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Darkest Hour / Live-Action Films

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Darkest Hours in live-action movies.


  • In Aliens, Ripley and Newt briefly embrace this, believing Bishop has abandoned them. Both are on the brink of a Despair Event Horizon while the atmosphere processor around them is on the verge of total destruction. The raging alien queen is also upon them. They're out of ammo and out of time. All hope is lost, until Bishop arrives in the second drop-ship.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Darkest Hour is when Superman and Batman face off. Bruce is consumed by Unstoppable Rage, his rage and feeling of helplessness in the face of alien "gods" like Superman and Zod turning him, as Alfred warned, having consumed him. Believing that Superman is a potential threat to humanity, he's ready to kill him. Superman is fighting as Lex Luthor, having learnt his Secret Identity, is holding Martha Kent hostage and Lex is off Playing God with Kryptonian technology creating Doomsday. The fight ends with Superman beaten and Batman ready to kill him in cold blood... but Lois' revelation that the "Martha" Clark wants Bruce to save is Clark's mother breaks through Bruce's Unstoppable Rage. Bruce realises how far he's fallen and agrees to team up with Clark to stop Lex.
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  • Cloud Atlas features a darkest hour montage for three of its six separate storylines: Zachry hurries home to find that the Kona have massacred his village; Robert Frobisher struggles to complete the Cloud Atlas Sextet in what little time he has left before his bribe money runs out, finding himself unable to eat or sleep as his sanity crumbles; finally, Sonmi-451 is faced with the awful truth of what really happens to Fabricants who have been rewarded with Exaltation — they're killed at the very moment they believe they'll be allowed to retire, before being recycled into cheap protein for other Fabricants. In other words, Sonmi's been eating her retired sisters for the entire film.
  • The Crossing starts at the The American Revolution's darkest hour, namely winter 1776. The Continental Army has been completely thrashed, forced to retreat from every encounter, out of money, and if Washington can't come up with a winning battle plan before enlistments expire on December 31, the army will dissolve and the Revolution will be over. The end titles state that while the Revolution had many other low points, it never got this bad again.
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  • The Darkest Hour looks pretty bleak, what with cities crumbling and weird energy tentacles turning humans into ash. The perfect Christmas film!
  • In The Dark Knight, the Darkest Hour is when Rachel lies dead, Harvey's been disfigured and is out for revenge, and the Joker is holding two boats hostage, trying to prove that Humans Are Bastards and everyone is in despair.
    • Ironically, just before, Harvey had stated that "The night is darkest just before the dawn". If he only knew...
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, the Darkest Hour for both the movie and arguably the whole trilogy is when Batman lies broken and defeated and is imprisoned halfway around the world from Gotham City...which has been taken over by Bane. To make matters worse, Bane has made the city devolve into crime and chaos and is planning to nuke the entire city.
  • Draft Day: For the Browns, at a certain point in the draft they traded away their first and second round picks for the next three years for Vontae Mack, a player who they could have grabbed without the trades, and the number 6 overall pick. This effectively destroyed their chances to build their team over the years that followed. At that moment, the general manager responsible for this all but lost his job.
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  • Frostbite: The police are surrounded by the growing horde of vampires and Annika has been turned into a vampire; the night is indeed darkest just before the dawn. The problem is that Frostbite takes place in the northern part of Sweden where the sun is absent for an entire month. Dawn is still several weeks away.
  • Shows up in both Ghostbusters movies:
    • First round in the first is when the Busters are eating Chinese takeout and Ray mentions that the business has just run out of money with that meal. That is exactly when the Sedgewick Hotel calls, desperate for their services; Janine at the front desk calls, "We got one!" as the enterprise is saved.
    • Second round in the first movie kicks off when Obstructive Bureaucrat Walter Peck ignores his expert's advice and has the containment unit shut down, causing the firehouse to explode and releasing all the ghosts that the title characters had caught to wreak havoc upon the city. Meanwhile Peck arrests the Ghostbusters for the explosion, taking them out of circulation and preventing them from rounding up the ghosts again.
    • The second film has the part when the river of slime comes up to the surface, covering the museum and generally causing havoc while the Ghostbusters are committed to an insane asylum. Also counts as a literal Darkest Hour, as the influence of the slime causes an eclipse which plunges the city into darkness.
  • This occurs during the original Godzilla when Dr. Serizawa is torn between using the Oxygen Destroyer or keeping it a secret. It's not until he's shown the tragedy caused by Godzilla's rampage that he finally decides to use it...but only once.
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends on a cliffhanger at one of the story's most dramatic moments; Smaug is about to descend on Laketown and raze it to the ground out of petty vengeance, the Company is split up and unable to stand against him, the Master has had Bard locked up in prison, Kili has been severely poisoned, Gandalf has been captured by the Necromancer, and Azog's army is preparing to march on the Lonely Mountain.
  • The Inbetweeners 2 has the lads Stranded in the Outback with no apparent chance of survival. After a touching moment involving them accepting death, they're rescued
  • Independence Day: by the night of July 3rd, half of the world's cities have been destroyed, the first lady has died, and Nuclear Missiles have been proven ineffective against the alien ships.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Indiana Jones is possessed by Mola Ram after being forced to drink the Blood of Kali, Willie Scott is about be sacrificed to Kali, and Short Round is enslaved by the Thugee Cult and is toiling in the mines being forced with the other children to find the Sankra Stones.
  • It (2017) :After surviving their encounter with Pennywise in #29 Neibolt Street the Losers lose all hope and courage. They regain their courage when Beverly turns into a Damsel in Distress and they have no other choice, but to save their beloved friend from Pennywise.
  • Interstellar: Things get pretty bleak when the traitorous Dr. Mann finally snaps, tries to murder Cooper, and attempts to hijack the Endurance for a return trip home (which would doom humanity as a consequence of his cowardice and/or Sanity Slippage). In the process of hijacking it, possibly out of desperation Dr. Mann failed to obey a key safety measure while docking his own craft and ordered an emergency override to open the hatch between the two vessels... which led to explosive decompression aboard the Endurance, fatal head trauma to Dr. Mann and the high-speed venting of onboard gasses into space, causing the Endurance to whirl like a giant Beyblade. As such it's up to Cooper to try and dock the short-range planetary landing craft with the now-wildly careening out of control mothership. Cue the Theme Music Power-Up.
  • Britain's darkest hour against Nazi Germany is prominently displayed in the first third of Into the Storm (2009).
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom might as well be called Darkest Hour: The Movie also. The movie's first half has Isla Nublar destroyed in a volcanic eruption, taking with it the remains of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. On top of that, the mercenaries steal many of the remaining dinosaurs, while others like Brachiosaurus die in the destruction of Isla Nublar. In addition, Blue, Owen Grady's remaining Velociraptor companion was among many of the dinosaurs kidnapped. She was losing blood until Claire and Owen use the Tyrannosaurus rex blood to save her. The second half is where things go from bad to worse. Mills murders Lockwood, and holds Maisie prisoner in the mansion. Illegal bidding causes some of the dinosaurs like an Ankylosaurus, a juvenile Allosaurus and a Baryonyx to be sold off to criminals. After many of them are chased off by an escaped Stygimoloch, the Indoraptor kills several people and breaks free from his cage. After Blue kills the Indoraptor by causing him to be impaled on a Triceratops skull, the remaining dinosaurs that Mills kept prisoner have been released by Maisie, and some like the Pteranodons and the Tyrannosaurus rex are seen in populated areas, and it's likely that some people are going to be killed by many of the freed dinosaurs. If there is at least one positive besides the Indoraptor's death, it's that Mills was killed by the Tyrannosaurus rex and a Carnotaurus after a stampede of freed dinosaurs nearly trample him.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: Happens towards the end, when both Eggsy and Merlin are cornered by a large number of mooks with no way out and Eggsy outright asks a last request from Roxy to call his mum.
  • The gay romance Latter Days, where we're led to believe closetted Mormon Aaron commits suicide after breaking up with Christian and getting excommunicated from his church for being gay.
  • The Lord of the Rings: during the battle of Helm's Deep, the Uruk-Hai have taken the walls, pushed the defenders all the way back to the keep, and start breaking down the last door with a battering ram. Ends with Aragorn and Théoden leading a Big Damn Heroes charge directly into the attackers, and Gandalf arriving with The Cavalry.
  • At one point during the final battle in Mad Max: Fury Road all hope seems lost. The truck is slowing down due to engine failure, the enemy forces are converging. Toast has been snatched from the group, Max is hanging from the truck, held only by Furiosa who has just received a severe stab wound to her side. Then suddenly Nux manages to fix the engine problems, kicking off the badly needed Heroic Resolve.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers has two: one for the film as a whole, and one for the Final Battle (which was so big, Joss Whedon had to plot it out like a film in its own right).
      • The first time comes when the Helicarrier is barely functioning after the Brainwashed and Crazy Hawkeye's attack and the Hulk's rampage; Thor is gone, Banner is gone, Iron Man's armor is a hair's breath from completely crapping out, Black Widow is inches from a Heroic BSoD, Agent Coulson is dead, Loki has escaped, and S.H.I.E.L.D. still has no idea where the Tesseract is.
      • The Darkest Hour of the Final Battle is when the Avengers, despite having assembled, have been ridiculously outnumbered and outgunned by the Chitauri. Iron Man and Hawkeye are running low on ammo, Thor and Cap are surrounded, the Hulk is being pummelled by laser-fire, and to top it all off, the WSC declare "Screw it" and fire a nuke at Manhattan.
    • Avengers: Infinity War might as well be called Darkest Hour: The Movie. The Avengers are still divided after Captain America: Civil War, Asgard's survivors are refugees after Thor: Ragnarok, and Wakanda is still weakened from Killmonger's coup attempt in Black Panther (2018) at the start—and it only gets worse from there. Thor and Hulk are the only survivors of Thanos's assault on the Asgardian refugees, and by the end of the movie, half of the universe's population died. As a result, the only heroes known to still be standing are Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Rocket, Okoye, M'Baku, War Machine, and Nebula. Meanwhile, heroes Heimdall, Loki, Gamora, Vision, Bucky Barnes, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Groot, Mantis, Drax, Star-Lord, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury all died onscreen. And just to top it all off, the whole thing is even a Pyrrhic Victory for Thanos.
    • Avengers: Endgame:
      • Within the first twenty minutes, the surviving heroes find Thanos, intending to use the Infinity Stones to bring back everyone he killed. They quickly subdue him, only to find that he already destroyed the stones. Thor kills him, but it's an empty gesture. There is no way to fix anything.
      • After the Avengers use time travel to retrieve copies of the Infinity Stones from the past and resurrect everyone, Thanos follows them back from 2014, destroys their compound, and unleashes his entire army to find the Stones and do the same thing again, but even worse. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor fight him, but they are all defeated; Captain America is barely able to stand when Thanos' army arrives, and he's clearly intending to die fighting. And then all the resurrected heroes arrive, along with the entire Wakandan army and all of Strange's sorcerers.
  • In The Matrix Revolutions, Agent Smith escapes the Matrix and enters the real world in disguise and attacks the last of the human rebellion. He blinds a defenseless Neo who is really powerless outside of the Matrix, and becomes the biggest threat.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: By the end of the movie, Jeff has been framed for corruption, betrayed by his former idol, the Senate is on the verge of expelling him, his newspaper has been shut down Taylor's thugs, he's barely conscious and dehydrated, and political opinion has largely been turned against him.
  • The Movie version of The Odyssey has one where all of Odysseus' men drown in a shipwreck and he washes ashore to Calypso's island where she makes him her sex slave for seven years. Homer's original is told Anachronic Order, so it's harder to pinpoint there.
  • In Oz: The Great and Powerful, Oz, instead of leading the attack, tries to make a getaway, with gold — and Theodora shoots him down, leaving his balloon in flames.
  • In Pacific Rim, the Kaiju have been increasing in strength and regularity. The Jaeger program, which was really the only effective way of dealing with the Kaiju, has been shut down in light of diminishing success. The Pacific Wall—the "viable alternative"—is quickly shown to be totally ineffective against the stronger Kaiju. There are only four operational Jaegers left in existence.
  • In Pan's Labyrinth, when the Faun has forsaken Ofelia and her mother has died, leaving her all alone with her supremely evil stepfather.
  • Serenity: The title ship is grounded on Mr. Universe's moon. Book is dead. Wash was killed by the Reavers. They've got one seriously ticked off Operative on their tail and the Reavers are descending upon the ship. Zoe even states outright that they're not getting out alive.
  • In Shaun of the Dead, Ed's been bitten, the zombies have overrun the Winchester, Shaun and Liz are the only survivors and are pinned down in the basement, and the rifle only has two shells left.
  • In The Shawshank Redemption, it's hinted that Andy commits suicide, until...
  • Space Jam, the TuneSquad's pummeling near the end of the second half and their final back up player, Stan, is taken out by the Monstars and without a fifth, the TuneSquad is on the verge of being forced to forfeit.
  • George Lucas admitted that he is fond of this trope, and it shows on the Star Wars films:
    • The Phantom Menace: Anakin's fighter gets stranded with no power in the heart of an enemy battleship, meanwhile Amidala's strike team is ambushed and captured, the Gungan army has been defeated and rounded up, and for the record: Qui Gon Jinn is killed by Darth Maul.
    • Attack of the Clones: The Jedi strike team sent to rescue Anakin and Obi Wan from Count Dooku is being overwhelmed by thousands of battle droids, Dooku then offers them a chance to surrender, which Mace Windu declines, so Dooku orders the attack to continue.
      • Could be considered an Exploited Trope, since this is also when the Clones are first introduced.
    • Revenge of the Sith: The Empire is born, Padme dies, Anakin becomes Darth Vader and most of the Jedi Order are exterminated (which sets up the conflict for the next 3 films).
    • A New Hope: When the Death Star gets a clear shot of the moon of Yavin, meanwhile R2 gets shot by Darth Vader, and next Vader calmly locks his targeting device on Luke's fighter. 'This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.'
    • The Empire Strikes Back: Han's frozen in carbonite, Luke's lost a hand (and gained some knowledge), and the Empire wins (at least until the next movie).
    • Return of the Jedi: The Rebel fleet is being annihilated by the Death Star while their Ewok allies are being stomped by the Empire, R2 gets shot (again) and Luke has a brief lapse to the Dark Side and attempts to strike down both his father and the Emperor in anger.
    • Between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens: The New Republic is getting bogged down by attempts to negotiate with the remnants of the Empire. They don't want to recognize the real threat that exists. General Leia and the Resistance aren't getting the backing they need. Luke has disappeared after his new crop of Padawans was slaughtered, and Leia and Han have been traumatized to a split by their son falling to the Dark Side and wanting to be just like his grandfather.
    • The Force Awakens: Several moments could be counted as this. The First Order using Starkiller Base to destroy the Hosnian Prime system and annihilating the New Republic Senate and its main fleet with it can be this for the Resistance. And during the final battle at Starkiller Base, TIE fighters are preventing the Resistance's X-Wings from destroying the main power source of the base, and the weapon is nearly charged to be able to annihilate the Resistance's base planet, and also, Kylo Ren kills Han Solo so that he would not get brought back to the light side of the Force.
    • The Last Jedi could be seen as a prolonged darkest hour for the Resistance, as they spend most of the movie barely staying ahead of the numerically and logistically superior First Order forces pursuing them. Then comes the final act of the film, wherein the few dozen Resistance fighters left are holed up in an old Rebel Alliance base on an abandoned planet, with their distress call being ignored by their supposed allies and with the First Order beating down their walls.
  • In Tremors, the Gummers are the best armed and equipped people in Perfection, but a graboid has headed for their house, attracted to the vibrations of a brass cleaner and the couple moving around in their basement. Val tries to warn them over the radio, but Burt doesn't understand the threat until the graboid is almost upon them. The last thing Val hears on the radio is Burt's scream of surprise as the graboid breaks through the wall. A few seconds later, the sound of gunfire makes it to town. Cue the Gummers unleashing More Dakka on the graboid.
  • In Whip It, Bliss' parents have discovered that she was sneaking out to play roller derby, her skates are confiscated, Pash has yelled at her about all the wrong things she's done over the last few months, she's run away from home and was forced to admit to her team that she lied about her age, losing her skating status... and then she discovers that Oliver's been cheating on her. When next we see her, Bliss is curled up on the floor at home in front of her fridge, stress-eating a bowl of leftover casserole.


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