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Building Swing

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I'd say that looks more like cord than thread.

"He flies through the air with the greatest of ease..."

A common means of travel for a non-flying Super Hero. It's almost as cool as flying, and there's no need to have any supernatural powers at all, just action-oriented plot powers and a strong stomach. Just leap, grapple, release, repeat. Watch out for that tree! *BOOM*

All you really need is something to swing on, and something it can hang from. (And sometimes, it doesn't even need that!)

Most times, the swinging is accomplished by use of some type of Plot Technology Grappling-Hook Pistol, that is somehow able to pull the weight of the hero (and often a passenger), and store an implausibly long cord (usually a very thin one for how much weight it holds). See also Instant Knots.

Often, the swinging violates laws of physics that are better left alone. It's hard to do realistically in live action and is not often used there. (The '70s Japanese live-action version of Spider-Man made very limited use of web-swinging, relying more on a flying car and a giant robot/spaceship.) For a similar conveyance technique used more often in Anime, see Roof Hopping. If you are looking for the traditional Tarzan approach to jungle navigation, see Vine Swing. Common in the toolbox of a Spider-Man Send-Up. Compare Fast-Roping.

The technology, if not the skill, behind grapple-and-swing maneuvers was partially busted (and partially confirmed) by the MythBusters in 2007.


