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Kirk Summation

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The Eighth Doctor: You want dominion over the living, but all you do is kill!
The Master: Life is wasted on the living.

A speech made by the hero to the villain just before the climactic fight in which he points out exactly why what the villain is doing is wrong, and urges him to forswear his ways.

The hero might acknowledge beforehand that this effort is probably not going to work, but he has to try; that's what makes him the hero. If it does work, he's Talking the Monster to Death, and might even get the villain to do a Heel–Face Turn. It can also be a case of Swiper, No Swiping! if the villain stands down with no drama. May be a piercing retort to a Breaking Speech.

Expect lots of Scenery-Chewing.

The villain will probably respond with a pithy one-liner. This makes it okay for the hero to kill him. The villain might also turn the tables with a Breaking Speech which may cause the hero to turn the tables again by saying Shut Up, Hannibal! or his own Breaking Speech until one of them is broken or they come to blows. Alternatively, this last-ditch effort not working will have the hero conclude that the bad guy is irredeemable, so it's time to stop trying.

See also You Monster!, You're Insane! and "The Reason You Suck" Speech. A Patrick Stewart Speech rebuts the evilness by praising human goodness. It may also be a part of a "No More Holding Back" Speech.

Different from the Last-Second Chance in that here the hero is trying to shame or reason with the villain to make him turn back, whereas in that trope the hero is offering the villain help, healing, or redemption. When the villain rejects this trope, you have a Shut Up, Kirk!. If the villain is already dead or defeated by then, it's an After-Action Villain Analysis.

In Japanese works, this is usually a sign of Japanese Spirit, as competing ideologies, with the "better" one winning in the end, is part of the story structure.

See also Corrective Lecture.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball, Goku begins the final phase of almost every battle by offering his opponent "one last chance" to recant his evil ways. It seldoms goes deeper than that, because he's just a kid at this point.
    • At the end of Dragon Ball Z, before annihilating Buu with the Spirit Bomb, Goku briefly reminisces about the events of the arc, and how Buu went from an mostly-innocent manchild to a ruthless killer after losing the battle against his inner evil, and says how Buu will now learn what it's like to have his own life taken away against his will. He also makes a wish that Buu will come back as a better person, so he can fight him again. This speech is dub-only. In the original, he instead says how incredible Buu was and continued to be a formidable foe with each transformation, which is why Goku wishes him to be reborn as a good being, so that they can fight again.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • Judai/Jaden on loves these, usually couching them in terms of "the true meaning of the game". His opponents hardly ever buy it. Someone always lampshades: i.e. "You know Jaden — he loves giving this speech."
    • At one point, he decides the speech won't do anything, so he just goes straight to the asskicking.
    • This happens less often in Season 4, mostly preferring to give his enemies short The Reason You Suck Speeches but he gives a good Friendship Speech / Kirk Summation to DARKNESS).
  • Vash from Trigun sometimes engaged enemies in this because of his aversion to killing.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Nanoha does this with all her enemies, which never works for various reasons. She then opts for unleashing raw firepower on them until they're in no condition to do anything but listen to her.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Chamo and several others comment on this, stating that Negi would end his fights a hell of a lot quicker if he wasn't holding back so much at the start of major fights, trying to give his opponent a chance to surrender. They never do.
