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  • In most film adaptations of And Then There Were None, Vera and Lombard are both revealed to be completely innocent of the crimes they were accused of (and in the latter's case, it's usually because he's not the real Lombard but his friend or a detective impersonating him to find out who sent the letter to him).
  • Annie (1982): In the bridge scene, Annie is able to be rescued due in part to two separate heroic acts not in the original musical.
    • The first is by the other orphans. After Molly overhears Rooster talking about his plan, they try to get out and warn Annie, but are locked in a closet. With no other choice, they pull off a daring escape through a roof hatch and walk all the way to Warbucks' house in order to raise the alarm. While they don't manage to arrive in time to prevent Annie being taken, their warning is the reason Punjab is looking for her and therefore able to execute his nick-of-time rescue.
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    • Ms. Hannigan, of all people, gets the other one, on the coattails of her Heel–Face Turn. When it hits her that Rooster is legitimately going to kill Annie, she realizes she can't let him do it and intervenes to stop him. He quickly overpowers her, but the few seconds it takes him to do so end up proving critical to Annie surviving the incident.
  • Apt Pupil: Although a youth obsessed with Nazi crimes in both versions, Todd is a lot less nasty in the film version than he is in the novella. In the book, he is a budding sociopath who fantasizes about raping a captive woman in a concentration camp and, together with Dussander, becomes a serial killer wherein he murders hobos before he kills his guidance counsellor and finally goes on a killing spree that ends in his death. In the film, Todd comes across as more disturbed and immature than Ax-Crazy and sadistic, and doesn't have anything as explicit as a rape fantasy during his dreams about the camps. He and Dussander only kill one homeless person who Dussander found out was a former Nazi, and Todd simply blackmails his guidance counsellor and goes to college after Dussander dies.
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  • The sultan in Arabian Nights goes through over 1000 wives before Scheherezade comes forward to get the story going. The Hallmark adaptation has Scheherezade as the first new wife he takes, thus stopping one of our protagonists from being responsible for over 1000 executions. Additionally in the original story, he had his first wife executed for betraying him. In this adaptation, he killed her accidentally with a blow intended for his evil brother.
  • Atomic Blonde sees this with lead character Lorraine Broughton—sort of, given the Gray and Grey Morality of the Cold War. The original graphic novel, The Coldest City, sees her comic counterpart as a double agent for the KGB, but the film sees her real employer being the CIA.
  • Battle Royale:
    • Kinpatsu Sakamochi was a sadistic rapist who often cracked jokes at the expense of the students that died in the Program. Kitano, his counterpart from the film, while still no saint, is shown to be more sympathetic. He often dealt with students that disrespected him and a daughter that wanted nothing to do with him. He even tried to make sure Noriko won because she was the only student that showed respect for him.
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    • Hirono Shimizu, while not evil in the novel, isn't very nice either. In the manga, she is open to the idea of joining Shuya's rebellion and it was taken even further in the film when she called Mitsuko out for killing Megumi, the latter of whom she bullied in the novel.
  • Beauty and the Beast: In the original animated film, LeFou was a sycophantic Plucky Comic Relief sidekick to Gaston who is directly involved in his raid on Beast's castle and comes dangerously close to killing Lumiere with a torch. In this Live-Action Adaptation, he does retain his sidekick role, but he displays a real moral compass and betrays Gaston after he leaves Maurice for dead.
  • Judah Ben Hur from Ben-Hur. In the novel, the plot is kicked off when Judah accidentally knocks a roof tile on the head of a Roman centurion and gets arrested. In the 1959 movie, Judah's sister is the one who dislodges the roof tile, but Judah deliberately takes the blame in an attempt to spare his sister. In the novel, when Judah is on a sinking slave ship, and finds himself unchained, he gets the hell off the ship. In the movie, Judah takes the opportunity to punch out a guard, steal his keys, and free all the other slaves on the ship, before escaping himself.
  • Brick Mansions: Tremaine is a lot more sympathetic than Taha, the Big Bad from the French original that he is largely based on. Taha was a complete lunatic of a drug kingpin who regularly murdered his own followers, and threatened to destroy the city with a stolen bomb just to extort a ransom from the government. Tremaine is an ex-soldier who is actually shown to sincerely care for his men, and whose motives for threatening to blow up the city are based on his legitimate grievances with the corrupt government for abandoning the district.
  • Cinderella:
    • In contrast to his portrayal in the animated film, the King is much more friendly to his subjects.
    • Anastasia and Drisella are also far less heinous than in the animated Disney movie. They make mean remarks to Cinderella at times but otherwise, leave her alone and sometimes, they are even civil and semi-friendly to her when they are in a good mood. Lady Tremaine is Cinderella's primary bully. However, this is actually closer to the depiction of the step-sisters in the classic Charles Perrault version of the tale, complete with them apologizing to and being forgiven by Cinderella in the end.
  • Cloud Atlas:
    • The Union is portrayed as an actual rebellion. Contrast to the book in which it's just staged by Unanimity so that they can distract the people from the actual problems going on in the government.
    • Timothy Cavendish is given this too, seeing how his more racist and misogynistic aspects of his personality aren't even brought up in the film.
  • In the novel Congo, Karen Ross is a Jerk Ass Corrupt Corporate Executive who only wants to get to Zinj to get ahold of its diamond mines and causes the destruction of the site when she makes a controlled detonation during a geological survey that triggers a volcanic eruption. In the movie, she travels to Zinj in search of her Canon Foreigner boyfriend who works for the same company and disappeared during a previous expedition there, and the volcanic eruption is a coincidence.
  • The 1990 film version of Cyrano de Bergerac made Christian, the Unknown Rival to the titular character in love, more heroic and sympathetic than in the original play (though he was already an alright guy) by having him rescue his love Roxane when her attempt to charm her way through enemy lines doesn't work, unlike the play.
  • Daredevil:
    • Elektra wants to avenge her father's death by killing Daredevil, whom she falsely believes to be his killer, and the worst thing she does is to attack Daredevil under false pretenses. In the comics, she's a contract assassin who killed people for kicks while in college, and once belonged to an evil cult of ninjas known as the Hand.
    • Elektra's father was an abusive husband and implied to have molested his daughter. While not much is shown, it's clear he's just an overprotective father who still has security following Elektra despite the fact that she's an adult capable of protecting herself.
    • In Elektra's spin-off film, Stick is a nicer, more caring person than the cynical hustler who put Matt through Hell while training him.
  • The Darkest Minds: In the books, the Children's League turns out to be not very different from the government. Here though, while they still have a bad reputation, it's portrayed as false and they're heroes. Ruby joins them at the end.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Dr. Emil Hamilton has a history of going through the Heel–Face Revolving Door in the comics, but Man of Steel sees him die a hero and never become a supervillain.
    • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, one of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's influences, Superman goes after Batman on the orders of the President of the United States, who only wants Batman brought in because Batman's effectiveness makes the government look bad. In the movie, Superman is genuinely opposed to Batman's vigilantism and only goes to Gotham because Lex Luthor is holding his mother hostage.
  • In the film version of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly is portrayed more sympathetically than in the book. In the original novel, she is a horrible person and Andy deeply dislikes her. In the film, Miranda has a more sympathetic portrayal and Andy, at times, comes to respect her. Interestingly, the sequel novel makes it clear that Miranda is just an absolutely horrible human being altogether and anyone who allows themselves to be fooled into thinking otherwise is delusional.
  • In Divergent,
    • In Divergent, Molly is much less antagonistic in the film than she is in the novel. She's still portrayed as a tough fighter, but otherwise lacks the openly sadistic and cruel streak of her book counterpart, and even compliments Tris for standing up to Eric during the knife-throwing.
    • Nita in The Divergent Series: Allegiant does not try to rebel against the Bureau for mistreating the genetically-damaged like she does in Allegiant. While she does assist Tris and co. against the Bureau's orders, it's because she (and everybody else in the Bureau) knows that David is up to no good, not because of a personal vendetta that Tris is sympathetic with.
  • Christie is far less cruel and murderous in DOA: Dead or Alive than she is in the games, and is generally much friendlier and more approachable. The movie also downplays her backstory as an assassin, instead depicting her as a Classy Cat-Burglar.
  • In Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula is the Big Bad through and through and lacking in absolutely any sympathetic traits. In Dracula Untold, he remains The Hero driven to protect his family and his homeland, despite implications this movie would have been his Start of Darkness.
  • East of Eden does this to Kate, Cal's mother. In the original novel, Kate (or, rather, Cathy) is a vicious, manipulative murderess without a conscience with several bodies on her hands and not an inkling of love for her estranged family. In the film, Kate's still cold, detached, and left her family while leaving them to bear the consequences, but she's no longer a villain or even an antagonist, simply the owner of a brothel who's implied to heavily regret having ever left her sons in the first place.
  • In the 1982 film of Evil Under the Sun, Mrs Castle, originally nothing more than the rather strict hotel owner, is given the name Daphne and combined with the character of Rosamund, becoming Kenneth's love interest and Hercule Poirot's main assistant during the investigation. She also helps him trap the killer at the end by taking his signature.
  • First Blood does this with is signature character, John Rambo. In the original novel, Rambo was a purely villainous character, driven insane by the trauma of his experiences in Vietnam. The film, meanwhile, portrays Rambo in a much more sympathetic light, with a stronger emphasis on Gray and Gray Morality that makes the fugitive veteran more nuanced and understandable than just an Axe-Crazy Cop Killer. In fact, because he was portrayed much more sympathetically on celluloid, not only is Rambo Spared by the Adaptation, but he also ended up becoming the star of a one of the most well-known action franchises of the 1980's.
  • Future Cops is basically a comedic parody film of the Street Fighter where they got the alignment of some characters reversed. One of the heroes, Ti Man, played by Andy Lau, is based on Vega, who in the game proper is actually a sadistic, dangerous The Fighting Narcissist and one of the game's villains.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla (2014), unlike most versions of Godzilla who are usually antagonistic (and a huge case with his original incarnation, a Tragic Monster), but not as much as his Showa incarnation from Godzilla Raids Again through Destroy All Monsters who had a hefty dose of Characterization Marches On. Despite his actions in Hawaii (where he swamps Waikiki beach, the most densely populated area that time of night), he avoids attacking humans as he can and most of his rampages is due to the Mutos posing a threat while maintaining his Destructive Hero status per his previous incarnations.
    • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!. King Ghidorah is known throughout the films as Godzilla's archenemy. The Showa Era depicted him a complete villain who gleefully destroyed planets while the Heisei Era was a living weapon of conquerors from the future. However, the version seen in this Millenium Era film is an ancient dragon who served as one of the guardian monsters of Japan, awakening to fight Godzilla to save the world, not to destroy it.
