Created By: HugoLumanAugust 17, 2012 Last Edited By: HugoLumanAugust 26, 2012
Troped

Climactic Elevator Ride

Getting to where the climax will be via a dramatic elevator ride.

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It's time for Bob to face his final destiny. The Evil Overlord is on the roof, preparing to launch his master plan, and the only thing to do is go up there and face him. So, Bob gets in the lift, maybe saying a last few words to Alice. They check their weapons, make their peace, and wait for the door to open at the top.

The elavator ride serves as a good pause point in the action to resolve some loose ends, or just prepare for the final battle. The quiet ascent --or descent-- is the Calm Before The Storm and really builds up what is about to unfold.

It needn't be before the actual climax. A good semi-climax will do, so long as it's dramatic and looks like it might be the real thing.

See also Roof Top Confrontation, which often follows. Not to be confused with Climbing Climax or Elevator Action Sequence, since the action doesn't actually happen on the elevator.

Examples:

Film
  • Total Recall 1990. Quaid takes an elevator ride up to his final showdown with Cohaagen over the fate of Mars.
  • In Film/Aliens, Ripley rides down an elevator deep into the soon-to-be-exploding colony to rescue a little girl. She takes this time to ready all her weapons.
  • Happens in Vanilla Sky as well. Tom Cruise's character meets with "Tech Support", who proceeds to explain what exactly's been happening to him throughout the film. To drive it home, the elevator ride is impossibly long, making it clear that Cruise is in a dreamworld.

VideoGames
  • Half Life 2 has Gordon and Alyx ride up an elevator before the final battle. Alyx takes this time to have say a few things.
  • Jack rides up the elevator to the top of city hall to face the final boss in Bio Shock
  • Spec Ops - The Line shows the main character taking heading to the final showdown by riding an elevator to the penthouse of the tallest skyscraper in Dubai.
  • Time Crisis - Right before the final boss battle, Wild Dog takes Rachel hostage in an elevator. Richard has to take the other elevator to catch up.
  • Elite Beat Agents - In the "Just A Peanut Matter" (song: "I'm a Survivor") stage, the main character takes the freight elevator to the top of the peanut warehouse where the evil alien queen is.
  • Left 4 Dead - In the No Mercy campaign, the end of the penultimate stage involves traveling 25 floors up an elevator where some conversation takes place.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - In the first campaign, the survivors take an elevator down to the ground floor of the mall where Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car (and their best chance of escape) is parked.
  • Modern Warfare 3 has one halfway through the last level, when Price and Yuri ride an elevator to the final battle with Makarov and his goons.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • August 18, 2012
    Arivne
    Sometimes precedes a Rooftop Confrontation.

    Film
    • Total Recall 1990. Quaid takes an elevator ride up to his final showdown with Cohaagen over the fate of Mars.
  • August 19, 2012
    Heffenfeffer
    Videogames:
    • Spec Ops - The Line shows the main character taking heading to the final showdown by riding an elevator to the penthouse of the tallest skyscraper in Dubai.
    • Time Crisis - Right before the final boss battle, Wild Dog takes Rachel hostage in an elevator. Richard has to take the other elevator to catch up.
    • Elite Beat Agents - In the "Just A Peanut Matter" (song: "I'm a Survivor") stage, the main character takes the freight elevator to the top of the peanut warehouse where the evil alien queen is.
    • Left 4 Dead - In the No Mercy campaign, the end of the penultimate stage involves traveling 25 floors up an elevator where some conversation takes place.
    • Left 4 Dead 2 - Inverted (possibly), as the elevator travels down to the ground floor of the mall where Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car (and their best chance of escape) is parked.
    • Resident Evil 4 - When climbing the last part of the castle tower to take on Ramon Salazar, Leon has to ride a freight elevator that can only take so much weight on it. Enemies then descend from the ceiling trying to slow him down, which Leon then has to kill or push off the elevator.
  • August 19, 2012
    HugoLuman
    The elevator can be going up or down, but it's not this trope if the fight is on the elevator. That's another trope.
  • August 19, 2012
    Amdillae
    Subverted in Mass Effect. Shepherd and team get in the elevator heading to Citadel Tower where Saren is, but halfway up it stops and they have to walk the rest of the way.
  • August 20, 2012
    Amdillae
    Not really the climax but the tubes that take Katniss and the other tributes to the arena during The Hunger Games could fall under this. This could also apply to the self retracting ladder used to enter the hovercrafts.
  • August 20, 2012
    BearyScary
    Would the heroine's elevator ride in the Silent Hill movie count as an example? She doesn't ride the elevator into the climax, but into meeting the Woobie Destroyer Of Worlds that made Silent Hill what it was before the climax itself.
  • August 20, 2012
    KTera
    Modern Warfare 3 has one halfway through the last level, when Price and Yuri ride an elevator to the final battle with Makarov and his goons.
  • August 20, 2012
    Shnakepup
    • Happens in Vanilla Sky as well. Tom Cruise's character meets with "Tech Support", who proceeds to explain what exactly's been happening to him throughout the film. To drive it home, the elevator ride is impossibly long, making it clear that Cruise is in a dreamworld.
  • August 23, 2012
    HugoLuman
    We may have to discuss that Hunger Games example, but a solid semi-climax probably works as well. It could be argued that entering the Arena is the climax of Act I of the book.

    As for those other examples, remember that the essence of the trope is build-up. So, if they take an elevator but the ride is not shown/mentioned at all, it's not this trope. I'll take a look at the Mass Effect and Silent Hill Movie examples. The others sound like solid examples, though.
  • August 26, 2012
    Lightbulbs
    Used in Bioshock as well - in the climactic battle, before Jack faces the Big Bad Frank Fontaine, he travels up in a rather dramatic elevator ride where Frank taunts him mercilessly.

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