    • During the Mahora Festival arc Negi decides that he doesn't know whether the Big Bad's plan (ending The Masquerade) is the right thing to do or not. He fights them anyway because they can't prove that ending the Masquerade is important enough to justify screwing over Negi, his students, and the other mages.
  • In Death Note, Near begins one to stop Light's Motive Rant when he finally has him cornered. In essence it is as follows: "No, Light, Kira was not a savior but a mass murder; you yourself are not a god but a human on a power trip".
  • Of all people, Heero Yuy delivers one in the final battle of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, rejecting Zechs's assertion that humans need to be forcibly made to give up war. Though Zechs may have been faking the whole thing. The anime isn't as clear on this as the manga.
  • The King in The Law of Ueki delivers one of these to Margaret, and the entire race of Protectorates. Nobody listens.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Angemon and Angewomon make absolutely sure that Myotismon has no remorse for any of his evil deeds before killing him.
  • Naruto does this to a lot of villains, from Haku to Gaara to Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. Part of the story's Aesop relies on this trope. The belief of his sensei, Jiraiya, was that there will come a time that "people truly understand each other". However, the entire shinobi world is built and perpetuated on a never ending Cycle of Revenge. During Naruto's fight with Pain, Pain questions if Naruto thinks that killing him, and thus continuing the cycle, will make things better. Naruto's answer to this is to listen to Pain's story, tell him why his Evil Plan is flawed and that there's a better way: even though he can't forgive Pain for all that he's done, he's still not going to kill him because he has that choice. Pain realizes that he's a Fallen Hero, and then immediately switches to Naruto's side.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, this is what Diamond does to every villain he's ever encountered before resorting to fighting them. It may not work for the villain, but it sure does inspire everyone else who hears it (even Dialga and Palkia, in one instance!).
  • Holyland: Yuu gives one in chapter 176 to counter King's attempt at a "Not So Different" Remark.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Umi gives one to Fluffy Tamer Ascot when he tries to yell at her for killing his "friends." After a slap, she points out that he is the one forcing them to fight the trio and doing so will make people more fearful of them than they already are. It works so well that he does a Heel–Face Turn and shows up in Part II by using his creatures to help the remnants of Cephiro's population... and he has a huge crush on her.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma Kamijou is fond of summarizing the villain's past and motivation and everything wrong with it before declaring, "I will break your illusion!" and then punching the villain out. Sometimes spoofed by Touma focusing on the wrong thing, like when Oriana Thompson attempted to brainwash the entire city, and Touma gave a summation condemning her for disrupting their festival.
  • Saitama from One-Punch Man gives a few of this in the series, particularly to Fubuki (who's more of an Anti-Hero than a villain) giving her a speech who a hero is supposed to be and to Hero Hunter Garou, pointing out how flawed his "Absolute Evil" plan is (who turns out to be more of an Anti-Villain than a full-out villain).

