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Adaptational Heroism / Animated Films

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  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • In the original stories and plays by J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan was one of The Fair Folk and came off as a Sociopathic Hero - he didn't show much concern for his "friends," took nightmarish pleasure in killing pirates, and even murdered Lost Boys just for growing up (or to make a battle against the pirates more interesting). The Disney version, understandably, left out this aspect of Peter.
    • Hercules:
      • Anyone who knows their Greek mythology knows that Zeus is a self-righteous, womanizing jerk and rapist. Here, he's pretty much a cross between Grandpa God and Bumbling Dad who certainly loves Hercules and stays loyal to Hera, making his status as a Top God of Mt. Olympus and Big Good of the series a lot more plausible.
      • Hera herself is this. She is just as mercurial and temperamental as Zeus and made a lot of problems for Hercules by giving him plenty of moments of unstoppable anger (though she stopped when he saved her life). Here, she's as kind and caring as Zeus. Probably helps that Hercules is her biological son here.
      • By modern standards, the Hercules of Greek Myth wasn't exactly a paragon of heroic virtue. He killed more than one innocent person simply for being too close when his temper got the better of him (however, he was always remorseful and it's implied much of his temper problems come from Hera, as mentioed above), and he would go stage a huge war for a mere verbal insult one day, although he did go to great lengths to help his friends and his deeds did the world a lot of good. The Hercules in this movie is a wide eyed boy scout who doesn't have much, if any, vices. The worst thing he does is lash out at Phil for trying to warn him about Meg being in league with Hades, but he immediately comes to regret that.
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    • The Enchantress from Beauty and the Beast is a curious example. In the original tale, she was a wicked fairy who cursed the prince for no good reason. The film has her curse the prince after he refuses her shelter and shows himself to be selfish. While not presented as a heroic character, her spell served to teach the prince about love rather than anything malicious. Still pretty callous though in regards to the servants and castle staff who got transformed into sentient housewares because they happened to work for a guy who needed to learn a lesson about being selfish.
    • Captain Phoebus from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is transformed from a dishonest cad to a genuinely heroic figure, being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at worst.
    • In Tarzan, Kerchak is deeply suspicious of the title character, but only because he considers him a potential threat. Other than that, he's a heroic figure and good leader. In the original books, on the other hand, he was a straight-up Killer Gorilla who was responsible for the death of Tarzan's father.
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    • In Treasure Planet, Silver is a lot nicer than in the original book: he keeps his charm and intelligence, but he saves Jim here because wants to do so, not because he needs him.
    • Rapunzel's parents in Tangled. The father steals lettuce from a witch's garden in the original tale, simply because his pregnant wife had a craving for it. Rapunzel's parents also disappear from the story and never seem to bother about the whereabouts of the daughter they gave up. In the film, the mother is dying and, rather than knowingly stealing from the witch, they find a golden flower that the witch had been using to make herself young. Then, when the witch finds out that the baby — Rapunzel — has been given a potion made from this golden flower, the witch kidnaps her so that the witch can continue making herself young. Rapunzel is also reunited with her parents at the end — and her parents are implied to have been searching for her all her life.
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    • Elsa the Snow Queen from Frozen is Not Evil, Just Misunderstood, instead of the Designated Villain from the original tale.
    • Oliver & Company contains a fair amount of adaptational alignment-shuffling, but probably the most blatant is Fagin. In the original book, Fagin was a straight-up villain, equal partner to Sykes. In the Disney version, he's straight-up heroic, working for Sykes only to pay off a massive debt, and genuinely caring for his adopted orphans - er, animals.
  • In the Shrek movies, The Big Bad Wolf is a good guy, and is best friends with the Three Little Pigs. It counts with Shrek himself, whose book counterpart is a Villain Protagonist.
  • In Barbie as Rapunzel, Rapunzel's parents didn't steal anything from Gothel, nor did they give up their daughter to her. Instead, Gothel kidnapped the baby girl in order to punish her father for not marrying her.
  • In The Ultimates, Black Widow turned out to be The Mole in the team and a murderous traitor. In the Ultimate Avengers movies, she's not only a legitimate hero, but much kinder to boot. She even ends up hooking up with Captain America at the end of the second film.
  • In the animated version of the Asterix story The Mansions of the Gods, the Roman couple that gets coaxed into taking residence in the title mansion ends up befriending and helping the Gauls (the husband is crucial in rescuing Getafix and the wife is briefly seen bashing Romans soldiers along with the Gauls), while in the comic they were mainly used as comic relief and overall Butt-Monkey.
  • Justice League: Gods and Monsters:
    • While this version of Lex Luthor still didn't like Superman, he doesn't appear to have the usual Green-Eyed Monster side of his mainstream self, and he proves a hero by the end of the movie.
    • Dr. Sivana, a Card-Carrying Villain in the mainstream universe, is working for the government here. However, this version is a Knight Templar Jerk Ass, so he's still pretty unlikable and hence an Asshole Victim.
    • Darkseid is willing to make peace instead of continue a centuries-old feud. Pronounced in Highfather going against the deal first. It's also suggested that he is a much better father than his mainstream counterpart to his son Orion, judging by how he reacts to Highfather killing Darkseid.
    • Victor Fries never becomes Mr. Freeze.
    • Amanda Waller in the President of the United States. Additionally, she's less extreme than in the comics and while she has countermeasures in place to deal with the League, given the League in this as a whole are a bunch of violent anti-heroes, with Superman being a Smug Super, Batman as a vampiric Sociopathic Hero, and Wonder Woman as a Lady of War, it's hard to blame her for creating them.
    • The tie-in miniseries, Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, does this to Brainiac. He's typically depicted in the mainstream universe as a shining representation of Aliens are Bastards. This one, on the other hand, is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who can't control his power.
  • While in both The True Meaning of Smekday and Home, the Gorg was the only one left of the his species, in the former, his species wiped themselves out and the Gorg were characterized by invading planets for no good reason and were Jerkasses to the point where they started a long civil war over a parking space. Here, the Gorg only attacks the Boov to repopulate his species with the children taken by Smek.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Burbank Animation), Phoebus is a much nicer guy who genuinely cares for Esmeralda. However, he passes near the location of Esmeralda's execution without speaking, but it all ends up as a double subversion: he reveals the truth to the angry mob at the end.
  • Superman/Batman: Public Enemies sees Amanda Waller's role as an Ascended Extra also involve her being the Only Sane Man working for Lex Luthor and turning on him when she realizes just how insane he is.
  • In Joseph: King of Dreams, Potiphar's wife (Zuleika) gets a mild form of this. After she gives her False Rape Accusation, Potiphar is about to kill Joseph, but she intervenes, insisting that he doesn't deserve death. It's only then that he's thrown in jail instead. This actually results in some slight Adaptational Villainy for Potiphar, since he seems to understand what she's saying but still punishes Joseph to save face (though Joseph forgives him for this later).
    • Technically Joseph's brothers get a tiny bit of this: in The Bible, they originally planned to kill him, except that Reuben, the eldest, argued that they should just throw him in a pit; he secretly planned to rescue Joseph later. Here, even throwing him into the pit seems accidental, though they still leave him there and eventually sell him into slavery. Reuben's heroic role is cut out.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, Snotlout Jorgenson is shown to be the biggest bully among the teenage Vikings, making fun of Hiccup for being weak and clumsy, and actively belittling and ostracizing him. Like the other teens, he gets better in the end. Meanwhile, in the original books, Snotlout was Hiccup's cousin, who repeatedly tried to murder him in order to become next in line for chieftainship. The Adaptational Heroism is pushed even further in the TV show, Dragons: Riders of Berk, where Character Development kicks in and gradually reveals Snotlout to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • The CGI Astro Boy film completely changed Tenma's personality due to making him a Decomposite Character. In the manga and its anime adaptations he rejects Astro as a failed Replacement Goldfish because he can't age and doesn't act enough like his son. Tenma ultimately becomes the Big Bad due to his resentment towards Astro. In the film adaptation, Tenma grows to love Astro by the end. Canon Foreigner President Stone instead is the antagonist.
  • Justice League vs. Teen Titans, much like the Teen Titans cartoon, sees Raven much more resistant to Trigon's influence induced Heel–Face Revolving Door and does what what she can to stop him, only giving in when the Titans are in trouble and fighting back once they're safe.
  • Pinocchio (1992)
    • Mangiafuoco of all people. His puppets are not sentient, so he is less ethically ambiguous than the literary one. He never intends to burn Pinocchio; just scolds the latter for ruining his show.
    • The Blue Fairy does save Pinocchio from the thieves (The Wolf and the Cat disguised) in the "midnight assault scene", unlike the one of the book, which alleged to be dead and was quite morally ambiguous. Also, she does not fake to be dead.
    • The Wolf and the Cat have a downplayed villainy. In the midnight assault scene, they disguise as trees rather than as assassins, don't scare Pinocchio to give up the money and never try to attack him. Those two things indicate that they wouldn't have hurt Pinocchio unlike their book counterparts.
  • The Pharaoh of the Exodus (given the name "Ramesses") gets this treatment in The Prince of Egypt. While still the villain, he's portrayed in a more tragic, sympathetic, and all-around human light than his Biblical counterpart. He's clearly torn up about having to go against his brother, hoping that they can work things out, but ultimately decides they can't and refuses to see things any other way. Some scenes ended up having to be re-written from the original drafts of the script because Rameses came across as too nice.
  • Son of Batman, based on the first arc of Grant Morrison's Batman run, "Batman and Son", sees Deathstroke take Talia's role as the Big Bad of the story, resulting is Talia being closer to her original characterization in the movie—until Batman: Bad Blood saw her Take a Level in Jerkass and become closer to Morrison's depiction.
  • Astaroth in Christian folklore is the Great Duke of Hell who tempts men into damnation via sloth. In The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse, he is the kindly lord of the afterlife, who sends John on his quest to stop the zombies.

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