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  • Geko from Aachi and Ssipak uses a grappling hook to swing around buildings while blowing the crap out of an army of Mooks.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, protagonist superhero Ladybug uses her spotted yo-yo to grapple from building to building and travel around Paris.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 3D Maneuver Gear from Attack on Titan provides this as a standard ability for soldiers in the setting. It consists of an elaborate harness with large housings for the retractable cables and cans of compressed gas to both launch them and provide forward momentum via a jet valve on the back. Both natural talent and specialized training are necessary to use them properly. Slightly more justified than many examples as the gear is the only way the humans can effectively fight the titular Titans.
  • Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense.: Fitting with her high agility playstyle, Sally gets a web swinging skill during the 6th event.
  • Hei of Darker than Black pulls one or two of these with his snap hooks (along with using them to catch victims in an electric garrote) as well.
  • Several of the mercenaries in Desert Punk have sort of pulley/grappling hook back packs that allow them to do this.
  • The Tachikomas in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex have artificial spider silk shooters that let them do this.
  • Kuroh in K does this with his glittery purple plasma-like Colorless Aura powers (yes, the Colorless clan's powers look purple. There's a Silver Clan and a Grey Clan, but no Purple Clan, so that's probably why).
  • Teana of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, lacking the ability, or an alternate way, to fly, has to resort to this using the Anchor Shot function of Cross Mirage.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Norris Packard does a little swinging in his Gouf using the dozens of enemy aircraft bombing his base.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Sero can do this thanks to his Quirk: Tape, which allows him to shoot tape from his elbows in a similar vein to Spider-Man and his webs.
    • Similarly, Midoriya can do the same after he unlocks and learns to control the Quirk: Blackwhip, one of the powers absorbed from the previous users of One For All.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, this is just one of the many tricks Makie can do with her gymnastics ribbon.
  • During the Water-7 Arc in One Piece, Luffy uses his rubber arms to swing around Water-7 after the Straw Hats are accused of trying to murder Iceberg. Nami, carried under his free arm, isn't a big fan.
  • Mami in Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion demonstrates this ability using her ribbons.
  • In Ranma , Kodachi snags female Ranma by the neck with her gymnastics ribbon and pulls her up to the top of the gymnasium (a height of at least three stories) so that she'd fall into the wreck of the combat arena. Ranma quickly tosses the end of the ribbon towards the lighting at the top of the building and manages to swing to safety, without injury.
  • In Episode 11 of Sk8 the Infinity, Adam swings across the abandoned factory on a makeshift zipper like he's Tarzan to try to overtake the protagonist, Reki.
  • Simon and Yoko in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann do this by sticking the Gurren Lagann's drills on enemy aircraft!
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu/Wild Tiger has a Grappling-Hook Pistol in his Powered Armor (as well as in his civilian wear's wrist watch) that he sometimes uses in this fashion.
  • In one of the odder examples of this trope, X-Brawn of Transformers: Robots in Disguise uses his front-mounted tow cable to do this while in vehicle mode.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • When not in the Batmobile, the animated Batman often uses a high-tech grappling gun to swing dramatically across Gotham City. Maybe just when the traffic's bad. In the live-action Batman (1966), Batarang and rope sequences were used from time to time, along with walking up the side of a building. Batman first used his grappling gun in the 1989 Tim Burton movie, though in this case, he tended to use them just to go straight up, or horizontally on a zipline rather than swinging like Spider-Man. Batman has noted that operating in Metropolis is difficult because the buildings are farther apart from each other.
    • Batman's cohorts Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, Batgirl, Spoiler, Huntress, etc., travel in the same way. Batgirl Year One showed Barbara trying to swing from buildings for the first time. Batman and Robin have to intervene, however, because she used the wrong kind of cord. It wasn't that Barbara's cable wasn't sturdy enough, it was that it wouldn't stretch. Her cord would have put all the force of her fall onto her shoulders in an instant, ripping her arms out of her sockets. (Eventually, Robin gave her a better cable to use.)
  • Black Widow: The Black Widow can do this thanks to grappling cables she fires from her gauntlets. Given she shares a spider motif with Spider-Man, it's likely her gauntlets were inspired by his web shooters.
  • Blue Beetle: Ted Kord often used a grappling hook, as well as a trapeze suspended from his private hover-plane.
  • Bookhunter: Cowboy Cop Agent Bay shoots down a power line and uses it to swing between two rooftops.
  • Captain America: The Falcon initially got around with a glove with a built-in grappling hook launcher. This was discontinued when he got his flying wing harness.
  • Catwoman: Lampshaded during an issue where she has an adventure in Miami and notes that she will soon run out of rooftops if she doesn't change up her strategy that works so well in Gotham and NYC.
  • Daredevil: Daredevil's billy clubs include a grappling hook function for swinging.
  • Dirty Pair: The grappling-hook armbands worn by the Lovely Angels.
  • Phantom Lady: Phantom Lady in her solo adventures in the '40s and '50s would occasionally do this.
  • The Simpsons: Lampshaded by an issue of the Bartman comic: "Almost there! And good — I'm out of tall things to swing from!" In the same series, a "letter to the editor" asks how Bartman can swing when there's nothing in the background to hang a rope from. The answer? Springfield's notorious air pollution has apparently given clouds the consistency of ballistics gel.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Along with wall-crawling, web-slinging is Spider-Man's defining characteristic. His web-shooters manufacture the lines from chemicals, and in most incarnations are technological devices rather than an innate power (though the Spider-Man Trilogy changed this, and the comics followed suit... for a while). Spidey's arms not coming out of his sockets, as would generally happen with normal people, is Hand Waved (justifiably) with his super-strength. On one occasion in the '90s cartoon, he loses his powers temporarily, and mentions how much it hurts when he tries to use the webshooters to get around. He also uses his wall crawling ability to stick his hands to the web strings, otherwise it'd easily slip out of his hand when he swung from it. Also, his spider-sense allows him to be confident that he would consistently have his web-lines hit safe anchor points to swing from. His web cartridges tend to resemble Bottomless Magazines... except when running out would be more dramatic.
    • The Black Cat's suit can fire a grappling hook for swinging across New York which comes in handy for keeping up with Spider-Man or running from him when she's on a heist.
  • Wonder Woman: Back before later writers gave her the ability to fly, Wonder Woman would occasionally use her lasso to swing between buildings in the rare cases when she couldn't just jump the distance safely. She would also swing from her plane to buildings frequently.

    Comic Strips 
  • Spoofed in Garfield, of all places. One early comic has Garfield pull a vine out of nowhere so he can swing from the fridge to steal Jon's lunch. Afterwards Jon is wondering where the vine came from.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter teaches Izuku how to build and use his own web-shooters. After some initial apprehension, web-swinging comes almost naturally to the young wall-crawler. He's performing acrobatics for fun within minutes of his first web-swing and even uses the old cartoon gag of making believe he's lying on something while web-swinging up a skyscraper.
  • In All Tangled Up, Marinette has a great deal of fun practicing this trope. Unfortunately, her Cute Clumsy Girl habits resurface eventually.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Hanna is given a pair of Bruce Paine's grapple guns, and being genetically enhanced, she has the upper body strength to use them. They soon become her favorite form of transportation, the closest she can get to Terawatt's flight.

    Films — Animation 
  • Quasimodo does this during the climax of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He uses one of the bell-pull ropes to swing from the south tower down into the square outside the cathedral to save Esmeralda from being burned at the stake.
  • Incredibles 2: Elastigirl uses her elongated arms to swing from building to building, Spider-Man-style. And to grab an helicopter in flight.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cicak Man note , a Malaysian superhero parody film, have the hero receiving lizard-like superpowers from accidentally swallowing a gecko tainted by radioactive experiments, one of those powers being having an extendable, lizard-like Overly-Long Tongue which he uses to grab and swing around Kuala Lumpur while patrolling the streets for criminal activity.
  • The DCEU incarnation of Batman (AKA "Batfleck"), building on his animated predecessors, is the first live-action version of the character to fully employ this trope.
  • Done realistically at the end of Darkman, in which Westlake stands on top of a hook at the end of a construction-site cable, rather than simply clinging to the line with his hands.
  • The 2008 Get Smart film subverts this at one point with an attempted swing into a window in the next building. Missed it by THAT much!
  • Both Indiana Jones and Zorro are known to swing from their bullwhips, though, of course, over much shorter distances than most of the examples here.
  • Used to transport Ethan Hunt to an adjacent roof in Mission: Impossible III. Surprisingly realistic, in that the rope was (apparently) properly anchored, and the swing was the equivalent of a human pendulum.
  • A fair bit of this takes place in the climax of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, with combatants from both ships swinging back and forth on lines of rigging.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, when Shishio attempts to finish Saito off, Sanosuke swings on a rope and kicks Shishio away.
  • Subverted in Spider-Man: Homecoming, when Peter's stuck in the Queens suburbs with no tall buildings to swing from, so he has to run to his next location ("This sucks!").
  • An oft-talked about gaffe in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is that Luke and Leia's building swing off of Jabba's skiff involved a rope that could not physically be attached to either Jabba's skiff or the rescue speeder.

  • In InCryptid, this is Verity's preferred method of getting down from buildings after Roofhopping. She usually doesn't even use a rope, relying on her strength and reflexes to grip fire escapes well enough to slow her descent.
  • In Relativity, the heroes generally use their grapplings to lower themselves from the top of a building to the ground. In one story, however, Black Torrent was in a hurry so he grabbed a light pole with his grappling and swung down.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in the Doctor Who episode "The Runaway Bride" in which Donna swings to safety — and straight into a concrete wall.
  • In The Flash episode "All Doll'd Up", Ralph (AKA Elongated Man) is inspired by a comic book (implied to be Spider-Man) to try this, with Iris desperately clinging to his back. The difference is, he's stretching his arms to simulate the web.
  • The Batmobile "turn radius" grapple and standard "get up the building" grapple guns have been examined on MythBusters, to the detriment of both.


  • A variant in the Cool Kids Table game All I Want for Christmas — Chrissy swings across traffic using a rope hanging from a float in the Christmas Eve parade.

    Video Games 
  • Certain troop types in Airships: Conquer the Skies are equipped with grappling hooks, which allows them to boards enemy ships by swinging into them. If there are floating islands or other ships available, they will swings from there to reach their target.
  • The defining characteristic of Bionic Commando. Unique for its time in that the protagonist cannot jump and must use this to clear any obstacles in the way.
  • In Bioshock Infinite players can do this by way of the Skylines. Enemies can chase you into them, leading to some interesting high-speed gunfights.
  • In Champions Online, one of the travel powers available to players is "Swinging," which is basically a grappling gun. It always fires straight upwards and connects to something, even if you're in the middle of the desert with nothing to latch onto.
  • Ryu Hyabasa does this briefly, for one building, in his ending on Dead or Alive 4.
  • EXTRAPOWER: The purpose of the building monkey enemy, using their elongated arms to swing up and through buildings for better assault ability.
    • In Attack of Darkforce their swinging gives them extra combat speed as they terrorize Washington D.C. and defend the corridors of the Dark Force mothership.
    • In Star Resistance they freely swing through the space port and attack ship in Stage 2. Their building leaping ability makes them practically fly in Stage 5, which switches to a vertical scroll, making them one of the more difficult obstacles of the stage.
  • Final Fantasy IX: In a cutcene where Zidane is chasing Garnet around the top of a tower, Garnet swings from a rope of flags and Zidane grabs on to swing after her.
  • Cole MacGrath in inFAMOUS 2 is capable of using an electric rope to propel himself to anything he aims at. This includes building of course. A DLC also lets you weaponize this movement to pull enemies to finish them off with melee.
  • Link's Grappling Hook/Claw Shot but mostly use of the Double Claw Shot in some The Legend of Zelda titles. More games use a form of hook shot, but those don't require swinging.
  • The Thunder Claw in Mega Man 8, which acts like Samus' Grapple Beam on certain blocks. He also had the Wire Adaptor in 4, but it just raised him to the ceiling.
  • In Mega Man X2 there's Wire Sponge's weapon, which has a limited use to pull X towards the walls or power ups to him.
  • The Grappling Beam in later Metroid games allows you to swing from special ceiling blocks and some enemies.
  • Monster Hunter 4: The Giant Spider monster Nerscylla can use its webbing to hook onto overhead canopies and swing at Hunters to attack them. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate introduces Shrouded Nerscylla, who dwells in a large open desert area and can also do the same; while it can be explained that it's swinging via the trees, sometimes the webbing does not appear to be attached to anything in particular.
  • Amaterasu in Ōkami can summon vines from conveniently-located hovering flowers and either pull herself along or use them to snare other objects.
  • Ratchet sometimes uses a grappling gun (called a Swing Shot in most but not all games) to get around. In fact, he's kept it in each game since along with his Grind Boots. However, he can only use it on specific targets, meaning that it's only something that can be done in a limited number of places rather than a basic form of transportation around levels.
  • The various Spider-Man games, of course, use this as well. Depending on the game, you either swing off nothing (and ignore the physics of swinging) or you're required to anchor the swingline (and must obey physics while swinging). Which one works better depends on whether or not you're trying to swing over Central Park.
  • One of the novel features of Super Castlevania IV on the SNES was Simon's ability to catch rings embedded in the castle walls and swing from them, often across enormous gaps in the scenery. John Morris of Castlevania: Bloodlines later became able to use his whip to swing from ceilings. Super Smash Bros. later gave the Belmonts John's variation when they joined the roster in Ultimate.
  • One of the many equipment granted for you in Project Remedium is the Grappler, an organic thread made of nanofibres that allows you to latch and swing across platforms and higher areas.
  • Lara Croft has a magnetic Grappling-Hook Pistol in Tomb Raider: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld.
  • The grappling hook from the Worms games allows one to do this.
  • In Yo! Noid 2: Enter the Void, the Noid's yo-yo can latch on to certain targets and grapple from them.

    Web Original 
  • Subverted by Ace of Brave and the Bold, an indestructible teen hero who, lacking any kind of Grappling-Hook Pistol, simply leaps from the tops of tall buildings and plummets until she makes impact with either another building or the pavement below. As one might expect, it makes for an awkward means of getting around.
  • The Rocket in Legion of Nothing says he has a pair of grappling-hooks "just in case I have to do the Spider-Man thing."
  • Generator (Jade Sinclair) of the Whateley Universe tried this in her combat final at the end of her first term at Whateley Academy. It worked pretty well, but she has figured out how to 'fly' since then, and no longer uses it.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible seldom uses it for travel, but one of her trademark gadgets is a bright red grappling gun that looks like a hair dryer. The depiction here is slightly more realistic, as it's almost big enough to hold the length of cord it spools out, no more than about fifty feet.
  • The Legend of Korra:
  • Looney Tunes: In "Porky Pig's Feat", Porky and Daffy try to escape from a hotel without paying the bill by lassoing a rope to another building swinging across to it. Unfortunately, the hotel manager is waiting for them there, and he joins them on the swing back.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, whenever the distances between buildings are too big for Roof Hopping, Ladybug will use her magic yo-yo to swing across the streets of Paris.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb Christmas episode, Ferb does this to hang Christmas lights throughout Danville.
  • South Park: General Disarray, The Dragon of Professor Chaos, does this to ambush "The Coon". All the more impressive, since they are all powerless elementary-schoolers in homemade costumes.
  • Frequently executed by the Totally Spies! with the gadget, the Expandable Cable Bungee Belt.
  • Blackarachnia of Transformers: Animated can use her webbing (or borrowed grappling hooks, if she's been around Optimus) to swing around Detroit's higher buildings.


Video Example(s):


Miles and Gwen Catch Up

Miles and Gwen swing through the city while showing off how they've improved their skills as Spider-people

How well does it match the trope?

4.64 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / Roofhopping

Media sources: