At the end of Watchmen, after Ozymandias explains his plan in detail, Nite Owl is glad they made it in time to stop him from starting its final phase, which would result in the death of everyone in and near New York. But then Ozymandias says this:
In War of Kings the first Hope Spot occurred when the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Gladiator helped Lilandra regain her position as the Empress of the Shi-Ar, so she could take command from Vulcan and end the destructive war with the Kree. And then she was shot to death by Razor. This was a Despair Event Horizon for Black Bolt, which lead to second one – with him defeating Vulcan and Crystal convincing him not to detonate a bomb that would turn all life in the Universe into Inhumans – after she destroyed the Terrigen Crystals and they were going to leave, Vulcan attacked again, separating Black Bolt from Crystal and Lockjaw, right as they were teleporting themselves. The bomb exploded, killing both monarchs.
Black Lanterns were invoking this trope by making their victims feel hope, among other emotions, before killing them, so they can feed upon said hope.
Sin City has a brutal one in the first act of That Yellow Bastard. John Hartigan has been stabbed in the back by his partner, is being framed for a crime he didn't commit, and is getting beaten to a pulp while handcuffed to a chair. Suddenly, he finds the strength to snap the cuffs and pulverize his torturer... only for the readers to discover that it was just a fantasy.
The Everything Burns crossover between The Mighty Thor and Journey Into Mystery features a particularly cruel one. They've managed to save the Nine Realms from Surtur, Loki's got his BFF back (sort of), and Thor and Loki finally, finally can properly trust one another. Just in time for old Loki to force kid Loki into completely annihilating himself and allowing old Loki to take over his body.
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye: The Decepticon Justice Division, five of the most violent and powerful Knight Templar agents in the army go up against six of the least competent Decepticons, the fight doesn't go well. At first the Scavengers trick the leader, Tarn, into releasing Grimlock, who starts the fight out strong... and is beaten into submission (later circumstances attributing his failure to brain damaged). Flywheels is dragged into the Chest of Tesarus, who has a massive shredding machine on him, Flywheels manages to stop his death by bracing himself with his feet (made fun of last issue), Tesarus acknowledges this, and flips him around, shredding him headfirst. Finally, Crankcase finds a Cybernought and brings the pain to the DJD, they electrocute him, and blow a whole through the Cybernought. The only reason the 6, now 5 survive is because the one targeted accidentally fakes his death, and the DJD have more important things to get to.
Film — Animated
Toy Story 3. This film actually manages a two-in-one hope spot. After getting past the shredder, Rex sees a light at the end of the conveyor belt tunnel. For a moment, the crew thinks it's sunlight—then they realize that the conveyor belt is taking them to an incinerator. Then Woody and Buzz spot a button to shut off the machine, and lift Lotso up to push it. However, he betrays them, and they go tumbling into the inferno.
In a villainous example, Evil Uncle Scar survives dramatically falling off a cliff after the Final Battle with the hero with relatively no injury, and then relaxes in relief at seeing his usually comedic henchmen approach him ("Ahh, my friends..."), only to be begging for his life moments later as they proceed to rip him apart for denouncing them in a cowardly episode that he thought that no one had heard or witnessed.
The stampede scene is a sequence of multiple Hope Spots. The stampede catches up to Simba.. but then Mufasa arrives, grabs Simba and drops him off on a safe ledge. Then he's dragged away by the stampede, vanishing out of Simba's sight. He jumps back and grabs a ledge.. which is a cue for Scar to show himself to Mufasa. Mufasa thinks that Scar's there to help him, only for Scar to commit his supreme act of evil by sinking his claws into Mufasa's paws and throwing him back in. After the stampede, as Simba is looking for Mufasa, you hear movement. Simba looks up saying "Dad?" and for half a second, you the viewer think that maybe it's not that bad. Then a wildebeest runs by. Then you see what it just jumped over.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. After Kenny's surgery, it briefly seems like everything is fine and he'll live through it, as the doctors calmly wake him up. Then they inform him that they accidentally replaced his heart with a baked potato and he's gonna die in roughly three seconds.
