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 brutally 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 brutally reconstructs it with a vengeance halfway through.
Followed by a sequel, the predictably-named Kick-Ass II, in 2013. A third Kick-Ass film was confirmed in June 2014, but no official release date has yet been announced.
- Action Girl: Hit-Girl.
- Action Hero: Big Daddy. Kick-Ass becomes this towards the climax.
- 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.
- Affectionate Parody/Deconstructive Parody/Indecisive Parody/Indecisive Deconstruction: To some, 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 Macready.
- Anti-Hero: Kick-Ass is firmly within Type I territory, whereas Big Daddy and Hit Girl are very strong Type IVs, just barely avoiding Type V.
- Anti-Villain: Barely, but Red Mist 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:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
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..."
- Ascended Fanboy: Kick-Ass and Red Mist. Red Mist even more so at the end.
- Authority Equals 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.
- 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.
- Bald of Evil: Frank D'Amico.
- Based on a Great Big Lie: Averted with Big Daddy, unlike the comic.
- Batter Up: One of the mooks in Hit-Girl's first fight scene.
- 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 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 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 and is a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- 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.
- 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 humor 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.
- Bowdlerize: In Russian movie theaters, 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."
- Brought to You by The Letter "S": Hit-Girl and Big Daddy have their HG and BD on their belt buckles and Red Mist has a red "M" on his chest.
- Bulletproof Vest: Used by Mindy/Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.
- The Cameo: Stan Lee is watching the news in a montage. It's extremely easy to miss.
- The Cape (trope): 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).
- Captain Ersatz: Big Daddy is essentially Batman With Guns. Nicholas Cage channels Adam West and William Shatner. And Elvis Presley. His costume resembles the film version of Nite Owl II.
- Cat Up a Tree: Well, more like a billboard, but still. It wasn't even stuck. And Dave fails at getting it.
"FUCK YOU, MR. BITEY!"
- Catholic School Girls Rule: One of Hit-Girl's costumes, which she uses to sneak into the D'Amico's headquarters.
- 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. As well as Chekhov's Bulletproof Vest
- Subverted with Hit Girl's Butterfly Knives. They are mentioned a lot in the beginning of the movie, but she only ever uses one to kill a single mook in her first fight scene, and the second one is never used at all. Especially notable since she's clearly shown packing them both while preparing for the raid on D'Amico, yet they're never used in the final battle.
- Chekhov's Skill: 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.
- 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 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.
- Conversational Troping: Dave and his pals talk about superhero tropes a lot.
- Cool Car: The Mist-mobile. It even had a personalized license plate!
- Corruption of a Minor: Big Daddy's methods of raising Hit Girl certainly qualify as this.
You call it "brainwashing". I call it "making it a game".
- Country Matters: Said by Hit Girl to a room full of criminals ("OK, you cunts, let's see what you can do"). This usage of "cunt" for a detestable male is very British slang.
- 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 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.
- Crusading Widower: 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.
- doesn't do a lick of good when he's being tortured. However, it might have helped him wake up faster than Red Mist at the end
- 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.
- Daddy's Girl: Hit-Girl and Big Daddy have a very heartwarming relationship in the film (going out for ice cream, making cocoa).
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: 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.
- Darkened Building Shootout: With Hit-Girl using Night Vision Goggles.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Dave's favorite pastime before he becomes a vigilante and gets laid. He didn't even have any taste, whacking off to National Geographic. Even though he has internet access.
- David Versus Goliath: The final duel between Hit-Girl and Frank D'Amico.
- Dead Baby Comedy/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?
- 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, they would indeed be completely awesome!) of the superhero genre.
- Deconstruction: What Zombieland is to zombie movies, this is to superhero movies, so shut up, kick ass.
- Decoy Protagonist: The 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.
- 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 fighting scenes are set to rather pleasant music. The effect is quite jarring.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Generally averted. In spite of Big Daddy looking a lot like a certain nocturnal vigilante known for his disdain of firearms, he freely uses guns and explosives to great effect. Hit-Girl seems to prefer knives and swords, but is an excellent shot as well. Kick-Ass doesn't use firearms until he gets gatling guns mounted on a Jet Pack, but mostly because he can't acquire any (though he does show notable squeamishness seeing Hit Girl's brutality so he probably fits this trope until the end when he gets the jetpack.).
- Dogged Nice Guy: Dave is this trope personified.
- The Don: Frank D'Amico is a near-classic mafioso crime lord.
