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Caught Monologuing

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"You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can't believe it."
Syndrome, The Incredibles

It's common in fiction for the Big Bad to make some sort of big speech for The Hero. Be it Breaking Them by Talking, being Just Between You and Me, "The Reason You Suck" Speech, or even a We Will Meet Again you'll often find that the villain has prepared some form of eloquent speech for their adversary, or are just so in love with with their own voice that they simply cannot help themselves but going out on a long tangent. Said character(s) will realize that the speaker is so incredibly distracted that they're no longer paying attention to their audience and will remain oblivious for a while; they take this opportunity to either escape, disrupt the Evil Plan, or even attack the orator.

Being Caught Monologuing is specifically when one or more characters take advantage of another character's self-distraction to take action. It is not when the villain is giving up vital information which the hero uses later to stop them. Nor is it when someone is having what is basically an audible Internal Monologue and someone walks in and calls them on it.

This trope is not exclusive to villains; sometimes the hero can get caught in a monologue.

If the monologue is in the form of some public speech and other characters take advantage of it either by assassination, kidnapping, or hijacking the speech, than it is more a case of exploiting Swiss-Cheese Security than it is that the speaker is distracted.

Talk to the Fist and Killed Mid-Sentence are ways to be immediately physically punished for being Caught Monologuing. The particularly snarky ones will usually quip You Talk Too Much! before moving into action.

See Mook Chivalry, No Sneak Attacks, Transformation Is a Free Action, and Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? for other examples of how one can take advantage of the Genre Blind.

This trope is a subversion/aversion of Talking Is a Free Action because the action is anything but free.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Date A Live, Kurumi seemingly kills Kotori, then turns her back on her. Kotori's healing factor kicks in as Kurumi monologues about how she's going to kill Shido. When Kotori gets up, she points out that monologuing always gets the bad guy in trouble.
  • Kengan Ashura: Sekibayashi Jun (a pro wrestler) plays with this trope. He loves making speeches during fights when putting on his wrestler persona. Ohma Tokita hits him when he is monologuing..... But Sekibayashi does not even flinch from the attack and expected that to happen, believing that getting hit mid-speech is something to be expected given his experience as a pro wrestler.
  • My Hero Academia: The villain Dabi falls victim to this a couple of times during the Paranormal Liberation Raid Arc, where he has someone at his mercy, but he talks a bit too long and accidentally gives them a chance to escape or someone else a chance to rescue them. This is actually justified, as Hawks later realizes that Dabi likely isn't just being cocky, rather he's trying buy time and cool down since his Quirk is too hot for him to use consecutively without hurting himself.

    Comic Books 
  • In Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders, Japanese Torture Technician Colonel Sakata subjects Savage to a long rant while holding a tortured, exhausted and semi-conscious hostage (Ben Grimm, who later became The Thing of the Fantastic Four) at gunpoint. He's so focused on the speech to Savage that he doesn't notice his hostage recovering until Grimm grabs the gun.
  • In The War (New Universe), teleporter Harlan Mook (aka "Blowout") visits Iran and decides to assassinate the Ayatollah while he's there. His powers trigger an explosion whenever he teleports away, so this should be pretty straightforward. But then he stops to monologue at his victim - and gets Mind Controlled while he's gloating.
  • Zatanna (2010): In Issue #15, when the witch hunters finally corner Zatanna, instead of just killing her, their leaders goes on a spiel about their work and the evils of magic, and how their cause is righteous. This gives Zatanna enough time to finish healing her wound, thus getting her magic back and then easily dealing with them.

