"It strikes me that the only reason to take apart a pocket watch, or a car engine, aside from the simple delight of disassembly, is to find out how it works. To understand it, so you can put it back together again better than before, or build a new one that goes beyond what the old one could do. We've been taking apart the superhero for ten years or more; it's time to put it back together and wind it up, time to take it out on the road and floor it, see what it'll do."
Kurt Busiek, Astro City, on the whole point of Deconstruction.

Deconstruction demonstrates what happens when tropes in fiction are played for realism. Thus, a fantasy about being a princess or a superhero is shown to have consequences, negatives, other facets, etc that are glazed over in fiction. The trope no longer works the same, so it doesn't look the same.

This is where Reconstruction comes in. A Reconstruction accepts the criticisms of the initial fantasy made in the previous Deconstruction and then modifies it into something that would resemble the original trope, but still work in reality.

Thus, Princess Classic is not being married into a fairy-tale monarchy, but into a post-Napoleonic 19th- or 20th-century one — a constitutional monarchy in Ruritania, with the scenery and regalia but without the power and corruption (or at least with the Princess taking a meaningful stand against it if it is present), so she won't end up like Marie Antoinette.

The new age Superhero works the required secondary powers to his advantage to find creative uses for his powers, and carefully balances his mundane and heroic lives, such as working a job that complements his superheroing (or makes it his job by working for a larger group), and dating love interests who are either heroes themselves or able to handle themselves when things get hairy.

Reconstruction can involve deconstructing said Deconstruction if someone has a different idea about "realism" or the previous deconstruction was mixed too heavily with Darker and Edgier. Overall, it could be thought of as a dialectical synthesis of an original and its deconstruction. The philosophical theory which accompanies reconstruction is called reconstructivism.

Compare the Genre Throwback, which usually involves Reconstruction, and Troperiffic works. See also Decon-Recon Switch, which is a single work which sets up a deconstruction only to reconstruct the same tropes later on.

Often confused with Adaptation Distillation. Reconstruction is when a genre is rebuilt after being hit with a criticism; Adaptation Distillation is when a specific work is revitalized, without any new objections needing to be answered in the process.

See also Reimagining the Artifact, a much more localized phenomenon.

Not to be confused with the Freeware RPG The Reconstruction, season six of Red vs. Blue, or, for that matter, with the Reconstruction Era after The American Civil War.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Whereas Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel coldly-desconstructs the concepts of what it means to be a "hero", Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works warmly embraces its viewer and reminds them that yes, the world may be a cold-and-ugly place, but that does not mean that the honor, kindness and decency are not worth fighting for.
  • Popotan reconstructs itself. Throughout the series, the characters experience the consequences of Limited Destination Time (whatever friends they make they eventually have to leave behind), but in the end they learn to appreciate each other and the fact that they are still able to at least always remember their friends.
  • Lilpri is one of the very few straightforward, non-ironic Magical Girl shows to come in recent times (even if it is The Anime of the Game).
  • Samurai Flamenco is this towards the Japanese superhero/Tokusatsu genre, paying tribute to the heroism and ideals that those superheroes strive for, even if limited by the real life mundanity and the hero not being a superpowered being like them.

    Comic Books 
  • Inevitably, this trope will be in effect post-New 52, thanks to the multitudes of drastic changes to the classic DC Comics mythos (such as Lois Lane being Put on a Bus in favor of Wonder Woman, and Superman's costume change as an example in one franchise).
  • Jackie Estacado, the protagonist of The Darkness, is a reconstruction of the Nineties Anti-Hero. Whereas most Nineties Anti-Heroes are loud, bombastic and shallow, Jackie is complex, subtle and intelligent. He has no moral quandry with killing bad guys, but freaks out if he kills an innocent person. He has the personification of darkness and evil inside of him, but views this as a curse rather than a blessing. He's also Lawful Neutral, sticking to old-school codes of New York mob crime families, and genuinely caring about those who work for him.
  • Astro City. In fact, most of Kurt Busiek's works involve nuanced reconstruction on some level.
  • In 1986, DC's big two heroes, Superman and Batman both received Deconstructive treatments, with Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow. These were followed almost immediately with Reconstructions with Batman: Year One and The Man of Steel.
    • Kingdom Come was a particularly famous comics reconstruction that delivered a rather heavy-handed denouncement of the Nineties Anti-Hero. Though it should be noted that the story ended up with all the super-heroes realizing they were flawed, removing their masks, and joining normal human society.
    • Justice is more a reconstruction proper, as it is essentially Super Friends without the camp, token characters, and low-budget visuals. Its opening reads like a superhero deconstruction, with the rest of the series reading like a thorough rebuttal.
    • Grant Morrison's Final Crisis is increasingly interpreted as an attempt to redeem Silver Age idealism and high concepts in order to subvert the Darker and Edgier style and "realism" of The Dark Age of Comic Books.
    • Joe Kelly's Superman story Whatever Happened to Truth, Justice and the American Way? was also a big contribution to the superhero reconstruction.
    • Tom Strong does something similar with the pulp / comic book 'science hero' archetype.
  • While the first two volumes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were definitely deconstructions of Victorian adventure fiction (and for that matter, the concept of the Massive Multiplayer Crossover), The Black Dossier seems a reconstruction of the concept (though in doing so, it becomes a deconstruction of 20th century fiction). If you aren't somewhat confused, then Alan Moore hasn't done his job.
    • And even the first two books were a reconstruction in their own way. Sure, Moore brought on all kinds of moral ambiguity and tossed aside typical Victorian ideals, but at the same time he was taking some of the most awesome literary characters of the time and giving them their full due. It had been a long, long time since Fu Manchu had been anything but a parody.
  • A lot of smaller conventions of the superhero genre were deconstructed during the Bronze Age and reconstructed during the Dark Age. For one example, Genre: Superheroes Wear Capes because of the Rule of Cool. Decon: Capes are silly stuff that's just for show and can get in the way, therefore practical superheroes don't wear capes. Recon: Superheroes Wear Capes for a variety of useful purposes, or are given explanations deeper than the Rule of Cool.
    • Also, Genre: Heroes don't kill because of The Comics Code. Decon: Superheroes kill, and those who don't wind up getting beaten by the villain. Recon: Superheroes don't kill because they are not police or military and therefore don't have the legal authority to kill, or they do kill but only when there is absolutely no other option.
  • Captain Atom: Armageddon was this as well. By the time it came out, the Wild Storm characters had come to embody all the excesses of the Dark Age, so DC brought Captain Atom, who, while hardly what you'd call a traditional superhero, nonetheless was a much more wholesome, positive character to set the Wild Storm Universe to rights.
  • Superman: Secret Identity. A boy named Clark Kent in "our" world develops Superman's actual abilities.
    • Deconstruction: He repeatedly mentions that he has no clue where his powers came from or how they work - how can he hear things before the sound waves even have time to reach him, for instance? When he actually starts going out in costume, the Superman suit works in his favour because no-one's going to believe someone saying Superman saved them. Unfortunately, he draws the attention of the military, who repeatedly try to capture him and experiment on him.
    • Reconstruction: He never stops helping people, and eventually proves to the people chasing him that he's more useful as a friend than an enemy. The book's overall tone and ending is completely positive.
  • Star Wars Legacy seems like a Deconstruction at first (in both volumes), beginning with the galaxy embroiled in a terrible war, the Jedi at their Darkest Hour, the Sith staging a new comeback, the Alliance and Empire making morally gray choices, and one of the only Skywalkers remaining having become a junkie who's rejected the Call to Adventure due to having it forced down his throat his whole life. But by the end it proceeds to than examine everything that makes the series good rather than focusing on the bad things. In the end Cade becomes a hero (out of choice rather than being forced to), Darth Krayt and his minions are defeated for good, the Sith are vanquished, the Alliance and Empire put aside their differences, and the Force is put back into balance once more.
  • Despite elements of Deconstruction, Kick-Ass still shows events pushed by superheroism as having a better side, that the characters fight for.
  • The Superior Foes of Spider-Man reconstructs Amusing Injuries; the characters always have to deal with the long-term consequences of their injuries and behavior, but not only does this not prevent the initial incident from being funny, but the comic also plays the consequences for humor (for example, Speed Demon injures his leg in issue 5 and has to spend the next several issues wearing a cast. The gang solves this by strapping his injured leg into a roller skate so he can move around for the big heist).
  • IDW's G.I. Joe comics reconstruct What Measure Is a Mook?. Random Cobra troopers and operatives are frequently given hints of backstory and personality to show that they're people too, but it's repeatedly pointed out that this doesn't automatically mean that they're sympathetic people who don't deserve to get injured or killed by the heroes. After all, why would a moral and mentally stable person be willingly working for a ruthless criminal organization that's trying to take over the world?

  • Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World is a Reconstruction of both Fan Fics and Massive Multiplayer Crossovers.
  • Super Milestone Wars and it's sequel is a reconstruction of the Deconstruction Crossover trope itself.
  • While Hunting The Unicorn is largely a Deconstruction Fic, it is indirectly reconstructive since it portrays Blaine as a believable character rather than a Relationship Sue. In-story, it's starting to reconstruct how damaged he is by showing how Kurt and Blaine genuinely care about each other, averting There Are No Therapists, and using a healthy dose of The Power of Friendship / Love.
  • Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams and Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light are intended as Reconstructions of traditional superhero comics. Many plots are "done in one", efforts are made to explain traditional superhero tropes and make them more believable, and Writing for the Trade is notably absent.
  • Peculiarly, Child Of The Storm. On the face of it, it's a classic Deconstruction Crossover that neatly takes apart every single trope associated with the Lord!Harry, DifferentParents!Harry, Super!Harry and God!Harry and a fair few superhero tropes, introducing a hefty wodge of moral ambiguity of the Grey and Black Morality flavour, with an epic Gambit Pileup featuring chessmasters galore, while demonstrating the kind of carnage that superpowered violence can potentially wreak and the psychological damage that Harry has suffered thanks to the Dursleys and a lingering sense of abandonment (not that Thor had any choice about it. He didn't even remember being James Potter thanks to a really very necessary mind wipe) while not being a major feature, is ever present. Yet, in doing so, it also reconstructs the idea of heroes in general. In the deconstruction of the Fandom-Specific Plot, it demonstrates that ultimately, Harry is Harry. Yes, the circumstances are going to lead to some changes - he's more of a snarker (possibly of the Stepford Snarker variety), he's more assertive and more confident, expressing his emotions more (this is not always a good thing). He's got more power to call on. But he is very recognisably the same person, not automatically becoming nigh invincible, super intelligent and The Casanova. As the story repeatedly stresses, despite everything going for him, he is a damaged 13 year old boy making his way in the world, and he's sometime a little overwhelmed by it all.
  • Blue Sky is a Reconstruction of the 'Wheatley becomes human' breed of fanfiction. This extremely large branch of the portal fan-community tree is rife with variations, ranging from innocent, helpless Human!Wheatley who needs Chell, to Wheatley being a psychotic, corrupted android with a taste for non-con. In this fic, Wheatley is sorry for what he did, but he's not entirely innocent either. Chell is willing to forgive him, but doesn't right off the bat, and makes it very clear that Wheatley has to earn her trust. Even the most common thread of these stories, GlaDOS seeking revenge, is subverted. She is only interested in testing, and making Wheatley hurt to reach that goal is more of a fringe benefit than anything else.
  • Shattered by Time starts out as a deconstruction of many Naruto Peggy Sue fics where someone (Kakashi, in this case) goes back in time to prevent the bad guys from winning. The difference is that Kakashi has already been "shattered" before he comes back, needs to be "reconstructed," and it takes YEARS for him to get back to anywhere near normal again. But once he does, the story progresses closer to the classic versions, where he still takes in Naruto and "makes" Sasuke a good guy, etc.
  • Although The Legend of Total Drama Island is neither intended or billed as a reconstruction, it does a fair amount of recon work. This stems largely from the author's fondness for explaining things, a generally higher level of realism than in the original, and a tone change from comedy to drama.
  • The aptly-titled Captain America: The First Avenger fanfic Reconstruction (still in-progress) applies the familiar Gender Flip trope to Steve/Stephanie Rogers, then goes on to illustrate why the character traits that created a patriotic hero remain constant regardless of gender. Along the way, it also gives an impressive number of extremely well thought out insights into how the canonical events of the first Captain America film would have been experienced and influenced by the protagonist's altered perspective. Additionally, it examines the myth of that patriotic hero (in this case, "Lady Liberty" rather than "Captain America") from the viewpoints of popular culture looking back at it — via academic papers, historical books, and even excerpts from romance novels.
  • When the Sun Comes could be considered a reconstruction to the deconstructive genre that is the The Conversion Bureau series. Despite the simplicity, the situation presents where Celestia and the ponies genuinely go and offer humanity as much salvation as they can. No side is treated as being better than the other and the disaster that prompts was not man-made, but a natural disaster (supervolcanos erupting.) Despite being a short oneshot, a Verse is quickly being made around it.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos starts as a deconstruction of Sonic the Hedgehog, from the concept of Chaos Energy and the Chaos Emeralds to throwing the kid-friendly characters into a not-so-kid-friendly universe filled with Black and Gray Morality. However, the second half - especially in the rewritten version - is spent showing that The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love can prevail even in the face of cosmic terror.
  • Heroes For Earth is a Darker And Grittier reboot of Captain Planet, set in the not too distant future. It takes the concept of how hard it would be to be chosen by a mysterious godlike entity and have the power of the elements, and be tasked with stopping those who are constantly endangering the Earth through their carelessness or greed. However, the heroes are all three dimensional characters, who remain hopeful once given a chance at changing the world's fate, and bring hope to the world, and bring about a better era.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Incredibles reconstructs the superhero plot, partially by correcting the mistakes and partially by transferring them to villains. Yes, superheroes need special suits, so Edna designs them. Yes, capes are silly; so Edna's suits don't feature them. Heroes do cause destruction, but how else can you defeat evil robots? Most supers are eager to be supers, as opposed to being tired and suicidal. The only one doing this for fame is, well, the villain. And so on.
  • The LEGO Movie. Sometimes, people can seem conformist and unoriginal in their lives. However, everyone has the potential to be a hero. Also The Prophecy was made up, but it was made so someone would believe in it and actually save the day. And most importantly, everyone can take what someone else did, and recreate something more, because Everyone IS awesome.
  • In the 2010s (although it arguably started earlier with 2007's Enchanted), Disney began reconstructing its classic "fairy tales with princesses and true love" formula that had been deconstructed and parodied to death in the 2000s by films like Shrek and Hoodwinked. Their princesses are proactive and have goals that don't include "find my true love" anywhere in them, their princes now need to go through a lot of Character Development and/or aren't even actual princes in the first place, and True Love's Kiss and Love at First Sight don't work as they used to, but The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Frozen all still end with the villain being defeated, The Power of Love saving the day in some way, and the main characters living Happily Ever After.
  • Even as far back as Aladdin, Jasmine served as a Reconstruction of the Princess Classic. It was the first Princess film to address some of the hardships associated with the title - Jasmine has never left the palace, she's never known true friendship and she's bound by the law to marry someone even if she doesn't want to. But she realises that there are advantages to having the authority as a Princess.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
    • Batman Begins is a reconstruction of the idea of Batman, not only giving a plausible explanation for how Bruce Wayne acquired all of his Bat-themed crime fighting equipment and training, but also exploring the motivations behind what would drive a man to dress up in a rubber Batsuit to fight crime.
    • The Dark Knight reconstructs how a superhero can operate in, and have an effect on, a larger society.
    • The Dark Knight Rises ends up reconstructing what happens to a superhero in the long term.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes the dumb blonde who gets killed in horror movies and reconstructs her as an action heroine, then deconstructs the supergirl concept by giving her real world problems.
  • Clueless is a reconstruction of Teen Movies after the bitter deconstruction of Heathers.
    • While also taking some time out to reconstruct Jane Austen by way of adapting Emma into a modern-day setting where it actually more-or-less works.
  • Hard Boiled features every single police officer character as unambiguously heroic, as an apology by John Woo for the way Chinese films had started to glorify criminals (including some of Woo's previous films). Their conduct in the hospital sequence in particular puts an extra helping of "Heroic" in Heroic Bloodshed.
  • Hot Fuzz was partially an attempt to revive the British police officer as a credible movie hero after almost every British crime movie of the previous decade (or at least since Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) had instead focused on glorifying criminals. Hot Fuzz spent its first half deconstructing the police-action movie, then used its second half to gleefully rebuild it.
  • Some recent Westerns seem to be attempts at this (the Three Ten To Yuma remake, Appaloosa) in contrast to some of the more post-modern examples of the genre (such as No Country for Old Men and The Proposition). Or they may be seen as straddling the middle ground between Deconstruction and Reconstruction.
  • Silverado reconstructed the Western in The Eighties.
  • James Bond:
    • When the series appeared dead (and had been somewhat deconstructed in the Timothy Dalton era), True Lies appeared to reconstruct the spy-action-adventure genre by way of Affectionate Parody. Ironically, it is a remake of a French parody of Hollywood action-adventure movies.
    • The Daniel Craig movies gradually undergo this process; Casino Royale begins the process of deconstruction by placing Bond in a more gritty, 'modern' setting, and Skyfall begins with raising the question of whether the typical Bond-style hero is necessary or even relevant in a modern setting, before gradually reintroducing a lot of the traditional elements of the Bond series that had disappeared over the Dalton, Brosnan and Craig movies.
  • The film version of Kick-Ass reconstructs its own original comic's deconstruction of the superhero genre. In the comic, the hero is a sorry loser who never trains, gets beaten up all the time, and screws up his relationship with his new girlfriend. In the film, super-heroism is played mostly straight, with Kick-Ass becoming an inspirational underdog with low-level superpowers who eventually helps save the day and gets the girl.
    • Kick-Ass was called a superhero version of Zombieland, a film where zombies are not used as some kind of political or sociological metaphor, but just something to have fun killing.
  • Scream (1996) was, itself, a Deconstructive Parody of the Slasher Movie, one that director Wes Craven hoped would be a Genre-Killer for slashers by making them impossible to take seriously anymore. However, it also reconstructed the genre by reminding audiences of why they liked slashers so much, and helped bring the ailing genre back into popularity. It was soon followed by a large number of slasher flicks that played it completely straight.
    • Ten years later, Hatchet and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane did the same thing, albeit in two very different manners (Hatchet was a more comedic form of horror, while Mandy Lane was far more serious and gritty).
    • Due to the dark nature of the material to begin with, the line between Deconstruction and Reconstruction is often blurred with horror films. This became increasingly true in the post-Scream era, simply because many of the things that originally set Scream apart became the new cliches, to the point where even Scream 4, released fifteen years after the original, noted it. It became increasingly normal for characters to be at least somewhat Genre Savvy, almost all killers were shameless self-promoters and/or ideologically driven, and series like Saw began deconstructing their own franchises within a few entries, simply because deconstruction was the norm. If there is a definitive Reconstruction of the slasher genre, it would likely be You're Next, simply because it takes the entire storyline in such a wildly different direction, and uses characters who make fairly rational decisions regarding how to counter the killers without being particularly Genre Savvy (i.e. the house is under siege, begin barricading).
  • Cloverfield does this to kaiju movies. Ironically, people believed it to be a deconstruction, forgetting what a horrific anti-atomic weapons allegory the Trope Codifier Godzilla (1954) really is. It started out horrific, got light and fluffy, and returned to being horrific. The film performs this reconstruction by showing the events of the film through the perspective of normal civilians. It's a surprisingly effective way to show just how gut-wrenchingly brutal and terrifying a giant monster attack would be in real life.
  • Star Trek could be seen as a Reconstruction not only of the Star Trek franchise, but also the Space Opera genre as a whole. While the franchise had been heavily deconstructed to begin with, the later series had moved away from many aspects of the original series. The genre as a whole had suffered from certain works (including Star Trek: Enterprise and the Star Wars prequels) becoming notorious for generating a Hatedom and Broken Base, and undergone Deconstruction with the remake of Battlestar Galactica in 2000.
  • Although it didn't stick, The Outlaw Josey Wales can be seen as an attempted reconstruction of the old-style "sagebrush" western, with a more ambiguous and nuanced view of morality, the Civil War, and Indian raids. Essentially, The Man With No Name leads a group of pioneers to seek their fortunes in Texas.
  • Goodbye Lenin reconstructs, of all things, Marxist Socialism. The film blatantly acknowledges the problems of socialism and the good things provided by the West but by the end of the film we see that the hopes and dreams of the East German people are not necessarily defeated.
  • The Joshuu Sasori films are a reconstruction of the Women In Prison genre. While the genre normally consists of deeply misogynist, red-hot-lesbian flicks created purely for men's tittilation and possessed of virtually no artistic merit, Shunya Itou made the Joshuu Sasori films thoughtful, vicious, artful and surreal works with an overtly feminist message, without even changing the basic common plotline.
  • Enchanted takes a stereotypical Disney princess and puts her in the real world of New York. Giselle starts out tripping over her own feet and being generally clueless, and making life very difficult for her caretaker. Soon, her quirkiness and overall sunshine start affecting her new world positively, and at the end she's seen using her gown-making skills and ability to control animals to start a successful fashion store.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe is essentially a reconstruction of not only Marvel characters but of the superhero genre in general, giving the characters and stories more realistic/fleshed out styling while still not losing the idealism, mysticism, and fun of superhero comics. No matter what challenges the protagonists face, in the end they're still bigger-than-life heroes going on adventures and fighting villains. It also defies many of the common criticisms/deconstructions that superhero comics face. For example, the darker implications of Thou Shall Not Kill are averted by having the superheroes be willing to kill but only if absolutely necessary, preserving their moral codes while preventing "Why doesn't Batman just kill the Joker" type situations.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger is a reconstruction of Golden Age Captain America comics, and do-gooder superheroes in general. It specifically addresses common quibbles with the character (Patriotic Fervor, Invincible Hero, Unfortunate Implications, etc.) and tries to breathe new life into the concept. It's particularly prominent with the Captain Patriotic trope: the whole image of an invincible American superman bitch-slapping Hitler that the character is usually flanderized into is explained as a propaganda stunt, hated by the "real" Captain America, who has much more depth.
    • Iron Man 3 reconstructs how grandiose villains with a thing for theatrics and terror can be adapted to operate in the real world. The flashy villain adapted from the source material is actually a fictional character played by an actor made to distract the public from the real villain, who instead takes advantage of anonymity to perform his manipulative deeds. This villain, however, still shares characteristics with the same character from the source material. Iron Man 3 does this with The Mandarin, who is both Trevor Slattery and Aldrich Killian.
  • While Cloverfield isn't 100% Deconstruction, Pacific Rim definitely moves things back in the opposite direction, focusing on the heroes combating the kaiju, not civilians trying to escape. It also makes kaiju cool again, rather than just terrifying. It also gives Humongous Mecha a comeback in the big screen and they are as awesome as they are big.
  • Godzilla (2014):
    • The movie takes a Revisiting the Roots approach to Godzilla, bringing back the grim tone and the scary-force-of-nature characterization of the King of the Monsters.
    • The movie Reconstructs the Lighter and Softer "Godzilla vs." movies that came afterwards; rather than treating such a set-up as a joke like so many parodies have done, it instead treats the "Godzilla vs." style in a straightforward way by introducing the same grim approach as Godzilla had in his initial solo outing.
    • While staying mature and serious, it also reconstructs the idea that a kaiju doesn't need to be outright villainous, and can be sympathized with. This incarnation of Godzilla coming off more of a Destructive Savior than a villainous enemy, and the M.U.T.O.s act like normal animals more than they do super villains.
    • Various elements of Godzilla's design are updated to seem more plausible. His feet are rounder like a sauropod's to support his heavy weight, he has gills on the side of his neck to explain how he can live underwater, his armoured hide and arms now look crocodilian. In general he's bulkier, as an animal his size and shape probably would be to support its own weight.
    • Also done for Nightmare Fuel: A creature with Godzilla's mass and weight leaving the ocean would not be a quiet affair. All the water he displaces causes a tsunami. The same thing would have happened if a battleship suddenly grew legs and walked onto shore, all that displaced water has to go somewhere.
  • All of Running Scared is basically a scary fairy tale about a boy who ran to The Lost Woods and met numerous monsters, including The Big Bad Wolf and a witch living in a Gingerbread House. Credits make sure you got the reference with animated sequence showing the boy's misadventures in that light.
  • The whole airplane disaster genre has been spoofed thoroughly by Airplane!, and for a long time, audiences have been unable to take them seriously. United93 is a reconstructed work of said genre, ultimately for the simple fact that many of the events actually happened...
  • Dracula Untold is the first live-action movie in a long time to take the idea of a vampire turning into a bat seriously. Vlad transforms into a rather massive flock of bats, enough to account for his size and weight. It actually does a good job of making the idea not seem cheesy.

  • Michael Chabon loves these. He's one of the most respected writers in America, yet many of his books take on subjects usually seen as meaningless pop culture, as if to prove that they can have literary merit if done right.
  • The Canterbury Tales seems to do this with the courtly love genre in the Franklin's Tale. Chaucer had parodied the genre in both the Miller's Tale and the deliberately sucky Tale of Sir Topas (which Chaucer assigned to himself). The Franklin's Tale Reconstructs it by keeping the postive genre element of celebrating honorable conduct, but jettison's the genre's stance that love only exists outside of marriage.
  • The Dark Tower series began as a reconstruction of the Westerns the author enjoyed.
  • Boris Akunin's Erast Fandorin detective novel series was made with the specific intention of reviving and uplifting the Russian detective genre after it sunk to a particularly terrible low.
  • Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol actually deconstructed the idealistic Self Made Man with Ebeneezer Scrooge, a man who had become wealthy through greed and at the expense of other people. However Scrooge learned the error of his ways and became a good person and thus an idealistic Self Made Man.
  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley may be a reconstruction of urban fantasy and vampire books. Instead of accepting a secret world of magic or trying to rationalize it, it's thrown out: vampires and magic have always been around. Enough names are droppped to indicate that history hasn't remained the same, it's a different world than ours, but the protagonist is young and focus-minded enough that the author can get away without describing the details. Magical superpredators of humans (vampires) come across as physically and mentally alien — though they can pass when they need to.
  • Cho Chang in Harry Potter served to deconstruct the Relationship Sue trope by being Harry's perfect match - with whom he ended being incompatible with. Ginny Weasley on the other hand reconstructed the idea. She realised Harry would never be interested in her and instead settled for becoming a better friend to him. Because of that, Harry finally starts noticing her and they end up Happily Married with three kids. It goes to show that the Relationship Sue can exist as a person outside of being someone's perfect match and reminds people why ending up with one of these characters would be a good thing.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt, despite how all her three novels so far are about the upper classes and their extravagant parties and their beautiful clothes, loves to deconstruct the idea that material wealth and money will automatically make you happy. Beatrice in "Överenskommelser", Illiana in "Betvingade" and Gabriel in "De skandalösa" all grew up in rich but very abusive households. Seth in "Överenskommelser" and Markus in "Betvingade" have become rich through their own efforts, but that also means that many people will look down on them as irritating upstarts. The story will always end on a happy note though, as the protagonists can move on and become happily married. And yeah, of course they will still be rich!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • After the years and years of mockery and criticism of the Daleks, mainly regarding their impractical design and their weapons, the episode "Dalek" addresses these criticisms to return the Daleks back into their previous threat level, by taking these criticisms and turning them on their head.
    • The earlier "Remembrance of the Daleks" does something similar — however, since it was made at a point where Doctor Who was at a low point with regards to its popularity with low viewing figures, it was decided that the audience would need a refresher course in "Why Daleks Are Actually Scary". Interestingly enough, in the Daleks' first appearances in comics during the '60s, they were already shown flying.
    • After several seasons of gradually deconstructing the Doctor and revealing what a dangerous, threatening presence he could be, and how many of his enemies rise as a result of their sheer terror of him, "The Wedding of River Song" begins a reconstruction of him; upon what looks like the increasing inevitability of the Doctor's death, one of his companions sends out a distress signal to everyone he's ever helped — and everyone he's ever helped basically responds with "we'll do whatever we can to help." For all that he has his dark side, he's still devoted his life to protecting the innocent and those who can't protect themselves, and is rightly loved by them as a result.
  • In a bizarre example of this, the TV movie of Harrison Bergeron pretty much reconstructs the viewpoint that the original story was parodying, which would be a case of Completely Missing the Point were it not done so well.
  • After facing criticism for the unhealthy nature of the food on The Galloping Gourmet and facing his wife's heart attack caused by said food, Kerr made The Graham Kerr Show to reconstruct his previous recipes using healthier ingredients and cooking methods.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • It took a hard look at Proud Merchant Race the Ferengi and rebuilt them into a more solid fictional society - without them ever deciding that human or Federation values were innately superior to theirs. For instance, women's lib kicked in as much for practical reasons (more workers, a bigger consumer base) as ethical ones. Also, the Ferengi have never had wars with the scale or the frequency of Earth's.
    • It also spent a lot of time exploring what the characters of a utopian society like the Federation would really do if they were faced with having to resort to morally ambiguous or even plain deplorable means (e.g. "In the Pale Moonlight") to rescue that society in an all-out war against The Empire. Everyone is portrayed as a shade of gray, until Sisko and the Cardassian war criminal Gul Dukat confront each other in "Waltz" and Dukat realizes he should have fulfilled his dreams of total genocide on Bajor after all. Even a Gray and Gray Morality setting can still have genuinely evil characters.

  • The entire point of genre revivals like Post-Punk revival or Garage Rock revival.
  • Neoclassicism (think of Benjamin Britten) is a reconstruction of pre-romatic classical music. Its composers didn't follow the daring harmonic approach of Richard Wagner or Arnold Schoenberg and continued to compose "beautiful" music unlike their dissonant or even atonal contemporaries.
  • Composer Igor Stravinsky had a Decon-Recon Switch: His most popular work is the dissonant and initially highly controverial Le Sacre du printemps, while his later work cofounded Neoclassicism.
  • Sufjan Stevens' yearly Songs For Christmas EP's were a personal reconstruction of Christmas Music for Sufjan: his attempt to capture the sublime melancholy of Christmas music at its best, and to come to terms with the Glurge of the holiday season. (Sufjan had previously dismissed Christmas itself as a social construct.)
  • Tenacious D's music seems to be a reconstruction of classic rock. Though they don't take themselves or their lyrics very seriously, they certainly take the music seriously. As they wrote in "The Metal":
    You can't kill The Metal...
    The Metal will live on!
    Punk Rock tried to kill The Metal...
    but they failed, as they were smite to the ground!
    New Wave tried to kill The Metal...
    but they failed, as they were stricken the ground
    Grunge tried to kill The Metal...
    Hahahahaha, THEY FAILED! as they were thrown to the ground!
  • Monster Magnet is another reconstruction of classic rock, as are the Hellacopters. (especially on their early albums)
  • The Darkness, with their five minute guitar solos and soaring falsettos is either a reconstruction or brilliant parody of Glam Metal.
    • A reconstruction basically. Sadly for them, they got pigeon holed rather unfairly into being a novelty parody, and faded away after the misguided fans got bored of the 'parody' and started ignoring the music.
  • Rappers like 50 cent, Boyz n da Hood, et al were supposed to be a reconstruction of hardcore hip-hop in the mainstream. But it never really caught on. Likely because of the lack of mainstream media support. Although "fiddy" defied this with radio friendly songs like "In da Club", "Candy Shop" etc.
    • Similarly rap group Dead Prez tried to reconstruct rebellious, hardcore, socio-political rap.
      • Would Flipsyde count as something related?
  • The Tel-Aviv City Team (aka: "Tact Family") uses a large portion of their music to perform a deliberate reconstruction of Zionism or Jewish nationalism in response to the deconstructions that came from the left in the '90s and 2000s. They actually have a rap rivalry with the older left-wing group Hadag Nachash over the precise definition of Zionist Hip-hop.
  • Stoner Rock and Sludge Metal are reconstructions of the original style of Heavy Metal that Black Sabbath used to play: a Darker and Edgier turn on Heavy Psych, which was Blues Rock and Psychedelic Rock turned Up to Eleven.

  • Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a threefold manner, was often presented as compromising three dialectical stages of development: The thesis is an intellectual proposition. The antithesis is simply the negation of the thesis (the Deconstruction), a reaction to the proposition. The synthesis solves the conflict between the thesis and antithesis by reconciling their common truths and forming a new thesis, starting the process over (the Reconstruction, forming a Cyclical Trope).

    Another version that was used by Hegel is Abstract-Negative-Concrete. The formula, thesis-antithesis-synthesis, does not explain why the thesis requires an Antithesis. However, the formula, abstract-negative-concrete, suggests a flaw, or perhaps an incomplete-ness, in any initial thesis—it is too abstract and lacks the negative of trial, error and experience (An example is the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism Versus Realism. The Ideal is the Abstract, the Negative is how cynics deconstruct the Abstract with Reductio Ad Absurdum and reveal it as unrealistic. Reconstruction occurs when preserving the useful portion of the deconstructed idea, while modifying it to allow it to move beyond its limitations).
  • Existentialism was a direct, deliberate reaction to the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy promoted by Nihilism and Moral Relativism.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the wake of such incidents as the steroids scandal, numerous sudden deaths of wrestlers under fifty and the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, the WWE started trying to distance itself from the dark and gritty Attitude Era and clean up it's image, moving back to the cartoonish and family friendly programming of The Eighties and Early Nineties; banning blading, pushing squeaky-clean stars like Rey Mysterio and John Cena and forbidding moves like chairshots to the head or piledrivers to make wrestling safer. The movement has been pretty controversial among fans, and it's debatable how much success they've had, but they're making a lot of money off it so they're unlikely to stop any time soon.

  • The Ibsen Follies has a sufficiently loose relationship with the fourth wall for the Interactive Narrator to discuss this. She's based on a real-life woman whom Henrik Ibsen fell in love with and then broke up with, and whom he fictionalized as a selfish schemer in his tragedy The Master Builder. At the play's beginning, she watches Ibsen sitting in his chair, and speaks of how they could have lived a romance of dropped handkerchiefs and humorous misunderstandings—but Ibsen did everything he could to destroy that genre, replacing moth-eaten, badly painted backdrops and cheerful endings with despair and misery. Then she declares that it's time for turnabout, and a moth-eaten, badly painted backdrop slides onto the stage as Ibsen moans in despair and exits. The rest of the play is an old-fashioned romantic comedy about the (also real-life) relationship between Ibsen's son and the daughter of his greatest rival.
  • Surprisingly, for all of its mockery of religion, The Book of Mormon ultimately reconstructs it, as it comes to the conclusion that the core of religion; to help people in need and give them morals to follow to become better people, can indeed have a positive influence on others.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chaos bills itself as an "anti-dystopia". If you read what it says about itself in the Introduction, it is obvious what it means: it is meant to be a reconstruction of the utopia/dystopia cyclic trope. So if the original concept of utopian fiction was supposed to be a hypothetical world that looked perfect, and indeed actually was, and the original concept of dystopian fiction (back when it originally started, with works like Brave New World) was supposed to be a hypothetical world that looked perfect on the surface, but if you dug a little deeper, was actually a lot darker than it seemed, and then more recent examples of dystopian fiction (works like Judge Dredd and Warhammer 40,000) have completely ditched the idea of looking perfect on any level and become total crapsack world futures; then with Chaos, this "anti-dystopia", the concept is a hypothetical world that seems, at first glance, as dark and brutal as any dystopian future… with endless war, bloodshed, horror, all of that… but if you dig a little deeper, is actually a lot happier and brighter than it seems on the surface.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue. Notable in that the new series is actually called Reconstruction. After five seasons of picking apart gaming tropes, they are now being put back together. What was once laughed at by the main characters is now a serious threat. Of course, it never made the audience stop laughing at them.
    • Reconstruction is actually a Double Subversion. Yes, it put some tropes back together but it utterly obliterates some of the jokes the series as a whole has built over five seasons.
  • The Whateley Universe is basically a reconstruction of the superhero genre, starting with kids at a Superhero School and an attempt to define realistic powers and the Applied Phlebotinum to make them work. (And Gender Benders galore.)
  • The Randomverse seems to have gone this way. It started off with heros discussing their movies, to heroes discussing their movies while socialising, to Lex Luthor attacking the heroes while they're trying to socialise, and has since built up a canon of jokes and joke-threats ad threats that used to be jokes, and constantly flipping allegiances. And it's still flipping hilarious.
    • In between the jokes though are serious stories about why idealism and optimism are important in comic books. There's segments on how Superman is still relevant today, why Batman is really revered (hint: it's not about the gadgets), and why Spiderman could perhaps be one of the most amazing heroes ever for the Heroic Sacrifice he does more than any of the other two mentioned ever would. It's practically a Reconstruction of understanding on why we loved these favorite heroes in the first place.
  • Imperial Dawn reconstructs the creation of Plato's The Republic, in the sense that it introduces the idea of a philosopher-king in a fairly organic and realistic way.
  • The Pokédex - Extended Fanon Edition, maintained on this very site, acknowledges that yes, Pokemon are potentially incredibly dangerous, but just as long as you're not a complete idiot, it is very possible to care for and love them. And you can do so in one piece, to boot.
  • Saga Of Soul is a reconstruction of the Magical Girl genre.

    Western Animation 
  • The Justice League episode "Legends" is both an Affectionate Parody and reconstruction of The Golden Age of Comic Books. In it, a few members of the league travel to an Alternate Universe and meet the Justice Guild of America, ersatz versions of the JSA. The episode points out the racism and sexism prevalent in the Golden Age, and the Flash mocks the Guild's cheesy "let justice prevail!" catchphrase, but at the end of the story the Guild helps defeat the villain, knowing that they'll fade from existence when they do, and when they yell "Let justice prevail!" that time, it's completely awesome.
    • The episode was in dedication to Gardner Fox, a rather influential comic writer, so it wasn't just Reconstruction; it was an Homage to the man.
  • Much of the dislike for Batman: The Brave and the Bold stems from people not realizing it's an Affectionate Parody as much as it is a Reconstruction of the Silver Age Batman. Although considering how many people only know of Tim Burton's and Christopher Nolan's Darker and Edgier interpretations, it's not surprising.
  • The Venture Bros., after the first two and a half or so seasons, has slowly evolved from being a Deconstructor Fleet to gradually reconstructing several of the tropes it has taken great pain to tear down.
    • Much of the second and third seasons were spent lampshading the utter ludicrousness of the Guild of Calamitous Intent and the Office of Strategic Intelligence's secret costumed battle for supremacy, showing them both to be hidebound, ossified and frankly, quite ineffectual. Eventually, certain members of OSI saw through this and decided enough was enough, dug out some old equipment, and thus SPHINX was (re)born, as a more dynamic alternative focused on actually eliminating threats (costumed and otherwise) and not maintaining a BS status quo.
      • The status quo itself was deconstructed. When Jonas Jr. tried to kill The Monarch while the latter was attacking him, it's quickly pointed out that killing a supervillain leads to escalation from the Guild. On the other hand, it's revealed that keeping to the status quo keeps supervillains placated and not committing real crimes. So while the OSI is pretty ineffectual by dealing with the Guild, it keeps an army of supervillains from wreaking havoc.
      • Colonel Gathers is back as head of the OSI because he complained about how thing were going. It's basically been revealed the Secret Peace between heroes and villains is really just a front to the even more Secret War between heroes and villains; which is far, far stranger and multi-leveled than any other kind of politics.
    • In some ways, The Monarch is slowly becoming a reconstruction of the Supervillain, as, through a combination of Genre Savviness, Not-So-Harmless Villain, and Dark Mistress, he's climbed the ranks from lame nemesis to a truly dangerous foe.
  • This is the entire purpose to Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The series takes a comically cynical approach to the Scooby-Doo mythos, but it doesn't outright parody or deconstruct the elements. While the kids are, realistically, treated as a nuisance by the law and their parents constantly question why they're obsessed with solving mysteries, the kids still get the job done and solve mysteries because they love it and love hanging around with each other.
    • Case in point, at the end of Episode 11, the gang breaks up under the weight of the group's relationship issues. A straight deconstruction would probably end there - Mystery Inc. is a group of teenagers in high school investigating crimes in their home town, so eventually they have to grow up and find real jobs. However, Mystery Inc. gets back together by the end of the next episode, realizing that solving these mysteries really is what they were meant to do, and the team begins repairing their bonds - the reconstruction is that the Scooby Gang would have personality clashes, just like any group of friends, but acknowledging these clashes and finding ways to cope with them strengthens the group. (A straight parody, on the other hand, probably wouldn't even bring up these issues in the first place.)
  • This is most apparent in the second episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which is spent picking up the pieces left by the parodic genre deconstruction that the first episode dedicated itself to.
    • There's also Rarity: Told that there would need to be fashion elements, the writers dumped that role on a single stereotypically vain and superficial character — and then made her strong, independent and capable anyway, with a meaningful artistic career in fashion.
    • Afterwards, the series flip-flops between this trope and its opposite, although not necessarily from one episode to the next.
  • Archer does this to a whole lot of Spy Fiction tropes;

Alternative Title(s):

Reconstructed Trope, Reconstruct, Reconstructed