adding Jim Carrey and Iain Glen to the cast. In 2021, Vaughn announced his plans to reboot the series.

The film provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Action Girl: Hit-Girl is an exaggerated version. She's both young for this trope, extremely violent and skilled enough to pull it off.
  • Action Hero: Big Daddy. Kick-Ass becomes this towards the climax.
  • Action Survivor: It's pretty well hidden behind his being a Determinator, but this is pretty much what Kick-Ass is until the climax.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adapted Out: Big Daddy's backstory being complete lies and the truth that he actually kidnapped his own daughter and raised her as a killer in order to play vigilante because he was bored with his life.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the comics, the D'Amico family instead use the surname Genovese; Frank D'Amico is called John Genovese, but is only referred to by the nickname Johnny G.
  • Affectionate Parody: The movie is more this than a straight-up Deconstruction. Given that it plays hopscotch with superhero tropes, it's really hard to classify. At least the end's clear about where it stands.
  • Alliterative Name: Mindy McCready.
  • 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-Hero: Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. Kick-Ass qualifies by the end of the film.
  • 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?
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • Defied with Mindy/Hit-Girl and her Bulletproof Vest.
    • Big Daddy as well. When he's raiding the mob warehouse, his armor deflects everything.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At a point when Kick-Ass is seemingly on the brink of certain death, he thinks about everything he'll regret leaving behind:
    Kick-Ass: 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
  • Art Shift: Damon's backstory is shown by the comic he's drawing.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Kick-Ass and Red Mist. Red Mist even more so at the end.
  • Avenging the Villain: The Sequel Hook at the end, in which Red Mist has taken over his father's business and becomes the world's first costumed supervillain.
  • Badass Adorable: Hit-Girl.
  • Badass Boast: Kick-Ass tries this when confronting Rasul. It doesn't work.
    Kick-Ass: I'm Kick-Ass... Look me up.
  • Badass Family:
    • Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.
    • Inverted with Kick-Ass and his dad, who notes that they're both pretty pathetic, if well-meaning.
    • Red Mist and Frank... kind of. Red Mist just wants to be badass and Frank just wants Big Daddy out of his hair. To Frank's credit, he knows karate, and Red Mist turns into a supervillain at the end.
  • Bad to the Bone: The theme of For a Few Dollars More plays while Hit-Girl enters the D'Amico building. Also, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, sung by Elvis Presley, when Kick-Ass arrives flying on the Jetpack to save the day.
  • Bald of Evil: Frank D'Amico.
  • Batter Up!: One of the mooks in Hit-Girl's first fight scene. Later used to pound on Big Daddy and Kick-Ass when they're held prisoner.
    Sporty Goon: In America we say stick like this: base-ball bat. Which is very good for hitting knees and stomachs!
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: Dave's narration is full of Lampshade Hanging.
  • Big Applesauce: The film's set in New York, a city that really lends itself well to superheroism. However, the skyscrapers 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.
  • Big Bad Friend: Red Mist.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • 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.
      "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 she sees Big Daddy burning to death.
  • Black Comedy: An integral part of the film's tone. How else are you going to make an 11-year-old girl brutally murdering a roomful of people watchable? 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".
  • Blown Across the Room:
    • 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.
  • Bond One-Liner: After Big Daddy crushes a goon trapped inside a car with a car compactor, Hit-Girl keeps it simple while staring at the mangled remains.
    "What a douche."
  • Bookends: The beginning and end of the film are narrated by Dave while showing his life at school, and both scenes are set to the tune of The Prodigy's "Stand Up".
  • Both Sides Have a Point: On one side, Marcus is right about Big Daddy robbing Mindy of her childhood for revenge as Hit-Girl. While Big Daddy makes a point that Frank D'Amico is just as responsible, since if not for him, Mindy would have a mother as well as a childhood.
  • Bowdlerise: 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".
  • Breakout Character: Hit-Girl seems to have become the most popular character of the movie.
  • 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, and 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.
  • Bring It: When Kick-Ass comes to the defense of a guy getting beat up outside a store, one of the guy's attackers expresses disbelief at Kick-Ass risking his life for "some piece of shit that [he doesn't] even fucking know". Kick-Ass responds that he'd rather die than let someone get beat up with nobody helping them, and then shouts, "So BRING IT ON!"
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Hit-Girl and Big Daddy respectively have "HG" and "BD" on their belt buckles, and Red Mist has a red "M" on his chest.
  • Bullet Dodge: During the hallway shootout, Hit-Girl jerks her head to one side to avoid a mook shooting at her.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Used by Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Dave enjoys whacking off to his English teacher Mrs. Zane, who is middle-aged but clearly buxom.
  • Bystander Syndrome:
    • Dave bemoans the fact that someone watched him and Todd get mugged from their apartment without helping, but also makes the point that the average person is highly likely to do the same thing.
      "Come on, be honest with yourself. Would you do anything differently? We see someone in trouble and we wish we could help, but we don't. The world I lived in, heroes only existed in comic books. And I guess that would have been okay if bad guys were make-believe, too. But they're not."
    • During Kick-Ass's first proper fight, he tells a kid witnessing the fight to call 911. Instead, the kid runs inside a store and tells everyone there what's happening, adding that it's "fucking awesome", and they all line up at the window and record the fight on their phones. Kick-Ass calls them out for just watching and not doing anything to help, although the kid's video recording of the fight goes viral and elevates Kick-Ass's status.
  • The Cameo: Stan Lee is watching the news in a montage. It's extremely easy to miss.
  • The Cape: Dave molds his Kick-Ass persona as a classic do-gooder superhero (although he draws the line at literally wearing a cape, which he thinks makes him look even dumber).
  • Cape Swish: Hit-Girl's cape and schoolgirl skirt both swirl around impressively when she's pulling her Combat Parkour moves.
  • Captain Ersatz: Big Daddy is essentially Batman with guns, and the close similarity is lampshaded. Nicholas Cage channels Adam West and William Shatner. And Elvis Presley. His costume also resembles the film version of Nite Owl II.
  • Car Cushion: The “flying” superhero in the opening scene lands on a car.
  • Cassandra Truth: Frank's guys saying they got robbed by a man in a costume isn't believed early on, resulting in him punishing them horribly.
  • Cat Up a Tree: Well, more like a billboard, but still. It wasn't even stuck. And Dave fails at getting it.
  • Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: After having his operations foiled, the Big Bad puts a hit out on the eponymous hero. Then, as he's casually driving down the street in his limo, who should walk past but Kick-Ass! Actually a subversion. It was really an unfortunate Kick-Ass imitator, whom the Big Bad shoots in the head, which inspires the real Kick-Ass to retire in fear of his safety.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The bazooka. It's originally in Big Daddy's possession, but D'Amico's bodyguard eagerly swipes it when Frank's men storm Big Daddy's safe house. The bodyguard then plans to use it on Hit-Girl as she mows down Frank's men, but gets killed by the Gatling-gun jetpack (as operated by Kick-Ass) just as he's about to. It finally comes into play when Kick-Ass uses it to kill Frank.
    • Hit-Girl's Bulletproof Vest. In her introductory scene, we see her being trained by her father to be able to withstand being shot in the chest while wearing the vest. It ends up saving her life when Red Mist shoots her twice.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Frank D'Amico's knowledge of Wing Chun. 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.
  • Child Soldier: Hit-Girl.
  • 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 the slightest hint of remorse soon after their first appearance, reinforcing their Anti-Hero status.
  • Combat Parkour: Hit-Girl uses this to cover ground between her and her opponents with complex flips and spins.
  • 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 (it helps that he’s 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.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: In her introductory scene, Hit-Girl stabs Rasul from behind right before he could use his knife on Kick-Ass.
  • 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.
  • Cooked to Death: The scar-faced villain uses a giant log microwave to blow up a Russian mobster. They chopped off a finger and then axe-murdered the other guy. There are no cliches in that film at all.
  • Cool Car: The Mist-mobile. It even had a personalized license plate!
  • Corrupt Cop: Vic Gigante. Unfortunately, he's also a Captain, so his department is essentially on Frank's payroll by proxy.
  • Corruption of a Minor: Big Daddy's methods of raising Hit Girl certainly qualify as this.
    Big Daddy: You call it "brainwashing". I call it "making it a game".
  • Country Matters: Said by Hit Girl to a room full of criminals.note 
  • Cowboy Cop: Big Daddy is a maverick ex-cop who doesn't play by the rules. When he was a cop, however, he was apparently by-the-books.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Frank D'Amico ruining Damon McCready's life was what caused the former cop to become the superhero Big Daddy and train his daughter to become Hit-Girl.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Kick-Ass kills Chris D'Amico's father, turning a revenge-bent teenager into the world's first costumed supervillain.
  • Cross Counter: Kick-Ass and Red Mist end up doing this on one another in their fight, knocking the both of them out for a spell. Kick-Ass recovers first, in time to rescue Hit-Girl.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass, particularly towards the end.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Big Daddy crushes a goon in a car compactor (while inside a car).
    • Frank's goons kill a Russian gangster using a lumber microwave, which is big enough for a person.
  • Crusading Widow: Big Daddy. Not a big secret to those who read the comics, but the reasons are different.
  • Cursed with Awesome: After his surgery, Kick-Ass has numerous steel implants to reinforce his broken bones and has reduced nerve sensitivity, greatly increasing his pain tolerance.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: There's a bit of Judge Dredd in the background of the comic shop.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Every Hit-Girl scene. She kills over 40 people throughout the movie and only gets hit once outside her final fight with Frank.
  • Daddy's Girl: Hit-Girl and Big Daddy have a very heartwarming relationship in the film (going out for ice cream, making cocoa).
  • Darkened Building Shootout: With Hit-Girl using Night-Vision Goggles.
  • David Versus Goliath: The final duel between Hit-Girl and Frank D'Amico.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Marty.
    Dave: How come nobody's ever tried to be a superhero?
    Marty: Boy, I don't know. Probably 'cause it's fucking impossible, dipshit.
    A little while later...
    Dave: Is it me, or do you kinda feel sorry for Chris D'Amico?
    Marty: Yeah. It must be terrible to have a rich Dad and everything you want.
  • Death by Origin Story:
    • Played for dark humour with Dave's mother, who died 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, 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. The third act is an unashamed love letter to awesome, reality-defying superheroics.
  • Deconstruction:
    • What Zombieland is to zombie movies, this is to superhero movies.
