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Adaptational Badass / Live-Action Films

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  • The African Queen: The titular ship actually succeeds in destroying the German warship "Louisa" (actually Königin Luise) even after capsizing herself in a storm, as the "Louisa" happens to run into the overturned African Queen, striking the detonators of Charlie Alnutt's home-made "torpedos". In C. S. Forester's novel the Queen anticlimactically sinks in a storm and the "Louisa" is finally sunk by two modern British gunboats transported piece by piece overland and then assembled on the west coast of the East African lake. (In the film the captain of the "Louisa" also receives a villain upgrade, condemning Charlie and Rosie to be hanged. In the novel he decides it would be uncivilized to have the two executed as spies so he hands them over to the British under a flag of truce).
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  • Tim Burton's film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (2010) gives the Mad Hatter this treatment; he goes from a silly joke character (as most of the cast in the original work) to a silly joke character who charges into battle with a Scottish claymore. Arguably all of the characters in the movie, as well, to some degree.
  • The eponymous Blade himself actually got this in his film portrayal. In the early comics Blade was intially more of a Badass Normal Vampire Hunter whose mom was bitten by a vampire giving him hightened senses, but in the film he's an outright Dhampyr who has all the pros of being a vampire and none of the cons. Thanks to the massive success of the movies, comic Blade was bitten by Morbius and thus gained all the abilities he had on screen.
    • Blade: Trinity did this in regards to Marvel's Dracula, who was vulnerable to sunlight and all the typical vampire weaknesses like crosses, holy water, garlic and the like. Here he is a Daywalker just like Blade himself and the typical weaknesses don't do anything and it takes an artificial virus to actually kill him at the end. In all fairness, Dracula was a Daywalking Vampire too in the Bram Stoker novel, something which Drake points out in the movie and being based on him, so this trope only applies to the Marvel version.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Man of Steel
      • Jor-El is depicted fighting Zod and his forces, and going to great lengths to get the Codex to keep Zod from getting it. Jor-El didn't just fight Zod, he was, by all appearances, winning and only got stabbed when he was distracted while watching Kal's ship launch.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:
      • Wonder Woman is able to hold her own and even restrain Doomsday with her lasso in the Final Battle. In the comics Diana (Depending on the Writer) usually gets wrecked by the monster and needs Kryptonian help.
      • Following the examples set by Batman: Earth One and Beware the Batman, Alfred is said to be more hand-on in helping Batman. In fact, much like in Earth One and Beware, this Alfred was the Wayne family's bodyguard, not their butler.
      • Thomas and Martha Wayne are depicted as going out fighting on the night they got killed, as Thomas takes a swing at Joe Chill before getting killed and Martha tried to get the gun from Chill's hands before she's shot.
      • Jimmy Olsen is an undercover CIA agent.
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    • In Suicide Squad (2016) Deadshot, Harely Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Katana, Killer Croc and Rick Flagg defeat The Enchantress, who is a Humanoid Abomination. For reference in the comics it took Madame Xanadu assembling Justice League Dark just to put Enchantress down while in the film a bunch of criminals do the same with explosives. Power Creep, Power Seep at its finest.
    • Wonder Woman (2017): Ares was able to kill all the other Olympians, including Zeus, in his backstory, while comic Ares is nowhere near powerful enough to do that. He also lacks his comic counterpart's dependence on constant war to survive and maintain his powers.
    • In Justice League (2017), Superman qualifies, to the point that everyone else is pretty much an Adaptational Wimp by comparison. While neither Aquaman or Wonder Woman are supposed to be quite as strong as him, they are normally able to at least fight him toe to toe. In Justice League, when he is resurrected and unaware of himself he easily overpowers both of them and Cyborg at the same time. He also handily tosses Steppenwolf around with little trouble, where in other adaptations any of the New Gods are able to stand up to or beat him. Similarly, while Superman is usually portrayed as being just slower than the Flash, in the movie he's as fast or even faster at times (though it should be noted that this Flash is much less experienced with his powers). note 
    • SHAZAM! (2019): Unlike his comics counterpart, Dr. Sivana now has super strength, super speed, telekinesis, flight, and electrical powers on top of his genius intellect.