  • In the Fingersmith novel, Sue Trinder's family and criminal cohorts are aware of—and the true masterminds behind—the plan to switch Sue and Maud at the insane asylum, since Maud is actually their biological daughter. In the film adaptation The Handmaiden they are completely unaware of the plan, and assist Sook-hee (Sue Trinder) when she lets them know what has occurred.
  • The Harry Potter film adaptations:
    • Happens inadvertently to Narcissa Malfoy. In both the books and films, she is very concerned for her son's life and betrays Voldemort in the end, but the film leaves out scenes showing her haughty racism and general Rich Bitch attitude before her Heel–Face Turn.
    • Although Rufus Scrimgeour was never a villain, in books six and seven he's treated as something of an opportunistic antagonist who really only wants to work with Harry to make himself look good. In the film series, he's introduced briefly in the seventh movie, where he cryptically tells Harry and the gang that he doesn't know what they're up to, but that they can't fight Voldemort alone. And then he dies off-screen.
    • In the books, Severus Snape is a Jerkass whose true loyalties and motives remain ambiguous until the final novel reveals he has been protecting Harry all along. In the movies, he's still unpleasant and occasionally mean, but many of his nastier moments are toned down or removed, and he has a few Pet the Dog moments, such as risking his own life to shield Harry, Ron and Hermione, the three students he most despises, from werewolf!Lupin. The films also only imply (rather than outright state) that Snape unwittingly set the Potters up to die by telling Voldemort about the prophecy, which did not specify the child it was referring to. Once Snape realizes Lily could be endangered by this because her son Harry could be the child the prophecy was referring to and learned Voldemort was going after the Potter family, he immediately regrets his actions and goes to Dumbledore to protect her and, later, protect her son from Voldemort.
    • Barty Crouch Sr. in the books is a Knight Templar implied to have a bad case of He Who Fights Monsters that developed after his fall from grace about fifteen years prior. He and Harry barely interact, and his neglect of his son is highly implied to be one of the reasons Barty Jr. joins Voldemort; Barty Sr.'s cold reaction to the news at Barty Jr.'s trial despite his wife's hysterics is noted as the point where the public started to turn on him. In the film, he and Harry share a pleasant conversation shortly before his death, and in a flashback scene the moment when he says "you are no son of mine" is depicted as a horrified reaction to the many atrocities his clearly deranged and monstrous son has committed rather than a cruel dismissal.
    • A small case in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The centaurs have it in for Hagrid after he stops them killing Firenze in the book - and Harry and Hermione suffer from guilt-by-association after they carry off Umbridge. This is left out of the film and the centaurs don't go after Harry and Hermione, merely carrying off Umbridge.
  • In the novel version of the The Help, Skeeter Phelan is a segregationist who finds the thought of an interracial romance to be "horrific, disastrous." She's still a sympathetic protagonist, but she's nevertheless a somewhat ambiguous character. In the movie, by contrast, there is much less moral complexity, and Skeeter is never portrayed as a segregationist.
  • In the film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the title character gets a sympathetic backstory for his hatred of Christmas thanks to the feature-length film needing to indulge in a lot of Adaptation Expansion. Interestingly, his sympathetic backstory results in Adaptational Jerkass on the part of the Whos of Whoville.
  • Several film adaptions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, most blatantly the Disney movie, apply this trope to the principal characters (Quasimodo, Esmerelda, and sometimes Phoebus) and invert it with Claude Frollo (omitting his capacity for compassion and creating selfish motives for his initial actions). In the 1923 version, however, this trope is played straight with Claude, whose evil side is given instead to his brother Jehan.
  • In almost every version of The Iliad ever put to film, the Greeks (the heroes of the poem) become the villains, and the Trojans (the villains of the poem) become the heroes. This is particularly galling in the case of Paris, who in the epic, was a sniveling, backstabbing coward, who hid inside the city and let his brother do all the fighting. But Hollywood wants a love story, and Paris' promotion to romantic lead inevitably includes a batch of good qualities that weren't present in the epic poem, and the quiet ignoring of the fact that his "love interest" was essentially roofied by a goddess. To a lesser degree it also applies to his brother Hector, who, while more conventionally heroic in the poem, was still a) willing to dismember a man's body and hang it from the walls, and b) too afraid to face Achilles in direct combat. The 2004 version, Troy, also gives Achilles something of a hero upgrade, turning him from a nihilistic narcissist into a troubled, but genuine, hero.
  • Into the Woods:
    • Rapunzel's Prince, contrasting his brother's Adaptational Villainy. It's clear that he truly loves Rapunzel, and he stays faithful to her for the entire film (unlike his stage show counterpart, who tosses her aside during their marriage to pursue Snow White). He's even willing to go out and search for Rapunzel while blind.
    • A small case for the steward. In the stage show, he kills Jack's mother by clubbing her over the head. In this, he only pushes her to the ground and she hits her head off a log. He's shown to instantly regret it as well.
    • One moment for the Witch. In most productions when Rapunzel chooses to stay with her prince, the Witch tries to attack both of them. In the film, she only goes for the prince and even pulls Rapunzel back.
  • In the 1982 film adaptation of Ivanhoe, Sir Brian died heroically. Though he could easily have defeated Ivanhoe, who was fighting as Rebecca's champion, he let himself be struck down for Rebecca's sake.
  • Jason and the Argonauts has Jason as a Designated Hero who travels all the way to Colchis to rob Aeetes's Golden Fleece because he wants his kingdom back. The Hallmark version of the film changes this as Jason must get the Fleece or else Pelias will kill his mother. Medea gets this as well in both film versions. In the original she was a Manipulative Bitch who made Jason promise to marry her in exchange for her help and she killed Pelias herself when Jason decided not to accept the kingdom. In the Hallmark film she is shown to genuinely love Jason and grieve for the deaths of her brother and father.
