Created By: DennisDunjinman on July 7, 2013 Last Edited By: DennisDunjinman on July 30, 2013
Troped

Barehanded Bar Bending (one more hat needed)

To show a foe is stronger than they appear, have them twist solid metal into a pretzel.

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Things are looking bad now. You've made the monster really angry. It's going to beat down on you mercilessly. But it's all right; you think you can take this guy. You grab a metal beam to use as an Improvised Weapon and swing it away...

...except the monster has grabbed it out of your hands and has bent it into a nice right angle. For added threat, the monster could go the extra mile and twist it into a pretzel, and then discard the beam. This is generally a good signal to take the extra seconds you bought to turn and run as fast as you can. If the monster could do that to solid metal, imagine what it could do to human bones.

The beam need not be an actual beam; things such as swords or ray guns can also be bent to make a similar point that the foe has Super Strength and is not to be underestimated. Subtrope of Intimidation Demonstration.

Not to be confused with Extra-ore-dinary.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Wild Tiger's introduction in Tiger & Bunny has him bending monorail tracks into a knot.

Comic Books
  • Exploited in an Archie comic. One day Archie and Jughead went to the landfill and picked up a bent iron pipe. The two of them took it to a road construction site where similar pipes were waiting to be installed. Then, when arch-rival Reggie walked by, Archie grabbed the bent pipe while Jughead yelled that the construction crew would "...be mad if you keep messing up their pipe like that." This freaked Reggie out big time.
    • In another Archie, Moose is trying to keep his temper rather than behaving as the Crazy Jealous Guy he usually is when any other boy talks to his girlfriend Midge. He's standing in front of an iron fence with his hands behind his back thinking to himself "gotta keep muh temper...gotta keep muh temper." The Reveal comes as he steps away from the fence, showing the iron bars twisted into pretzels where he had been bending them behind his back.
  • Used in PS238 to demonstrate that Argonaut has regained his powers. He hasn't; the beam he uses was gimmicked beforehand.
Film
  • In the Doom film, during the fight of Reaper and the infected Sarge. Reaper takes a detached railing and uses it to stab Sarge's hand. Sarge bends the beam around his hand to make improvised brass knuckles.
  • Short Circuit 2 has the robotic Johnny Five pull off the pretzel variant when attacked by thieves trying to get him off their tail. Being an Actual Pacifist turned Technical Pacifist, he discards the bent beam and uses his metal-bending strength to contain one thief by rolling him up in a mesh fence.
  • Suburban Commando has the alien bounty hunters show off their strength to Shep by bending a metal bar. The first one bends it into a V shape, the second one straightens it out again. Shep one-ups them by bending it into the shape of a bunny.

Literature
  • Some Norse folklore recounted in the American Gods novella "Monarch of the Glen" makes use of this trope. There is a seductive forest creature called the Huldra/Hulder, which looks like a beautiful woman with a cow's tail. Sometimes men will win their love and will marry them, causing them to lose their tail. If a human husband mistreats the Huldra, she will remind him of her strength by bending barehanded a horseshoe or fireplace poker (sometimes a red hot one at that).
  • Animorphs: When the Venber are first encountered, one of them is seen bending rebar like spaghetti in arctic conditions.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Hagrid appears Uncle Vernon threatens him with a rifle. Hagrid yanks the gun out of his hands, ties the barrel in a knot, and chucks it in the corner.
  • The Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Speckled Band has Dr. Roylott threaten Holmes by bending an iron poker in half. After he leaves, the totally unfazed Holmes straightens it back.
  • In one of The Dresden Files novels, Thomas helps Harry intimidate some of Marcone's thugs by twisting a couple of barbells together.
Live-Action TV
  • The Adventures of Superman
    • Superman regularly bends the villains' guns after they get done Shooting Superman; when the guns are rifles or shotguns Superman often twists them into knots.
    • In one episode a pawnshop specializes in items Superman has previously bent, but it turns out they're counterfeit: the store owner uses a bench vise to artificially bend the merchandise.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • "Space Seed". When Kirk confronts Khan in the Enterprise engine room, Khan grabs Kirk's phaser away from him and bends/crushes it in his bare hands. During the ensuing fight he boasts that he has five times Kirk's strength.
  • In the short-lived 70s' superhero teamup show Legends of the Superheroes, Giganta makes an appearance. Since the show had an extremely limited budget, special effects to display her growth power were out of the question, so her super-strength is demonstrated by her bending a prop metal bar instead.

