main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Playing With: Diminishing Villain Threat
Basic Trope: Villain gets progressively less menacing, even after he started out curb stomping the hero.
  • Straight: A villain starts out strong and a genuine threat to the heroes, but later becomes more and more incompetent against them.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • The villain starts out being the main issue of the show, even episodes that didn't focus on him personally ended up being part of the plot to destroy him or part of his plans. In later episiodes, he's no longer the only villain and preparation to defeat him takes a lot less.
    • The villain started off being on mostly equal terms with the hero, beaitng him after a hard fight. In the second fight, they ended up stalemating with no winner. The third time, the hero barely pulls out a win.
  • Justified:
    • The heroes get stronger and figure out more of the villain's weaknesses, giving them a better advantage.
    • The villain may have had a narrow failure after sending most of the rebellion into comas or the morgue, but doing so ended up inflicting critical injuries to him and draining most of his resources, with any followers he may have had now dead, defecting, doing a Mook-Face Turn or simply in jail. He's going to go down a lot easier this time around.
    • The Villain was going after the heroes instead of actually training and no longer learns new skills.
    • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards
    • The first time the villain fought the heroes, he had a weapon that greatly increased his power but lost it after a time, resulting in an easier battle for the heroes the next time.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: He seems to be going through decay, but it's all part of one elaborate plot...
  • Double Subverted: ...Which falls flat on it's face, causing the villain to get more pathetic.
  • Parodied:
    • The villain declares he's had it with the heroes always kicking his butt and gives up world domination for selling used cars.
    • Because there's No Fourth Wall, the heroes (or the producers) tell him to improve his game or risk being Demoted to Extra.
  • Zig Zagged: The villain goes from being a legitimate threat to a weakling on several occasions.
  • Averted:
    • He keeps his menacing stature throughout the series, even after all the circumstances.
    • He stays as menacing, and might even become more menacing than before.
  • Enforced:
    • The writers plan on making him more human, switch sides, or other circumstances that may change his cynical personality.
    • The writers eventually just don't know what to do with the villain to keep him relevant after he's defeated so many times.
  • Lampshaded: The heroes recall that the villain used to be such a threat, but turned into a joke as soon as they beat him.
  • Invoked: The Big Bad purposely decreases the power of his minions somehow, to give the heroes a false sense of security before facing him.
  • Exploited: The heroes wait awhile to rebattle a powerful enemy.
  • Defied: The villain continues to be as powerful as ever, even learning from his mistakes.
  • Discussed: "Lord Facestomp shows up in the sequel, but only as a cameo."
  • Conversed: "The guy who almost crashed an asteroid into NORAD gets defeated in the first 10 minutes of Kickpuncher 2? LAME."
  • Deconstructed: The villain is going through progressively tough times, meaning that he's losing his threatening stride...
  • Reconstructed:

Look upon my Diminishing Villain Threat, ye mighty, and despair!

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy