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Adaptational Wimp / Live-Action Films

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  • Zig-Zagged in the case of Juliet Butler, who was a teenage badass in the Artemis Fowl books who learned a variety of deadly arts from her older brother. In the film adaptation, while she is younger (and Butler's niece rather than his sister), she's still introduced fencing with Butler and established as a capable fighter. But, of the cast of heroes, she is the one who has the least to contribute during the film's climactic battle against the troll in Fowl Manor.
  • The critically panned Batman & Robin managed to drastically alter three epic Batman characters, one of them being the Dark Knight himself.
    • Batman is normally the level-headed anti-hero who never falls for Poison Ivy's feminine wiles and defeats her with ease. In the film, Poison Ivy seduces Batman easily and nearly succeeds in killing him as if it were nothing.
    • Poison Ivy is another Tragic Villain who only wants to save the plant life of the world. Reluctantly finding herself in conflict with Batman and slowly losing her humanity due to her plant mutation. In the film, she's an immature Smug Snake with a crush on Mr. Freeze, hoping to impress him by killing Batman and Robin.
    • In most stories, Bane is a master strategist with a peak physical condition who broke Batman's back. In the movie, he's just Ivy's Dumb Muscle and loses a fight with an inexperienced Batgirl.
  • Downplayed with Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, who is not the main villain, but rather The Dragon to the film's actual Big Bad, Talia Al Ghul. For all that, though, he's still a rather terrifying villain.
    • In Batman Begins, Detective Arnold Flass is a bullying Dirty Cop who plays the face of the Gotham police as they stand, but rather than the muscular former Green Beret in Year One who takes forethought to lay low, Detective Arnold Flass is a snippy Fat Bastard who can only throw his weight around wielding a gun on unarmed civilians.
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  • BloodRayne does this to Belial. In the original video game, he was an exceptionally powerful demon whose body parts were scattered and were capable of granting supernatural powers to anyone who possess it (such as breathing fire, super-speed and immortality to name a few). In the Uwe Boll directed movie, he is downgraded to a vampire who managed to overcome all his species' weaknesses and his body parts merely grants other vampires this immunity instead of actual superpowers. While the original served as a Final Boss in the game and was an extremely challenging foe, movie!Belial doesn't even appear and is a Posthumous Character instead.
  • Cinderella herself in Cinderella (2015). While she wasn't an Action Girl by any typical means in many versions of the original fairy tale or the Disney version, she was still an enduring character who often stood stern and strong in the face of abuse. She also stood up for herself, even if her stepfamily would never take serious her moments of rebellion, and she showed a little bit of sarcasm and intelligence here and there (in the morning when she called the clock "That old killjoy, even he orders me around!", when she stood up for her right to go to the ball even after her stepsisters mocked her wishes to go, "Maybe I should interrupt the "music" lesson", and in the climax once she's locked up she's trying everything she can to get out: screaming, pulling at the door, thinks up to get the dog so he can scare away Lucifer...). Any semblance of a spine is gone in the remake, and instead now we get a Cinderella that's so passive and meek she lets her stepfamily walk all over her, even if in this version she has the means to leave the house, she doesn't even attempt to escape once she's locked up in this version!
  • Mina Murray frequently gets this in the many film adaptations of Dracula. In the book, she plays an active role in the defeat of Dracula and is the Team Mom. Many movies, however, reduce her to the role of the Damsel in Distress.
    • Most drastically in Dracula (1931), which she spends most of weeping hysterically. The one time in the novel in which she gets hysterical is for a very good reason.
    • In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the title villain is portrayed more sympathetically and Mina has a quasi-romance with him, making her less enthusiastic about his destruction.
  • The DC Extended Universe:
    • Jax-Ur in the comics was a Kryptonian scientist who, naturally, was given the yellow sun powers to fight Superman. In some versions, he is treated more like a General Zod-lite. In Man of Steel he is firmly the scientist character among Zod's crew and is never involved in a fight. However, this is somewhat consistent with his original Silver Age portrayal, which depicted him as being out of shape and incapable of holding his own against Superman even with superpowers.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:
      • Kryptonite itself. In the comics and prior adaptations, the Kryptonite is clearly established as lethal to Superman and other Kryptonians. In the film, while it does still harm Kryptonians it just seems to inhibit access to their strength when Batman weaponizes it to engage Superman. It does still work well enough to deliver a killing blow against Doomsday during Superman's Heroic Sacrifice, though.
      • Mercy Graves takes after her incarnation in the aforementioned Superman: Doomsday in being a personal assistant for Luthor, not his bodyguard.
    • The entire Greek Pantheon in Wonder Woman (2017) is taken out by Ares the God of War (who gets Adaptational Badass), in the comics Zeus alone could've wiped the floor with Ares. At best you can argue only The Power of Love worked against Ares as Diana proves in the Final Battle, though that doesn't really justify Ares pulling a Kratos.
    • Justice League (2017):
      • Steppenwolf gets a heavy dose of this. In the comics, Steppenwolf is a New God from Apokolips who's easily able to overpower the heroes, even Kryptonians (e.g Superman's son Jonathan) plus Comic!Steppenwolf even killed Earth 2 Wonder Woman by running her through with his Cool Sword. Film!Steppenwolf is laughably pathetic, getting overpowered by the Amazons in a Flash Back and only invades the Earth again when Superman isn't around to protect it; Wonder Woman and Aquaman can match him in combat and Superman utterly humiliates him.
      • Batman gets some of this as well at the start of the movie; he has trouble overpowering a single criminal and is rendered ineffectual when dealing with bigger threats, relegated to shooting Parademons from the sidelines. Batman also lacks The Chessmaster strategy or any caution in the movie, ready to pointlessly sacrifice himself at the drop of a hat.
    • Suicide Squad (2016):
      • Slipknot doesn't have much of a role aside from showing up and getting his head blown off - since it's unknown if Firestorm even exists in the DCEU, let alone if Slipknot was a foe of his (or if Slipknot underwent a Rogues Gallery Transplant), Slipknot doesn't even have the distinction of having used rope to defeat someone who can break down subatomic particles (like he does in the comics).
      • Though to be fair, Slipknot got off lightly compared to the movie's Big Bad The Enchantress. In the comics she's an Eldritch Abomination (explicitly stronger than Superman and Wonder Woman) trapped in the body of a human whose power is so great it took the combined forces of the Dark Justice League and John Constantine binding her to June Moon for sake of saving hundreds of lives. In the film, The Enchantress is killed by a bunch of petty criminals (one of whom is just an Ax-Crazy former psychiatrist with a baseball bat) and some explosives.
      • The Joker get this as well being downgraded from city spanning Monster Clown anarchist, to a simple crazy mob boss with bleached skin. Though even as a gangster (as Golden Age comic and Burton versions of the Joker were), Suicide Squad Joker isn't that threatening; instead of schemes he relies on firepower, Mooks, and a helicopter which was soon shot down. When Batman shows up, he flees and the Joker's only real skill that was carried over from the comic is his Master of Disguise ability.
      • It's not as egregious as other examples but Katana is seriously lacking compared to her comic counterpart where she's a One-Woman Army whose skills are on par with Batman. The film version of Katana doesn't use her Soul Power beyond talking to her dead husband and is easily overpowered in the Final Battle.
    • SHAZAM! (2019) does this to the Seven Deadly Sins. In the comics, each one of the Sins are Physical Gods that have Omnipresence, Immortality and cannot be beaten by the heroes using any conventional means being Anthropomorphic Personifications. In the film, they're just a bunch of snarling demons, only a real threat to Muggles and Shazam, along with his empowered brothers and sisters, make short work of them in the Final Battle.
    • Birds of Prey (2020):
      • Unfortunately done to Cassandra Cain. In the comics she's one of Batman's greatest protégées (probably only second to Dick Grayson) and thanks to being trained from birth by the Leagues of Shadows, Cassandra is capable of ridiculous superhuman feats even for Batman standards. In the movie on the other hand, she's just a little thief who displays no martial arts skills and needs to be protected from Black Mask by Harley Quinn and rest of the Birds of Prey.
      • To be fair to Cassandra, Dinah Lance also gets a good dose of this in the film. In comics she’s one of the best martial artists in DC and her signature Canary Cry can decimate cities and can even hurt the likes of Amazo and Superman. In the movie she’s still a good fighter (though not as impressive as her comic counterpart) but her sonic scream has been heavily nerfed, Dinah only really lets loose once and manages to knock a few dozen guys back and break glass... then she faints. Needlessly to say comic Dinah is far stronger than that being able use her cry frequently without passing out.
  • Mumbles in Dick Tracy. In the comic strip, he's not the best crook, but he's dangerous and fully capable of murder; he even seems to have Joker Immunity (something very unusual for Chester Gould's characters, for whom death was usually final). In the movie, however, he was one of three lieutenants of Al "Big Boy" Caprice, but really didn't do anything criminal onscreen (certainly not as much as Flatop and Itchy). His two most important functions involve Tracy Perp Sweating him.
  • Dragon Ball Evolution:
    • Most fans of the show would argue everyone gets this, but the character who actually suffers the most is ironically Yamcha. In both the original manga and anime, Yamcha was a desert bandit and powerful martial artist who was eventually overshadowed but still a powerhouse compared to most normal Earthlings thanks to Ki Manipulation. In the movie Yamcha is literally just a bandit with no combat skill whatsoever, is easily pushed around by the heroes and is little more than comic relief.
    • Oozaru aka Goku’s Great Ape transformation gets this as well. In the original series Ozaru is gigantic being pretty much to Kaiju-levels of huge and has a Breath Weapon. In the movie Oozaru is way smaller being only the size of a large man and only has brute strength thus is far less scary and impressive as result. It also doesn’t help that in this version Oozaru/Goku is The Brute for Piccolo instead of a transformation for Goku as a Saiyan.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons beholders are Eldritch Abominations big enough to bite a human in half and with enough magical power that they shouldn't ever need to. Their single main eye renders all magic in its line of sight inert, and their numerous eye-stalks are capable of firing magic energy beams that can mind control, petrify, disintegrate, or even just outright kill enemies just by looking at them. They're easily among the most dangerous creatures in existence, xenophobic to the extreme, and highly egomaniacal. In the movie, beholders are downgraded to minor watchdogs for the villains.
  • In the Doctor Who cinema adaptation Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., Louise is much less badass than the TV series's Barbara, to the point that several of Barbara's more heroic moments in the original TV story are included in the film but given to a different character.
  • The two Fantastic Four film universes both do this to Doctor Doom. He was given electricity and metal skin in the first one and Psychic Powers in the second, but Stock Superpowers just don't come anywhere near his comics incarnation, who is a wielder of both magic and superscience while wearing Powered Armor on par with Iron Man and possessing the resources of a small nation - all of which he gained through pure work and intellect. This mostly arises from attempts at Adaptation Origin Connection, which jibe poorly with Doom because his origin is both far more complex than and mostly disconnected from that of the Four - meaning any attempt to "simplify" it inevitably ends up cutting out everything about it.
  • In most adaptations of Frankenstein, this trope happens to Frankenstein's Monster. In the original novel the monster is an agile, extremely strong, and highly intelligent Genius Bruiser who is literate and able to speak eloquently, while in most adaptations he is grunting Dumb Muscle. This is the result of Lost in Imitation, with most adaptations thinking incorrectly that they're playing true to the source material, when they're actually imitating another adaptation. In the original film, this also seemed to owe to the fact that the monster never receives the time and training to become anything more than Dumb Muscle; the creature in the book started out as inarticulate but had the good fortune to hide out next to a family teaching a foreign guest English.
  • In Ghost Rider and its sequel, the Devil aka Mephisto in the comics goes from a Big Red Devil who's fought Galactus, to a regular old dude who gets outwitted, defied and even defeated by the titular hero. Mephisto's reality-bending powers, in general, are downplayed and he needs a human form to manifest himself, whereas in comics he can appear in his devilish form on Earth anytime he wants. Blackheart may be the worst offender since he goes from this to this. Unlike his comic counterpart, Blackheart has no devastating supernatural power and in the Final Battle he gets defeated by Ghost Rider's Penance Stare; in the comics, the Penance Stare only makes Blackheart stronger.
  • Godzilla (1998) is heavily criticized for being very little like its source material, one aspect of which was altering the title monster into a Nigh Invulnerable prehistoric beast that has shown himself to be more or less invincible from all conventional military weapons (up to and including atom bombs) with the ability to shoot a powerful Breath Weapon from his mouth (his trademarked "Atomic Breath") to a mutated iguana that flees in terror from military attack, has no special abilities, and is killed by regular jets in the end. Partly why the animated series that followed the movie was more well-received was because it made the title monster tougher and gave back his atomic breath. The 1998 version even makes a cameo in Godzilla: Final Wars rechristened "Zilla" (cause there's nothing "godly" about him) where he faces the OG Godzilla in battle and is curbstomped in about 30 seconds.
  • Speaking of Godzilla: Final Wars, Hedorah went from one of Godzilla's most terrifying adversaries to cannon fodder, although to be fair the Final Wars version of Godzilla is possibly the most overpowered one in the franchise.
  • The Green Hornet goes from a dead serious Genius Bruiser whose skills are on par with Batman into an overweight manchild who requires saving from his partner Kato at every instant, fails to come up with intelligent ideas to help in their superhero crusade, and is a lot more emotionally fragile than his original counterpart. Best summed up in this one line:
    Green Hornet: Kato, save me!
  • The Harry Potter films have been accused of doing this to Ron. For example, in the first book, Ron and Harry are trapped by a monstrous plant, and Hermione has to save them; she panics so much that she forgets about her powers, and Ron is the one to angrily remind her what she can do. In the film, Ron almost dies because he panics, and Hermione basically figures out how to save him herself, all while acting relatively calm.
  • "Hearts and Armor" is very loosely based on Orlando Furioso. Remember the legendary Marfiza, who was on par with any knight, losing only against Bradamantes magic lance? Here she is the fiancee of Ruggiero...or his sister like in the original after all?...or both? The makers of the film don't know themselves, apparently.... In any case, wizard Atalante had a vision Ruggiero will be slain by Orlando. Prophecies Are Always Right - vision! Since in this film, all knights are instantly recognizable by their wacky helmets, she slips into Ruggieros armor and gets an One-Hit Kill by Orlando. Her Heroic Sacrifice instantly ends the war by My God, What Have I Done? (and makes the way free for Bradamante). Ruggiero must have had a similar epiphany. Cue Orlando and Ruggiero Riding into the Sunset with their old/new brides.
  • I Shot Jesse James: In an interesting development, this film (possibly) does it for an actual person. The character of Soapy is portrayed as an old man that tends to drink too much and comes under the attack of various con men. However, the man he's likely based off of, Soapy Smith, was a much younger gangster that ran plenty of rackets in Creede and would often be the one conning people.
  • Dr. Claw in the Inspector Gadget movie goes from an ingenious, manipulative, intimidating Diabolical Mastermind hiding from within the shadows while his legion of psychos for hire followed his every command to kill Gadget and take over the world into a effeminate, childish Giggling Villain with less than three incompetent thugs working under him. It doesn't help that a part of his driving motivation to one-up Gadget also involves gaining the affection of a Hot Scientist that his archenemy is also after.
  • Jason and the Argonauts despite being a seminal Sword & Sandal film does this to Hercules from Classical Mythology. In the original myths Herc besides being a Semi-Divine powerhouse in his own right, was a great help to Jason on his journey acting as The Big Guy for the Argonauts, defending the ship by slaying several Gegeines (six armed giants). In the film, Hercules is portrayed more as a oaf who gets many of his men killed by foolishly stealing Talos’s brooch and comes off as a less skilled warrior than Jason, whereas in the myths Herc is the World's Strongest Man and World's Best Warrior. It also doesn’t help Nigel Green lacked the literal Herculean physique most actors who play the character possess.
  • Jem and the Holograms: In the original cartoon, Synergy was originally a massive supercomputer that could synthesize multiple musical beats, project holograms for Jem even when away at long distances, and acted as a Parental Substitute for the heroine. In the movie, Synergy is a tiny BB-8 style minibot that projects obviously fake holograms, acts more or less as Jem's iPod, doesn't form any emotional bond with the heroine, and shows no skills at music or dancing whatsoever.
  • In the original short story "Johnny Mnemonic," the title character's Action Girlfriend Molly is the fighter of the two, and smoothly kills the villain with his own weapon at the end. In the film adaptation Johnny Mnemonic, she is remodeled as Jane, a Faux Action Girl who does little of consequence beyond coming to Johnny's rescue early in the film. By the end of the movie, an Adaptational Badass Johnny kills the same villain character with his own weapon himself.
  • Joker (2019): While most media portrays The Joker as a Diabolical Mastermind, the film stresses that Arthur Fleck is simply not mentally capable of rising to that level.
  • Judge Dredd: Fergee from the comics is a musclebound mutant brawler so tough that he made himself king of the Big Smelly and went toe to toe with Judge Dredd himself in one-on-one combat. The 1995 movie makes him a Butt-Monkey citizen and comic relief character played by Rob Schneider.
  • In The Jungle Book novel, Grey Brother the wolf was a loyal and steadfast ally of Mowgli (as well as being his foster brother) who fought alongside him in the battle with the dholes. In The Jungle Book (2016), he stays as a cute little wolf pup who doesn't do much.
  • Donald Gennaro in Jurassic Park. In the novel, he goes along with Muldoon to catch the Tyrannosaurus and later to fight Velociraptors, manages to fend off a raptor attack, intimidates a ship captain with Technobabble, and survives to the end. In the film, he becomes a Dirty Coward who dies a particularly embarrassing death. (Remember the guy who got eaten by the T Rex while he was on the toilet? That was Don.) Movie Gennaro is basically an Expy of Ed Regis, a cowardly, weaselly PR character who only appears in the novel. Similarly, Sarah Harding from the sequel goes from an insanely badass Action Girl to a Too Dumb to Live Damsel in Distress.
  • Lady and the Tramp: Though Trusty does aid Lady in locating Tramp and Elliot in the climax he ultimately can't catch up to the carriage and doesn't suffer a Disney Death. It's Lady who stops the carriage and saves Tramp.
  • The Last Airbender:
    • Elemental bending is a lot less impressive than it was in the original cartoon.
      • In the show earthbenders could do things like create and manipulate relatively simple objects like stone carts, they could open holes in the earth to swallow foes, block attacks with walls of stone, or bring up pillars of stone under an enemy's feet to launch them into the air by themselves. In the movie, they just chuck rocks, and they're not even very big rocks.
      • In the show, even beginner firebenders could easily create fire from their own body heat. In the movie, only the greatest firebenders are capable of this - for most of them they can only use their bending abilities if there's an existing source of flame, like a campfire or a torch.
      • In addition to earth and fire getting nerfed, bending as a whole takes a lot longer to do, requiring a very long series of movements to do just about anything. The director imagined bending as being a lot like dancing with the bender doing multiple moves to build up his power before finally releasing it all at once. Not only is this completely backwards from the cartoon, where any attack could be performed with simple punching and kicking movements, but it also makes elemental bending seem very inefficient - normal people might not be able to shoot fire from their hands, but they can chop a bender's head off while he's performing his intricate multi-part interpretive dance about burning people.
    • Katara especially comes off as less powerful than the original cartoon. The most notable example is her fight against Zuko in the Northern Water Tribe city. In the cartoon she came close to winning the fight, only finally losing when the sun came up, thereby strengthening Zuko's powers and weakening hers. In the film she gets reamed in what is easily the most one-sided Curb-Stomp Battle in the entire movie. It also doesn't help that most of her character developing moments were either given to Aang or cut entirely.
  • French comic book series Les Profs (The Teachers) is about a cast of quirky, but overall competent high school teachers (except the lazy one who keeps finding new ways to avoid giving lectures). In the movie of the comic, they become the worst teachers of the whole French Educational system and are specifically selected as such (for instance the Napoleon-obsessed History teacher becomes a teacher wannabe who keeps failing at entrance exams because Napoleon is all he knows about history).
  • The Lone Ranger (2013): John Reid is somewhat less of a badass compared to his radio and TV versions. Justified as most versions of him are a Texas Ranger before donning the mask, while this one is a City Mouse lawyer. However he does get better as the film goes along; by the end although still not on his predecessors levels, he is close.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In the books, Frodo gradually becomes a more passive character due to his damaging experiences and eventually swears never to wield a sword again, which means something, because his earlier feats include hacking the hand off a barrow-wight and stabbing a cave-troll in the foot. None of this appears in the films.
    • The extended version of The Return of the King does this to Gandalf the White—in the book, him and the Witch-King had a brief standoff, but before the fight could get going, the Witch-King decided to leave to deal with the Rohirrim, which led to his death. It's treated as rather ambiguous who would win in a proper fight. The film, though, gives a fairly straightforward answer by showing the opening rounds of the fight: the Witch-King wins, with him managing to overpower Gandalf and break his staff without too much apparent effort. While this was intended to show the Witch-King as a legitimate threat, the fact that he dies in a similar fashion to the book meant that it also made Gandalf look a lot weaker.
  • The hydra from Classical Mythology is most famous for how hard it was to kill: cut off one of its heads, and two more grow in its place. Yet in the Sword & Sandal film The Loves of Hercules, Herc cuts off just one of the hydra's heads, and it dies, just like that.
  • The heroic Fairies from Maleficent go from highly confident, protective guardians in the Disney film to Lethally Stupid and incompetent fools. The three fairies were able to prevent Maleficent from ever locating Aurora by keeping a close eye on the girl and casting spells that made it hard for the mistress of evil to even find them. In the reboot, the fairies completely fail to watch the child and never noticed that Maleficent has found and interacted with Aurora multiple times. It's worth noting that they also have an Adaptation Name Change, leading some fans to insist that they're NOT the beloved Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from the original film. It's more justified than many examples since the entire premise of the film is that the original version was not just inaccurate, but a deliberate falsehood used as propaganda.
  • The wife in The Man Who Knew Too Much changed from a clever Gunslinger to a clever retired singer in the Foreign Remake.
  • Baba Yaga in Morozko (released in America as Jack Frost) is nowhere near the levels of power typically associated with the character, being easily defeated multiple times by the protagonist, Ivan. In most legends, Baba Yaga is a nearly godlike being with many magical servants, the ability to cast hexes on anyone she dislikes, and enough physical strength to easily defeat giants capable of moving mountains with their bare hands. In this movie... she's not even close. She's basically defenseless without her servants, and even they're nothing compared to what they are in legends. In the American release she's dissociated even further from the character, having her name changed to The Hunchbacked Fairy.
  • In the video game franchise, Mortal Kombat, Stryker was one of the best characters in the game. In Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, he gets killed offscreen, with the only mention of him even existing being an offhand remark by one of Shao Kahn's henchmen about how easy he was to kill. Not even beloved characters are safe. Despite being an undead burning warrior akin to Ghost Rider, Scorpion is defeated by Johnny Cage in the Netherrealm with just a spear and shield in Mortal Kombat: The Movie.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Annabeth creates most of the plans that she, Percy, and Grover carry out. In the movie, she plays a smaller role, with most of the plans created by Percy. And in the second movie, her only part seems to be racist towards Tyson, and then she almost dies and Percy has to save her.
  • The Phantom of the Opera (2004):
    • It overlaps with the Broadway Musical but Christine is a far more assertive and spirited heroine in Gaston Leroux‘s novel than she is on the screen or the stage. In the original book, Leroux explicitly describes Christine as “strong”, and while not a Action Girl by modern standards she still physically overpowers her Love Interest Raoul several times to protect him from the jealous Phantom, and she even makes great effort to escape from the Phantom when he abducts her in the finale. Movie Christine much like the Mina and Cinderella examples above has had the spine completely removed from her character, The Ingenue traits are taken Up to Eleven and she puts no resistance to the Phantom whatsoever compared to the book. Although to be fair most adaptions do this, e.g The Phantom of the Opera (1925) where Christine is just a hysterical Damsel in Distress.
    • To a lesser degree the Phantom himself gets this in the 2004 movie despite being played by Leonidas. In the book and musical the Phantom aka Erik is story-wise pretty much a Invincible Villain being an Evil Genius and Master of Illusion who could’ve easily killed Raoul, the Persian and even blown up half of Paris if not for Christine showing him mercy and compassion. In the movie when the Phantom engages Raoul in a Sword Fight in the graveyard he gets his caped ass handed to him and would’ve been killed right there, if Christine hadn’t urged Raoul to take mercy upon him and Raoul complying. In the book it’s detailed that Erik killed many warriors back in Persia with the Punjab lasso which is why the Persian was afraid of a physical confrontation with Erik.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Redd White was the head of his own company, Bluecorp, and had blackmail material on pretty much every important person in the city. He was also able to easily get Phoenix himself arrested on trumped-up charges, to try to avoid being arrested for killing Mia, and used his power to completely ruin the reputation of the Fey clan. In the movie though, he's put in as a reporter who ruined Misty's reputation through a column in the paper. He still kills Mia and frames Maya for it, but then he's killed off in prison, to avoid the plot hole of Phoenix having him spell the name of his boss, von Karma.
  • Pretty much every character that isn't Alice (and even then, she's a Canon Foreigner and Creator's Pet) was turned into one of these to at least some degree in the Resident Evil film series, but the hardest hit out of any characters was The Nemesis (yes, that Nemesis). He barely does any damage and goes down pretty easy, and this is after they hooked him up with a gatling gun to boot. Wesker doesn't fare better, having somehow forgot all of his powers during The Final Chapter all the while being Demoted to Dragon.
  • RoboCop 2 sees Murphy having a harder time fighting the additional directives OCP gave him than the original script, where he was saying the things OCP wanted him to say, but otherwise still doing what he himself wanted.
  • Doctor Watson in many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. In the books, he was a very sensible and sharp-minded decorated ex-military Combat Medic who demonstrates through his writing that he possesses keen attention and memory, who began his adventures with Holmes while in his mid-20s, is described as strongly built and square-jawed, is portrayed as a man of action who was handy with a revolver and notably more violence-prone and confrontational than Holmes, and who more often than not insisted that Holmes take him along on dangerous missions as backup or confronted Holmes hotly regarding the latter's unhealthy habits or antisocial behavior. On film, initially and most glaringly in the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce series from the 1940s, he is generally a timid, obedient, ineffectual fool, who is usually fat, feeble, and many years older than Holmes and has a hero-worshippy, anxious, speak-when-spoken-to demeanor. Some later adaptations (like the Granada TV series) tried to undo this, but his image in the broad public consciousness didn't really get revamped until the 2009 movie inverted this trope with a vengeance.
  • Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
  • Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man Trilogy. Not only is she kidnapped WAY less often in the comic books, but when she does, she always tries to free herself without any help. In the films, her being kidnapped became practically a cliché. For all its faults, the third and final film portrays her closer to the comics, with her finally taking initiative to avoid being killed during her kidnapping and actually being bold enough to throw a cinderblock at Venom. It's worth noting that the films seemed to be taking a page from Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Ultimate Spider-Man comics, which actually started the trend of MJ being made into a damsel in need of saving more often, likely due to combining her with Gwen Stacy.
  • Revenge of the Sith depicts General Grievous as a coughing, cackling, ineffectual coward who accomplishes precisely nothing in the whole film, a huge step down from the unstoppable, monstrous, Jedi-killing, One Cyborg Army in Genndy Tartakovsky's Star Wars: Clone Wars. Tartakovsky's version came out first, before the characterization of Grievous in the film was finalized, so they had the freedom to write what they wanted. George Lucas basically ignored this version and settled on Grievous as a mustache-twirling Smug Snake for his film.
  • Street Fighter:
    • While most of the characters lack some of the powers of their video game counterparts, Dhalsim is an especially notable example. In the games, he's a stretching, fire-breathing yoga master. In the movie, he's a bullied lab technician with no powers. Supposedly, he was going to get his powers in the sequel, but it was never made.
    • Chun-Li at first appears to be a case of this trope, being a seemingly regular news reporter who hides behind her two bodyguards. It's later revealed to have been Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • Dee Jay goes from a beefy kickboxer to being Bison's IT guy. He plays basically no role in combat, and nopes out about midway through the final battle.
      Dee Jay: Ah, mon. I shoulda stayed at Microsoft.
  • Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is even worse about this:
    • The entire movie is spent building up to Chun-Li learning how to throw a fireball. It doesn't help that Kristin Kreuk is not a terribly convincing martial artist.
    • M. Bison is not the musclebound psychic powerhouse from the games, but rather a short Irishman with no superpowers. He's also defeated in a truly humiliating manner after Chun-Li accidentally gets cement powder in his eyes like some kind of Home Alone villain. Cracked had this to say:
      He's meant to be the ultimate unarmed combatant and the only people he punches in the entire movie are a chained-up secretary and an unborn fetus.
  • In 1993's Super Mario Bros. the entire Koopa family are changed from fire-breathing turtle dragon sorcerers into fairly average humanoids, with the only strange thing about them being that they evolved from dinosaurs rather than apes. Koopa Troopas and Goombas zigzag into Adaptational Badass by changing into big burly guys with tiny heads, but then it gets subverted when you see them in action. Mario and Luigi never once jump on someone's head or change into tanukis. There's even a brief moment at the end where the movie teases us by having the Devolution Device used on King — correction, President Koopa, turning him into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Sadly, a T. Rex still isn't quite as badass as a fire-breathing turtle dragon, and he ends up being an Anti-Climax Boss anyway, getting devolved into primordial ooze in short order.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: Karai, the Shredder's daughter, the successor who would take over the role as the feared leader of the Foot Clan, and the same girl who murdered Leonardo once (He got better), ends up becoming a barely present backup lieutenant who suffers a One-Hit KO from April O'Neil, of all characters, in her only fight scene.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:
      • Arcee and her sisters (named outside of the movie as Chromia and Elita One). In most previous adaptations, they could hold their own with the male Autobots against the Decepticons. In the movie, they're barely able to make a dent in Sideways and two of them end up getting destroyed in the film's final battle in Egypt.
      • And then there's The Fallen himself. In the original comics, he was an immortal being older than the planet itself, a powerful sorcerer capable of apocalyptic dark rituals, strong enough to casually curbstomp Grimlock (even managing a Bare-Handed Blade Block against a Laser Blade), and always on fire for no particular reason. Later stories elaborated further, suggesting him to be a member of the Thirteen and therefore a former retainer to the Cybertronian overgod Primus, and the former guardian of the universal concept of entropy. Then there's the film version of the Fallen, who is some old guy robot who isn't on fire who orders around Megatron for a few scenes and then gets murdered by Prime in under two minutes. Even odder, Word of God claims that the Fallen in the films and the Fallen in the comics are the exact same individual - did he decide to not bring his godlike power into battle that day?
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon does this to Wheeljack. While both versions are a cunning Gadgeteer Genius; Wheeljack in The Transformers could still do well in battle. In the movie, Wheeljack, now referred to as Que, ends up getting captured by the Decepticons in the final battle in Chicago and begs for his life before getting unceremoniously shot to pieces.
  • V for Vendetta turns Gordon Dietrich into a chubby, middle-aged comedian (played by Stephen Fry, no less) when he was younger, more physically imposing career criminal in the book. Then again, the film also has him defying the Party'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 character did in the book.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Cyclops' abilities are nowhere near his comic book counterpart's. Not only are his leadership capabilities at the barest minimum, but he also seems to lack any form of hand-to-hand combat training. In addition, his optic blasts, unrestrained, are the strength that Comic!Cyke sets as his default. Comic!Cyke's unrestrained optic blast is the X-Men's equivalent of a smart bomb and basically wipes out anything in his field of vision.
    • In the movies, Wolverine's Healing Factor has been nerfed such that he is no longer immortal. In X2: X-Men United, Wolverine could literally be knocked out by a single shot (albeit one that is well-aimed and has great stopping power) while his comic-counterpart's Healing Factor has always varied Depending on the Writer, that is kinda pushing it... However, the writers apparently realized this, and in the next few films, he's able to survive multiple gunshot wounds and even partial disintegration. It gets even weirder when, in The Wolverine, he survives a nuke in a flashback scene took place before X2. Furthermore, Wolverine can be still killed by decapitation as his regenerative ability cannot heal entire body parts.
    • Jean Grey, whose telekinesis gives her the ability to... levitate a single object at a time... if she tries really hard. Oh, and throw frisbees. Needless, to say, the comics version can do a lot more than that, even without the Phoenix Force. Jean can also only use Cerebro for only a few seconds before passing out, in the comics she easily gets the hang of it and eventually can use it more effectively than Professor X can. The new timeline Jean isn't any better, as in Dark Phoenix as powerful as Jean is she's still pretty much the mutant equivalent to Carrie, compared to the planet-busting Phoenix of the comics who has gone toe to toe with Galactus.
    • Storm is embarrassingly pathetic compared to her comic counterpart. Hell, she can only utilize the full extent of her Weather Manipulation when she's outside unlike the comics where she can shoot lightning from her hands anytime she wants. In the first movie Storm is overpowered and knocked down an elevator shaft by Toad. True she gets a Heroic Second Wind but the fact Toad is able to taunt and intimidate Storm despite her being far more powerful than him is very telling. The sequels don't do Storm any favors either; instead of blowing her foes to kingdom come, she only ever provides cover and support to Wolverine and co. Sometimes she summons a lightning bolt or two but that's it.
    • A particularly sad example is Rogue in X-Men: The Last Stand. In the comics, she started out as an insecure and depressed girl who didn't have control over her powers but grew into them and become a self-confident badass. The first film had her as the insecure, depressed girl, and the second took steps to develop her power control and confidence... only for a change in directors to completely neuter this storyline in the third movie and make her just as weak as she was in the first film and ending with her removing her powers altogether. Furthermore, in the comics she has super strength and flight which she gained after permanently draining the energy of the superhero Ms. Marvel, while in the movie she lacks these abilities completely. Anna Paquin has said this is one of her biggest regrets with the role, as she really wanted to fly and kick some ass at some point.
    • Jubilee while her “glittery fireworks” powers seem lame in the comics, they are actually “Lumikinetic Explosives” which at full power can can destroy an entire forest and has the potential “detonate matter at a sub-atomic level” like a h-bomb. In the films Jubilee’s power are lame, seen in X-Men: Apocalypse where all she does with her power is short circuit a arcade machine to get some quarters back to Jean. It also doesn’t help that Jubilee was almost entirely Demoted to Extra, only showing off her powers once before in a Deleted Scene in X2: X-Men United where she makes sparks come out of her fingers, which again is a highly underwhelming display of her mutant power.
    • Magneto in the comics naturally possesses some resistance to telepathy, but X-Men: Days of Future Past shows that he's completely vulnerable to Xavier's power if he doesn't wear the helmet. Moreover, Emma Frost was able to enter his mind and access his traumatic childhood memories, causing him to collapse in extreme pain. His power set is also limited to being able to telekinetically bend and move metal as opposed to using various magnetic abilities (such as his use of force fields).
    • Speaking of Emma Frost she gets this twice, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine she's just a glorified bullet shield with her diamond powers and in X-Men: First Class her telepathic abilities are much less potent compared to comics (where she's on par with Jean Grey). The aforementioned Magneto defeats her in a diamond form with a bedstead and in Days of Future Past she's unceremoniously killed offscreen.
    • Deadpool is regarded as one of Marvel's best comic book anti-heroes because he's a crazy reality altering Ax-Crazy assassin who is nearly unstoppable. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he's downgraded to Colonel Stryker's attack dog, without permission to speak or even think for himself, doing whatever his boss says without question. Eventually, he gets his mouth sewn shut and his brain built with cybernetic implants that makes him Stryker's entirely remote-controlled, robotic servant without free will or his own skill whatsoever. Because Stryker is in control over Deadpool, the former causes the latter to lose easily to Wolverine and Sabretooth after they decapitate him. However, his solo film redeems him after the writers realized his wasted potential.
    • In Deadpool 2, one of the final threats to show up is Juggernaut. Though he's depicted as very powerful, able to smash through obstacles, lift buses and overwhelm Colossus, he's far from invincible and eventually gets knocked out by a Big Damn Heroes moment from NTW and her girlfriend, something his comics version likely wouldn't have even been slowed down by. Admittedly, he gets back up minutes later.
    • The New Mutants:
      • Sunspot probably gets hit with the hardest with this out of all the team. In the comics Roberto is easily one of the most strongest mutants period due to being able to convert solar energy into physical strength, letting him lift well over 50 tons (if not more) as well granting him flight, Thermokinesis and Photokinesis. In the film, Sunspot can’t fly, can’t manipulate solar energy and at best lifts a chapel bench in the climax and easily gets pushed into a pool by Dr Reyes with just a broom. His powers appear to be fire based instead of sun based as well, making him a discount Human Torch.
      • Cannonball spends most of the movie terrified of using his “Thermo-Chemical Energy” powers but even when Sam does use his power, it’s nothing to write home about compared to the comic. In the comics Cannonball is a Flying Brick with his “blast field” being able to act as a force field that can protect himself and trap his enemies, and he’s defeated the likes of Gladiator. In the film we barely see Sam fly and he’s knocked down fairly easily by the Demon Bear in the climax.
      • Wolfsbane while she lacks flashier powers of the aforementioned boys is still no pushover in the comics. Besides her lycanthropy, Rahne has a variety of powers such as enhanced senses, enhanced vision, a Healing Factor and later gets a secondary mutation that allows her extend her claws like Wolverine and can even split herself into a a pack of five wolves. In the film Rahne just gets hairy and feral, even Dr Reyes can throw her off when Rahne jumps on her back and starts clawing. Worse still she doesn’t help out in the climax beyond carrying an unconscious Dani around and giving her moral support.
      • Lockheed, in the comics he’s not just Team Pet and is actually an incredibly powerful little dragon having fought the Brood and survived Secret Wars (1984). In the film, he spends most of the movie as Illyana’s Sock Puppet and then her summoned familiar and displays no real independent intelligence like the comic version.
    • The most egregious example by far however is the eponymous villain in X-Men: Apocalypse, in the comics En Sabah Nur is right up there with the likes of Thanos and Darkseid when it comes to being a hulking Invincible Villain. In the film Apocalypse is... just another powerful Mutant, but worse still he's smaller, Ivan Ooze-esque and his molecule controlling powers are undefined, underused and inconsistent. It's pretty egregious in the Final Battle where he's telepathically matched by Professor X and then destroyed by Combination Attack of the X-Men and Jean's Phoenix Force powers. For reference in the comics when the X-Men and The Inhumans (including Black Bolt who can shatter planets with his voice) did a similar combined attack against Apocalypse, and it was reduced to The Worf Barrage as Apocalypse just tanked it.
  • The Mystery Science Theater 3000 cut of Space Mutiny has an unitentional example: they cut out most of the battle with the Space Pirates for time. As a result, it seems like the Southern Sun just shoots a couple missiles and destroys the pirates. The uncut version actually has them fight the pirates for a couple minutes before winning, and the pirates manage to do some significant damage to the Southern Sun (such as destroying some turrets.)
  • The Hunger Games gives us Cato. In both the film and the book, Cato falls from the Cornucopia after being shot, into the Mutts waiting to kill him. In the film, they tear into him almost instantly, and Katniss has to mercy-kill him within seconds. In the book, however, Cato has a sword and body-armour, and holds out for over an hour fighting the Mutts, trying to make his way back around to the Cornucopia to climb it and kill Katniss and Peta.

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