Video Games
  • In Crash Team Racing, in the Adventure Mode's character selection, Tiny Tiger is effortlessly juggling a barbell around. If you select him, he'll bend the barbell into right angles.

Western Animation
  • One episode of Batman Beyond had Maxine in pursuit with a genetically altered human-dinosaur hybrid. She attempts to fight it off with a metal bar she finds, only for the dinosaur man to bend it.
  • In Futurama there's an entire class of robots who have this as their sole purpose: they bend girders. The main character Bender is one of them. When the Planet Express crew attend robot Olympics, this trope is shown when several brawny robot competitors in a bending competition twist several extremely large girders labelled "unbendable" into very intricate knots. This impresses Bender, knowing that he would never be able to keep up with that kind of strength.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • While not depicted as being super strong, Bugs Bunny will on ocassion bend Elmer's shotgun, even tying it into a knot.
    • In the short "Muscle Tough", Daffy Duck gets into a strenght contest with a bodybuilder, who ties a pipe around a pole. Daffy tries it with a fishing pole, but only manages to tie himself into a knot.

Real Life
  • King Augustus of Saxony and Poland liked to show off his strength by ripping a horse iron apart. Mentioned in the novel Krabat.
  • Peter the Great liked to boast his strength by bending, twisting and tying iron fireplace pokers into knots.
Community Feedback Replies: 48
  • July 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    1. The name could be confused for being able to alter laser beams or energy beams.

    2. The name could also be confused for simply having the ability to bend, like Bender in Futurama, rather than having the monster show that it can treat weapons like nothing.
  • July 7, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Well, don't just sit there. You have any ideas on how to make the name clearer?

    While you're mentioning Bender, I have to say this trope seems to be associated with robots more than most monsters.
  • July 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Not really, as it can cover huge monster, supervillains... and even superheroes.

    Should this be limited to monsters, or can it be that treating weapons like clay or paper is a way to show off someone's power?

    After all, a good definition helps inform what the name will be.
  • July 7, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    The simple version:

    Person defends self with metal bar. Foe grabs metal bar and bends it like it's nothing.

    But it could be expanded to any number of things, like ray guns.
  • July 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ It should, because that's really narrow. Many kinds of weapons get treated this way.

  • July 7, 2013
    tachyonTrail
  • July 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That implies not being as good, not being bendable or breakable.

    It's almost like The Worf Effect for weapons, but I don't think we should snowclone that.
  • July 7, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    ^ But it's not about the weapon being used, it's about the character being strong enough to break it easily.

    Think something along the lines of an Effortless Amazonian Lift, but in a combat situation.
  • July 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ And The Worf Effect isn't about Worf actually fighting, but him getting smacked around to prove the monster is that strong.
  • July 7, 2013
    StarSword
    Anime and Manga:
    • Bleach: In his first Day In The Limelight story arc, Chad Sado demonstrates how imhumanly tough he is by catching a falling I-beam on his back. He's a little bloody, but the I-beam is bent.

    Literature:
    • In Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone, when Hagrid appears Uncle Vernon threatens him with a rifle. Hagrid yanks the gun out of his hands, ties the barrel in a knot, and chucks it in the corner.
  • July 7, 2013
    tachyonTrail
    Howzabout: Power Pretzelizer?
  • July 7, 2013
    DAN004
    • In Crash Team Racing, in the Adventure Mode's character selection, Tiny Tiger is effortlessly juggling a barbell around. If you select him, he'll bend the barbell into right angles.
  • July 7, 2013
    Omeganian
    In The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Dr. Roylott threatens Holmes by bending an iron poker in half. After he leaves, the totally unfazed Holmes straightens it back.
  • July 7, 2013
    randomsurfer
    See also Intimidation Demonstration.

