Examples of movies or movie franchises [[CerebusSyndrome getting progressively more serious.]]

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* ''IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'' starts out in typical Indy fashion, fast action, high adventure and a fun sense of humor. However, once you witness [[spoiler:a man being sacrificed by the Thugee cult in a ritual involving tearing his heart out and slowly lowering into a pit of fire]], the movie gets real bleak real fast.
* ''Film/GoodFellas'' is an odd example. The film often has enough BlackComedy at the beginning, but after the death of Tommy, the film loses completely its comedic beats and is very focused on the drama and seriousness.
* The Adam Sandler film ''Film/{{Click}}'' starts off as a wacky comedy about a man who can pause and fast forward his life with a magical remote control. It eventually shifts from him making a hot blonde jogging go in slow motion to him [[spoiler: fast forwarding through his life, becoming more and more of a jerkass, alienating his entire family, and influencing his son to become like him. He reaches his end when he suffers a major heart attack when his daughter calls his ex-wife's husband dad. He finally dies shortly afterwards after running into the parking lot of the hospital that he's at, after disconnecting himself from life-support, to beg his son to not become like him. Luckily for him, most of the movie is revealed to either be a dream, or Morty giving him a break.]].
* The ''Film/HarryPotter'' film franchise is relatively light-hearted until the end of ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'' when Voldemort is finally resurrected proper.
** Though this was arguably both foreseeable and intended, given the fact that JK Rowling wanted her readers to "grow" with the characters and the level of maturity of the books.
* ''Film/ThreeKings'' starts out as a madcap comedy/heist film until about a third of the way through, when we see a Republican Guardsmen execute a begging Iraqi civilian woman (in slow motion, no less).
* ''Film/{{Pleasantville}}'' starts out on a pretty light-hearted note, until the darker aspects of the [[TheWarOnStraw the movie version of 1950s]] start showing up.
* ''Film/TheCableGuy''. One of the reasons it failed at the box office was that fans of JimCarrey were not prepared for how dark the film gets in the third act.
* ''Film/{{Hancock}}'' starts off as a parody of the superhero genre, then devolves into a serious, straight superhero film during the second act.
* ''MarvelCinematicUniverse'' seem to be going towards this path. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that the early movies were to introduce the characters and the universe that they life. So, as more films come, [[WorldBuilding more the world is explored]], and unsurprisingly, [[DarkerAndEdgier the movies grow darker from there]].
* Compare the first WesternAnimation/ToyStory (a film about two unlikely pals bonding while escaping a {{Jerkass}} with an overactive imagination) to the third (a film about a group of friends escaping a totalitarian CrapsaccharineWorld, with part of the plot being arguably an adaptation of [[DivineComedy The Inferno]]).
* The first of the ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' films was a fairly light-hearted romp, especially in comparison to the sequels. By the third movie, Will is nearly killed off only to be saved at the cost of ever setting foot on dry land (or being with his wife) again except for one day every ten years. Norrington also [[KilledOffForReal gets the axe]] and the series feels a lot more [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet]] than the first film alone might have suggested.
* ''Film/LordOfWar'': The black comedy portions of the film end when Yuri decides to start doing business in Africa.
* Played straight in ''Juice''. The film starts out as a coming of age tale about four late-teen boys and their city life experiences. Then TupacShakur gets access to a gun. Likes the thrill of having a gun. Things go bad very quickly.
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