What Is the Movie "Kick-Ass" About?

by James Rutter

Matthew Vaughn directed "Kick-Ass," which takes its story from the "Kick-Ass" comic book written and illustrated by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., respectively. This film intertwines the story of a nerdy high-schooler trying to impress a girl with the revenge tale of an ex-cop wronged by a criminal overlord. During its opening week at the box office, "Kick-Ass" earned nearly $20 million, and it has since grossed almost $100 million worldwide.


Aaron Johnson plays the teenaged Dave, who doubles as the titular character when he dons his superhero disguise. Nicolas Cage plays the role of Big Daddy, an ex-cop framed by the gang lord Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong). Chloe Moretz co-stars as Hit Girl, an 11-year-old martial arts, small firearms and melee weapons specialist trained by Big Daddy to help enact his plan of revenge. Other cast members include Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), who plays Dave's unrequited high school love interest, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who plays Frank's son, Chris.


Although he possesses no superpowers, Dave wants to emulate the superheroes he reads about in comic books. He dons a modified bodysuit and attempts to fight crime, only to get run over by a car and stabbed. This accident leaves him with an enhanced tolerance for pain. A passerby puts a videotape of him fighting gang members on the Internet, and Dave becomes a local sensation. Katie contacts his MySpace page and asks him to confront a drug dealer. The drug dealer and his group quickly subdue Dave, but Hit Girl rescues him. She and Big Daddy begin working with Kick-Ass to take down Frank's criminal syndicate. Chris imitates Dave by also pretending to be a superhero and lures Dave into a trap to catch Big Daddy.

Being Yourself

Like many teenagers, Dave feels unsure about himself and his standing amongst his peers. After Katie hears a rumor that Dave is gay, Dave pretends to be gay in order to have a friendship with her. When he finds out that she admires Kick-Ass, he tries to come to her rescue. Ultimately, she winds up liking him for who he is when he decides to give up being Kick-Ass and tell her the truth about his secret crime fighting identity (and his longtime crush on her).


The secondary theme in "Kick-Ass" concerns revenge, and whether it is justified or ultimately futile. Frank framed Big Daddy for a crime that sent him to prison. After his release, Big Daddy devoted all of his energies, including those of his daughter, to enacting revenge on Frank. This theme dovetails with the primary theme of Hit Girl's story. After Frank framed Big Daddy, Hit Girl's mother committed suicide. This left Hit Girl parentless and living with her dad's former partner. When she is finally reunited with Big Daddy, he is less interested in being a parent than in training her to kill gang members. Big Daddy perishes in the final battle, as does Frank. This lets Hit Girl finally have a childhood, which she reluctantly embraces.

About the Author

Since 2005, James Rutter has worked as a freelance journalist for print and Internet publications, including the “News of Delaware County,” “Main Line Times” and Broad Street Review. As a former chemist, college professor and competitive weightlifter, he writes about science, education and exercise. Rutter earned a B.A. in philosophy and biology from Albright College and studied philosophy and cognitive science at Temple University.