In the film Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a teenager who is ignored by girls and obsessed with comics sets out to be a real superhero. He purchases a costume online and begins to fight crime with the name of Kick-Ass. After fighting off three thugs, Dave becomes a internet phenomenon and gets the help of other vigilantes in a collective goal to bring down mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). When analyzing the film, I noticed that it contains the elements of a Hero Myth that are clarified in Linda Seger’s article, Creating a Myth. While most heroes in film have superpowers or special abilities, the character Kick-Ass uses his desire and passion in order to combat his enemies. The archetype of the hero is reinforced throughout the film because Kick-Ass encounters many obstacles, which in turn develop a sense of growth and transformation.
Seger begins by asserting that in hero myths, “the hero is introduced in ordinary surroundings” and “the hero begins as non-hero; innocent, young, simple or humble” (2). As viewers we see that Dave Lizewski is a typical teenager in everyday New York. He fantasizes about how life would be as a superhero. Like most teenage boys, Dave has a crush on a female counterpart, Katie Fonseca (Lyndsy Fonseca), but he is barely noticed
by her and the other girls at school. We can see that he possesses humility because he is neither bold or self-assertive. His innocence can be derived from the fact that his intentions are harmless. He only sets out to do good by fighting crime.
Heath continues by stating that “something new enters the hero’s life and this catalyst sets the story in motion” (2). After being robbed by a pair of street thugs, Dave realizes that he must fight crime and take on the role of a superhero. He orders a wet suit online and begins to train in preparation for the dangers on the city streets. Moreover, when Dave sees the same two men that robbed him and his friend Todd breaking into a car he confronts them with his new suit on. Unfortunately he gets stabbed and stumbles to be hit by a car, causing nerve ending damage. He is rushed to the hospital where doctors fix him with metal plates, which gives him a higher pain threshold. Sequentially, this experience sets the story in motion because Dave’s determination to become a superhero is only sparked and it leads to another crucial event. He later sets up a MySpace account under the name Kick-Ass, which allows the public to contact him and request assistance. One night, he goes out to look for a lost cat and interrupts a chase between thugs who were trying to kill another man. Fortunately, he fights off the attackers and becomes an internet phenomenon after it was recorded and posted on Youtube. Furthermore, we can see that Dave is endowed with bravery and desire. In addition, this sequence of events develop as a whole catalyst, which in turn stimulate the story.
Additionally, Seger argues that “in any journey, the hero usually receives help that often comes from unusual sources”(2). In the film, Damon MacReady (Nicholas Cage) who is an Ex-cop and his 11-year old daughter Mindy (Chloe Moretz) notice Kick Ass’s
escapades. One night, Kick-Ass visit’s the apartment of Rasul after Katie mentions that a guy name Rasul at the clinic would rob and harass her. Reacting off impulse, he tries to threaten him but he is horribly unsuccessful. Angered by such words, Rasul and crew get ready to mutilate him, but Mindy, dressed in costume blasts through the window and kills all the gang members and her dad shoots the last one with a sniper rifle. After, she introduces herself as Hit Girl and takes all the money and guns. Essentially the character of Hit Girl is very unusual. Combing the characteristics of a killer to the one’s of a cute child, Director Matthew Vaughn tries to arouse feelings, emotions, and responses amongst the audience. We become immersed in the sensitive idea of children and violence interacting in cinema.
Furthermore, Seger affirms that “at some point in the story, the hero hits rock bottom, a near death experience or black moment, leading to a type of rebirth”(3). The worst is exposed and the action continues to an intriguing conclusion. For example, in the film, there is a live countdown to the unmasking of Kick-Ass. However, it so happens to be Big Daddy and Kick Ass handcuffed to chairs awaiting their execution by Frank Damico’s mob men. They are brutally beaten to a point where it is thrown off television to only being streamed online. We see Kick Ass’s “black moment” as he is relentlessly tortured. He says “Even with my metal plates and my fucked up nerve 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”. We begin to feel his pain and hope that he makes it through. Nevertheless, they begin to pour gasoline on Big Daddy and set him on fire. Ingeniously, Hit Girl arrives to save them and kills all the men in an intensive
gun battle. She tries to save Big Daddy but he dies from the severity of the burns. Hit Girl rescues Kick Ass and takes him to her father’s apartment where he agrees to help her take down Frank Damico.
Lastly, Seger argues that the hero must face the final ordeal before being reborn as the hero, proving his courage and becoming transformed. She asserts that we need to see him changed at the end (3). This is clearly depicted in the final battle of the film. Hit Girl is pinned down behind a counter without ammo by Frank Damico’s mob men. Just before one of them fires the bazooka, Kick-Ass comes flying up the building with a jet pack. He then expels the artillery installed on the jet pack and wipes out the rest of the men. The last fight scene emerges. Hit Girl takes on Frank DAmico and Kick-Ass takes on his son Chris Damico aka Red Mist( Christopher Mintz-Plasse).However, Kick-Ass and Chris knock each other out to the ground. On the other hand, Hit Girl and Frank battle fiercely. Frank gains the upper hand and prepares to kill her with his pistol, but Kick-Ass fires the bazooka and the rocket propels Frank through the window and it explodes. Chris tries to go after Kick-Ass but Kick-Ass uses the jet pack and flies off with Hit Girl. At the end of the film, Dave says he’s done with crime-fighting and there’s a new generation of superheroes that have emerged through his inspiration.
In other respects, we ask, how has Kick-Ass transformed as a character? Based on observations, Kick-Ass now has his dream girl Katie, who before didn’t notice him or who he didn’t talk to in the first place. Ultimately, Dave has explored the realm that he always wanted to since he was kid. He has learned that superpowers can not hinder or prevent the growth of motivation, purpose, or desire. In essence, we see that the film