The song Friendship in Tartarus: the Escape (A fan song for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) lives up to its name, starting with some very heavy riffs that give the feeling of being in Hell, but around 3:15, the song switches to a more positive and happy riff (representing the "Escape" part of the song's title) before going back to the heavy riffs and ending.
A Hope Spot takes up much of the plot of Richard Wagner's The Valkyrie, with Siegmund first seeing the sword Nothung as literally a gleaming spot on an ash tree. (Of course, Wagner used a Leitmotif for this; interestingly, it first appears in the final scene of Das Rheingold with no connection to the sword, just a sudden surge of hope.)
In later productions of Rheingold, Wagner himself instructed his Wotan to salute Walhall with a sword left over from the Nibelung hoard: this almost certainly symbolizes Wotan's resolve to create a race of free heroes who will be able to regain the Ring and (he thinks!) prevent the fall of the gods.
Act 2 of Puccini's Tosca ends with the eponymous heroine successfully extricating herself and her lover from theScarpia Ultimatum. In Act 3, however, Scarpia turns out to have gone back on his word like the utter scumbag he is and Mario is executed with live ammo by the firing squad, and Tosca has to throw herself off a tower to escape arrest by the police for Scarpia's murder.
As noted above every wrestling match featuring Ricky Morton ever.
Tend to be more prominent in matches where the good guy actually loses to the monster heel - with one of the best examples ever being the famous Sting vs. Vader series. Sting didn't win a match against Vader for eight months, but managed to convince the audience each time that MAYBE he'd beat Vader, simply because he was seemingly the only person in the promotion who could even stay on the offence for more than a minute against Vader. The best of these occured at the Great American Bash, where Sting gave Vader a fallaway slam... only for the fans, after exploding, to realise that the mere effort involved in lifting Vader was too much for Sting.
A similar motif was used in a match featuring Triple H and Kaientai member TAKA Michinoku, who would face off for the former's WWF Championship. Despite nearly all the fans knowing that Triple H had all but zero chance of losing his belt on free television to a jobber, several near falls in TAKA's favor drove the crowd into a frenzy until Triple H was finally victorious with a Pedigree.
Also used in a Sunday Night Heat match, pitting then WWF Champion Kurt Angle against Crash Holly, the two made it look like Crash may get the upset victory about 6 times before Angle uncorked an Angle Slam and retained.
Used again in the classic Triple H vs Kane, "Mask vs Title" match, in which Kane would be forced to either defeat the champion and become champion himself, or unmask. All three of Triple H's Evolution stablemates attempted to interfere on his behalf, and Triple H even branded a sledgehammer to use to his advantage against Kane, but Kane fought off all the odds— commentator Jim Ross even stated that "Ain't nothin gonna stop Kane tonight!" Too bad he was wrong and Kane lost the match.
In a similar vein, Ring Of Honor had Naomichi Marufuji vs. Nigel McGuinness for the GHC Heavyweight Championship, which Marufuji had only won a week before. Yes, it was obvious who was winning at the end... up until McGuinness rebounded off the ropes, sent his forearm into Marufuji's neck, and brought him down for a thisclosealmostthreecount.
Essentially all of Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson II, as the latter went into the match with an eyepatch, Morishima having fractured his left eye socket and detached the retina in their encounter mere weeks before.
Tommy Dreamer built his career in ECW on this trope, especially his two-year long feud with Raven in the mid-90s: he lost every single match except their last one, but every time he'd come oh-so-close only for Raven to pull some kind of dirty trick and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Miz vs. Randy Orton on the 11/22/10 edition of Raw. Orton had just suffered a brutal beatdown by The Nexus that injured his knee, and barely survived a title match with Wade Barrett thanks to John Cena's interference, only for The Miz to show up and cash in his Money in the Bank. Unlike most times the Money in the Bank is cashed in, Orton actually fought off The Miz pretty well, and many points in the match it looked like Orton would overcome the odds, and the fans cheered when it seemed he would actually pull off the win when he went for the RKO...only for The Miz to counter it into the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin and the title.
Related to the above Alberto Del Rio's match against Dolph Ziggler for the WHC, Del Rio had just beaten Jack Swagger twice in 2 days and the second match around only for Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on a weakened Del Rio, Del Rio managed to hit his Enzuigiri and lock in his Cross Arm-Breaker to give hope that against all odds that Del Rio would retain, seconds before tapping out, Ziggler grabs Del Rio's injured foot causing Del Rio to stop the hold then Dolph Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for the 1-2-3 and the WHC.
You'd be alone in the kitchen, the twilight would be dwindling and you could hear the far-off cries of the other children playing nearby, and you knew that you'd be alone in the kitchen because it was your special treat time where the jelly would come out just for you. And your mother would appear at your side, this vision of Laura-Ashley-print dress smelling of magnolias and biscuits, and she'd put the jelly in front of you; you would pull your chair in, and then the old-fashioned bar of ice-cream would come down, the one that had to be cut with a bread knife before the two sides were flanked with wafers. You would lift your little spoon up excitedly, to press it in and winkle out that first divot of black jelly...
She would strike a match off her forearm and tell you to go and dance in the front room for money.
Tennessee Williams, to a T. Whenever a character is about to achieve the desire that would redeem them and improve the Humiliation Conga they have called their lives thus far, it comes crashing down beautifully. Just ask Blanche (her white knight calls her too dirty to take to his mama!) or Laura (the Gentleman Caller even broke her favorite glass animal, the one thing that gave her joy.)
In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye has acquiesced to his two oldest daughters' unconventional marriages during inner monologues that follow a pattern: Reason why not, on the other hand reason why, on the other hand reason why not, on the other hand—ok, you can get married. So when the third daughter shows up with a Christian husband and the same inner monologue starts again, we have hope. But instead, this happens:
Tevye: On the other hand . . . No, there is no other hand!
Cyrano has two in his hope for winning Roxane’s love. His first Hope Spot last a night (between Act I and II) until he hears Roxane describe the guy he loves as “fair” at Act II scene VI, and the other lasts only mere seconds (At Act IV Scene X, when he hears that Christian has been mortally wounded).
Christian has a mere seconds of hope between Cyrano tells her Roxane probably loves him and announces that she is waiting for a love letter that Christian is incapable to write at Act II Scene X. His second hope spot will be at Act IV scene X, when he forces Cyrano to tell Roxane the truth about them Playing Cyrano, (notice that he still had hope, and his Hope Spot endures for all his life).
In Othello, the title character schemes together with Iago to murder Cassio, whom Iago asserts has had an affair with Othello's wife Desdemona. Othello meanwhile smothers his wife. Moments later, her handmaiden Emilia arrives, announces that Cassio has survived, and Desdemona revives for a moment to announce her innocence once more. She then dies before Emilia can reveal Iago's lies to Othello.
The Bobby Jacks vs. Ric Chee fight, in which the wire thin misfit Ric manages to hold off Scary Black Man Bobby, a professional boxer with little more than a stick for a significant length of time, even managing to pick himself up from a seemingly decisive blow. Bobby proceeds to violate the conditions he put on the fight by pulling out a concealed weapon and stabbing Ric, serving as something of a Kick the Dog moment. Not long afterwards, Bobby put Ric down for keeps.
John "the Riz" Rizzolo versus Emma Babineaux, who had a crush on him during high school. After a brief fight, Emma gets a hold of John's gun, but is unable to bring herself to kill him. John appears to have a change of heart when she tells him there may be a way to escape the game, and as the two of them embrace and kiss, John impales her with a sword before shooting her in the head.
