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Creator / Shane Black

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Shane Black (born December 16, 1961) is an American screenwriter, director, producer and actor. Starting as a minor actor in the 1980s, Black's first breakthrough came about when he penned Lethal Weapon, selling it for approximately $250,000 at age 22; come the early 1990s, he was one of highest paid screenwriters in America. Heading on to make a few Cult Classic movies, Black first struck his peak when he wrote and directed Iron Man 3, which ended up as the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.note 

Notable for his Deadpan Snarker characters and Lemony Narrators, most of Black's works often overlap with themes found in noir and hardboiled fiction; failing that, you can expect a gratuitous genre mix or No Fourth Wall, if not both. In order, some of his notable works are:

Tropes associated with Shane Black and his works:

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Many movies written or co-written by Black involve home attacks (The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, The Monster Squad, the first two films in the Lethal Weapon series, and perhaps most famously in Iron Man 3). Lethal Weapon 2 in particular contains several examples.
  • An Asskicking Christmas: As of yet, five of his movies (and one abandoned script) are set at Christmas.
  • Anti-Hero tropes galore: Good is Not Nice, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Knight in Sour Armor, Mr. Vice Guy, Politically Incorrect Hero.
  • Buffy Speak: As note by Black, characters don't "...wait for their gags to be registered and applauded. They just chuck them out as they go along."
  • Black Comedy: All over the place in his movies, especially in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys.
  • The Cameo: Black appears in the Agent Carter (released with Iron Man 3) as the "Disembodied Voice".
  • Career Resurrection: invoked He was one of Hollywood's most commercially and critically successful screenwriters from the late 80's and better part of the 90's. But some time during the latter decade, he essentially dropped off the face of the Earth. However, he then returned with his critically acclaimed directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the financially successful Iron Man 3, proving he's still got it after all these years.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Expect wacky scenes and humorous interactions amid all the murder and tragic backstories.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Expect the protagonist to be "zip tied to a bed" or worse.
  • Creator Thumbprint: A lot of Black's movies recycle some of the same tropes. Most notably:
    • Being a buddy movie
    • Being set around Christmas time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: If the settings aren't World of Snark, then one character will at least be this.
  • Dialogue Reversal: And reversals in general (especially during fights in which the Advantage Ball changes hands often).
  • Executive Meddling: Black only co-wrote Lethal Weapon 2, as he was apparently booted after partly writing the script; Black was intent on killing off Riggs for drama, but the producers invoked an Executive Veto to make more sequels.
  • Film Noir: Tends to use and parody this genre all the time.
  • Flip-Flop of God: Everything about the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 invoked this. For starters, Black initally said he had no intention of doing the Mandarin at all, citing the character's reputation as a racist stereotype as the reason. The Mandarin ended up appearing as the main villain, albeit casting the half-Indian Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin in order to avoid offending Chinese audiences and the movie's own Chinese financial backers and even then, Kingsley's "Mandarin" turned out to be Trevor Slattery, who was hired by Aldrich Killian to pose as the Mandarin, with Black even going as far as to state both in an interview and on the commentary that Aldrich Killian was the actual MCU incarnation of the Mandarin. However, Marvel and co-writer Drew Pearce decided to retcon it, revealing in All Hail the King that Killian wasn't really the Mandarin, either, but someone else and the real Mandarin wasn't happy with what Killian and Trevor did, with Pearce even going as far to say that Killian's actions are only limited to the events of 3.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: He often tends to make The Dragon in several of his movies more threatening and personal than the Big Bad. Examples include the first two Lethal Weapon movies as well as The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and The Nice Guys.
  • Lemony Narrator: In both his movies and his scripts; for example, from the Lethal Weapon script:
    The kind of house that I'll buy if this movie is a huge hit. Chrome. Glass. Carved wood. Plus an outdoor solarium: A glass structure, like a greenhouse only there's a big swimming pool inside. This is a really great place to have sex.
  • MacGyvering: In addition to overcoming physical and emotional challenges, protagonists are often forced to think fast and live by their wits.
  • Mood Whiplash: As noted in an interview:
    Violence and action should suddenly punctuate perfectly normal circumstances. Take the moment when the house explodes in Lethal Weapon: these two guys, who we've already established are a pair of plodding cops, wander up to the building and suddenly, boom! The explosion was immense but it was the only thing of that scale in the entire movie. It was supposed to be shocking and wild and sudden. You could see the protagonists were scared by it. Often, those moments are just stretched out for too long.
  • No Fourth Wall: As with Lemony Narrator, expect a narrator aware that he's narrating a movie.
  • Quotes Fit for a Trailer: "I'm too old for this sh*t." "I'm in the PTA." "I just like the name. Can't shake it." "Play some rap music." "In this world, the bad guys can win." "You'll never see me coming."
  • The Reveal: Things are rarely how they initially seem.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: It is implied that Shane loves revolvers, as most of his characters are written to carry a six shooter. Such as:
    • Roger Murtaugh
    • Joe Hallenbeck
    • Mitch Henessey
    • Holland March