    Fan Works 
  • Throughout The (Edit) War for Ash’s Freedom to not be Betrayed, Darkern Edgier tries to edit the Book of Fate in order to reshape the Pokémon world as he sees fit. Fortunately, he has a bad tendency to rant about what kind of changes he intends to force upon the world with his latest edit, getting so caught up in bragging about his plans that Arceus is able to intervene and make more suitable edits instead.
  • Evanesco: When Danny realizes that Hotep has magical powers, his questions spur Hotep to start monologuing about his past and how he ended up the way that he is. Realizing that his opponent's letting all kinds of important information slip, Danny subtly encourages him to continue so that he can learn more about the wizarding world.
  • Hero Class Civil Warfare features an Inversion: the Villain Team deliberately uses monologues to distract the Heroes, who get so caught up in listening to them that they don't notice that other members of the Villain Team are exploiting their distraction. Aizawa laments how the Heroes keep falling for this, particularly since they know that Shinsou is on the Villain Team.
  • Once Bitten, Twice Shy: When Ladybug decides she's had enough of Chat Noir's constant harassment and attempts to reclaim the Black Cat Ring, he manages to get the upper hand during their scuffle. But his Skewed Priorities prove his undoing, as he's so caught up in taunting her about how there's no point in her resisting his "love" and insisting they're meant to be together that she's able to knock him off his feet and secure the win.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged's second season, Sugou visits Asuna's cage to spell out his Evil Plan and engage in some Evil Gloating. It takes only a few seconds of him looking away from her for Asuna to escape and begin slaughtering her way through his guards.
    Asuna: You're Insane! Thankfully, you're also an idiot. Why would you tell me any of this? You really think I'm just gonna sit around and wait for that to happen?
    Sugou: (chuckles) My dear Titania, you're lucky you're so pretty. By all means, give me your best shot! But if you really think you can overpower the (turns away to look out at the horizon) System Admin, then I dare say you're even dumber (turns back around) than I am where did you go?
    (alarms blare)
    Guard: (offscreen) DEAR GOD IT'S LOOOOOSE!!
  • In the Supernatural/Arrow crossover When Demon Hunters Meet the Arrow, when Malcolm Merlyn appears in the Arrowcave to try and abduct Thea after learning she's his daughter, Dean Winchester manages to knock Merlyn out while the older man is ranting about his plans for the future, prompting the following observation from Dean;
    Dean: It really speaks volumes to how much of an egomaniac this guy is that he decided to monologue instead of using his world-class assassin training to hear me sneaking up behind him.
  • Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse: Whilst attempting to hold up a Baron turned Marine Commodore's birthday party, Ranma tries to start the hold up "properly" with a suitably dramatic speech. He learns the hard way that this Commodore earned his rank due to his combat skills when Sukumvit punches him across the room whilst Ranma is in mid-speech.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Trope Namer is of course The Incredibles:
    • Frozone cites an example from his past heroics where he was cornered, and the villain proceeded to launch into a speech. He apparently used that time while the villain was babbling to turn things around.
    • Syndrome does it twice over the course of the movie, the first time he just narrowly avoids Mr. Incredible's attempt to interrupt him. The second time, he gets a car thrown at the air-craft he's aboard while he's running his mouth... it doesn't end well for him.
  • In Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ra's al Ghul has just disarmed Leo and is about to land the finishing blow... but not before monologuing about how he's hundreds of years old and trained with the greatest masters in history. Leo takes the opportunity to kick him in the nads and paralyze him with a Pressure Point attack.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dredd: Dredd is fatally wounded by Judge Lex and tells him to "Wait" when he approaches to finish him off. Lex goes off on an Evil Gloating rant assuming that Dredd Ain't Too Proud to Beg, only for Dredd to reply "No..." have Lex get gunned down by Cassandra Anderson from behind and finishing with "... wait for her to shoot you."
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: This sort of happens to Walter Simmons, the movie's main human Big Bad Wannabe, upon his death. When a Ghidorah-hijacked Mechagodzilla begins to ambulate behind him, Simmons is too wrapped up in his Evil Gloating at Team Godzilla to notice anything is wrong (even as everyone in front of him is backing away) until the Mecha is right behind him. He turns around just in time to see his impending demise. Hilariously lampshaded by Bernie Hayes in the immediate aftermath:
    Hayes: It's unfair. I really wanted to hear the rest of that speech!
  • In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Napoleon taunts Victoria with lies about her husband's ignominious death, goading her into spending valuable time threatening to murder everyone he loves. This provides Waverley both the radio signal to track her and the time needed to launch a missile at her location.

    Literature 
  • The player Alexion in Awaken Online loves to make grandiose speeches about his greatness and his enemies inferiority, partly because his Light mana is fueled by confidence. The main characters, often Jason, tune him out and instead concrete on ways to beat him. One glaring example was in Hellion where he betrays and attacks his ally Finn after he and Jason exhaust each other in a fight...then takes the time to make a speech as he prepares to kill him. He's completely oblivious to the two settling their differences to kill him forging a temporary alliance between them.
  • Occasionally invoked in Discworld, but lampshaded more often. Vimes in particular devotes a little bit of internal monologue in Men at Arms to the notion of monologuing; always hope the guy who has you at his mercy is an evil man, because it means he's going to take some time to gloat about it and enjoy having power over you, while a good man will kill you straightaway (as Carrot does later). In other words, Vimes actually likes people who monologue, because it gives him a chance to use it against them.
  • InCryptid: Verity specifically calls out the villain for monologuing.
  • In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Whose Body?, the murderer intends to deprive the law of its target by committing suicide, and has time to do it, but can't resist the temptation to write an extensive and detailed suicide note explaining just how clever he was. The police bust in and catch him while he's in the middle of adding a second postscript.
  • Lampshaded several times and occasionally played straight in A Practical Guide to Evil, due to the story taking place in a setting where the Theory of Narrative Causality is enforced by the Gods. Pragmatic villains such as Catherine and the Black Knight never monologue in order to avert this trope, but more traditional villains such as Akua fall victim to it occasionally. Catherine even manages to weaponize it against one of the winter fey, since they are even more bound by stories than anyone else. When she sets him up for a villainous monologue, he literally can't not give her an evil speech that explains all their plans and gives her allies an opportunity to come to her aid.
    "Sixty-seven: putting an arrow in a villain during their monologue is a perfectly acceptable method of victory. Heroes believing otherwise do not get to retire."
    -Two Hundred Heroic Axioms, author unknown

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in Black Adder Goes Forth. The Baron von Richthofen has Blackadder and Baldrick held captive. George brings Lord Flashheart to come and save them only to come face to face with the dreaded baron. The following exchange plays out like so:
    Baron von Richthofen: Ah, and the Lord Flashheart. This is indeed an honour. Finally, the two greatest gentleman fliers in the world meet. Two men of honour, who have jousted together in the cloud-strewn glory of the skies, face to face at last. How often I have rehearsed this moment of destiny in my dreams. The honour we two encapsulate; the unspoken nobility of our comradeship—
    (Flashheart shoots the Baron)
    Flashheart: What a poof!
    • In "Potato," from Blackadder II, Melchett walks in on Edmund as he winds up a diatribe about Sir Walter Raleigh:
      Melchett: Talking to yourself again, Blackadder?
      Blackadder: Yes. It's the only way I can be assured of intelligent conversation.
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie: In this hilarious sketch worried Hugh Laurie catches Stephen Fry monologuing and suggests to go and have a lie down.
  • Dexter: While Dexter is washing dishes, Paul gives him a long-winded, menacing speech trying to intimidate Dexter. He warns him that he loves his children, he's their father, and he won't let Rita or anyone else get in his wa— Wham! Upside the head with a frying pan. And, because this is Dexter, this leads inexorably to Paul's death.
  • When Shawn captures the Brainy Bunch in The Good Place, he and Michael take turns trying to verbally intimidate each other... until Janet interrupts by karate-chopping Shawn in the neck midsentence and screaming, "Screw this! Let's fight!"
  • In The Mandalorian, after Din and Bo-Katan identify the individual responsible for Plazir-15's droid malfunctions, they find themselves in a stand-off where any attempt to move closer will result him in pushing a Big Red Button to convert all the droids into attack mode. Luckily, Bo-Katan calling him a "Separatist" triggers a Motive Rant that distracts him enough for her to shoot him with a stunning dart.

    Radio 
  • Bleak Expectations: Spoofed when Mr. Benevolent tells Pip Bin he's not going to fall for the old "I tell you my plan, you thwart me" trick, but Pip manages to get him to immediately do so anyway. Just by saying "go on".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Any Dungeons & Dragons game, ever, will sooner or later have someone yell "I roll for initiative" in the middle of the villain's evil speech, which can grant the party a surprise attack round.

    Video Games 
  • In Choice of the Dragon, you will at one point be confronted by Sir Rodegard. You are quite welcome to devour him mid-speech.
  • Elden Ring: Sir Gideon Ofnir is quite prone to this. He starts his fight off with a big speech about how he thinks the Tarnisheds' mission is hopeless and Marika wants them to fight forever, but this is not a cutscene and the player can absolutely lock on to him and nail him hard while he's still yammering on.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The player hears Big Bad Mankar Camoran's Hannibal Lecture coming from thin air from the first moment they set foot in his realm. When they finally confront him face to face, Camoran launches into yet another long-winded speech... if they let him. In some other cutscenes, the player's controls are locked down for the duration, but not this time as many players choose to interrupt his monologue with sword or spell. Turn the difficulty down to minimum and spell yourself up to 100% Chameleon and you can kill him with one shot, which makes the interruption that much more satisfying.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: In the game's Dawnguard expansion, this can be utilized during the final boss battle. Unlike most other boss battles, the player is not frozen when Lord Harkon does his endgame monologuing. They can take advantage of this fact to sneak up behind him while he's talking and do a critical backstab, which - if the weapon is powerful enough - can potentially end his fight before it even begins.
  • Fable II: The player can flat out One-Hit Kill Lucien right in the middle of his big speech, and if the player doesn't do it, Reaver will just shoot Lucien himself.
    Reaver: I thought he'd never shut up. Oh, I'm sorry, did you want to kill him?
  • Towards the end of Fairy Fencer F, or the Goddess path in the Advent Dark Force remake, the party lets Dorfa lackey Paiga lead them into a trap, then pull an excellent one of these on him.
    Paiga: Hmhmhm, nobody make a move, or I'll press this button again. Now, you guys just stay where you are while I move to a safer position.
    Tiara: I don't think so! Cui...!
    Cui: Cui, cui! (whooshing sound, flash of light)
    Paiga: Whoa, what the—!? O-Oh no, the button...! Wh-When did that creature get behind me!?
    Tiara: While you were monologuing, I had my fairy sneak behind your back. Your luck ends here!
  • Mass Effect 2: During Mordin's loyalty mission on Tuchanka, a krogan Elite Mook begins telling Commander Shepard about how their tribe will overrun all the other tribes and then Take Over The Galaxy. The Commander can perform a Renegade action in the middle of the speech, shooting a fuel tank beneath the krogan which explodes and burns him to death.
  • Defied in one of the penultimate encounters of the game in Realm of the Mad God. Chancellor Dammah monologues for a short while when you first enter his chamber in Oryx's Sanctuary, but unlike many other bosses when they monologue you, Dammah is entirely vulnerable. Shooting him once will cause him to become invincible and rebuke you for interrupting him. Continue to shoot him, and he will fly into a rage and open up the encounter with one of his least forgiving attacks while preventing the entire group from healing.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In Resident Evil 4, Ramon Salazar goes off onto another smarmy monologue on how he's going to kill Leon with another clever trap. Leon, who by this point is thoroughly fed up with Salazar's bullshit, shuts him up with a knife to the hand.
      • In the 2023 remake, Leon shoots him mid-sentence.
        Ramon: Such a fool, Mr. Kennedy. You have been bestowed with lords and—
        Leon: You talk too much. (fires)
    • Reversed in Resident Evil Village: Moreau's monologue distracts Ethan while he seals off the exits to his lair.
  • In Star Wars: Jedi Outcast, Kyle comes up against one of the game's two Big Bads, Admiral Fyyar, at the end of a mission to bring down the ship's shields. Fyyar launches into full Large Ham mode, about how worlds will tremble and all... and Kyle throws his lightsaber at the shield generator, frying it.
  • The bosses in Undertale generally start off each fight with a monologue, before the player gets their first turn to attack. Sans, the final boss of the No Mercy/Genocide route, plays with this trope; he starts off with a monologue, then interrupts his own monologue to suddenly attack the player with a series of powerful rapid-fire attacks which are likely to kill an unprepared player before they even get a turn. When the player does manage to finally survive the attack, Sans ponders why other people don't startoff with their most powerful attacks.

    Web Animation 
  • Implied in Lackadaisy: During Lackadaisy booze-runner Rocky's self-indulgent workshopping of his lengthy Purple Prose poetry when he's supposed to be on lookout duty, he yells loud enough for his voice to audibly echo ("To challenge titans come before!") while playing a loud violin flourish, just as a car can be seen and heard passing under the bridge he's standing on. If the rival Marigold Gang's Hired Guns weren't already patrolling their territory, Rocky's resonant bellowing as they drove by just provided incentive to do so, with the headlamps off.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In "The Silent King", Jake hits Xergiok with a rock after he says "you may have beaten me this time, but—".
  • Gravity Falls: In "Blendin's Game", Blendin Blandin gloats that there's no way Dipper and Mabel can beat him in laser tag, but spends so long gloating that Dipper just walks right up and hits him several times while Mabel goes and gets the Time Wish.
  • Invincible (2021): Night Boy decides to take up Darkwing's mantle and takes it to a brutal fashion. Invincible clearly has him outmatched, up until Night Boy traps him in the shadow verse. Invincible has no way out, and Night Boy could have just left him in there, leading him to be killed by the creatures inside, had he not begin to monologue about his self-righteous reasoning and throw punches at him, leading to Invincible catching him and forcing him to release them both.
  • Kim Possible: Shego regularly calls Drakken out whenever he starts monologuing.
    Drakken: So, Kim Possible, you think to thwart my plan!
    Shego: Don't stop to tell her the plan!
    Drakken: I'll handle this, Shego!
    Shego: Yeah, all I know is every time you stop to blab about your big plan, she wins!
    Drakken: Oh, right.
  • In Star Trek: Lower Decks, a holoemitter malfunction leaves Boimler at the mercy of Doctor Chaotica from the Captain Proton holonovel. Boimler quickly realizes that he can stall by engaging Chaotica in a melodramatic dialogue confrontation, and Chaotica is completely engaged in that until Rutherford comes up with a fix.
  • Storm Hawks: Master Cyclonis suffers this in "The Key" — while she's busy bragging to and threatening the Oracle, Aerrow takes the opportunity to catch her surprise (and cut her off mid-sentence) with a blast which knocks her staff from her hands.

 
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Revy shuts up a neo-Nazi

A hulking neo-Nazi manages to get the drop on Revy when she's out of ammunition... only to waste time bragging about how awesome his gun is, giving her an opportunity to reload and shut him up for good.

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