Could you list all of the tropes that you consider "feel good violence"?
Okay, “Feel Good Violence” is very simple as a concept.It’s violence that feels good, when you’re reading it, when you’re watching it on screen, because for the perpetrator violence can feel really damn good.However,that is violence when taken outside of context. It is violence without consequences. It is violence for the sake of violence. Violence that serves no purpose but to prove the character or person is tough.
Protagonist Sanctioned Bullying - Bullying in general is a fairly popular method to achieve “Feel Good
Violence” because bullying does feel good. The audience sympathizes with
the protagonist, so when the protagonist acts they cheer for it. Its
not presented as bullying by the narrative, but it is still bullying.
Usually it’s a rival or a character set up to “deserve it”, but sometimes not.
Making people afraid makes you feel tough. Many authors will fall prey to the sweet lure of bullying and not even know it because bullying is violence without fear of consequence. Most often, they’ve been the recipients rather than the perpetrators, and acting as the bully is a very different ballgame. It is an emotional and psychological high. You feel big, strong, safe, and untouchable. Powerful.
In their worst incarnations, most superheroes become bullies.
Bullying is all about control, protected status, and freedom from consequences. An entirely fictional world creates the opportunity for all these things, with the narrative itself siding with the bully. Bullying is Feel Good Violence writ large in real life. It’ll follow you into the fictional world just as easily. Power is a high you never forget.
This is very common trope for characters who also act as a means of self-insertion by the author. For them, it isn’t bullying. It’s an example of how awesome their character is and how tough they are.
Everything But Dead
- When the only morals applied are if someone died, the rest is sanctioned without comment. There are no narrative consequences for the character’s behavior, and everyone cheers them on. Anyone who calls them out is an acceptable target, usually evil, or the protagonist wins them over in the end because their actions are “justified”.
By Any Means Stupid - This is the “by any means necessary“ trope, where the violence really isn’t necessary and the author just wanted an excuse to paint the room red.
Unprovoked Violence Is Always the Solution - This is the one where the protagonist skips all the other steps and goes straight to preemptive violence against a total stranger, for no reason other than it makes them appear tough. Usually not framed by the narrative as bad, but it is. Oh, yes, it is. Worse there usually aren’t any consequences for the hero physically assaulting someone in a room full of witnesses because everyone knows they’re the hero, right?
Random Violence Before Strangers is A-Okay - The
protagonist disembowels a bully in front of their victim in order to
protect them and receives effusive thank yous. Nothing comes from this.
The bad guy is dead. We all feel good. All is right in the world.
Except… violence freaks people out.
Acceptable Targets - These are people designated by the writer as non-entities and targets for violence regardless of narrative context. A very slippery slope that is ever descending. But, you know, it feels good? Sure, so long as you’re not on the receiving end. This kind of dehumanization happens in real life too, just in case you were wondering.
Beating Up My Source - You have a character who collects information from an old standby, they threaten and beat up that standby regularly to show they’re tough. At what point does this seem like a terrible idea? Never! Hey, they’re a bad person so you feel good, right?
Waving My Gun Around - Trigger discipline is just the beginning of this problem.
A gun is not a toy. but you’ll find a vast array of narratives who use it that way in order to look tough.
Killing Your Way to the Top - You can’t really destroy organizations like this. Killing the people at the top will just lead to someone else taking their place. Whenever you create a power vacuum someone will fill it. You can’t destroy an organization by killing. It doesn’t work. But, it feels good!
Must Obviously Be Boy - Because female fighters are unicorns and the mooks have never laid eyes on a woman before. Usually part of a larger narrative issue with violence, but acts as a “get out of jail free” card.
Clear the Building - That time the character decided to knock everyone out to prove that they are tough. Weirder when it happens on stealth missions.
I Am Not Gaining Levels - When you’re reading a book and the character is fighting like it’s a video game. They fight everyone like they’re in an RPG chasing XP. Why? We don’t know, but it makes them feel good.
Let Me Shoot Him Twenty Times - We could call this spray and pray, but let’s pretend for a moment the magazine could run dry.
Magic Bullets - The bullets that go where you want, stop when you want, and don’t cause accidental casualties. You know, like the protagonist blind firing through a wall and hitting a four year old playing in the yard across the street.
Body Armor Always Prevents A Blow-through - Nope!
New to Training, Perfect Sparring - That time the main character took on their evil rival (school’s top/better trained student) in a sparring match and won, especially when it was their first day.
Sparring Just In General - The vast majority of Western media doesn’t understand the concept or purpose of sparring. Many authors seem to think its a UFC match where you just beat each other up and the first thing you do during training to “assess your capabilities”.
Queuing for Combat - This is an old Hollywood trick where the burden of a group fight is lifted as the stuntmen wait their turn to fight the protagonist. Particularly egregious in written action sequences where the author doesn’t grasp the concept of teamwork. It also warps the understanding of how many people its possible for a human to fight at once.
Terrible At Torture - Torture is a terrible way to gain information in general because it doesn’t lead to a confession so much as confirmation bias. The subject will tell you whatever you want to hear because they want the pain to stop. It’s even worse when done poorly, which it is 90% of the time. Usually, media uses it for shock value or to prove how tough a protagonist is. Torture is not putting a blowtorch to someone’s foot and hoping for the best. It’s far, far more complicated than that. Neither torturer nor subject come out of the experience whole. Besides, the unimaginative protagonists say, “screw you!” The clever ones lie.
What Is: Dress for Success - How we dress our characters is often necessary for crafting a sense of narrative realism. This comes in often as a reason for why its so difficult to take female action heroes seriously, but it happens to the guys too. Not a bad trope on its own, but often symptomatic of a larger narrative approach to violence that ends with “feel” and “good”.
Beautiful and Badass - This one is a very specific female fantasy, which is that you can meet all the cultural standards and definitions for beauty while being in direct defiance of them. These are the female characters who are never touched by the combat they engage in. They are always graceful, always elegant, always beautiful in motion and the narrative will pause to tell us this often. “She fights like she’s dancing.” For these characters, their supermodel-esque beauty is a natural extension of their being. They don’t work at it. Combat is incidental. It’s a set piece to tell you how awesome the character is. It generally amounts to nothing, serves no real narrative purpose, but by god the author is going to walk us through it in excruciating detail. Combat and character are separate, and consequences are for other people.
My Instincts Performed A Wheel Kick - Your instincts just don’t work that way.
There’s probably more, but that hits most of the major sins.
Keep in mind that many of these tropes are not issues by themselves. They often work when context and consequences are taken into account by their narrative/setting. Generally, this results in characters with no accountability for their behavior and exhibit no responsibility for their actions. The issue, of course, is that responsibility and accountability are what make well-written violence work. Violence often drives the narrative. It’s part and parcel to who the character is, and their decision making. It’s the difference between a character who presents themselves as tough or skilled and one who actually is.
You Won’t Believe Who Was Spotted Leaving Harry Styles’ Primrose Hill Pad!
If Harry was being completely honest, it probably wasn’t the best idea to be a world-renowned popstar and an infamous vigilante.
(Especially when all the comic books said never reveal your secret identity to keep your loved ones safe – which was all well and good, until Louis.)
Or: Harry wants a lot of things – fame, glory, Louis – but that last one is particularly hard to get when everyone thinks you’re dating your secret superhero alter-ego and suddenly you’ve become your own worst cockblock.
He’s established to be massively profiting from cleaning up the mess of his own battles. The injustice of this arrangement along with the carelessness in the actual management of this damage control provides the motive and means for the Vulture to become a villain, making this yet another marvel villain created by Tony Stark. Not that Stark is responsible for Toomes’s choices–but his own choices have consequences and this is one of them.
In fact Toomes directly parallels Tony Stark by scavenging the wreckage of Avenger’s battles and becoming an arms dealer. (Think–Tony creating Ultron out of Chitari tech).
He made a sexual comment about Peter’s aunt, which clearly made him uncomfortable.
He leaves Peter, a child who he has just equipped with a weapons-grade super-suit, to his own devices (under the light supervision of Happy Hogan to be fair) without communicating to Peter his actual expectations for him. He leaves him with the inaccurate impression that he might be called to join the avengers at any time, so when he is silent and distant, Peter, a child, naturally concludes that he must simply “work hard enough” to get his approval.
When Peter starts tracking the weapons and trying to tell him about it, Tony acts dismissively–he tell’s Peter to drop it, but gives no indication that he takes Peter’s concerns seriously or will follow up on the problem. He states that the weapons–which come from tech that he is responsible for–are “below the Avenger’s pay grade.”
He did send the FBI, but honestly he sent those agents to their deaths at the hand of futuristic tech (again, tech he is responsible for safely disposing of!!) if Peter hadn’t been there to save them.
He put a tracker in Peter’s suit without his knowledge or consent–yes, to be able save his life but also to monitor if/when he left the city. When Peter first asks about it, he distracts and evades the question. When Peter makes it clear he objects later, he is told that the choice is not up to him. At no time do they have an honest conversation about how closely Peter is or should be watched—this encourages Peter to keep his own secrets and to go behind their back.
He programs suit he gave Peter to default to insta-kill mode at the drop of a hat. This feature was, admittedly deactivated under the “training wheel’s protocol,” but this only makes it clear that Tony’s idea of who Peter will become and grow into with experience is basically a killer who works for him on his Avengers team.
So Peter get’s in over his head, and people could have died of the Ferry if Stark didn’t come save the day. Is it time for a lecture? yes. It’s time to finally communicate to Peter that he is being heard, explain what his expectations for Peter’s behavior are, encourage him to ask for help when he needs it. It is not time to shame Peter, to place the guilt of all those endangered lives upon his (young) shoulders, to remove all the support he had initially given him, fire him with no warning or second chance, and tell him “I was the only one who believed in you–the other’s thought I was crazy for recruiting a kid” (as if??? everyone criticizing Tony’s Choice to recruit a kid into Civil War meant that they didn’t think that the kid had talent or potential?!?!)
There is zero (0) indication that that lecture and firing was the “tough love moment he needed to pull through” that Tony later spins it as. Nothing about that lecture inspired or motivated; Peter lost the will and the means to continue searching for the Vulture until it literally smacked him in the face by pure coincidence. Instead, it is pretty clear that in the wake of loosing Stark’s support Peter gains confidence in his identity as Spider-man and a hero independent of Stark’s validation and technology.
So Peter saves Tony’s butt by preventing all his crap from being stolen and this earns him back Tony’s favor. So what does Tony do?? Well, he arranges to make Peter, a minor, a part of his team and move him up state away from his aunt and school without his aunt, his legal guardian’s, knowledge or permission.
So yeah. you know in the end, even if Tony Stark is, like, the worst superhero out there, I actually think he is an interesting character if his flaws are actually treated like flaws. My reading of Spider-man Homecoming is that the movie is actually pretty honest about Tony’s character flaws while preserving many of the things people actually like about the character–so I really appreciate the movie for that. Spider-man’s ultimate rejection of Stark’s offer to join the Avengers was sweet, sweet music to my ears lol.
It’s a shame that X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one of the worst superhero films ever made, because it also contains one of the best superhero films never made: right there during the opening credits.
In the first couple minutes of Origins, we’re treated to a montage of Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting alongside one another through a series of battles plucked straight out of your 10th grade history class. They survive an infantry charge during the American Civil War, a nighttime raid on German trenches during WWI, Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion, and even their own execution during the Vietnam War.
Screw a two-hour movie – that’s an amazing TV series. Wolverine and Sabretooth, surly, stubbled, almost literally grizzly immortal soldiers bantering their way through every war in history – and also claw-mauling Nazis. Plus, for long-term drama: Comic book readers know these literal brothers in arms eventually become bitter enemies – imagine experiencing that heartbreak firsthand, after binge-watching several seasons of manly super-bonding. Instead, we got the worst possible version of Deadpool: One literally without a mouth. Whose brilliant idea was that? And how fucking fired are they? We hope it’s “a lot.”
I can’t believe we had to go through AoU, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, BvS and Civil War for the past few years when we could have skipped all of them and jumped straight to all the amazing superhero movies 2017 has been giving us like
Starting from Lego Batman Movie to Logan to GOTG 2 to WW to Spiderman HC to Thor to Justice League ????? we have been so deprived and now we get to receive. Also Black Panther even though that’s next year. These are the movies I’m actually excited for they all were/look so good!!!!!
The past few years
have sucked for reboots. There was Fantastic Four, the
absolute worst iteration of the superheroes ever and a nadir for the
superhero film genre; there was Ghostbusters, the
excessively mediocre, casually sexist, and painfully unfunny
all-female shitfest no one wanted; there are all the live-action
adaptations of cartoons like The Smurfs, which
lack all the soul of the original show; and don’t even get me
started on horror reboots. Hell, the years to come don’t look much
better, what with the cringe-inducingly bad Universal Horrorverse. So
when I saw they were doing a reboot of Power Rangers, a
series I’ve never been a fan of but know a little about, and it
looked like it was going to be yet another tone-deaf, overly gritty,
miserable reboot, I was not impressed and predicted that, like so
many reboots before it, it was going to suck. HARD.
the reboot I’ve been waiting for, a movie that fills me with a
sense of fun, excitement, and even interest. This actually made me want
to go and watch Power
absolutely nothing before this film has ever made me want to do. Like
yes, it’s not a perfect film, but for what it is, it does a lot
right in my eyes. Hell, it actually does shit a lot better than its
contemporaries; it handles elements reboots like Ghostbusters
superhero films like Suicide
really poorly. I’ll explain what I mean in just a moment, but
first, the story:
the high school football star lands himself in detention after
running afoul of the law; there, he meets an autistic boy named Billy
as well as a
pretty young lady named Kimberly. A series of eevnts leads them to a
nearby mine, where they’re joined by Zack and Trini. They discover
some funky coins and soon discover they have superpowers. Returning
to the mine they discover an ancient alien spaceship, where the
little robot Alpha 5 and the cybernetic talking head Zordon fill them
in on their destiny: they are the Power Rangers, guardians of the
universe, and they must stop the evil Rita Repulsa from destroying
the Earth. Rita is searching for a crystal that will give her a
shitton of power, and is out trying to reform her mighty ally Goldar;
can the Rangers learn to work as a team via the power of friendship
in time, or will Rita make her monster grow powerful enough to wipe
“you are the worst superhero i’ve ever heard of !”
“But you have heard of me !”
I think i’ve never saw anyone drawing him with an actual superhero outfit? It’s always the tracksuit lmao
Also, please consider: splendid in boots
“Just stay with me,” Nino whispered, brushing Vixen’s bangs from her eyes. They were crouched in the alley Vixen had ran them to after saving him from becoming a big pile of Nino-like goo. She could hear the rest of the team still fighting the akuma the next block over.
“I can’t,” she sighed, one hand grasping at her necklace. “I’m going to turn back soon and the others need me.”
“Would that be the worst thing, me knowing who you really are?”
Vixen looked at the boy she had fallen in love with, the boy whose life she had just saved and would save over and over again if need be. She looked at the boy she wanted to share her secret with more than anybody else in the world and she lied, “Yes, it would be the worst thing.”
The fox superhero stood up and held out a hand to Nino but he didn’t take it. “You don’t trust me,” he said quietly.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with trust. I want you to be safe.”
“Go. I’ll be fine. Save the world.”
Vixen spared one last glance at Nino and then ran out of the alley, flute raised high.
“Tough break, doll,” Dusuu sighed, floating out of Nino’s messenger bag.
“Yeah, what else is new,” he mumbled. “Dusuu, feathers out.”
“It’s about time, Paon. You’ve almost missed all the fun,” Vixen winked.
“Yeah, Foxy’s already had to transform again since she saved her boyfriend,” Chat Noir laughed, dodging a glob of bright red goo.
“Watch it, Chat,” Ladybug warned. “I don’t have time to kiss any boo-boos tonight.”
“Ugh, get a room already,” Queen Bee complained.
Paon pulled out his steel fan. “Let’s go to work.”
There you go, anon! Hope you enjoyed it. I usually like doing turtle!nino but lately peacock!nino has really been doing it for me so I thought it would be a fun twist for the story.
If you would like me to write a short ML drabble, send me a prompt from this list and a pairing and I will get to it when I can. :)