    • The Adventures Of Superman
      • Superman regularly bends the villains' guns after they get done Shooting Superman; when the guns are rifles or shotguns Superman often pretzelizes them.
      • In one episode a souvinier shop specializes in items Superman has previously bent during various adventures, but it turns out they're counterfeit: the store owner uses a bench vise to artifically bend stuff.
  • July 7, 2013
    Arivne
    Though I am a fan of Bleach, I don't think the Chad/Sado example fits the trope as written, because Chad/Sado didn't bend the I-beam, it bent itself hitting him.

    We may need a new trope for objects bending/breaking when they hit someone to show how tough (as opposed to how strong) the target is.

    Live Action TV
    • Star Trek The Original Series episode "Space Seed". When Kirk goes after Khan in the Enterprise engine room, Khan grabs Kirk's phaser away from him and bends/crushes it in his bare hands. During the ensuing fight he boasts that he has five times Kirk's strength.
  • July 7, 2013
    arbiter099
    Just an idea, what about Metal Pretzels? Power Bending? Strong People Bend Things? Super Strength Showoff? Description needs to be clear that this is a demonstration/way to show off (whatever works better) that a character has Super Strength and cut Example As Thesis intro.
  • July 7, 2013
    tachyonTrail
    Nice Pretzel You Have There would also work.
  • July 7, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I feel the current title is the most concise at this time. Unless I should switch it to something like Bar Bender or Weapon Warper.
  • July 7, 2013
    tachyonTrail
    Sadly, Weapon Warper would probably be more all-encompassing. If you were to ask me, I'd say go for descriptiveness first and conciseness second. Beam Bender kind of doesn't give you much context right off.

    Also, have an example:

    VideoGames
    • In Tales Of Destiny 2 and the remake of Tales Of Destiny (somebody find out why those links are red please?), Barbatos' No Items Ever move makes attempting to use any items at all utterly useless. This is sort of a mechanical beam bender.
    • That move makes a reappearance in Tales Of Vesperia.
  • July 7, 2013
    Chabal2
    Variation: in Shrek, one of the guards starts yelling and waving a torch at Shrek. Shrek licks his fingers, calmly puts out the torch, and tells the petrified guards that "This Is The Part Where you run away". They do so.
  • July 8, 2013
    DAN004
    In the Doom film, in the fight of Reaper and the infected Sarge, the latter bends a detached railing that the former used to stab his hand with, around said hand, making it a makeshift brass knuckles in the process.
  • July 8, 2013
    Melkior
    Suggestions for alternate trope names: The Metal Mangler or just Metal Mangler.
  • July 8, 2013
    MattStriker
    Live Action TV
    • In the short-lived 70s' superhero teamup show Legends of the Superheroes, Giganta makes an appearance. Since the show had an extremely limited budget, special effects to display her growth power were out of the question, so her super-strength is demonstrated by her bending a prop metal bar instead.
  • July 8, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 8, 2013
    Quantumawsome
    In Homestuck, Doc Scratch does this to Spades Slick's cast iron horse hitcher.
  • July 8, 2013
    TonyG
    • While not depicted as being superstrong, Bugs Bunny will on ocassion bend Elmer's shotgun, even tying it into a knot.
    • On the short "Muscle Tough", Daffy Duck gets into a strenght contest with a bodybuilder, who ties a pipe around a pole. Daffy tries it with a fishing pole, but only manages to tie himself into a knot.
  • July 8, 2013
    nitrokitty
    • Wild Tiger's introduction in Tiger And Bunny has him bending monorail tracks into a knot.
  • July 8, 2013
    billybobfred
    Someone tries to intimidate Sherlock Holmes with this in one story or another by bending his fireplace poker into a knot, but after he leaves Sherlock pulls the trope himself by bending it back into shape.

    ... if anyone could remember which story, then it can be added.
  • July 9, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ Omeganian has already given it above. It just hasn't been added to the main examples section yet.
  • July 9, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^Because it's an example of Intimidation Demonstration, which this is a subtrope thereof.
  • July 9, 2013
    KingZeal
    Can we rename this "Bends Steel In Their Bare Hands", since this is more broad than beams?

  • July 9, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I would. But it's still a little wordy.
  • July 10, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Television Miniseries
    • The Thorn Birds has two minor characters meet, and get into a muscleman show-off. The Japanese man lifts and carries an anvil about five feet. The British sailor grabs a horseshoe, and bends it almost straight in his hands. Three or four spectators begin taking bets.
  • July 12, 2013
    aurora369
    Real Life: Peter The Great liked to boast his strength by bending, twisting and tying iron fireplace pokers into knots.
  • July 12, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In one of The Dresden Files novels, Thomas helps Harry intimidate some of Marcone's thugs by twisting a couple of barbells together.
  • July 15, 2013
    Frank75
    • Another Real Life example: King Augustus of Saxony and Poland liked to show off his strength by ripping a horse iron apart. Also mentioned in the novel Krabat.

  • July 15, 2013
    DracMonster
    Barehanded Bar Bending for max alliteration?

  • July 15, 2013
    Hodor
    Some Norse folklore recounted in the American Gods novella "Monarch of the Glen" makes use of this trope. There is a seductive forest creature called the Huldra/Hulder, which looks like a beautiful woman with a cow's tail. Sometimes men will win their love and will marry them, causing them to lose their tail. If a human husband mistreats the Huldra, she will remind him of her strength by bending barehanded a horseshoe or fireplace poker (sometimes a red hot one at that).
  • July 20, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Barehanded Beam Bending REALLY makes me think of deflecting laser beams with your hands/creating a forcefield. Bar works better.

    Intimidation Through Bending?
  • July 21, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ I Thought It Meant people in Avatar The Last Airbender using element bending to intimidate people. :P
  • July 21, 2013
    TBTabby
    Suburban Commando has the alien bounty hunters show off their strength to Shep by bending a metal bar. The first one bends it into a V shape, the second one straightens it out again. Shep one-ups them by bending it into the shape of a bunny.
  • July 21, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    The Avatar people didn't trademark bending. Otherwise, what would they call it when they stretch their elbows and knees before any physical activity?
  • July 21, 2013
    zarpaulus
    • In The Postman the two Augments who lead the Holnists demonstrate their strength by picking up a fireplace poker, each grabbing one end with just a couple fingers, then stretching it out.
  • July 22, 2013
    DAN004
    @ Dennis Dunjinman: I was just joking. :P
  • July 22, 2013
    Chabal2
    Animorphs: When the Venber are first encountered, one of them is seen bending rebar like spaghetti in arctic conditions.
  • July 23, 2013
    SquirrelGuy
    In an Archie comic, one day Archie and Jughead went to the landfill and picked up a bent iron pipe. The two of them took it to a road construction site where similar pipes were waiting to be installed. Then, when arch-rival Reggie walked by, Archie grabbed the bent pipe while Jughead yelled that the construction crew would "...be mad if you keep messing up their pipe like that." This freaked Reggie out big time.
  • July 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In another Archie Moose is trying to keep his temper rather than behaving as the Crazy Jealous Guy he usually is when any other boy talks to his girlfriend Midge. He's standing in front of an iron fence with his hands behind his back thinking to himself "gotta keep muh temper...gotta keep muh temper." The Reveal comes as he steps away from the fence, showing the iron bars twisted and pretzeled where he had been bending them behind his back.
  • July 28, 2013
    DaibhidC
    • Used in PS 238 to demonstrate that Argonaut has regained his powers. He hasn't; the beam he uses was gimmicked beforehand.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=n0nxll6uytb5gbn6t62zmhf2&trope=BarehandedBarBending