    • Hit-Girl's final confrontation with mob boss Frank. The older, stronger, and more experienced mobster wipes the floor with her in 10 seconds flat, and she would've gotten a bullet through her head if not for Kick-Ass gunning him down first.
  • 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.
  • Destination Defenestration: In the end, Frank D'Amico is blown through a penthouse window by a bazooka-toting Kick-Ass.
  • Dirty Cop: Vic Gigante, a detective with the NYPD whom mob boss Frank D'Amico pays to cover his criminal dealings (and in one case, get rid of fellow cop Damon McCready with a frame up as he'd become a threat). Later, he also helps hunt down the costumed superheroes gunning for the D'Amico family too on their behalf.
  • Disability Superpower: 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Frank D'Amico shoots an innocent bystander dead just for witnessing him brutally beating up a Kick-Ass imitator.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Some of Hit-Girl's gory fighting scenes are set to rather pleasant music. The effect is quite jarring.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Dave is this trope personified.
  • The Don: Frank D'Amico is a near-classic mafioso crime lord.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mindy's mom, while pregnant and alone with her husband in prison, fell into a deep depression. As a result, she overdosed on pills, though the doctors saved Mindy. This became the impetus for her dad's revenge.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The film is clearly going for Black Comedy, but showing a pre-teen girl committing (and receiving) multiple brutal acts of graphic violence and homicide did not sit well with some critics and viewers.
  • Dynamic Akimbo: Red Mist takes this stance the first time he meets Kick-Ass. Then he sprains his ankle leaping off the dumpster he's standing on. Justified, as he's a comic book fan and Heroic Wannabe.
  • Enfant Terrible: Although not evil, Hit-Girl is still sadistic enough to fall under this category.
  • Enter Stage Window: Dave, before confessing to Katie he's Kick-Ass. This gets him his ass kicked by a surprised Katie.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Dave's first outing as a superhero. He gets knifed by hoodlums,note  then run over by a car, and then mistaken for a boywhore.
    • Also, his attempt to save Mr. Bitey, which fails because the cat is simply too far away from him on the side of a billboard.
  • 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 prostitute.
    • Frank D'Amico's organisation is primarily Italian, but also has several non-Italian Caucasians and blacks on equal standing, including his personal bodyguard.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. Turns out Joe only has standards on who is screwed over.
    [Chris hands his father a list]
    Frank D'Amico: What's this?
    Chris D'Amico: That's everything I need. And you may have to screw someone over. Like Louie...
    Big Joe: Louie? Whoa, Chris.
    Chris D'Amico: Or somebody, it doesn't have to be Louie.
    Big Joe: Tony.
    Chris D'Amico: Tony!
    Frank D'Amico: Tony?
    Chris D'Amico: I've always hated Tony.
    Big Joe: Yeah, fuck Tony. He's a scumbag.
    Frank D'Amico: Tony.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Frank D'Amico obviously loves his son Chris, and although he expresses disappointment, he's seriously worried when he thinks Chris died in the warehouse's fire.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After Chris D'Amico decides to become a supervillain, he changes the color scheme of his costume to eerily-patterned orange and dons a scary mask.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Kick-Ass and Red Mist are both comic fanboys who are in way out of their depth. The difference is that Kick-Ass has purer motives that hearken back to the very first superheroes, while Red Mist just wants to impress his dad by using his knowledge of superhero tropes to lure Kick-Ass into a trap.
    • 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 comes across as far less of a bastard than the man he fights.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: While not a dog, Hit-Girl was hesitant to introduce herself to Red Mist when she first meets him, until Big Daddy tells her to show some manners. She was right not to trust him, since upon going to shake his hand, Red Mist shoots her.
  • Evil Is Petty: The two street thugs who rob Dave and Todd at the beginning of the film. When Todd tells them that his cell phone was already stolen, they take his comics instead just to throw their weight around, even though it's obvious they have no use for them.
  • Exaggerated Trope: As well as deconstructing superhero tropes, the movie plays many of them straight, but overblown to the point of absurdity.
  • Executive Suite Fight: The climax of the film.
  • Extreme Libido: Dave's favorite pastime before he becomes a vigilante and gets laid was masturbation. He didn't even have any taste, whacking off to the National Geographic. Even though he has Internet access. He even enjoyed masturbating to his English teacher, the married, buxom, middle-aged Mrs. Zane.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: A Running Gag with the various Heroic Wannabes.
  • Fat and Skinny: The boys who bullied Mindy in the end. Boy, did they pick the wrong victim...
  • 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).
  • First-Person Perspective: Used when Hit-Girl rescues Kick-Ass and Big Daddy from Frank D'Amico's thugs, to emulate First-Person Shooter games.
  • Foreshadowing: Hit-Girl blows Dave a kiss before she and Big Daddy leave his room. In Kick-Ass 2, she kisses Dave toward the end of the film, before leaving New York.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: When D'Amico tells his chauffeur to get him and his son some snacks for their movie night, the shot is framed to make it look like he's speaking to the audience. Cut to the theater marquee, advertising "The Spirit 3". Painting the Medium? (With a Shout-Out-cum-Take That! to Frank Miller?)
  • Frame-Up: Damon McCready was framed by dirty cop Vic Gigante, who works for the D'Amico crime family, because he was trying to bring them down. This destroyed his life and cost him his wife (who killed herself in despair while he was imprisoned).
  • Funny Background Event: When Dave and his friends first see Red Mist on the news, you can see Chris in the background, with obvious "Hey, look I'm on TV!" glee.
  • Gatling Good: What the hell could Gatling guns be an accessory to? A MOTHERFUCKING JETPACK!
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Dave Lizewski is intimately familiar with superhero tropes and loves to comment on them. This doesn't keep him from believing, at first, that he is the superhero the world revolves around. Chris D'Amico, also a huge comic book junkie, uses his knowledge of the laws of genre to lure Dave into a trap by posing as a masked vigilante.
    • Chris D'Amico uses his knowledge of superhero tropes to come up with plans that are far more effective against the main characters than anything Frank can think up.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Mindy tends to wear them when out of her Hit-Girl costume. She also uses them when getting past Door Goon disguised as a Deliberately Cute Child.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Big Daddy. So what if he's rather crispy, his daughter's safe and has made him proud.
  • Godzilla Threshold: "That's it; I'm getting the bazooka."
  • Gorn: The movie's got bucketfuls of gore, and still manages to be less gory than the comic. Then again, red ink is cheaper than fake blood.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: One of Rasul's female hangers-on tries this against Hit Girl. Bad move.
  • Groin Attack: Frank takes a baseball bat to Kick-Ass's sensitive spot while torturing him (via jabbing with the top of the bat, rather than a full swing).
    "In America, we say 'stick' like this: baseball bat. Which is very good for hitting knees and stomachs. It's also good for hitting balls."
  • Gun Porn: The sheer variety of firearms that show up in this movie and its sequel is ridiculous, as shown by this Comicvine article which lists most, if not all of them.
  • Guns Akimbo: Hit-Girl with a SIG Sauer P232 and a H&K USP Compact, in the climax.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Katie's hands cover most of her breasts. In the DVD commentary, the director says that he shot "about sixty takes" of this scene.
  • Head Desk: Near the start of the film, Dave's mother appears to do this in response to him saying something dumb at the dinner table. As it actually turns out, however, she just happened to pick that particular moment to die of a brain aneurysm.
  • 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 early childhood, and the training includes testing body armor by shooting her with guns. Marcus, Big Daddy's former partner in the NYPD who looked after her before Big Daddy's release, does not take it well.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: While Storming the Castle, Hit Girl gets a couple of D'Amico's mooks to shoot themselves with their own guns during her Gun Kata.
  • Hollywood Healing: Dave claims "it seemed like no time all before I was back on my feet" after getting plates and pins on and in bones all over his body, in a film supposedly set in our reality. Anyone who has broken an arm or leg knows full recovery takes months of grueling physical therapy.
  • Honor Before Reason: Dave/Kick-Ass is this trope embodied until he got a girlfriend.
  • 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.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: During the final fight, D'Amico's bodyguard finally gets a chance to quip "Say hello to my little friend!"
  • I Just Want to Be Special
  • Iconic Outfit: Invoked: despite their obvious cheesiness, Kick-Ass' and Red Mist's costumes mimic old, cheesy superhero outfits.
  • Idiot Hero: At first, Dave is quite naive, not particularly bright... and aware of it. He gets better.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Just like in the comic, Hit-Girl stabs a woman so hard her swords penetrate the door she's trying to escape through.
  • 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?"
  • Instant Expert: 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...
  • Instant Web Hit: A video recording of Kick-Ass's first proper fight goes viral, gaining tens of millions of views and, according to news coverage, becoming the single most-watched video on the Internet. As a result, a MySpace account Dave sets up for Kick-Ass gains 16,000 friends in a short amount of time.
  • Intimate Lotion Application: After he gets Mistaken for Gay, Dave's crush Katie befriends him as she always wanted a Gay Best Friend. Dave goes along with this so he can be close to her. In one scene, Katie allows Dave to rub self-tanner on her body, and he fully takes advantage, with her somehow missing how nervous and distracted he is during the process.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • 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: Todd, Dave's lanky friend, watches Hit-Girl single-handedly thwart Big Daddy and Kick-Ass's online execution, much to Marty'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!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. Despite their violent attitude, they never hurt innocent people and they're willing to help you if you need'em.
  • Jetpack: Kick-Ass uses a freakin' jetpack with dual-mounted Gatling guns to defeat the mob.
  • 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.
    • Captain Gigante wasn't even targeted, despite being a complete dick of a Dirty Cop who also took part in Damon/Big Daddy's arrest.
  • 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 off of a stand 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.
  • Kid Hero: Hit-Girl. And, technically, Kick-Ass.
  • 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 eleven-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, as his former partner says in no uncertain terms to him.
  • 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.
  • Killer Rabbit: In the movie's third act, D'Amico's goons learn that a cute schoolgirl with Girlish Pigtails can be a gun-toting killing machine.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Frank D'Amico is seen practicing kung fu (and being good at it) early in the movie.
  • Knight Templar: Hit-Girl and her dad never intend to take prisoners, it seems.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Hit-Girl had a dirty mouth when she was twelve years old, and it isn't casual swearing either. Chloë Grace Moretz herself commented on how nasty it was.
  • Large Ham: Nicolas Cage is channeling some unholy trinity of Adam West, William Shatner, and Christopher Walken. Mark Strong also gobbles some scenery as the villain. Hell, even Chloë Grace Moretz delivers a pound or two of delicious pork in several scenes. Let's say it's just a World of Ham.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Hit-Girl was raised with two purposes in life: A) kill criminals in general; B) kill the crime lord who wronged her father.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Not sure how useful that katana was going to be if it had been used 3 minutes earlier, but still...
  • Leno Device: Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show appears as himself talking about Kick-Ass's antics in his monologue.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: The energetic music that plays when Kick-Ass enters his first fight with a pair of criminals dramatically sputters out when one of the criminals shanks him in the stomach.
  • 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 Badass: Hit-Girl, obviously. She's so badass, she makes the Scary Black Man go for his Bazooka.
  • 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 Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit-Girl's actress) initially went for the part because her parents loved the script and showed it to her. Chloë Grace 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.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Hit-Girl arming for her Roaring Rampage of Revenge is intercut with Kick-Ass in the adjourning bathroom, washing blood off his face after being tortured.
  • 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.
    • Technically Hit-Girl as well, what with the $3 million she has in a suitcase.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Brought to epic levels when Hit-Girl is introduced.
  • Made of Iron:
    • 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.
  • The Mafia: Frank D'Amico is an Italian-American mob boss in New York City. However, while most of his men are Italian-American, he's also got many non-Italians working for him too.
  • Mafia Prince and Queen: Chris/Red Mist and Mrs. D'Amico. Chris is aware that his father's a crime lord, 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.
  • The Mafiya: A member of the Russian Mafia meets his gory doom in a microwave chamber.
  • Make an Example of Them: After capturing Big Daddy, Chris pleads for his father to let Kick-Ass go, but Frank intends for them both to be tortured and executed live on the internet to discourage other costumed vigilantes. Given that the public doesn't know about Big Daddy, he has to include Kick-Ass as well.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Dave has sex with Katie against an alley dumpster, right out in the open.
  • 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.
  • Man Bites Man: Hit-Girl bites Frank on the shoulder during their fight.
  • Man on Fire: D'Amico's thugs pour gasoline over Big Daddy with the intention of torching him live on the internet. Hit Girl interrupts with a Boom, Headshot!, but one of the other mooks lights the gas so they can see Hit-Girl, who's shooting at them with Night-Vision Goggles after knocking out the lights. Big Daddy is still able to scream tactical instructions to his daughter while burning to death.
  • Meaningful Background Event: While the rest of the Dip & Sip patrons are at the shop's windows watching Kick-Ass' fight with the three muggers, you can very briefly see the girl behind the counter call 911.
  • Meaningful Name: D'Amico means "of a friend". Mob boss Frank D'Amico is anything but friendly, and his son Chris a.k.a. Red Mist becomes pals with Kick-Ass to lure him into a trap.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • In-universe: Kick-Ass becomes a sensation on teh internetz after his second foray into superheroism. However, he doesn't become truly badass until much later.
    • Hit-Girl has achieved some level of this in Real Life. For values of 'real life' that include Internet forums.
  • Microwave the Dog: D'Amico's mooks take their Russian informant to the lumber yard to be interrogated, apparently with a Conveyor Belt o' Doom, but they find it's gone and a giant microwave used for treating the wood has been installed instead. They lock the victim inside and set the timer, only he can't hear their questions inside the cabinet and ends up exploding instead. The mooks find this Bloody Hilarious, but the guy in charge of the interrogation is just exasperated.
  • Missing Mom: Dave's mother died of an aneurysm at breakfast one morning; his father has, as far as we see, never really adjusted. Mindy's mother, meanwhile, committed suicide via pills from depression following her husband's arrest... while pregnant. It's a wonder why neither of them have a moral distinction in their behavior.
  • 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 Katie that he was straight all along. They have sex, and start a relationship.
  • Mistaken for Superpowered: The film opens with a shot of a man in a superhero costume jumping dramatically off a building... and crashing to his death. The protagonist's narration remarks the man was insane and inspired by "real-life superheroes" like himself; presumably, he thought he could actually fly.
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie tends to swing between comedy and drama, particularly in the final act.
  • Mook Horror Show:
    • The nanny-cam video of Big Daddy's Implacable Man routine as he coolly chews through a roomful of D'Amico's mooks with guns and grenades. D'Amico makes the wrong comparison: he may look like Batman but he fights like The Punisher.
    • 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Katie, semi-topless, having Dave help her apply the self-tanner. Place your own "tanning cream" joke here.
  • 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 (well, hear) Hit-Girl beating up bullies attempting to rob her lunch money.
  • 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.
  • Nerd Glasses: Dave Lizewski and his chubby friend wear them. For obvious reasons, Dave ditches them as he grows more and more badass.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Even Hit-Girl can't manage more than flesh wounds against Frank D'Amico.
  • 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. They also imply that Red Mist is genuinely a hero, as opposed to being The Mole.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Kick-Ass ends up leading the bad guys right to Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, causing the former's death. Had he not gotten involved the pair would've likely taken D'Amico down without breaking a sweat.
  • No Social Skills: Hit-Girl; her last scene is the first time she's ever been to a regular school.
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero: All four of the main superheroes are this.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Basically whenever Big Daddy or Hit-Girl make an appearance.
    • When Rasul pulls out a huge knife, the expression on Kick-Ass' face shows he remembers all too well what it's like to be stabbed.
    • Kick-Ass manages to invoke one when he arrives with the minigun-armed jetpack.
    • Hit-Girl gets one of her own: Bazooka?!
  • One-Man 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. 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.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Aaron Johnson plays Kick-Ass and does pretty well with the American accent for the most part, but his English inflections come through occasionally.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Dave Lizewski, who becomes the non-superpowered superhero Kick-Ass. Hit-Girl also eventually becomes, um, nothing at all like this.
  • Overlord Jr.: Chris D'Amico/Red Mist at the end.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: This happens to Kick-Ass when he meets Hit-Girl and Big Daddy and understands that they are infinitely more badass than him.
  • Papa Wolf: Inverted when Hit-Girl goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to save her dad. Unfortunately, she is too late.
  • 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. For instance, they 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.
    Hit-Girl: What a douche.
  • 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.
  • Playing Catch with the Old Man: The film subverts this trope to establish Big Daddy and Hit Girl, where the framing and dialog look like a daughter reluctantly playing catch with her supportive and attentive father, only for Big Daddy to shoot her in body armor to get her used to the impact. The audience immediately gets their relationship; Big Daddy is a loving father who recklessly endangers his child in a deconstruction of superhero kid sidekicks, and Hit Girl worships him.
  • Plucky Girl: Hit-Girl.
  • Poor Man's Porn: While Dave describes his life of masturbation, first it's an Erotic Dream with the well-endowed English teacher, then some National Geographic Nudity of African tribewomen.
  • "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 his torture scene, telling the audience that 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 (Sin City, Sunset Boulevard and American Beauty).
  • Porn Stash: When Red Mist sets the security camera disguised as a teddy bear 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. 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 injustice. 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 to 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. At the end, he takes over his father's business and becomes the first costumed supervillain. In the comics, he becomes an show-off. Both do share the same obscene name after this happens, however.
    • Hit-Girl being 15 in the second film. It's been several years, and Chloe Moretz had grown up noticeably.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: In the climax:
    Frank: Playtime's over, kid.
    Hit-Girl: I never play.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • D'Amico's bodyguard, who gets his hands on a bazooka, shouts "Say hello to my little friend!" (which is something he's "always wanted to say") before planning to fire it. Right as he's about to, Kick-Ass intervenes via jetpack.
    • Subverted with one character, then played straight immediately after with another. In the climax, Frank prepares to shoot Hit-Girl and says, "Time for a family reunion." Before he can, Kick-Ass enters the room with the bazooka and gives a one-liner of his own before blowing Frank away — "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"
  • 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.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I'll tell you who owes her a childhood! FRANK! D'AMICO!!"
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Pretty much — mob boss Frank D'Amico can hold his ground in a fight and even has Hit-Girl at his mercy before she is saved by a bazooka-wielding Kick-Ass.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • 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.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The main theme is from Sunshine, Big Daddy's theme from 28 Days Later.
  • Red Right Hand: Frank D'Amico's scar.
  • 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 to him he's the best father in the world, he, just before dying, answers, "No. I just love you."
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Subverted, but it is hard to see, the scene is chaotic and dark.
  • The Reveal: For half the movie, we know that Big Daddy and Hit-Girl got something important and expensive delivered, and it has gatling guns attached to it. We finally get to the big battle scene, and Hit-Girl is cornered behind a desk. 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 high-rise skyscraper window, riding a jetpack with miniguns on the shoulders, which he then uses to blow away a room full of mooks (to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic as sung by Elvis Presley)!
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: Between Dave and Katie. When he reveals he's Kick-Ass and that he's not actually gay, she gets over it fairly quickly and becomes his girlfriend shortly after.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Hit-Girl. Turns into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge once Big Daddy gets killed.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Big Daddy against Frank D'Amico, going as far as training his own young daughter to be a brutal vigilante that will avenge him and his wife one day. Hit-Girl at the end of the film as well. Once Frank D'Amico gets offed, his son Chris/Red Mist swears to get his own against Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl in a sequel.
  • Roof Hopping: Dave decides against doing this, because the roofs are too far apart. Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, on the other hand, do it with ease; when Kick-Ass sees them doing it, he understands he's hopelessly Overshadowed by Awesome.
  • R-Rated Opening: The film starts with a crazy man jumping off a building wearing a bird-themed superhero costume and going splat; next, Dave narrates his life of chronic masturbation; and this is followed shortly after by a training scene of Damon/Big Daddy shooting Mindy in her bulletproof vest to toughen her up. Even so, these scenes don't fully convey just how much over-the-top content the viewer is getting into.
  • Rule 34: Discussed. Dave states that Paris Hilton is more inspiring to people than Spider-Man because she has a porn tape and he doesn't. Of course, he knows nothing about One Night In Spidey...
  • Sacrificial Lion: Big Daddy.
  • Scary Black Man: Rasul's and Frank's bodyguards are huge black guys with an unfriendly attitude and a bazooka in the latter case.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • Marcus, Damon's former partner in the NYPD, is fully aware of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl's identities.
    • When everyone else in school is under the impression that Dave's gay, Todd and Marty are fully aware that he's not. Of course, the only people they're actually keeping it a secret from are Katie and Erica.
    • Dave reveals that he's Kick-Ass to Katie.
  • Security Cling: Erica buries her face in Marty's shoulder rather than watch Kick-Ass be tortured to death on the Internet. Marty silently calls attention to this good fortune, and Todd gives his friend a double-thumbs up.
  • Self-Defenseless: Kick-Ass' taser against Rasul's forehead.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several to Spider-Man:
      • Dave saying "Who am I? I'm Kick-Ass!" at the start of the film is reminiscent of Peter Parker saying "Who am I? I'm Spider-Man." at the end of Spider-Man.
      • The Imagine Spot of Dave standing at his mother's grave and shouting to the skies, "I WILL AVENGE YOU, MOTHER!" is very reminiscent of Peter Parker lurking around Uncle Ben's grave. And then you get told off by Dave for expecting that.
      • The scene where Kick-Ass attempts to jump the roof contains the same roof used in Spider-Man.
      • Kate tells Dave that she liked the old "Ditko Spider-Mans" he gave her.
      • When sneaking into Kate's bedroom as Kick-Ass, Dave says via voiceover that the difference between Spider-Man and Peter is that "Spider-Man gets the girl". His plan to talk to her as Kick-Ass fails miserably, forcing him to reveal his identity and come clean to her, but he still "gets the girl" and starts a relationship with her.
      • "With no power comes no responsibility" references Spider-Man's famous mantra.
    • Several to Batman:
  • Music from The Dollars Trilogy plays as Hit-Girl enters the mafia safehouse.
  • Hit-Girl's night-vision rampage resembles Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer, wherein she's apparently using a H&K USP Compact with a tactical knife attachment. Fittingly, Rasul and his cronies were playing the game earlier on in the film.
  • Dave is partly distraught about the prospect of his death because he won't get to see what happens on Lost.
  • Dave points out that his narrating the film doesn't guarantee his survival by name-checking several films that featured Posthumous Narration.
    "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 smartass! Hell, dude, you never seen Sin City? Sunset Boulevard? American Beauty?"
  • In one scene, Katie mentions that she was given some recommendations to get into comics: Scott Pilgrim (coincidentally, the first trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was attached to Kick-Ass) and the shojo manga magazine Shojo Beat.
  • While quizzing Hit Girl, Big Daddy asks her for the name of John Woo's first full-length feature. She answers in both Chinese and English ("Tie han rou qing, The Young Dragons").
  • The microwave chamber torture scene is lifted almost wholesale from the James Bond movie Licence to Kill. In that movie, it was a decompression chamber; same effect, though.
  • The car crushing scene is likely a shout out to Goldfinger.
  • When Kick-Ass dons his costume for the first time, this is accompanied by upbeat music resembling John Williams' Superman march.
  • Among the many times Dave asserts that he's just a regular guy, he notes that his origin story has "no radioactive spiders" and "no refugee status from a doomed alien world".
  • 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 respectively 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.
  • Chris's bodyguard exclaims that he's always wanted to yell "SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!" as he's preparing to shoot Hit-Girl with a Mk 153 Mod 0 SMAW.
  • After he gets numerous metal implants to reinforce his broken bones, Dave compares himself 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.
  • When Kick-Ass tries on his costume for the first time: "You talkin' to me?"
  • Hit-Girl's way of slaughtering her adversaries is similar to The Bride's modus operandi.
  • The color scheme of the outfit of the "superhero" of the prologue scene resembles that of Condorman. Although considering what happens to him, it could be seen more like a Take That!.
  • In a Skype conversation between Dave and Todd, Todd asks if Dave is watching Family Guy.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
  • Spy Cam: The existence of Big Daddy is discovered because Red Mist/Chris D'Amico secretly places a nanny-cam (concealed within a teddy bear) in one of his father's businesses, which is later raided by B.D. (up until then, the senior D'Amico thought that all of Big Daddy's actions were rival mob attacks). The scene also showcases that he had been using the nanny-cam for slightly... less altruistic... purposes.
  • Steel Eardrums: Kick-Ass's hearing is completely unfazed after having his head in between the two Gatling guns attached to the jetpack when they fire in the climax. While they're firing, we see Red Mist covering his ears.
  • String Theory: Big Daddy has one of these, with the strings converging on Frank D'Amico, which Hit-Girl turns into an impromptu Shuriken-Board of Hate.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. And Kick-Ass in the final showdown. Justified because nobody has any actual superpowers.
  • 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.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Though he does start off the movie, Kick-Ass kinda takes a back seat in the action and the movie seems to be stolen by Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Kick-Ass's first fight. Just because you put on a costume doesn't make you invincible in a fight, especially when you have absolutely no prior training, and especially when you fail to take into account the dirty tricks criminals can pull on you (namely involving shanks).
    • Also, Hit-Girl's one-on-one fight with crime boss Frank. Hit-Girl is absolutely deadly, particularly when she has weapons, the advantage of surprise, and room to maneuver. However, against Frank, she has no weapons and doesn't have the weight or muscle for her punches and kicks to really affect him. Frank has an insurmountable advantage in height, weight, reach, and he knows how to fight. If Kick-Ass hadn't of shown up, he would have killed her.
  • The Syndicate: Frank D'Amico's crime empire.
  • Televised Torture: Of Kick-Ass and Big Daddy by the bad guys.
  • Tempting Fate: "Gentlemen, time to die." Cue Boom, Headshot!.
  • Theme Naming: According to the end credits, Frank D'Amico's main Mooks are called Sporty, Scary, Posh, Ginger, and Baby.
  • There Is 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.
  • Third Wheel: After her best friend hooks up with the hero, Erika is stuck hanging around with Marty and Todd. She eventually hooks up with Marty, so at the end of the movie, poor Todd is stuck with his comic book between his friends who are busy snogging their new girlfriends.
  • 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.
  • Those Two Guys: Marty and Todd.
  • Tomboy: Hit-Girl's favorite toys are knives and guns, and she has quite a potty mouth. Sometimes, she pretends to be a "girly girl" to prank her father.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Becoming Kick-Ass certainly seems like this to begin with. Getting stabbed and hit by a car is pretty much the most realistic outcome of becoming a vigilante with no training, experience, or proper equipment.
  • 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.
  • Torture Always Works: Frank's men certainly seem to think so, as they try to squeeze the truth out of a Russian mobster by locking him in an industrial microwave oven and turning it on. They seem to think it'll just make him uncomfortable, but it kills him messily in seconds. Not to mention that they can't hear what he says from inside anyway. And he was perfectly willing to talk before they threw him in, although none of them believed his claims.
  • Tragic Hero: Big Daddy. First, as a cop, his reputation is destroyed by Frank D'Amico, then his wife commits suicide. All this turns him into a violent Vigilante Man, although he is still a good man inside. At the end, he tragically dies, leaving Hit-Girl the goal of finishing his personal vendetta.
  • 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 Bulletproof 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.
  • Trespassing to Talk:
    • After their first encounter, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl turn up in Dave's bedroom to emphasize that he shouldn't talk about what he's seen... and to point out just how ridiculously easy it was to track him down.
    • Dave slips into Katie's bedroom in his Kick-Ass costume. Despite being a Kick-Ass fan, she reacts the way you'd expect if a masked intruder suddenly appeared in your bedroom.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Hit Girl is a 12-year-old girl who has a fondness for knives, Cluster F Bombs, and can brutally and efficiently murder gangsters and mooks. But of course, she was raised to be a brutal vigilante by her father Big Daddy. Even funnier when he himself considers Hit-Girl acting like a normal girl troubling.note 
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: The geeky and nerdy Dave/Kick-Ass and the suave crime lord Frank D'Amico played by Mark Strong.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Hit-Girl reloads her pistols by catching the mid-air magazines.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Frank doesn't react too much to his bodyguard bringing back a bazooka.
  • Vanity License Plate: A KICK-ASS license plate is showing on the crushed taxi in the opening scene.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Right after Frank orders his goons to bring him Kick-Ass, Dave is woken in his bedroom by... Hit Girl and Big Daddy, there to reiterate their demand that he not tell anyone about them. "We like you, we just don't trust you." They also point out how ridiculously easy it was to determine his Secret Identity for someone who's likely to draw the hostile attention of both police and criminals.
  • 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: Hit-Girl used a downplayed version. 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.
  • Wall Jump: Hit-Girl does one of these when charging Frank's bodyguards.
  • Wall of Weapons:
    • 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).
  • Weak, but Skilled: Hit-Girl in both movies. She's very well-trained in hand-to-hand combat and various weapons, which allows her to defeat people much larger and stronger than she is, but since she's a young 10/15-year-old girl, whenever she goes up against someone that is both skilled and larger and stronger than she is, she ends up only surviving due to luck and backup.
  • "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 is quite proud when Red Mist comes up with an evil scheme of his own... and then his last words are "I wish I had a son like you." to Hit-Girl.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Angie D'Amico vanishes without a trace halfway through the movie, but her role is extremely small and often goes unnoticed. She briefly appears again in the sequel where her fate is revealed.
    • Vic Gigante, the corrupt NYPD cop on Frank's payroll, isn't seen again after he sets the NYPD after Big Daddy after it becomes apparent that he was the one killing Frank's men.
  • 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, implying 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?: Handwaved. 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:
    Bystander: Dude, who are you?
    Dave: I'm Kick-Ass.
  • Why Are You Not My Son?: Frank can't help being impressed by Hit-Girl, and gives this trope as he's about to put a bullet in her head.
    Frank: God, I wish I had a son like you.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Dave Lizewski, to the point of being an Idiot Hero.
  • Wimp Fight:
    • Kick-Ass' second fight, the one that makes him an Internet sensation in-universe, goes like this at first.
    • Red Mist vs Kick-Ass. Neither of them are willing to harm each other — or know how to harm each other, which leads to little more than slapping and rolling on the floor.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Big Daddy, a rare heroic version.
  • Would Hit a Girl / Would Hurt a Child: Well, the bad guys try, but only one actually lays a glove on Hit-Girl, who, true to her name, hits back, hard. Frank also shows himself to be completely willing to beat her up in the climax.
  • You Bastard!:
  • 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 deals 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 three thugs.
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: The goons trying to describe Big Daddy in the movie. Subverted promptly:
    "Oh, so he's Superman?"
  • Zig-Zagging Trope: In this movie, superhero tropes bounce in all directions, from deadly straight usage to double-subverted with a whiff of deconstruction and parody, all wrapped in a huge lampshade.


Video Example(s):


That's not me, by the way.

Kick-Ass begins with a superhero wannabe prepared to make the dive of a skyscraper. He's never mentioned again.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / DecoyProtagonist

Media sources: