Kick-Ass

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Kick-Ass Movie Poster Image
Superhero comedy is super-crass, super-twisted.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 117 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 72 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 202 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite the movie's main theme of taking action and doing something, becoming involved, rather than simply standing by and watching horrible things happen, the methods by which the characters "do something" are questionable at best. And the inclusion of the young girl spewing extremely strong language and gunfire sends a confusing and disturbing message. But nestled in among the violence and foul language, there are also issues of trust, and working together, and the question of whether bravery and recklessness alone can make one a superhero.

Positive Role Models & Representations

"Kick Ass," otherwise known as Dave Lizewski, decides to take a stand against bullies and bad guys by becoming a superhero. The main question is whether this is a good idea -- he both makes a small impact in his attempts to do good and suffers some painful consequences. Each superhero is attempting to make a difference in the name of good, but the violence and near-constant extreme language -- especially from the young girl -- make them far from templates for kids.

Violence

We're talking extreme comic book-style violence with some blood. The main character is transformed after two thugs beat him up and he stumbles into the path of an oncoming car. The 11-year-old Hit Girl is perhaps more skilled and deadly than any other character, and racks up a large body count. In one highly stylized scene she wraps a bad guy around the neck with a cord to make him shoot himself through the head. Otherwise, the movie is filled with fantasy fighting, with knives and billy clubs, and many of the blows feel more real and painful than in a standard superhero movie. There are also tons of weapons (one character has his own arsenal), including a bazooka and a kind of armed jet pack. One character is burned.

Sex

Aside from endless sex jokes and sex talk, the hero looks at naked women (National Geographic-style women in native dress) on the Internet and prepares to masturbate. There is kissing and breast-grabbing. A teen fantasizes about having sex with his well-endowed teacher and we see her in her bra (in a daydream). Later in the film, the hero and a teen girl have fast, loudly passionate sex in an alley behind a comic book store though no nudity appears on screen.

Language

The movie features almost constant swearing, including some from the mouth of an 11-year-old girl. Words include all the variations on "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "c--k," "c--ksucker," "dick," "balls," "t-ts," "p---y," "c--t," "ass," "asshole," "Jesus," "Christ," "retard," and "douche." (Not to mention the title itself.)

Consumerism

Part of a popular comic book franchise. Several brands are mentioned or shown, but not in an overt or meaningful way. They include Pepsi, MySpace, the GMC logo, Welch's jelly, and Slurpee. A Hellboy logo can be seen in the comic book shop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An adult gangster is a drug dealer, and his teenage son -- who becomes "Red Mist" -- wants to become involved in the family business. Drugs are seen and discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kick-Ass is a superhero action/comedy based on a popular comic book that kids will be eager to see. But be prepared: It features teen characters, and -- most notably -- an 11-year-old girl who dole out extreme violence (think slo-mo Matrix-style bloody gunshots to the head) and language (including "f--k" and "c--t" out of the mouth of the 11-year-old). Expect some conspicuous sex scenes between teens and references to drugs. It has some arguably good messages about taking action instead of standing by when bad stuff happens, but it also has a relentless, darkly humorous mean streak. Due to a strong marketing campaign, very positive buzz, and good early reviews, parents are going to have a tough time keeping teens away from this one.

User Reviews

Adult Written byLeon cassif April 27, 2014

Wow!!

Amazing brutal and violent film. One of my favourite
Parent of a 13 year old Written byAlexxxx September 1, 2010

not for kids...

Saw all the commercials and it sounds good, son was excited about it, watched less than 10 mins and turned off because of language.
Teen, 15 years old Written byArabianHorses January 21, 2011

Um....love it!

I love this movie! Hit Girl is AMAZING! And hilarous! Watch this movie please!
Teen, 14 years old Written byHidden_light96 April 20, 2010

Kick-Ass is kick-ass.

Awesome movie! I find it disturbing to see an 11 year-old cussing, but hey, elementary kids cuss nowadays and it's not suprising (Not saying it's a g... Continue reading

What's the story?

Comic book nut Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) wonders why a normal person can't put on a costume and become a superhero, and he gives it a try, becoming Kick-Ass. After a terrible beating, he gets his only superpower: a skeleton laced with metal braces and damaged nerve endings that lessen the sensation of pain. Not long after his debut, more heroes appear, including Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), the 11-year-old Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). A dangerous gangster (Mark Strong) decides to take out the heroes, who are starting to interfere with his drug operations. Everything comes down to an insanely bullet-ridden showdown.

Is it any good?

Simply put, KICK-ASS is a lot of fun, but it's packed with edgy content. Since one of the main characters is a skilled, confident 11-year-old girl, watching her curse and kill can be quite disturbing. She's strong, but often cruel and ruthless. Given the dearth of strong female characters, especially in action movies, Hit Girl could be a chance to create a powerful girl lead, but her extremely young age mixed with the limit-pushing content instead pushes the film into exploitative territory. The movie hints that she's been forced to grow up too quickly, and in that way, she's a pathetic character. But young viewers will likely miss that point.

The extreme violence, intense language, and overt sex underlines the kind of reckless, dangerous attitude of the movie. Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust) balances several characters with brisk economy and punchy scenes, not unlike comic book panels. The movie only falters during its final third, when Vaughn lets the humor drop in order to wrap up the explosive story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the character of Hit Girl. Was the idea of a skilled, confident 11-year-old girl superhero cool, or disturbing? Or both? Why? Is she a role model, or a cautionary tale? What responsibility does the movie studio and filmmakers have to the young actress involved in an adult film like this?

  • Were the violence, language and sex necessary for this movie? How would it have played without them?

  • What do you think about the concept of a regular person becoming a superhero? What are the dangers involved? What are the benefits? Are courage and weapons enough? What are some realistic ways kids and teens can be "superheroes"?

  • Can you think of any real-life examples where someone stepping in when they saw something bad happening would have made a big difference?

Movie details

For kids who love action

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