  • Most of the human characters in Jaws. The humans in the novel are unlikable. Martin and Ellen Brody have an unhappy marriage and Ellen is cheating on Martin with Matt Hooper, Hooper is a snobby Ivy League alumnus, and the mayor actually has ties with the Mafia. The movie changes this by making Martin and Ellen Brody Happily Married and Ellen's affair with Matt Hooper is omitted, while Hooper is portrayed as a charming, rugged, good-humored character.
  • In the 2016 Live-Action Adaptation version of The Jungle Book, Mowgli is made less of a Bratty Half-Pint his '67 version was. In his selfish desire to remain in the jungle, the '67 version foolishly ignores the threat of Shere Khan upon him after he's taken away from the wolf pack he grew up in to the safety of the Man-Village. The '16 version makes by himself the decision to leave the pack and go to live somewhere else in the jungle in order to spare his adoptive family from Shere Khan's wrath. While the '67 version ends up confronting Shere Khan (partly) by chance, the '16 version eventually rushes to confront the tiger in order to avenge Akela's murder and end Khan's tyranny over the jungle.
  • John Hammond of Jurassic Park is an interesting case in that both versions of him, the original novel version and the much more well known film adaptation, are thinly-veiled versions of Walt Disney. In the original novel, Hammond is compared to Disney in-text very early on when an EPA agent approaches John Grant about him and Grant blows off his warnings, remarking that "John Hammond is about as sinister as Walt Disney." The gag is that Hammond really is that, as the book goes on to reveal Hammond as an It's All About Me Jerkass who dismisses all his mistakes and lapses of judgment with Never My Fault, much as the actual Disney was said to be. That said, the popular perception of Disney was that he was a Cool Old Guy Eccentric Millionaire, and when Steven Spielberg adapted the novel into the film he deliberately based Hammond off the kinder, more sanitized interpretation of Disney, due to feeling a personal kinship with him. So not only was Hammond Spared by the Adaptation, he even got to appear in sequels as a Big Good.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • The film version makes both Big Daddy and Red Mist much more sympathetic than in the original comic. Film Big Daddy is profoundly messed up but very much a Tragic Hero, whereas in the source material his apparent backstory was just a lie and he's actually a vigilante in it for kicks. The film version of Red Mist strips him of his Dirty Coward personality from the comic and plays up his loneliness.
    • Kick-Ass' Love Interest Katie is a kind, compassionate young woman, whereas her comic counterpart is an absolute bitch. At least in the first film. When the sequel rolled, she Took a Level in Jerkass, closely matching her comic counterpart's personality. She jumps to conclusions over a misunderstanding and dumps him, after revealing she had been cheating on him from the start.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • In The Secret Service, Professor James Arnold was the Big Bad. Here, he was kidnapped by the villains, although he does agree to join them afterwards, seeing as how he had a chip in his head.
    • Merlin remains loyal to the Kingsman, unlike Rupert Greaves, his equivalent character in the comics, who joins forces with the villain and attempts to poison the protagonist. This element of his character is given to Arthur in the film.
  • The Land That Time Forgot:
    • Captain von Schoenvorts is a thoughtful U-Boat officer who treats his men fairly, forbids the killing of survivors after sinking the British ship, and works loyally and faithfully alongside Tyler and Bradley in Caprona, and who ultimately dies tragically thanks to the betrayal of his treacherous second in command Dietz. This is in direct contrast to the novel where Baron von Schoenvorts whips his own men for minor offenses, intentionally has the U-Boat fire on survivors of the ship they sank, betrays the British crew in Caprona and uses them as slave labor, and dies as a result of some severe Laser-Guided Karma.
    • A more minor example is Benson. In the film, he's just one of the British crew and a definite good guy who gets killed in a fight with some Sto-Lu warriors. In the novel, he is a traitor helping the Germans, and dies aboard the U-Boat long before the characters even get to Caprona.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:
    • Cleverly subverted in with Griffin the Invisible Man. In both the comic and source material he was a sociopathic rapist and murderer. Since the movie was going for a Lighter and Softer approach, they made this into a twist; the Invisible Man in the film is revealed to actually be Skinner, a thief who stole some of Griffin's invisibility serum and was turned transparent like him. Thus the original character is left intact while the audience doesn't have to stomach having a rapist on the same team as the heroes.
    • Played straight with Captain Nemo, Mr. Hyde, and the British Intelligence in general. In the comics they were morally ambiguous at best, but the film presents them as more conventional heroes since, again, they were going for a more light-hearted style.
  • Little Shop of Horrors: While Seymour Krelbourn isn't exactly a villain in the play, he's still portrayed as an extremely selfish person who willingly allows two people to die to feed an obviously untrustworthy Man-Eating Plant and in doing so impress a girl. It's thus portrayed as Laser-Guided Karma when his trusting the plant costs the girl's life and his own. To fit the film's Lighter and Softer Focus Group Ending, Seymour's more negative traits are downplayed, and his responsibility for the deaths is decreased - the first is due to being frozen with shock, and the second is a straight-up accident.
  • In The Long Goodbye, Eileen Wade isn't the murderer, unlike in the book.
  • In the book of The Lovely Bones Abigail has an affair with the detective investigating her daughter's murder. She additionally doesn't return home until Buckley is all grown up. The film leaves the affair out and Abigail returns while Buckley is still a child.
  • Maleficent provides a previously unseen tragic origin for the title character, causing her to come off as much more sympathetic than she did in the original Sleeping Beauty film. Same goes for her Dragon, Diaval, who in the original was petty and cruel. Here, his loyalty to Maleficent is highlighted and he's given more character traits and screen-time, causing him to come across as a far better person.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • While the MCU version of Nick Fury is no stranger to keeping secrets and manipulating events to fit a desired outcome, he doesn't go nearly as far with it as the character he's based on (Ultimate Nick Fury), who's a borderline Villain Protagonist at times.
    • The same goes for Maria Hill, who is more overtly heroic and lacks most of her comic counterpart's more morally dubious qualities.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: In one scene of Steve trying to join the army, Steve claimed his parents both served until they died. In the comics, Steve's Dad was an unemployed drunkard. Then again, Steve was already lying about his home town to have another chance to join the army. In the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier there's a flashback to pre-serum Steve after his mother's funeral where Bucky tries to console him and Steve says it's alright since she's "now with dad".
    • Iron Man 3: The Iron Patriot armor gets adapted into the new suit that Lt. Col. James Rhodes gets to use. In the comics, the armor is best known as the one used by Norman Osborn during the Dark Reign storyline.
    • Ant-Man:
      • While Scott Lang is still an ex-con, it's because he was a Robin Hood-like thief who hacked a company that was intentionally overcharging its customers. This is in contrast to the comics, where Lang was a burglar who used to rob people for the sheer thrill.
      • Hope Van Dyne helps the heroes in their plan to save the world. In the MC2 comics, Hope is a villainess known as the Red Queen. This is because movie Hope is a Composite Character of her comics version and the original comics Wasp, who was her mother Janet Van Dyne.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy sees Gamora as the most moral of the group, and the first to stand by Peter, as opposed to the comics where she has a well earned nickname of "The Most Dangerous Woman in the Galaxy" and is on the side of the good guys out of a combination of boredom, spite, and self-preservation. It also has the secondary character Nova Corps Dennerian Garthaan Saal as a cynical jerk, but heroic for the most part. In the comics he became insane and went on to oppose Nova and the Avengers as the villain, Supernova.
    • Downplayed in Captain America: Civil War. Helmut Zemo is still a villain, but his motives are much more sympathetic than his comic counterpart. In the comics, he was a literal Nazi who wanted mass genocide. In the film he wants to tear the Avengers apart as revenge for his family being accidentally killed in one of their battles. Also in the same film, Iron Man and his pro-Registration side have much more sympathetic and logical motives than in the comics where he's a Strawman Political.
    • Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange (2016). In the comics, he's a Card-Carrying Villain with little to no redeeming qualities, while in the movie, he's one of Strange's allies and helps him take on Kaecilius, the allegedly real Big Bad of the film. Even his inevitable Face–Heel Turn has more understandable motivations. Kevin Feige said they do intend to have Mordo become an antagonist in future installments, but hope that introducing him as a hero early on will make him a more interesting and morally gray villain.
    • Black Panther (2018):
      • M'Baku, in the comics a straight villain, is an honorable Worthy Opponent to T'Challa with a Deadpan Snarker personality who takes him in and cares for him when he's defeated and near-death, and allies with him at the end against the villain in a textbook Changed My Mind, Kid moment. He remains heroic in his minor appearance in Avengers: Infinity War.
      • Nakia is a genuinely kind and empathetic person who wants to use Wakanda's wealth and power to help those in need. This is in contrast to the comics, where Nakia was a crazed and murderous Stalker with a Crush who was mostly defined by her obsession with T'Challa.
    • Of all people, Infinity War gives us a Thanos who is considerably more sympathetic than his comic counterpart. In the comics, his motive was that he'd fallen in love with the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death and kills to try and win her favor, to no avail - yes, going as far as famously killing half the universe with the Infinity Gems. In the film, he believes the universe doesn't have enough resources to go around, and half must be sacrificed to spare the rest the fate his own planet suffered due to an Overpopulation Crisis. He takes no pleasure in it at all, genuinely cares for his "daughter" Gamora, and one of his Badass Boasts to the heroes about the failure they will soon taste turns out to have been genuine sympathy and turns out to be referencing how he felt in failing to save his people! Though it should be noted that, in Avengers: Endgame, he loses many of these sympathetic traits when he realizes all the people post-Snap are trying, and succeeding, to undo the one act of "good" he sacrificed everything to achieve; he decides he's better off just pushing the Reset button and watching everything from the start is the better idea instead. In all fairness, the Thanos that the Avengers fight at the end of the film is from an earlier point in the timeline and thus had not actually made those sacrifices yet, travelling forward in time when the Avengers attempt to time travel and gather the Infinity Stones to undo his plan, alerting him to their actions.
    • Captain Marvel (2019): The Kree-Skrull War is tweaked a bit. Specifically, the Skrulls, while they don't necessarily have clean hands, are victims of Kree tyranny who have been forced to do bad things to survive rather than the recurring enemies in the comics.
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein significantly toned down Frankenstein's worst actions in the novel by having Justine lynched by a mob as soon as she's accused of William's murder, which was actually committed by the Creature. In the novel, Frankenstein stays silent for weeks while she's judicially tried, convicted and executed, while Wangst-ing about how horrible the situation is for him.
  • The Mask:
    • The Mask itself. In the comic books, it is deliberately malevolent, corrupting and compels its wearers to commit atrocity after atrocity with the immense power it gives them, before the wearer dies and The Mask goes to its next "master". In the film, The Mask simply removes all inhibitions from the wearer, letting the wearer do whatever they want. This is why Stanley Ipkiss becomes a wisecracking mischief-maker, but the villain lets loose with all of his evil.
    • Stanley Ipkiss in the film is a lovable loser with a lot of nevertheless redeeming qualities who ultimately learns to stop relying on The Mask to solve his problems, rises to the occasion, and gets the girl. In the comics he's a right-wing lunatic who uses The Mask as his personal hitman to kill those who wronged him for increasingly trivial reasons (such as suffocating his elementary school teacher), goes on a violent rampage against the police, and is ultimately shot and killed by his girlfriend.
  • In the novel of Matilda Hortensia bullies Matilda and Lavender. In the film she is friendly and protective of them.
  • While still antagonistic towards Thomas in The Maze Runner, Gally is significantly less psychotic than his book counterpart. He brings up logical and reasonable accusations towards Thomas and is much more sympathetic. Until the whole "let's leave Thomas and Teresa to die in a failing attempt to save ourselves" thing.
  • In the Men in Black films, Agents Jay, Kay, and Zed are heroes. In the obscure comic book the movies are based on, the organization is downright sinister, K basically made J An Offer You Can't Refuse to get him to join and considers him a very disposable pawn, and J is pretty much the only 'good guy' in the bunch.
  • Les Misérables (2012):
    • Inspector Javert gets an added Pet the Dog moment and presents him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes that locking up anyone considered a criminal is best for them, struggles with his beliefs, and zealously enforces the law out of duty and without malice. In the original novel, Javert is a Knight Templar and the narration describes his incorruptibility and devotion to his work as a kind of evil because consequently, he lacks empathy for and demonstrates borderline sadistic glee in punishing people driven to crime by their circumstances. The musical and film adaptations focus more on Javert's obsession with catching Valjean specifically, rather than criminals in general, but adaptations still (depending on the production) present him as a fairly malevolent character.
    • In the novel, Eponine and her parents bullied Cosette. In the film, Eponine is only briefly seen as a child and doesn't interact at all with Cosette. As an adult in the novel, Eponine is incredibly bitter over her situation and is jealous over Marius's love for Cosette. In the film, she comes across as merely broken-hearted that Marius does not love her. Eponine hiding Cosette's letter to Marius comes across as an act of despair in the heat of the moment, rather than as an actual attempt to sabotage the relationship between Marius and Cosette. Also, in the film, she screams to alert Cosette and Valjean that her parents are outside the house while, in the novel, she only threatened to do so, making Eponine come across as more heroic. Marius and Eponine's friendship is emphasized and given importance, while in the book, Eponine was a bit of a Stalker with a Crush. While Marius loves and cares for Eponine to an extent (though it is largely pity), it's only as a friend, which makes Eponine's sadness that he doesn't love her the same way she loves him all the more poignant.
  • In Mortal Engines, Magnus Crome is as culpable as Valentine over developing MEDUSA as a weapon for London. In the film adaptation he's still by no means a good person, but he's oblivious to Valentine's plans until the weapon has been completed, and is killed by Valentine when he tries to put a stop to it.
  • My Sister's Keeper greatly humanizes the Knight Templar Parent that Sara was in the book. While she's still abusive in the film, some of her worse moments from the book are left out. And since Kate dies instead of Anna unlike in the book, Sara and Anna eventually mend their differences as implied by the end. The film has also has several happy moments between the family, establishing that Sara does indeed love her other children too.
  • The 1991 remake of The Night of the Hunter has the kids' father murdered in his cell by the Big Bad rather than hanged for a bank robbery gone wrong, making it possible that it didn't go as wrong as in the original book and movie (i.e., that the father has no blood on his hands).
  • Mr. Curry from Paddington Bear is less mean and just more grumpy in the film adaptation Paddington.
  • Mewtwo from Pokémon Detective Pikachu is far more benevolent than any of its previous incarnations in the Pokémon series, learning from Harry that not all Humans Are Bastards. It's not only grateful to Harry and Pikachu helping him out, but it also helps Tim and Pikachu (the latter again) out in return. It's also driven by a wish to be free and alone, as opposed to its rage and hatred against humans like its other incarnations.
  • Pride and Prejudice:
    • In the novel, Mary Bennett is a bookworm and a bit of a Shrinking Violet — but she is also very ignorant, rude and loves to lecture people. Many of the novel's film adaptations file off the unlikeable parts of Mary, leaving her looking more sympathetic. The 2005 film is a notable example, especially the scene where she cries into her father's arms that she practised the piano all day but couldn't perform at the ball. Mrs Bennett too in the 2005 film, who gets a couple of Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments with her husband.
    • Bride and Prejudice does similar things with Mrs Bennett's Expy Mrs Bakshi. While still presented as pushy and over-the-top, she gets a few Pet the Dog moments. Caroline Bingley's equivalent Kiran is softened greatly too - as she's shown to sincerely enjoy herself at the party where she's introduced, and appears friendlier than her book counterpart.
    • Depending on the adaptation, Mr Collins will sometimes get this or Adaptational Villainy. The 2005 film portrays him as awkward but sincere, while Lost In Austen leans more towards some kind of sexual predator.
  • In Prince Caspian, Queen Prunaprismia is stated to have disliked Caspian and wholeheartedly supports her evil husband Miraz. In the film, however, Prunaprismia is portrayed in a more positive light. She shows sympathy for Caspian, and she expresses horror at the fact that Miraz murdered his brother. (The BBC adaptation, on the other hand, increases her villainy by depicting her as a harpy who shows open hostility towards Caspian.)
  • In the novel The Quiet Earth, Api turns out to be psychopath, and tries to kill the protagonist before being killed himself. In the movie, he's a genuinely good guy, and is even ready to perform a Heroic Sacrifice before Zac does it for him.
  • Resident Evil:
  • The original story of The Scarlet Pimpernel has Marguarite denounce the Marquis, accidentally sending him and his family to their deaths in revenge for his attack on her brother; the 1982 film adaption has her innocent of this action, framed by Chauvelin instead (for whom this trope is inverted).
  • In the television show Firefly, Simon hired professionals to break his sister out of the government "school" where she was trapped. In the film Film/Serenity, the beginning of the movie has a flashback to that moment where he's actually playing a direct role in her rescue himself. In the show, his role was limited to financing the operation because he lacked the expertise to break her out himself, and more importantly, his face was already known to the security because he had tried to break her out on his own once before (and failed). In that scene, he's also a lot smoother and comfortable with action than the brave but bumbling doctor of the show.
  • Many of Frederick Chilton's Kick the Dog moments in The Silence of the Lambs were cut out of the movie.
  • In Silent Hill, Dahlia Gillespie, who was one of the major villains in the first game, plays a minor role as a member of the religious cult led by Christabella, who, unlike Dahlia in the original game, genuinely loved Alessa and felt guilty for her suffering.
  • In Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Pyramid Head is the hero who shows up at the last minute just in time to save the day in the film's climax. In the games, he was The Dreaded antagonist who instilled fear in and out of universe while relentlessly stalking the player to kill them. But the movie recreates him as Heather's protector instead of James' punisher.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy:
    • In Spider-Man 2, Doctor Octopus is rewritten a good man turned into a monster by an accident, and he earns redemption in the films' climax. The Green Goblin is less sympathetic, but gets a dying moment of decency that would be utterly foreign to the comic-book version of Norman Osborn. Though at the very least prior to being the Green Goblin, Norman was shown to be a good man if a bit of an aloof father and stressed businessman, the Goblin formula drove him insane and created a split personality. In the comics, as Peter pointed out, "He was a bad man turned worse".
    • The Sandman is similarly softened in Spider-Man 3, but this may simply be an adaptation of his heroic, reformed characterization in the 1980s and 1990s. In the comics he makes a Heel–Face Turn, but in the movie, he only ever stole to get the money needed to save his Ill Girl daughter, and departs on good terms with the hero after telling his story. This is... not how their early encounters went in the comics.
    • Peter himself in the famous burglar incident. In the comics, he'd let the burglar go figuring it just wasn't his problem. That's why it was such a turning point when that guy went on to kill Uncle Ben. The "great responsibility" thing really hadn't sunk in. Here, he lets the robber go because the underground wrestling arena had cheated him, poetic justice. This change goes with a change to Peter's personality in all adaptations - early Spidey could be legitimately hotheaded or arrogant at times and had to grow out of it.
  • In the first film version of The Stepford Wives, Walter was all too happy to replace his real wife with a robot. In the remake, Walter is portrayed as frustrated by his marriage but goes against the plot, which, in this movie, is brainwashing his wife into obedience and helping Joanna save the other wives from their husbands' control.
  • In Alfred Hitchcock's film version of Strangers on a Train, Guy changed from a tragic demoralized anti-hero to an unambiguous hero, who did not succumb to Bruno's pressure to murder his father.
  • Street Fighter: Balrog, one of the villains in Street Fighter II, is a hero and a friend of Chun Li and E. Honda.
  • Switch (1991) is an unofficial remake of Goodbye Charlie. In both an unapologetically sexist male womanizer is shot dead and reincarnated as a beautiful woman but in the older film he/she is firmly in Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist territory. In the newer film the reincarnated hero/ine is a much more likable character, actually learns a lesson or two and ends the film on a somewhat happy note.
  • In The Talented Mr. Ripley, although Tom Ripley commits the same murders as he does in the book, he is presented as much more emotional and caring, with his sociopathy significantly toned down. As a particular example, Ripley in the books is introduced pretending to be an official with the electric company/other creditor organizations, and calls random people up to pressure them about (nonexistent) bills, partly so he can support himself on their money and partly for his own amusement. In contrast, Ripley in the film works as a waiter and engages in relatively innocent deceptions in which he lies about his background. He also benefits from he fact that Dickie, his first victim, gets a considerable dose of Adaptational Villainy, going from an Upper-Class Twit in the book to a caddish borderline sociopath in the film.
  • The Tekken film changes Heihachi Mishima from a Corrupt Corporate Executive to a much more sympathetic character who is revealed to have saved Jun Kazama from Kazuya.
  • In Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line Witt is a wise, kind character and a Messianic Archetype; in the book the film is based on, he's racist, volatile and no better or worse than the rest of C-for-Charlie.
  • Happens in the film adaptation of Twilight: Eclipse. Remember the infamous Forceful Kiss between Jacob and Bella? In the book, Bella's boyfriend Edward doesn't make much of a fuss over it, her dad Charlie approves of Jacob's actions, and Jacob himself is a Jerkass over the whole thing. In the adaptation, Edward is furious with Jacob, Charlie is shocked when he finds out about it and Jacob acknowledges that what he did was wrong.
  • In the original Village of the Damned (1960), David was the ringleader of the "cuckoos" that apathetically murdered people of the village. In the 1995 remake this role is instead given to female child Mara. David gains a sub plot revolved around his lack of a counterpart, leaving him vulnerable to human empathy and ultimately pulling a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Wanted: The Fraternity in the film adaptation are much less villainous than the Fraternity in the original comic book. They weren't merely corrupt assassins, they were supervillains who engaged in murder and rape on a regular basis (Fox, for example, introduces herself to Wesley by killing a room full of innocent bystanders). Even Wesley himself didn't shy away from engaging in these atrocities either.
  • WarCraft zig-zags this with regards to orcs. While "heroic orc" is a Warcraft mainstay, the game on which the film is based had them be truly villainous. In the film, they're more heroic, and if not, then at least misguided.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
    • The source for the film, the obscure Gary K. Wolf novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, casts Jessica as a standard-issue Femme Fatale who is married to Roger against her will and regularly cheats on him. The film subverts this in a memorable fashion by having her turn out to be quite a nice lady who's genuinely in love with her husband; as she phrases it herself, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."
    • Roger himself gets a heroism upgrade too. In the book, he really IS guilty of the murder Eddie's investigating and even intended to frame Eddie for it. In the film, he's completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • The films portray Professor X as being more noble and sympathetic than his comic book counterpart, who personifies Good Is Not Nice and is a Manipulative Bastard—one of Kitty Pryde's most famous lines is "Professor Xavier is a jerk!" The movie franchise takes the opposite route because Charles is a Guile Hero, one of its nicest characters (he's The Cutie in X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse), and even when he occasionally makes the wrong choice, it's understood that he only had the best of intentions. As a result, the cinematic interpretation is much more likable relative to the comics', and Xavier was purposely adapted in such a way that he became Bryan Singer's favourite X-Men character (who is a big sci-fi fan and isn't a comic book reader).
    • Rogue in most other media, comics and cartoons included, is a former member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn and becomes a hero. The movies do away with her villainous backstory entirely and have her meet Xavier from the very beginning.
    • Iceman is much sweeter and more mature than his comic book counterpart's Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Manchild persona.
    • The first four films in the franchise applied adaptational villainy to many mutant characters (most notably Barakapool and Psylocke), before retconning them into different characters to make room for more fleshed out, comic-book accurate iterations. The opposite was done for the man identified as "Trask" in the third film. Played by Bill Duke, and as the United States Secretary of Defense, he is a bit-part but has no indication of being anything like the genocidal killer robot creator of his comic book counterpart or the later Peter Dinklage character, and his only role in the film is containing the genuinely dangerous mutants like Mystique, Juggernaut and Multiple Man.
    • The Wolverine:
      • Harada. In addition to pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Logan, he's far less of a Jerkass than his comic counterpart, who is a foreigner-hating bigot.
      • Yukio was much more morally ambiguous in the comics (especially in earlier appearances, where she was a mercenary/assassin/thief) than in the movie.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Mystique is given a very realistic and sympathetic motivation for her Start of Darkness moment, in contrast to her depiction in the comics. It goes so far as to establish that prior to killing Bolivar Trask, she'd never taken a single life during one of her crimes. And additionally, she pulls a Heel–Face Turn and not only spares Trask, but rescues the president from Magneto during the climax. Presumably, this negates her role as a villain in the original trilogy via Cosmic Retcon.
      • In the comics, Quicksilver is often an outright jerk (often intentionally), but in this film, he's more of a merry mischief-maker. He can easily flee on his own once the breakout goes bust, but instead, he goes out of his way to save Logan, Charles and Erik, even though he had already freed the latter from prison by technicality. Quicksilver is also clearly not impressed (if amused) by the idea that he helped free the person suspected of killing JFK once he finds out, and is shown to be stunned and horrified by Magneto's "demonstration" in the climax.
    • Deadpool (2016): While Deadpool is still a Heroic Comedic Sociopath, his love for Vanessa is presented as his biggest redeeming factor, and the movie goes to great lengths to show that he would never hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it. Contrast that with the comics, where Deadpool sleeps around constantly, and he has been known to work for supervillains on the odd occasion.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • Mystique, a villain in the comics and in the original trilogy, has been traveling the world rescuing mutants following the events of Days of Future Past, and she becomes the field leader of the X-Men. She insists that she's not a hero, though.
      • Comic book Quicksilver was never a member of the X-Men, but his movie counterpart is. He also expresses his veneration for Mystique's courage in defeating Magneto—his own father—and preventing the latter from assassinating President Nixon.note 
      • Magneto ends the film as a friend of the X-Men. If he really is stepping out of the Heel–Face Revolving Door this time, it will mean he never did any of the nastier things his comics counterpart has done.
  • Ironically two of Julie Andrews' most famous roles were the result of this:
  • Timeline: Arnaud is changed from a cruel, ruthless warlord into a noble warrior who fights for justice.
  • Venom (2018): Both the symbiote and Eddie Brock get this. At the time of Venom's origin, Eddie Brock was a danger to himself and others, and with the symbiote attached, spent several years trying to kill and possibly eat Peter Parker. In the film, the symbiote decides pretty quickly that it actually kind of likes Earth, and Eddie is much more heroic and is very quick to restrict the number of people it is allowed to eat and under what circumstances.
  • The protagonist of Oldboy (2003) is very much a vengeance-driven Anti-Hero with more than a few questionable actions under his belt, with his most moral actions revolving around his Morality Pet Mi-do. The protagonist of Oldboy (2013), while still very brutal, is driven by the need to protect his daughter instead of just personal revenge, though inversely he was also far more of an asshole in the past.
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