- 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, then run over by a car, and then mistaken for a boywhore. Also, his attempt to save Mr. Bitey.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. Turns out Joe only has standards on who is screwed over.
[Chris hands his father a list]
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Frank D'Amico obviously loves his son Chris and he appears seriously worried when he thinks he 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: Several:
- 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 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 Suite Fight: The climax of the film.
- Fan Service: Katie, semi-topless, having Dave help her apply the self-tanner. Place your own "tanning cream" joke here.
- Sounds pretty depraved, but Hit - Girl is known to have some fans older than her...
- 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).
- 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 Fourth Wall? (With a Shout-Out-cum-Take That to Frank Miller?)
- 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 MOTHER FUCKING 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 .
- Girlish Pigtails: Mindy tends to wear them when out of her Hit-Girl costume.
- Godzilla Threshold: "That's it; I'm getting the bazooka."
- Go Out with a Smile: Big Daddy. So what if he's rather crispy, his daughter's okay!
- 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.
- Guns Akimbo: Hit-Girl with handguns, 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.
- Heroic Sociopath: Hit-Girl and Big Daddy.
- 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.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Big Daddy and Hit Girl. They adore each other very much, but her father raises her to be a foul-mouthed, violent killing machine from Hell 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.
- 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 do anything about it.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A non-romantic example: Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. Then Kick Ass and Hit-Girl.
- 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!"
- Idiot Hero: At first, Dave is quite naive, not particularly bright... and aware of it. He gets better.
- I Just Want to Be Special
- 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.
- Instant Expert: Apparently, it takes Kick-Ass about five minutes of reading the manual to master the use of the Jet Pack. Lampshaded by Hit-Girl when she tells him to do so. To be fair, the actual flight controls are essentially "push both buttons to fly, steer with both joysticks".
- 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.
- 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.
- Not so wholesomely, the actress herself had at least one countdown website. You know it's true.
- 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.
- Jet Pack: Kick-Ass uses a freakin' jetpack with dual mounted Gatling guns to defeat the mob.
- The Jimmy Hart Version: 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.
- 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.
Hit-Girl: What a douche.
- Kid Hero: Hit-Girl. And, technically, Kick-Ass.
- 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.
- Killed Off for Real: Big Daddy and Frank D'Amico.
- 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.
- Knife Nut: Hit-Girl adores butterfly knives and swords, although she is a pretty good shot as well.
- 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 Tykebomb: Hit-Girl was raised with two purposes in life: A) kill criminals in general; B) kill the crime lord who wronged her father.
- Stu, Chris' bodyguard gets a major one. His first appearence has him tell a pre-surgery/Kick-Ass Dave to fuck off for even wanting to talk to Chris. He later gets killed by Kick-Ass when the latter rescues Hit Girl with Big Daddy's mini-gun-equipped jetpack.
- Late to the Party: 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.
- Lighter and Softer: Everybody isn't as much of an asshole compared to the comics, but the violence itself remains. The movie is also more idealistic and has a more upbeat ending than the comic as well. This is Lampshaded by a statement made by Dave early on that ends with "a combination of optimism and naivete". A contrast to the comics line which ends with "loneliness and despair".
- 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", and that if she actually spoke like Hit Girl at home she'd get punished. 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.
- 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.
- 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. Mrs. D'Amico gets too little screentime to tell if she cares at all.
- The Mafiya: A member of the Russian Mafia meets his gory doom in a microwave chamber.
- 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.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Played straight. After revealing to Katie that he is Kick Ass in a situation Gone Horribly Wrong, she invited him to sleep with her and cements their relationship.
- 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:
- Memetic Outfit: Invoked: Despite their obvious cheesiness, Kick-Ass' and Red Mist's costumes mimic old, cheesy superhero outfits.
- 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.
- Mistaken for Badass: Frank assumes that Kick-Ass is the one dismantling his operations, though to be fair, he had no way of knowing Hit-Girl and Big Daddy even existed. Red Mist sets the record straight later.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- No Social Skills: Hit Girl; her last scene is the first time she's ever been to a regular school.
- The Obi-Wan: Big Daddy is this to Hit-Girl and, to a much lesser extent, Kick-Ass.
- Oh Crap:
- 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.
- One-Scene Wonder: Later in the film, we are treated to a short bit from Craig Ferguson discussing Kick-Ass. It is glorious.
- 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.
- The Peeping Tom: The other videos that Chris has recorded on his hidden camera-bear appear to be of ladies in their underwear.
- 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.
- Pint-Sized 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.