Riz goes on to instigate ANOTHER hope spot when he torturesLaeil Burbank,cutting out her eye before setting the building they're in on fire and leaving her to die. She's soon after rescued by a couple of passers-by, including a former ally, who pull her from the burning building and patch her up. Just when it seems like she's going to make it, she goes into cardiac arrest from all the blood she lost and dies. This was even a Hope Spot in real life with many handlers wondering whether Laeil is going to die, she gets rescued, and with a ton of research on one handler's part into how to properly treat her injury, she gets bandaged up just in time to make a tearful Heel Face Turn. Then she gets rolled.
John J. Reilly's half-serious future history Spenglers Future suggests, in its chapter on the present period, that Western civilization itself is passing through a Hope Spot on its way to a messy devolution, through wars and persecutions, into The Empire.
Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Dr. Horrible stands up satisfied. He survived his broken death ray's explosion and his archnemesis Captain Hammer has fled, utterly defeated, humiliated and broken. His victory is complete. Now Penny, the girl of his dreams, will be his. And then he turns around...and finds that Penny was caught in the explosion and is dying. Cue the truly Joss-level angst.
Every time things start looking up for the defenders of Horizon City, something happens that gives the Brutes the upper hand again. Suffice to say, there are more Hope Spots in this story than can be counted on one hand.
Redvs Blue: The evil A.I. O'Malley is driven out of Cabooses Mind, everyone has their Radio turned of so he can't take over anyone else, leaving him to 'die'. The Camera hangs over the scenery for a while, with O'Malleys transmission/Bodysurf signal getting slower and weaker and finally fading completely. Then Doc (whom everyone forgot) calls command and O'Malley gets him.
At the end of Recreation, Simmons, Donut, and Lopez are cornered by the Meta when suddenly Agent Washington shows up. Simmons, knowing that Agent Washington fought the Meta during the previous season, thinks they're safe. Then Washington calmly orders the Meta to stand down instead of attacking it. Then he starts asking what the Red Team did to the Epsilon unit. Then he shoots Donut and Lopez.
Kickassia has Santa Christ accidentally get shot and killed, horrifying all present. Then N. Bison realizes that since he is made up of the hopes and dreams of everyone, maybe, just maybe, if they believe hard enough he will return. Cue everyone putting aside their conflict to clasp hands and chant "We believe in Santa Christ!", along with a huge parade of the site's other contributors joining in. It would be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming...if it had worked. They end up dumping the body in a dumpster. Subverted in that he does return, just not right away.
Another meta example. Fans were concerned that the Critic really would be given up for good in To Boldly Flee, until it was announced that Doug Walker had signed on for more work with Blip, thus proving that he wasn't done making reviews just yet. The Critic was killed off/fused with the universe anyway, and Walker announced that he was finished doing Nostalgia Critic episodes (though he did have more reviews planned, just not with the character).
Demo Reel. "Blue Patches" ends with Donnie reassuring his new family that he's going to stop obsessing over his past (which includes a mom dead from suicide, a horrible acting career and lots of abuse) and be excited for the future. "The Review Must Go On" takes everybody away from him one by one, and it only gets worse from there.
In the sequel, "Save Jack: The Interactive Adventure", the Giant Magnet option. It is the only method that seems to work — until the demon pulls out a wooden spoon.
In the Heta Oni, it looks for a moment as if everyone really will make it out alive. Everyone, Italy included, has survived, and they've found the hidden staircase to where the key to the front door has been found in every other timeline. And even better, the monster guarding it is very slow, so Italy should be able to steal the key easily! And...the key is not there. Naturally.
Kids Next Door, "Operation Turnip": Numbuh 3 calls in a Humongous Mecha she used during training, to combat a huge turnip. Except that the turnip's much huger than "Hippity Hop", and the turnip takes a pre-emptive first strike against it. Result: Two minutes or so of wasted screentime.
In the second season finale, Aang intentionally enters the Avatar State for the first time to fight an army of Dai Li and save the capital city from takeover, seemingly a reflection of the outcome of previous season finale, only to be electrocuted by Azula — and right in the middle of the Transformation Sequence.
The episode immediately prior to the second season finale is essentially one big Hope Spot. In summary the heroes have finally won an audience with the Earth King and in the process have succeeded in exposing the Evil Chancellor Long Feng, which leads to him being arrested. They successfully deliver news about the Day of Black Sun and begin the process of preparing the invasion of the Fire Nation. In addition to that, they get the opportunity to reunite with family members, meet with mentors and help prepare for future successes. However the end of the episode shows that Long Feng's minions, the Dai Li, remain loyal to him in spite of his disgrace, Azula and her friends have succeeded in infiltrating Ba Sing Se by pretending to be allies of the Earth Kingdom, and in Toph's case, her opportunity to meet with her mother is a trap set up by the two men hired by her father to bring her back.
Bender's fight against Destructor in Futurama, right about when he says "It's Bendering time!".
Several of the main characters are trapped on an out-of-control solar powered monorail train. Suddenly, there's an eclipse of the sun, the town is plunged into darkness, and the train comes to a gentle halt. Unfortunately, the eclipse lasts only a few seconds, exactly long enough for the characters to realize that they're safe, before the sun returns — and as soon as it does, the train's out of control again.
A future episode did this where Bart pretended to be nice so he could date a charitable girl, the only drawback being that Milhouse got jealous of them together and told the girl about Bart's true nature. Bart begged the girl to stay with him, despite his nature, since he changed it for her. She's first seen angrily frowning, then smiles, thinking she'll be with him for the rest of the episode (like the other girls Bart dated for periods of time). But then, it goes back to the angry frown, and the next shot is of Bart crying, lamenting about how the girl broke up with him.
In the last episode of Wakfu , Yugo and Adamai travel back in time through Nox's spell and believe they went back to a point where Sadlygrove was still alive, only to find out they were still a few minutes short.
Near the ending of Winx Club S4 episode 24 Nabu manages to close the dark abyss that the Fairy Hunters had created to seal away the Earth fairies, but dies in the process. Bloom reminds Layla that they still have the Black Gift, which can be used to bring Nabu back to life. However, as soon as Layla takes out the Black Gift, Ogron steals it and wastes it on a dead flower.
In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Omens Part Two" the invasion of Thundera is nearly foiled by Jaga's Clerics and King Claudus wielding the Sword of Omens. Then Mumm-Ra (disguised as Panthro) murders Claudus, and slays nearly all of the Clerics with a wave of dark magic.
There's another one in "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1". It looks like Twilight and Cadence are going to make up when Cadence pats her on the head, But then "Cadence" pulls out a Slasher Smile and drops Twilight Sparkle into the caverns below Canterlot.
Don't forget "The Return of Harmony pt. 2" Twilight is finally able to locate the Elements of Harmony. Unfortunately, with the rest of her friends corrupted, it has absolutely no effect, and in turn this causes her to lose all hope and become corrupted as well.
Tron Uprising: Two episodes deal with Dr. Keller, a Reluctant Mad Scientist who at first helps the Occupation, but then runs after helping Beck stop her virus. The second Episode has her trying to run from the Occupation forces bearing down on her as she's stuck in a train, which soon spins out of control. After trying and failing to escape, she reluctantly goes back to the Occupation with Paige telling her she'll be pardoned, and she can help them once again. Tessler simply kills her when she gets back.
Before understandings of meteorology became more widespread, the eye of a Hurricane could be this for people who had endured the first onslaught of the storm.
In sports, especially basketball or American football, there are matches where a team who is behind on points makes a rally and catches up with the opposing team only to fail because the other team wises up and improves their offense or defense. This gets more dramatic during championships, when the team who has rallied fail to win because of a missing a perfectly executed shot on the last second.