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. If the ride is after the climax or the climax itself, see Ending by Ascending.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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....
- Total Recall (1990). Quaid takes an elevator ride up to his final showdown with Cohaagen over the fate of Mars.
- Happens in Vanilla Sky as well. Tom Cruise's character meets with "Tech Support", who proceeds to explain what exactly has 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.
- The final scene of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory takes place in the Great Glass Wonkavator: so called because it can go not only up and down, but sideways and backways and slantways and squareways and frontways and any other way that you can think of.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: the episode "The Real Deal" has a variant, as we don't know the elevator ride is a big deal until after everyone gets off. Coulson and Fitz chat briefly in the elevator, before Coulson points out that Fitz looks nervous, and that the elevator stopped a minute ago. They exit the elevator, entering a forest, where the rest of the team are waiting for them, and Simmons is wearing a white dress and holding a small bouquet, leading to Fitz and Simmons getting married.
- Jack rides up the elevator to the top of city hall to face the final boss in BioShock.
- The Danganronpa games have a tense elevator ride after each investigation, taking the class to the courtroom where they will find out which one of them is the culprit for this chapter's murder.
- 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.
- Deltarune also has one, though not right before the final boss. It takes place when the main characters are escaping from the castle's basement after Susie's fight with Lancer, which results in her finally deciding to follow Kris' instructions instead of attacking every enemy she encounters.
- 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.
- 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.
- At the end of Flashback, Conrad takes an elevator down for the final battle with the Master Brain.
- 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.
- 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]
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spec Ops: The Line: After battling through Dubai to reach Colonel Konrad, Captain Walker takes the elevator of the tallest building in the city to confront him.
- 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.
- Invader Zim episode "Game Slave 2" plays with this trope; Iggins is rushing to get batteries on a high floor of a skyscraper, while simultaneously trying to escape Gaz. However, in his hysteria, he slams on the same button several times and breaks the elevator, sending him flying up to the roof. There, Gaz climbs in with him before he can get the door to close. After he refuses to give her the Game Slave, she punches the control panel and sends the elevator plummeting downward; finally, he gives her the game, and she miraculously stops the elevator at the floor with the batteries. Then she cuts the cord and lets Iggins fall to his death anyway.
Gaz: The rightful order has been restored.