- Plucky Girl: 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: 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 lists several well-known 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 injustice. In the comics, he was a 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.
- Short version: The characters are treated more like people the audience should give a fuck about instead of Mark Millar's usual parade of completely hateful assholes.
- 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 nobody.
- Quote Swear Unquote: "Show's over, motherfuckers".
- 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.
- 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 Macready/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".
- Refuge in Audacity: The movie is very violent. Any other superhero movie with so many people killed would be a very dark, grim affair, a psychological deconstruction of the heroes. This one, however, maintains lots of comical and awesome moments, mostly because a little kid probably has a body count higher than all other characters in this movie put together. The actress who plays Hit-Girl, Chloë Moretz, was 11 at the time of filming, and the character is even younger than that by all estimates. She fights hand-to-hand with a full-grown man and almost wins, she's a Knife Nut, she has a viewpoint scene that's a complete First-Person Shooter sequence, and her only cute or girly scenes come when she's shot, or just punking her father.
- Redemption Equals Death
- 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!
- The Reveal Prompts Romance: Between Dave and Katie.
- 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. 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. Hit-Girl at the end of the film as well.
- 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: 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. Both scenes utterly fail to convey just how much over-the-top squick & violence the viewer is getting into. Followed by a training scene of Damon/Big-Daddy shooting Mindy in her bulletproof vest to toughen her up. Which scratches the surface but fails again.
- 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.
- Self-Defenseless: Kick-Ass' taser against Razoul's forehead.
- Sequel Hook
- Shallow Love Interest: Katie. She does allow for plot development (without her, Kick-Ass wouldn't have met Hit-Girl and Big Daddy), and character development as well.
- The scene where Kick-Ass attempts to jump the roof is the same roof used in Spider-Man.
- The movie ends with Red Mist quoting The Joker from Tim Burton's Batman. "Wait till they get a load of me."
- A line from Bride Of Frankenstein.
- Music from The Dollars Trilogy as Hit Girl enters the mafia safehouse.
- 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.
- Scott Pilgrim is among the many comics mentioned by name; coincidentally, the first trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was attached to Kick-Ass.
- In the same scene, the shojo manga magazine Shojo Beat is mentioned.
- Big Daddy name-drops John Woo while quizzing Hit Girl.
- The microwave chamber torture scene is lifted almost wholesale from the James Bond movie Licence to Kill, but in that movie it was a decompression chamber. Same effect, though.
- In light of this, 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. 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 sound nearly identical to the themes from 28 Days Later and Sunshine, both directed by Danny Boyle.
- Not "sounds nearly identical". They are those themes.
- 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 he's always wanted to yell "SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!!" as he's preparing to shoot Hit-Girl with a bazooka.
- 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.
- Who am I? I'm Kick-Ass!
- 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.
- Skirt Over Slacks: Hit-Girl's hero costume.
- 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.
- Soundtrack Dissonance:
- Standard Pre-Ass-Kicking Snippet: 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 Jet Pack to save the day.
- 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.
- Superhero Packing Heat: Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. And Kick-Ass in the final showdown.
- 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.
- The Syndicate: Frank D'Amico's crime empire.
- Ten-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.
- Theme Naming: According the end credits, Frank D'amico's main Mooks are called Sporty, Scary, Posh, Ginger, and Baby.
- This Is Sparta: "I'll tell you who owes her a childhood! FRANK! D'AMICO!!"
- Those Two Guys: Marty and Todd
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Defied 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 (trope), 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 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.
- 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 still good 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 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.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour:
- 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 Big Daddy himself considers Hit-Girl acting like a normal girl troubling.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- "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.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: 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.
- It's never told what happened to Katie. Reportedly, a longer director's cut was going to explain this but was never released. She does return in the sequel, though.
- 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.
- Where Da White Women At?: Rasul dates Katie and later has a Stripperiffic white girl on his arm.
- 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?
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Dave Lizewski, to the point of being an Idiot Hero.
- Wimp Fight:
- Red Mist vs Kick-Ass.
- Kick-Ass' second fight, the one that makes him an internet sensation in-universe, goes like this at first.
- X Meets Y: Watchmen meets Superbad.
- You Bastard: Possible in-universe example when Hit-Girl cuts off the stream with "Show's over, motherfuckers."
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Mindy Macready wears a noxiously patterned purple wig as a part of her Hit-Girl costume.
- 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.
- You Wanna Get Sued?: Big Daddy in the movie. Subverted promptly:
- 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.