Created By: DrakeClawfang on January 22, 2012 Last Edited By: DrakeClawfang on January 28, 2012

Villainous Praise

When a character does something awesome and the villain praises them with a single word

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Trope

Needs More Examples, Needs Related Tropes

The villain stands atop his throne and sends his legion of minions against the hero. The hero leaps forward, cuts away a few of them, then unleashes a super-attack to blast the entire group away. The villain simply mutters "impressive" or some similar word, such as "interesting" or "well done". Smirking or smiling are optional. Likely to only be one or two words.

This type of scene serves to underscore how powerful both hero and villain are. The hero Took a Level in Badass, did something awesome, and has earned praise from the villain. Particularly effective if the villain has looked down on them as weak or is The Stoic. However, the villain's simple response establishes that they really aren't impressed, the hero has only barely attained their notice by this epic action.

See Deadpan Snarker, a character type that may use this trope. Compare Hannibal Lecture or "The Reason You Suck" Speech, which this trope may turn into if the villain turns his words of praise into a speech about how the hero is still too weak to stop them.

Examples

Anime

  • True to their Crazy Awesome creed, in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon gets into Lordgenome's lair by standing on the bow of Dai Gunzan and having the bow launched like a missile to impale on the wall of said lair. Lordgenome's response -- "Impressive".

Film

  • Batman Begins, Ra's Al Ghul claps a few times and calls "impressive" when Bruce manages to defeat Ducard in his final test.
  • Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke shows his new Jedi skills.

Video Games

  • In Megaman Battle Network 3, Bass mutters "interesting. I shall enjoy testing your theory" when he confronts an opponent wielding Dark Aura against Bass's his Life Aura and declares the Dark Aura stronger.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2, Caius says "impressive" in response to Lightning reaching him to attack him during his siege of Valhalla.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Golbez says "impressive" when an opponent survives his EX Burst.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • January 22, 2012
    DrakeClawfang
    Tried to make this about the specific scene that would evoke this response rather than the response itself since stock phrases don't get tropes anymore.
  • January 23, 2012
    ChunkyDaddy
    Is this Deadpan Snarker for villains?
  • January 23, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Too Stock Phrase-y. I recognize there's a common context underscoring all of these, but I'm still concerned with the examples boiling down to "character said X".
  • January 23, 2012
    JonnyB
    Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke shows his new Jedi skills.
  • January 23, 2012
    ChunkyDaddy
    I am not able to get whether this trope about a character praising his opponent in a deadpan manner, or whther the character if being snarky? Depending on which, maybe call is Deadpan Praise or Snarky Praise
  • January 23, 2012
    Stratadrake
    And we can't call it Impressive Snark, either.

    Come to think of it, I think we have a problem where Deadpan Snarker is a character trope, but the snarking itself isn't troped.
  • January 24, 2012
    DrakeClawfang
    Retooled description and name to be more about the scene than the line itself.
  • January 25, 2012
    ChunkyDaddy
    Related to Sarcastic Clapping
  • January 25, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I was mulling this topic over the other day and wondered if there's tropable grounds for a vaillain who is delighted to know he has underestimated the hero's abilities, a "so you are not left-handed" metaphor sense. Not the same as this though.

    And Villainous Praise is, unfortunately, too broad for this context.
  • January 25, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Deadpan Praise seems to be best so far.
  • January 26, 2012
    Rognik
    Is this more about the villain being genuinely impressed and offers a token word of genuine praise? I can almost see it confused for a quick Not So Different, at least with the Villainous Praise title. Of course, it might be something else if the villain is saying "You're good, but not yet in my league" in his snark.

    It's not that I can't see the trope you're talking about, but I'm trying to see which variations do and do not fit it.
  • January 27, 2012
    DrakeClawfang
    I've lost sight myself to be honest, I began with a specific scene, then changed it around to avoid being a Stock Phrase, and seems now it's too vague.
  • January 27, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    The description seems to suggest that this is Empty Villainous Praise or Hollow Villainous Praise. However, I think the examples often depict a villain who is legitimately impressed by a hero's progress, but still confident that he can win. For example, it seems a fair interpretation of Darth Vader's character that he gives a nod of approval towards Luke's training (Vader wants Luke to help him defeat the Emperor after all, and is measuring up his skill during Empire). The same can probably be said of Ra's Al Ghul, who at one time truly believed in Bruce Wayne's ability to carry out his vision. That being said, Villainous Praise is a reasonable fit. It just depends on what specifically this trope depicts.
  • January 27, 2012
    DracMonster
    Your Approval Fills Me With Shame is probably related. I think what you were going for is when someone compliments their opponent because they're so confident of victory they don't mind if said opponent proves a little bit of a challenge after all.

    Is that what you were aiming at? If so it would kind of be an offshoot of Evil Gloating or Badass Boast.

    Complimentary Overconfidence maybe? This could apply to The Rival, not just villains.
  • January 27, 2012
    Generality
    Also from TTGL, when Simon starts to get the upper hand in their Drill O War, Lordgenome exclaims, "INTERESTING!"
  • January 27, 2012
    Prime_of_Perfection
  • January 27, 2012
    Rognik
    I admit Baddie Flattery is a very closely related trope; however, that seems to only apply when talking directly to the hero. I can see this trope being one where the villain is watching in the shadows, or in a shadowy room with lots of screens in front of him, and he mutters to himself, "Well now, aren't you powerful? This might be fun after all." or "You might be I've been looking for all along." Again, the way the trope is described right now is still vague, and it depends on which scenarios the trope is attempting to convey. I also might be misinterpreting the related tropes.
  • January 28, 2012
    Bisected8
    • In Scrubs, Turk and Kelso end up sitting on a park bench to eat their lunch every day. Kelso tries to passive aggressively get Turk to stop using it and eventually just outright tells him it's "his" bench. At the end of the episode, it shows Turk eating his sandwich in the pouring rain and Kelso (watching from inside) mutters a grudging "Impressive...".
  • January 28, 2012
    VioletOrange
    Expect Your Approval Fills Me With Shame if the compliment is about the behavior.
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