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Climactic Elevator Ride

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It's time for Bob to face his final destiny. The Evil Overlord is on the roof, preparing to launch his master plan, and the only thing to do is go up there and face him. So, Bob gets in the lift, maybe saying a last few words to Alice. They check their weapons, make their peace, and wait for the door to open at the top.

The elevator ride serves as a good pause point in the action to resolve some loose ends, or just prepare for the final battle. The quiet ascent —or descent— is the calm before the storm and really builds up what is about to unfold.


It needn't be before the actual climax. A good semi-climax will do, so long as it's dramatic and looks like it might be the real thing.

See also Roof Top Confrontation, which often follows. Not to be confused with Climbing Climax or Elevator Action Sequence, since the action doesn't actually happen on the elevator.



  • Just before the final battle of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Spike takes an elevator up to the top of the tower to fight Vincent Volaju where he is initiating his terrorist attack on the Halloween parade.
  • Before their final fight with the gone-insane General Ulube, the Shuffle Alliance from Mobile Fighter G Gundam ride a huge freight elevator in their Gundams and discuss how they will defeat the Dark/Devil Gundam merged with the Japan Colony.


  • An interesting variation from New Avengers: Luke Cage once fell off the top of a building while the team was fighting hand ninjas. He simply got up, took the elevator back to the roof, and got back into the fight.

Fan Works


  • The 2014 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has one where the turtles are singing and beatboxing on their way to face shredder. Then the elevator pings and they all run out with a roar.
  • Total Recall (1990). Quaid takes an elevator ride up to his final showdown with Cohaagen over the fate of Mars.
  • In Aliens, Ripley rides down an elevator deep into the soon-to-be-exploding colony to rescue a little girl. She takes this time to ready all her weapons.
  • Happens in Vanilla Sky as well. Tom Cruise's character meets with "Tech Support", who proceeds to explain what exactly's been happening to him throughout the film. To drive it home, the elevator ride is impossibly long, making it clear that Cruise is in a dreamworld.
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  • In The Departed, where Leonardo Di Caprio and Matt Damon's characters ride the elevator down after Leo has taken Matt's character hostage, and is shot in the head by one of Matt's allies as soon as the door opens.
  • The movie The Brave, written and directed by Johnny Depp, ends with him taking an elevator ride up to meet the Snuff Film makers with whom he has a debt.
  • The Punisher (1989). Mafia boss Franco and the Punisher are going up into a skyscraper to confront the Yakuza. Franco stops the elevator with the lift key for a moment to ask why he's driven to kill so many people. "Revenge has its limits." The Punisher just replies, "Maybe I haven't reached it yet."
  • RoboCop (1987): RoboCop takes one just before he confronts Dick Jones about his complicity with the crimes of Clarence Boddicker, but this isn't anywhere close to his final confrontation with either.
  • Runaway: The police officer protagonist has to take a robots-only elevator with No OSHA Compliance up a building site to confront the villain for a Hostage for MacGuffin trade, despite his fear of heights.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: In the elevator on their way up to steal the Grandmaster's ship, Thor and Loki have a quiet moment to talk. Loki suggests it would be best if he remained behind on Sakaar and Thor wholeheartedly agrees, but expresses his regret as he had always thought they'd fight side by side forever but now realizes that their paths diverged a long time ago. This moment of honest expression clearly touches Loki but undergoes a tonal shift as Thor then suggests they do "Get help" to which Loki declares "We are not doing 'Get Help'". The ride ends with a Gilligan Cut as the elevator's doors open.
    Thor: Get Help! Please! My brother, he's dying....



  • Half-Life 2 has Gordon and Alyx ride up an elevator before the final battle. Alyx takes this time to say a few things.
    • Lets not forget Gordon's Epic and Long (Long!) ride up the tower in the prison unit. That should count as an elevator ride.
  • Jack rides up the elevator to the top of city hall to face the final boss in BioShock.
  • Spec Ops: The Line shows the main character taking heading to the final showdown by riding an elevator to the penthouse of the tallest skyscraper in Dubai.
  • Time Crisis - Right before the final boss battle, Wild Dog takes Rachel hostage in an elevator. Richard has to take the other elevator to catch up.
  • Elite Beat Agents - In the "Just A Peanut Matter" (song: "Survivor" by Destiny's Child) stage, the main character takes the freight elevator to the top of the peanut warehouse where the evil alien queen is.
  • Left 4 Dead - In the No Mercy campaign, the end of the penultimate stage involves traveling 25 floors up an elevator where some conversation takes place.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - In the first campaign, the survivors take an elevator down to the ground floor of the mall where Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car (and their best chance of escape) is parked, just before hordes of zombies attack them for the rest of the game, either until they escape or get overwhelmed.
  • Max Payne sets its final battle on top of the Aesir Corporation tower, which has Max riding in a number of elevators. The final ride (which transitions from "Nothing to Lose" to the final level "Pain and Suffering") has Max readying all his weapons one final time, intercut with pictures of the family he's about to take vengeance for.
    Max Payne: Valkyr had been meant to be a white-winged maiden that would lift you to a warrior's heaven. But it turned out to be a one-way demon ride to Hell. The Devil was in the drug. I knew. I had met him.
    [Max locks and loads his weapons]
    Max Payne: And now I was going to kill her — the queen of the underworld who had tried to lift herself a bit closer to heaven with her drug money. No begging, no bribes — she knew better. Honor among killers, "we who are about to die." Both of us knew how this would end: in pain and suffering.
  • Modern Warfare 3 has one halfway through the last level, when Price and Yuri ride an elevator to the final battle with Makarov and his goons.
  • Mirror's Edge - Reaching the final levels objective an elevator ride shows how the player raises beyond all the rest of the city's rooftops where the player has been running all game long.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has two at the climax: An elevator ride, and a long series of catwalks, both containing quotes by various characters echoing in Snake's head as he moves ever closer to a likely death and the end of his mission.
  • Saints Row has this in the final mission of the Vice Kings storyline, where the Protagonist, Johnny Gat, and Benjamin King have to ride an elevator to get to the penthouse where Tanya is. It's notable for being one of the four times in the game that the normally Silent Protagonist speaks.
  • Throughout Persona 3, the Velvet Room has manifested as an elevator continuously going up. The last time the protagonist visits, right before the final battle, it arrives at its destination. It's more effective than it sounds.
  • There is one final elevator at the end of The Evil Within when you get back to the asylum.
    Sebastian: If I get out of this alive, I'm never riding in an elevator again.
  • Dangan Ronpa Trigger Happy Havoc and its sequel features one near the end of every chapter except for the latter's final.
  • Happens a few times in Undertale:
    • You get an elevator from the Core to New Home that takes longer than the other elevators in the game. There's even a track on the OST called "Long Elevator" that consists of the elevator sound effect used in the game. There is another elevator in New Home, but it acts as more of a shortcut so you don't have to walk all the way back should you want to backtrack.
    • In the Pacifist ending, Alphys leaves a note in her lab revealing that her "Bathroom" is actually an elevator that leads to a truth she's been hiding but is now ready to reveal. Unlike most examples, the elevator actually goes down, but it's still a tense moment, especially when it malfunctions and crashes due to a sudden power outage, leaving you trapped down there until you find all the necessary items to restore power.
    • After the above event, you go into another elevator and get a call from an unknown person, who ends their dialogue with "See you soon." Immediately after, the doors close and the elevator rapidly ascends to New Home, and is then blocked as soon as you get out, leaving you with no choice but to face the final boss.
  • At the end of Flashback, Conrad takes an elevator down for the final battle with the Master Brain.



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