  • The live-action movies of Death Note turn L, who was already a genius and capoeira trained badass in the original source material, and have him take down Light, a reversal from the original material where L was killed by Light.
  • Many people aren’t aware that Professor Abraham Van Helsing wasn’t nearly as badass in the original Dracula novel compared to most film and media incarnations. Being an old man, Helsing couldn’t keep up with the rest of guys on horseback requiring to travel safely with Mina on the carriage and the Professor also relied on holy weapons to protect himself while Jonathan and co took down the Count with blades. In most films however Helsing can overpower Dracula all by himself (e.g The Monster Squad) and the Peter Cushing portrayal even personally staked the Count unlike the book where the Professor just watched from the sidelines while Jonathan did the finishing blow. Bram Stoker's Dracula takes it a step further implying Helsing (played by Anthony Hopkins) is even supernatural as he performs a Stealth Hi/Bye on Jack, Arthur and Quincey.
  • Oddly enough, from Dragonball Evolution, the Kamehameha Wave. In the source material it's a powerful attack, the strength of which is limited only by how much energy its user can put into it, but that's about it. In the movie it becomes a Swiss-Army Superpower. We see it used to light and extinguish fires, and even to heal a person from near death!
    • Mai actually gets this as well, in both the original Dragon Ball series and in Dragon Ball Super she’s just a Badass Normal with no martial arts skill or Ki Manipulation who relies on firearms in a universe where Guns Are Worthless. In the movie Mai keeps her gunplay but is also a strong hand to hand fighter, as she holds her own against both Goku and Chi-Chi and nearly kills the formernote . Given she’s The Dragon to Piccolo rather than Pilaf in this universe, it‘s fitting.
  • Every time the Fantastic Four has been made into a film, Doctor Doom is shown with actual superpowers as opposed to a man wearing Powered Armor. The 1994 film depicted Doom as a cyborg and both the 2005-2007 duology and 2015 reboot take after Ultimate Fantastic Four in showing Doom gaining powers from the same accident that the Four did.
  • In most Godzilla films, Godzilla's Nuclear Pulse can only stun enemies. In Godzilla 2000, it deals the death blow to Orga.
  • Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: Hansel and Gretel, who were just two ordinary kids in the original story who managed to outsmart a single witch, are portrayed as gun-toting, evil-slaying witch hunters.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The films took this both ways with Buckbeak from The Prisoner of Azkaban. On one hand, they gave Buckbeak his own Moment of Awesome by showing him protect Harry and Hermione from the werewolf, which wasn't in the book. On the other hand, the sixth and seventh books described him flying around attacking Death Eaters, which wasn't in the movies. A borderline example, if you will.
    • The Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets is much bigger and puts up a much better and much longer fight than it does in book.
    • In a similar vein, the Hungarian Horntail in the book merely just sat in one place while Harry flew around it till he annoyed it enough to grab the golden egg it was guarding. In the movie the Horntail breaks free of its chains and chases Harry around Hogwarts until it falls into a ravine to its death.
    • In the book version of Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge gets rolled pretty much instantly by the Centaurs once she pisses them off, showing that for all their bluster, the Wizards are only in charge largely because of the forbearance of the other magical races. In the film, she's able to hold off a group of angry and heavily armed Centaurs pretty much effortlessly all by herself right up until Grawp sneaks up on her and relieves her of her wand, demonstrating the Wizards ended up being able to boss around all the other magical races by being just that dangerous.
    • The same movie does this to Retired Badass "Mad Eye" Moody. In the book he was quickly taken out by Dolohov during the battle, while in the movie Moody effortlessly one-shots a Death Eater by slamming his staff down. It's almost like the whole battle is beneath him.
    • The seventh film significantly ups the badassery of Hedwig's death. In the book, she's hit by a stray killing curse while inside her cage. In the film, she's released from her cage ahead of time and intercepts a killing curse meant for Harry.
  • Hellboy:
  • The Hobbit:
    • Bilbo Baggins is a lot more quick-witted, competent and takes the initiative in the movie, and on several occasions—most notably the encounter with the Trolls—manages to accomplish more in moments where he was saved by someone else in the book. In the book, he doesn't really start pulling his weight until he saves the Company from the spiders, while the movie gives him a Big Damn Heroes moment saving Thorin from Azog immediately following the Goblin encounter.
    • The dwarf company is more badass than they were in the book. All armed to the teeth, they are raking in high kill-counts in many scenes where they simply slipped away unnoticed or with minimal trouble, like Goblin Town and the Barrel Ride. Oh they also overpower Smaug the dragon at one point.
    • In the movies, Smaug's hide is tough all over, and can only be successfully damaged by Black Arrows fired from a dwarvish wind-lance, whereas the book version's scales were soft on the underside and instead had a waistcoat of treasure embedded in them to make up for this. Smaug's weak spot is subsequently changed to a single chink where a scale is missing — and even then, it took multiple hits from two wind-lance fired Black Arrows to give him that weak spot! Furthermore, while the book counterpart was no wimp by any stretch of the imagination, this version of Smaug endures and bounces back from a lot of punishment that his book counterpart was never known to (from having giant metal constructs falling atop him in a seemingly bottomless underground shaft, to getting drowned in molten gold), as well as being somewhat more persistent when the dwarves have entered the Lonely Mountain.
    • Radagast the Brown from the books was something of a coward and abandoned his mission because he couldn't gather the courage to face the Nazgûl head on. In the first film he faces off the Witch-King of Angmar without a hint of fear or hesitation, only escaping when he comes face to face with Sauron himself.
  • Played with in It (2017) as The Losers Club’s Psychic Children-powers are toned down greatly from the book but the kids don’t physically beat the living shit of Pennywise like they do in the movie. Beverly in particularly is much closer to Action Girl than her book counterpart and while ironically she does become the Damsel in Distress in this version, Bev regardless happily stabs Pennywise through the skull with a fence spike something she doesn’t do in the book and 1990 Mini-series. She’s also not afraid of Pennywise by the end while Bev in the book certainly was.
    • The sequel takes it even further as the Final Battle gives every member of the Losers’s Club a moment of badassery and it's their combined Power of Friendship that beats the titular Eldrich Abomination. Whereas in the book (and Mini-series) Mike is hospitalized and unlike the film doesn't have a crucial role in the battle, Eddie gets killed rather needlessly instead of a Moment of Awesome where he wounds Pennywise with a javelin throw and Ben as well as Beverly get sidelined while Bill and Richie are the ones who take IT down; but the film has Ben and Beverly have a Power of Love moment to free themselves from IT's traps together. Lastly in the book it's Bill (the Stephen King Author Avatar) who deals the killing blow, in the film however all the remaining Losers reduce Pennywise to a Voldermort-Esque baby through taunts and belief, and then they crush Its heart together rather than just having Stuttering Bill do all the work.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta sees a lot more action in the films than in the books; being able to hold his own against Cato on top of the Cornucopia in the first, and overpowering and drowning another tribute in the second.
    • On the other hand, the movies fail to show him fighting at the Cornucopia, fighting Cato after the tracker jacker attack and killing Brutus.
  • James Bond
    • In the book Live and Let Die, Tee Hee's a perfectly ordinary mook whose only quirk is giggling while torturing people and who dies very early on. The film adaptation of the story ups him to second-in-command to Mr. Big.
    • Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me. He is loosely based on the villain Sol "Horror" Horowitz from Ian Fleming's novel of the same name, who is a thug with a metal-capped teeth whose villainy is limited to terrorizing a helpless woman. He later gets unceremoniously killed by Bond as he tries to make a getaway on a car (and is outlived by his partner, who became Sandor in the same film). Jaws, however, is a man who just won't die, and is one of the most remembered aspects of the film, and its subsequent sequel.
    • Skyfall does this to Miss Eve Moneypenny and to a lesser extent, Ralph Fiennes' Gareth Mallory, the new M after the death of Judy Dench's M.
    • Depending on the movie, Bond himself may count. Fleming's books (at least, the early ones) tend to be less splashy affairs than the movies, and Bond often gets his ass handed to him by the villain and/or his henchmen. Meanwhile, some of the movies portray him as a Made of Iron One-Man Army who can mow down dozens of mooks without stopping for a breath (only for a smoke).
  • Three notable examples in John Carter:
  • Pretty much everyone from The Jungle Book (2016):
    • Mowgli in this one is inventive, clever, and brave, unlike his '67 counterpart.
    • Baloo too. In the original cartoon, Baloo grabs Shere Khan by the tail and is dragged around a lot. In this movie, he helps Bagheera in fighting the monkeys and fights Shere Khan with brute force, teeth, and claws. He actually almost wins the fight until Shere Khan deals a blow to the neck. It doesn't kill Baloo, but it's enough to finally get him out of the fight.
    • Bagheera is no longer the Non-Action Guy from the original. Much like his original self, he's now a badass who fights Shere Khan. Twice!
    • Shere Khan racks up a higher body count than he did in the original movie. He murders Akela, takes control of the wolf pack, and fights Baloo, the wolf pack, and Bagheera and wins.
    • King Louie is far more intimidating than his '67 counterpart, who was a fun-loving buffoon. Now he's like a mob boss, showing his viciousness and brute strength.
    • Unlike the 1967 Kaa, this Kaa is female, and she is more sinister and less comical. She's a Composite Character of the original Kaa from the book and Kaa from 1967, in size, wisdom, and villainy.
  • Hammond's granddaughter in Jurassic Park was The Load in the novel. In the film, she got her brother's Playful Hacker skills, while he kept his knowledge of dinosaurs.
  • Wilhelmina Murray and Alan Quatermain, the two central characters of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, get this in the film adaptation. In the comic, Mina's major gimmick was that of a tough, reserved Femme Fatale with a mysterious Dark and Troubled Past (with the fact that she was really Mina Harker left hidden from the reader at first), and Quatermain was a burnout ex-adventurer trying to kick his crippling opium addiction. In the film, Mina (who's called "Mina Harker" from the get-go) has vampiric abilities from her past encounter with The Count, and Quatermain is a badass Great White Hunter played by Sean Connery.
  • Les Misérables (2012) gives this treatment to Inspector Javert as while Javert was ruthless in the book, he was only really a threat to the superhuman Jean Valjean due to his position and posse of police officers at his command. This is seen in the chapter where Fantine dies of shock thanks to Javert arresting Valjean at her sickbed, enraged Valjean easily breaks free of Javert’s grip and with verbal intimation makes the inspector retreat across the room in fear, allowing Valjean to make a promise to Fantine’s lifeless body before surrendering. In the same scene in the movie Javert duels Valjean with a sword, forcing the latter to flee the scene. This doubles for some versions of the Musical where Valjean overpowers Javert during the confrontation like the book, whilst in the movie Javert is easily a match for Valjean.
  • In The Lord of the Rings everyone with the sole exception of Frodo gets Adaptational Badass, however the standout when it comes to this trope is clearly Legolas Greenleaf. Sure in the books he kills a Fellbeast but otherwise there's no suggestion Legolas is stronger than Aragorn or Gimli, in the movies however Legolas just makes his companions look incompetent by comparison with his "Leggy Moments" i.e surfboarding on a shield down a staircase while firing arrows and then hurtling the shield into a orc's chest or taking down a pack of Haradrim and massive Oliphaunt (a giant freaking elephant) by himself like a One Elf Army.
  • Corporal Jensen from The Losers went from Computer whiz Non-Action Guy to being a capable soldier. Justified as The Losers are supposed to all be special forces soldiers.
  • In Mirror, Mirror, Snow White becomes a tough action girl.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • King Kong in Kong: Skull Island, partly as a result of being similar in size to his King Kong vs. Godzilla incarnation, beats off a full assault by an entire squad of attack helicopters, whereas other versions were famously killed by a few biplanes. He also now has the intelligence to use makeshift weapons.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): All the leads get this treatment, harkening back to their Showa Era depictions.
      • This version of Godzilla proves himself to be one of the most powerful ones yet; he kills Ghidorah with the Nuclear Pulse (an ability that, barring its use against Orga, was originally only a sidearm at best), survives the Oxygen Destroyer (the weapon that killed the original Godzilla), and safely utilizes Burning Godzilla as a Super Mode (as opposed to it being a Superpower Meltdown that kills him).
      • Rodan is capable of lasting two minutes alone with Ghidorah, can destroy a city by merely flying over it, and has a long drag-out fight with Mothra, making him considerably stronger than his Heisei and Millennium incarnations (who were largely manhandled by their opponents in short order). He's even partially made of magma (the very thing that killed one of his previous incarnations).
      • Mothra is considered an "Alpha" Titan not far behind Godzilla himself in power, as opposed to her other post-Showa incarnations who often needed help to match him. She's even referred to as the "Queen of the Monsters". She's capable of defeating Rodan one on one, finishing the fight by impaling him with her stinger.
      • King Ghidorah was a badass already, but this version is not only the largest version in any live-action film, but is capable of generating a cataclysmic storm simply by being awake, casually lifting Godzilla all the way into the skies, no-selling the Oxygen Destroyer, and just straight-up beating Godzilla in a 1v1. In particular, he has an incredible Healing Factor to the point where it takes being completely atomized to kill him, and even then his remains retain enough conciousness to become a menace come Godzilla vs. Kong. Also, whereas every Ghidorah since the original except the Rebirth incarnation has been The Dragon to someone else, this Ghidorah is the one giving the orders to other monsters.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong:
    • King Kong has grown even bigger since his last Skull Island appearance, being roughly the size of MV-Godzilla himself, and is tough enough to survive being grazed by Godzilla's Atomic Breath. He also gets an axe capable of absorbing Atomic Breath to become a Hot Blade.
    • This [[Spoiler:Mechagodzilla]] is probably the strongest incarnation to date; prevous versions had a wider array of flashy weapons but were usually no match for Godzilla in a direct fight, while this version outright humilates Godzilla in their brawl (to the point of being to overpower the Big G's Atomic Breath with his own), and would have killed both him and Kong if not for his control system being briefly interrupted.
  • Night of the Living Dead (1990) does this to Barbra. In the original film, she became a near-catatonic load from all the horror surrounding her. In the remake, she takes an active role in defending the house from the zombies, to the point of being the sole survivor in the end.
  • Mowgli, another adaptation of The Jungle Book, keeps up the trend of making Shere Khan more of a threat than the source material. In the book, he was a bully who was more bark than bite, particularly considering his crippled paw. Despite retaining said crippled paw in this version, Khan is portrayed as a lot more dangerous, mostly due to being more mentally unstable and openly contemptuous of the jungle's laws.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful
    • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Glinda is a relatively tame character that does help the heroes, though through indirect means, which translated into The Wizard of Oz. In Oz the Great and Powerful, Glinda is a much more active character seeking to avenge the death of her father, the previous wizard who uses her magic to battle the Wicked Witch of the West and play a large part in getting the people of Oz to revolt against the Wicked Witch.
    • The Wicked Witch of the West herself. In the book and the 1939 film, she does have spells that can help her accomplish her goals, (including poppies and an enchanted hourglass that ends a person's life when the sand runs through it); but both are foiled (by Glinda's snow and The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion rescuing Dorothy) and she ultimately meets her end by being splashed with water. Now, she has fire-based magic and actively tries to harm the people of Oz in part for being manipulated into becoming the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Raoul De Changy in The Phantom of the Opera (2004) as in the book and especially the stage show Raoul was a bit of a fop, he only managed to graze the Phantom with his pistol and even Raoul’s petite girlfriend Christine could physically overpower him twice in the book. In the film however Raoul is a Master Swordsman who kicks the Phantom’s ass in their duel at the graveyard and when Raoul falls into the Phantom’s trap at the end, he gets himself free while in book Raoul would’ve died without the Persian and Christine’s aid.
  • Downplayed in Pokémon Detective Pikachu: In Detective Pikachu, the titular electric rodent isn't good at using Electric-type moves and prefers to use his wits (though he later uses Thunderbolt to put a stop to a rampaging Noivern). The film has Pikachu actually doing Electric-type attacks like Volt Tackle very well, having once even beaten (and even scarred) Sebastian's Charizard and using Volt Tackle on Mewtwo. But the downplayed part comes from Pikachu forgetting his moves due to his amnesia, but once he starts getting his memories back, he uses his moves more effectively.
    • Zig-zagged with Tim Goodman: the video game does show he has good deductive skills, but is otherwise just an ordinary young man who's come to Ryme City to search for his missing father Harry. The movie portrays him similarly, but also adds the detail of him being a former Pokémon Trainer who retains his skills by going for the tail of Sebastian's Charizard above and also directly defeats the main villain by removing Howard Clifford's neural link to Mewtwo with the help of Pikachu's above-mentioned Volt Tackle. Neither of these happened in the video game.
    • Ditto is portrayed similarly to its anime counterpart, going from only being able to use Transform and copying the moves of the Pokémon it transforms into to being able to shapeshift into other Pokémon and people at will, largely thanks to Howard Clifford's genetic experiments. It can also assume the role of the aide Ms. Norman to gain intel on others and is surprisingly skilled at melee combat. Just imagine Ditto as the T-1000 and you've got it.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: the eponymous hero is more competent in unarmed combat. In the source material, Kenshin is more or less useless without a sword.
  • Daphne in Scooby-Doo was transformed this way. She even beats someone up in the live action film.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009)
    • Holmes and Watson's portrayal, although not nearly to the degree that some viewers accused it. Watson was a veteran Army doctor in the books, while Holmes was a martial artist and bare knuckle boxer with surprising strength. The movie turns them both into outright action heroes who take on multiple opponents at once in hand-to-hand combat and defeat all manner of armed attackers.
    • Irene Adler as well. In the book, she was a singer/adventuress who had a fling with the King of Bohemia, and Holmes was hired by the king to recover some letters he wrote to her, so they don't end up embarrassing him later. Her main distinction is that she outmanoeuvres Holmes and moves the letters beyond his reach, leaving a note to Holmes in their former hiding place. For this, she earns Holmes' respect, and he always afterwards refers to her as the woman. In the movies, she is a brilliant career criminal who is more than capable of defending herself. At one point she is mugged, and she turns the tables, mugging her muggers.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: In this movie, Snow White becomes Lady of War.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness gives this treatment to Khan. Not that Khan wasn't always a badass, being genetically enhanced, but his strength only made him one of Kirk's most difficult adversaries, and capable of being defeated with a blunt weapon. This version of Khan is much more physically powerful, a One-Man Army able to wield what looks like a converted starship weapon literally single-handed. He could take just about any amount of physical punishment and keep fighting, as well as take multiple stun shots from a phaser (and No Selling the Vulcan Neck Grip) before going down.
  • Star Wars:
    • Boba Fett in the films misses every shot and gets knocked into a Sarlaac pit by a blind man. The dozens of "Legends" books, comics, and video games that have used him since have ignored this in the interests of making him the badass Bounty Hunter the fandom wanted him to be. Canon comics and The Clone Wars shows that he was like this even as a child.
    • Also of note is Darth Vader in the shift from the old Expanded Universe (now branded Star Wars Legends) to the new "Disney Canon". While it obviously has no bearing on the movies themselves, the old EU occasionally had him suffer The Worf Effect and Badass Decay, with several characters other than the Emperor capable of defeating him (such as, infamously, Galen Marek) and more emphasis was put on Vader's Angst. On one occasion, he actually almost got killed because a random surviving Jedi pressed one of the buttons on his suit, and on another, a well-prepared Tusken Raider was able to critically injure him. In the new, post-Disney canon, it's repeatedly made clear that Vader is second only to the Emperor in Force power, and possibly the greatest lightsaber duelist of his time, as well as one of the greatest of all. New EU materials such as Star Wars Rebels are devoted to depicting him as a nigh-unstoppable force of death, while the Star Wars: Darth Vader comics depict him as capable of such feats as single-handedly killing a Kaiju-sized opponent, besting an ancient Sith Lord that had come Back from the Dead even after being critically injured beforehand, and, through an elaborate ritual, ripping open a gate to the afterlife. It helps that the old EU depicted Darth Sidious as viewing Vader as little more than a glorified attack dog, whereas in modern canon he still viewed Vader as a viable apprentice and is shown actively teaching him in the ways of the Sith.
      • We finally get a live-action taste of how unstoppable Vader is in Rogue One where Vader massacres a squadron of poor Rebels in a single minute, this also serves as Fridge Horror if you reflect upon the original trilogy and realize Vader could've shred Luke to pieces in The Empire Strikes Back if he wanted too, while he likely could have bested Obi-Wan very easily if hadn't been so overtly cautious with him in A New Hope.
  • In the Superman comics, General Zod was one of Krypton's top military advisors, but often relied more on his planning skills than doing actual fighting. The character's film portrayals have helped make him a much bigger threat. Superman II portrayed Zod as a charismatic leader that took full advantage of the fact that the gained powers from Earth's yellow sun; as displayed in the film's fight scenes. It proved to be so successful that it was integrated into the comics and became a key factor in every subsequent adaptation that featured Zod, not to mention several other Kryptonian villains. There's also the aforementioned Man of Steel.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014):
  • Transformers
    • Bumblebee's main role in the original cartoon was evacuating the humans to safety while the bigger, tougher Autobots went into action, and that was about it. In the film series, he has a Decepticon kill count second only to Optimus Prime himself, and he's the go-to guy for being a Big Damn Hero, and is quite badass in Transformers: Prime as well.
    • From the third film, Sentinel Prime, who mostly appeared in comic series to serve as Optimus Prime's predecessor who gets killed by Megatron, and in as a Jerkass in Transformers Animated who got beat up every appearance he made. Here, he's Optimus Prime's mentor and never made out to be helpless and after being revealed as the film's Big Bad, actually defeats Optimus in both their fights.
    • Starscream was considerably more badass than almost all of his previous incarnations in the first live-action film, where he holds his own against Ironhide and Ratchet, easily destroys military aircraft, and is one of the few Decepticons to survive the movie. However, this was inverted in the sequels, to the point where he became one of the most pathetic of the Decepticons, although given that he was beaten up both by Optimus and Megatron, this is somewhat understandable.
    • Hound was originally a pacifist who used his wits and holographic projector against his enemies. In Transformers: Age of Extinction, he's a rude and crude fatass-badass who kills enemies left and right, all whilst cracking jokes about his stature.
  • The Time Machine (2002) does this with the Morlocks, in the book they’re kinda pathetic being smaller and weaker than the average human, even the Non-Action Guy protagonist can hunt and kill them easily, the only advantage the Morlocks have is numbers and trickery. In the film however they’re 6 foot tall nightmares reminiscent of the Uruk-hai, who kick the protagonist’s ass on multiple occasions. Not to mention the Morlock leader has telekinesis and telepathy and is only beaten when he gets disintegrated by the titular machine when he gets caught in its energy field.
  • Venom (2018) has Riot. In the comics, Riot is just one member of a Quirky Miniboss Squad and never really battles Venom individually. In this movie, he's more analogous to Carnage in terms of abilities, with Venom being something of "a runt" in comparison.
  • V for Vendetta features a tricky one for Gordon Dietrich. On the one hand, the film makes him a chubby, middle-aged comedian (played by Stephen Fry, no less) while he was a younger, more physically imposing career criminal in the book. On the other, in the film he defies Norsefire Government's laws by hiding banned books and films in his house, and openly mocking Chancellor Sutler on his show (which he is eventually executed for), which is far more badass than anything the Novel!Gordon did.
  • Gul'dan in Warcraft (2016) gets this treatment. While, like his video game counterpart, he mostly acts from distance and casts spells, when challenged to mak'gora, he holds his own extremely well and wrecks his enemy as much as the other guy does.
  • Pretty much every non-powered hero in Watchmen becomes a lot tougher and a lot stronger in the movie version of Watchmen. The film also removes a lot of the deconstruction of super-heroes that intentionally made them seem a bit ridiculous.
  • Lawrence Talbot in The Wolfman (2010). His Wolfman is far more formidable than in The Wolfman 1941, killing about 10 times the number of people the original Wolfman did. Even in human form, he's not bad with a rifle.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • The comic book version of Pyro was a Laughing Mad pyrokinetic who was hamstrung by his inability to create flames, relying on an unwieldy pair of flame throwers with very prominent fuel lines. Naturally, he was often very easily hamstrung. In the films, he's perfectly rational, albeit a bit temperamental, and he now only relies on a lighter, which in X-Men: The Last Stand, he attached to his glove, allowing maximum firepower with minimum inconvenience.
    • Quicksilver is one of the fastest characters in the Marvel comics universe, but he has limitations on just how fast, and is generally well under the speed of sound. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hank mistakes him for a teleporter, and fans have noted that Peter's Super Speed and power set (he's capable of redirecting bullets with ease and shattering glass by vibrating his hands) are closer to The Flash, who explicitly has a speed advantage over Quicksilver in inter-company crossover stories. It's taken Up to Eleven in X-Men: Apocalypse because he rescues all of Xavier's students from an explosion in only a fraction of a second. Maximoff is one of the most powerful mutants in the whole X-Men film franchise.
    • X-Men: In the comics, Toad was originally conceived as a deformed, sniveling hunchback who served as The Igor to Magneto. His super power was he could hop... really high because of having very low-grade super-strength, concentrated in his legs. However, stuntman Ray Park played him as a wisecracking martial artist with wall-crawling abilities and a tongue that he could use as a whip, thus making him more capable of beating up Storm, Jean and Cyclops simultaneously. Also, Toad can spit slime projectiles unlike the comics. However, considering that Ray Park once played as that red-skinned badass Sith, his badassery has to be expected.
    • The Wolverine: Mariko Yashida is a much more capable and physical badass than her comic book counterpart.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: In the comics, the Sentinels are just Humongous Mecha, and mutants with strong powersnote  usually take them down by the dozen. They are portrayed as such in the 1973 portion of the film as well. The future Sentinels, however, with their ability to duplicate mutant powers to counter their opponents, are so overwhelmingly powerful that any fight with them is considered outright hopeless.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: In the comics, Angel is sometimes mocked for lacking any sort of offensive capabilities before becoming Archangel. In Apocalypse, he has sharp talons on his wings, making him a formidable physical threat even before he gains his metal wings and Feather Flechettes.


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