    Comic Books 
  • In the climax of Superman: Brainiac, Superman gives Brainiac one of these during their final fight on Brainiac's skull ship:
    Brainiac: I hold life in the palm of my hand. I control life.
    Superman: Life can't be controlled. Life can't be bottled. All this knowledge, and you don't know anything about life. This ship isn't life, Brainiac. This ship is your bottle. And I'm going to take you out of it.
  • All-New Wolverine #12: Wolverine delivers a withering one to Captain America after S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempt to apprehend Old Man Logan before he could kill Gabby only ended up nearly causing the tragedy in the first place. When Steve tries to object to her decision to let Logan go anyway, she utterly rips apart the circumstances of Civil War II and warns Cap exactly what will happen if everyone keeps going down the road they're currently on, before storming away.
    Laura: This kid who can see the future. He'll divide you all again. Everyone will be a bit right and a bit wrong. But the world will watch hero fight hero, and people will get just a little more disillusioned, a little less trusting, a little more cynical. Tell Hill we're going away. Somewhere S.H.I.E.L.D. can't find us. Tell her I know something about her future. I know we're not in it.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Madison Russell explains to Mariko in non-minced terms why her own dead mother Emma Russell sucked in Chapter 12, when Mariko hits Madison's Berserk Button. Mark likewise somberly chips in, and Ilene Chen adds a Humans Are Flawed speech.
    Madison Russell: This might come as a shock to you, President of the Emma Russell Fanclub, but while she had a point about the Titans and their beneficial presence to the world, SHE WOULDN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU! Everyone in this room – people who thought she was their friend, the best of us – she would have let us all die in a fire if it meant seeing her plans through! She didn’t agonize over the people of Isla de Mara! Do you know… [laughs] Do you know, I heard Jonah order one of his men to, and I quote, "slit my throat" if I pulled anything… and she just stood there doing nothing.
    Mariko: […] I read the reports from Boston. She sacrificed her life, didn’t she?
    Madison Russell: So we're just going to ignore the hypocrisy in trying to avenge one dead child by causing God knows how many kids to die in the process?
    Mark Russell: […] Maybe she had good intentions for the world, but it didn't apply to the people living in it.
    Ilene Chen: "We were born of risen apes, not fallen angels." Emma's problem was she focused too much on the dark side of mankind. We have wars and pollution, poverty and disease, yes. But that doesn't invalidate all the good mankind has accomplished. We as a species have cared for one another since the beginning when we were learning how to build spears or weave baskets. Even in darkness, beauty thrives.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Whispers, Celestia attempts to talk Nightmare Moon down:
    Celestia: Lower the moon, Luna. We shall extend upon you but one chance.
    Nightmare Moon: Are you finished yet? If that was meant to intimidate me, you don't even pass on effort.
  • In Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Rainbow Dash delivers one toward Gilda during their second confrontation.
    Rainbow Dash: You're the one who can't let go, Gilda! You refuse to leave the past behind, you live in your own world! And that's why you can't beat me in this fight!
    Gilda: Shut up! I don't need lectures, especially from you!
  • In Chronicles of Harmony's End Array and Discord have this little exchange before they get down to it:
    Array: Then I suppose it would have come to this eventually, Discord. I can not allow you to defile my realm or any other with the profanity of your continued existence.
    Discord: I'd give it a seven. It loses points on cliche.
  • Professor Dumbledore delivers an unusual one to the Alizors in Chapter 76 of The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, which, behind the general rhetoric, is less about the fact that they are doing wrong (as while the extent to which the end justifies the means is debatable, the attackers have very valid reasons to be attacking) and more about the fact that their strategy is nonsensical and they'll get slaughtered if they try to fight it out there and then. It is, of course, answered with a curse in his direction from the leader.
  • Occurs in the final scene of Advent Crossover Crisis, between Sly Cooper and the Big Bad, Maleficent. Justified, since Sly is intentionally stalling for time, and it's something he's prone to do in his own series.
    Maleficent: Please. Allow me to guess. You have a speech.
    Sly: As it happens, I do have a few words prepared.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act IV: In chapter 24, Moka sums up her feelings towards Hokuto:
    Moka: You kidnap and brainwash our friend, you sent Kuyou down upon us, you used us like toys... all so you can destroy the world with Alucard? All I see before me is a misguided fool that is going to be cast down into Hell.
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit improvises one towards the Mad Doctor in the Epic Mickey fancomic The Shadow of the Blot, pointing out how the Blot's goal (destroying all life) is really different from the Doc's usual Card-Carrying Villain, kid-friendly Dastardly Whiplash-style villainy. And this one actually works, as the Doctor turns on the Blot and renounces to kill Oswald.
  • Yesterday Upon The Stair: When Midoriya shows up to confront Hero Killer Stain and save Iida and Mr. Native, the villain starts talking about his mission to kill all the heroes he deems unworthy. Midoriya immediately shuts him down and explains how short-sighted and stupid his philosophy truly is:
    Midorya: Yeah, I don’t really care.
    Stain: (utter silence) What?
    Midorya: I don’t actually care about why you’re doing this. It doesn’t really matter to me, because… from what I can parse out, what you’re doing is killing people who save lives, just because you don’t like their reasons for saving lives.
    Stain: Ah… A hero fan, are you? A bright-eyed up-and-comer who thinks they can do no wrong. So naive.
    Midoriya: I’m naive? Y-You’re imagining a world where all heroes are perfect and never do anything for their own reasons! How is that not naive?
    Stain: That’s what separates the real heroes from the rest of these pathetic phonies! A proper "hero" doesn’t act for his own benefit.
    Midoriya: Why not? You do. Take now, for instance. You benefit from doing this because you get to pat yourself on the back without actually doing anything helpful.
    Stain: ...What.
    Midoriya: I said you’re full of shit.
    Stain: You little brat!
    Iida: Midoriya, get out of here!
    Midoriya: Your reasons don’t make any sense to me. Sorry. You talk like having selfish reasons makes people evil, but saving lives will always be a pure good. (Steps forward) And anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter who they are, or where they’re from, or what they’ve done, or why they’re doing it. All they have to do is say "no". All they have to do is say, "This is wrong". Anyone. Even thieves and bullies and liars and cowards. (Now gets directly between Iida and the Hero Killer). So this is me, saying "no". (braces himself to fight, praying that his message for help will reach someone). So help me, if you lay another hand on them, I will BREAK it.
  • Create Your Own Fate: Kanril Eleya delivers one to an Undine infiltrator she helps capture at the end of the second act, in her typical ill-tempered style.
    “You are weak,” it snarls. “The weak will perish.”
    “Remind me, which one of us is on the inside of the cell?” That seems to deflate him somewhat. “You know what defeated you, you ugly assfuck? Your own arrogance. You were just so convinced that us ‘weak’ races would just roll over for your ‘strong’ race,” I tell him with air-quotes. “You’re not strong enough to convincingly steal Commander Lastagee’s form: that man had a distinguished twenty-year career in Starfleet, he was decorated six times for valor in extracting high-value assets from foreign territory. More to the point, he understood the concepts of a chain of command and civilian control of the military, even did his Academy dissertation on it. You not only blew your own cover and that Circle cell you’d ingratiated yourself with, you also blew the cover of your mole in the Foreign Affairs Office: he was arrested by Starfleet Security two hours before you launched your attack. The real Lastagee would’ve used proper channels and probably won. So tell me, which of us is really the weak one? The physically weaker one? Or the one who panicked when things didn’t go his way?”
  • In Marigami Stories, Kagami flatly tells Adrien that his "pretend it isn't happening and it'll fix itself" approach to Chloe and Lila causes only more harm than good and that Marinette is entitled to a little righteous indignation when Lila is found out by the class for the liar she is.
  • In Catarina Claes MUST DIE!, Geordo gives one to Henrietta, saying that in spite of her claim of wanting to help Maria and Keith, she never once tried to intervene when Maria was bullied, unlike Catarina who actively protected Maria and other classmates from those that would take advantage of them. Instead, all that Henrietta wanted was to see Catarina die painfully as she had in Fortune Lover's Bad Ends. This leads to Henrietta's Villainous BSoD from the realization she targeted an innocent girl.
  • In Whispered Tribulation, Izuku cites how Entertainingly Wrong the Hero Killer's Black-and-White Insanity is by referring to Forever Knight, a hero who was a very vocal advocate for the rights of quirkless people. He had made plans on making a quirkless support center, but when Stain killed him for not living up to his ideals, that land was instead purchased by Gold Rocket, a pro-hero with anti-quirkless beliefs (and eventually revealed to be an embezzler and a member of the Meta Liberation Army) who turned that plot of land into a rec-center for "show[ing] off his sick skate moves".
  • When the Doctor and the Master have their final confrontation in The Road to Shalka series, the Doctor, who really, really wants to turn his old frenemy to the side of good, even though he's been frustrated before, has this to say:
    Come with us! Travel in the TARDIS. Help us! (...) Think about it." There was a note of pleading in the Doctor's voice. "Why do you do the things you do? Isn't it for the challenge? For the puzzle? For the achievement? That's what I'm offering you, the chance to pit your wits against the most dangerous enemies in the universe. Don't you want to prove you're cleverer than the Sontarans? Won't that be more satisfying than cruising around victimising helpless little primitive planets? And what's more, you won't have to do it alone, we can do it together and squabble about the best way. It'll be interesting, it'll be unpredictable. It'll be fun!"
    • Unfortunately, but true to character, it meets with a Shut Up, Kirk!:
    "Ah, Doctor. You're a clever man and you make a good argument. I might even be tempted but for one thing. I don't think I could bear to see the look of triumph on your face if I accepted, nor your look of paternal pride whenever I did something you considered good. No. All things considered, I think I'm happier as I am."
    The Doctor's head lowered a little, his lips souring.
    "You've chosen death."
    "A threat, Doctor?"
    "That's not what I meant."

    Films — Animated 
  • Po of Kung Fu Panda tries to reason with the villains in the first two movies:
    • He tells Tai Lung why Tai wasn't ready to have the Dragon Scroll. It doesn't work, showing that he is beyond redemption.
    • He told Shen he didn't have to be defined by his past, that he can choose what to be now. Shen agreed. Unfortunately, he chose to be the bad guy.
  • In The LEGO Movie, Emmet appeals to Lord Business' hidden insecurity by reminding him that people have been inspired by his creations to build their own, signalling his redemption. This is paralleled in the real world, where The Man Upstairs apologises to his son after becoming impressed with the latter's creations, both mirrors hugging it out. The lid is put back on the glue, and the world is saved.
  • A short but sweet one from Batman to Red Hood/Jason Todd in their final confrontation in Batman: Under the Red Hood:
    Batman: You say you want to be better than me. But it won't happen! Not like this!
  • Vinny from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, speaking to the main antagonist after his Heel–Face Turn.
    Vinny: We've done a lot of things we're not proud of: robbing graves, plundering tombs, double parking... but nobody got hurt. Well... maybe somebody got hurt, but nobody we knew."
  • ParaNorman ends with Norman confronting the real villain, Agatha Prendergast, telling her that three centuries of bitterness over having been executed for witchcraft have hardened her into a mean, hateful bully just like her killers who's still torturing people who have either long since learned their lesson or were born so long afterwards that they don't even know who she is. Norman's speech triggers a Villainous Breakdown that manages to bring Agatha down from the ledge.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Played straight between Optimus and Megatron during the climatic battle of Transformers:
      Megatron: Humans don't deserve to live.
      Optimus: They deserve to choose for themselves!
      Megatron: Then you will die with them! Join them in extinction!
    • Another one in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen:
      Megatron: Is the future of our race not worth a single human life?
      Optimus Prime: You'll never stop at one. I'll take you all on!
  • In X-Men, Magneto tells our heroes (whom he has handily all bound up with metal) his plan, where he forcibly triggers Rogue's power absorption ability and then powers his mutation machine with her and cause a summit of world leaders to become mutants like them... which would result in Rogue's death. When he brushes this little detail off as a "necessary sacrifice", Wolverine calls him out.
    Wolverine: You're so fulla shit. If you were really so righteous, it'd be you in that thing.
  • Flipped in Serenity: The Anti-Villain tries presenting this trope to the Anti-Hero, who in turn delivers the Shut Up, Kirk! by shooting him. The villain then stands up (not being an idiot, he saw that coming and wore body armor) and resumes.
  • The Lawnmower Man features this exchange:
    Dr. Angelo: This technology was meant to expand human communication, but you're not even human anymore! What you've become terrifies me. You're a freak!
    Jobe: Your naive idiocy makes me very angryyyyy! Huuumaaaan!
  • In Spy Kids 3D, Valentin uses this tactic to forgive Sebastian for crippling him. It worked.
  • Labyrinth played it as a key plot point, as it was her destiny to deliver her "Give me the child" speech. Foreshadowed and all.
  • The Star Trek films:
    Kirk: Better to die saving lives, than to live with taking them. That's what I was born into.
  • Slightly inverted in War of the Gargantuas through the monsters themselves. Sanda tries to "talk" (through gestures) to his brother, Gaira not for them to fight. Gaira however, being a more wild and savage clone of his brother doesn't listen and continues provoking Sanda to fight, which they ultimately do, to the death.
  • In Man of Steel, Zod begs Superman not to destroy his ship, saying without it, Krypton cannot be restored. Superman says, "Krypton had its chance!" and destroys it.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor gives Loki one during their climactic final battle in the first Thor, and later again in The Avengers where he says of the Chitauri invasion: "You think this madness will end with YOUR rule!?"
    • Thor pulls it on Loki a third time in Thor: Ragnarok, where he points out that Loki's constant betrayals have, ironically enough, made him predictable, drives the point home by showing that he'd anticipated and prepared for Loki's inevitable backstab, and tells Loki that while he is certainly the God of Mischief, he has the potential to be so much more. This time it works, and Loki ends up saving the day, albeit by causing Ragnarok.
  • About midway through The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm and Peter Ludlow have a discussion about Ludlow's right to take dinosaurs off of Isla Sorna to recoup InGen's lossess in the wake of the Jurassic Park Incident in the previous and Malcolm comments that Ludlow is no John Hammond. When the bull Tyrannosaurus escapes into San Diego, Malcolm walks up to the shocked Ludlow and says, "Now you're John Hammond."
  • At the climax of Scream 3, Sidney dismantles the Ghostface killer's Freudian Excuse to his face, telling him that, for all that he blames his mother Maureen and the existence of his half-sister Sidney for ruining his life, he's just a psychopath like all the rest, doing it because he enjoys killing.

  • In The Silver Chair, Determined Defeatist Puddleglum delivers an Author Filibuster about the importance of faith even after conceding to everything the Big Bad said.
    "One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."
  • Harry Potter vs. Voldemort, round 4. Harry calls him "Riddle" and suggests he repent, before summarizing: "So it all comes down to this, doesn't it? Does the wand in your hand know its last master was Disarmed? Because if it does... I am the true master of the Elder Wand."
  • Not a villainous example, but Wedge Antilles, on a world of Proud Warrior Race Humans, repeatedly hints at his disgust for a moral system that revolves around killing for honor. The native fighter acting as his guide falls for him, sees that she has no chance, and tries to go through honorable suicide-through-combat. He stops her when he sees what she's doing, and they have an exchange where he tries to convince her not only to stay alive, but to see and move past the flaws in her culture's beliefs.
    Wedge: Circular thinking. I'm honorable because I kill the enemy, and I kill the enemy for the honor. There's nothing there, Cheriss. Here's the truth: I kill the enemy so someone, somewhere — probably someone I've never met and never will meet — will be happy. [...] I told you how I lost my parents. Nothing I ever do can make up for that loss. But if I put myself in the way of people just as bad as the ones who killed my family, if I burn them down, then someone else they would have hurt gets to stay happy. That's the only honorable thing about my profession. It's not the killing. It's making the galaxy a little better.
    • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has many, many examples. Basically, any time a New Republic-era Jedi faces a Sith, expect a Kirk Summation.
  • In The Last Hero, it takes the combined Kirk Summation arguments of Carrot, Rincewind, and the nameless bard to convince Cohen and his Silver Horde that blowing Dunmanifestin to smithereens isn't such a good idea. It works, but technically is still played straight, as it's not the moral objections of Carrot or Rincewind that ultimately convince them, but the bard's appeal to their vanity ("No one will remember you.").
  • As seen in one of the chapter prefaces in Gardens of the Moon, book one of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, High King Kallor once boasted to Warlord Caladan Brood of the many kingdoms he had raised, ruled, and then destroyed. He asked if Caladan Brood could understand what that meant. And Caladan calmly replied: "Yes. You never learn."
  • Firestar delivers a Kirk Summation speech to Tigerstar in Warrior Cats before the final battle.
  • Played for laughs (of course) in Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, in which Dave Barry describes a scene from a typical Saturday-Morning Cartoon, where the hero, Commander Gonad, must stop the evil Anthrax from destroying the planet:
    Commander Gonad: We've got to stop him! By nonviolent means if at all possible! Listen, Anthrax! Be reasonable!
    Anthrax: No!
    Command Gonad: Okay, then! (He beats the shit out of Anthrax.)
  • This exchange from Warhammer 40,000 story The Last Church:
    Uriah: Didn't you just tell me about the bloodshed perpetrated by the Crusades? Doesn't that you make you no better than the holy men you were telling me about?
    The Emperor: The difference is that I am right.
    Uriah: Spoken like a true autocrat.
    • As later events show, the Emperor didn't really take it to heart.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars A Princess of Mars had the titular heroine verbally deconstruct the savage Tharks who captured her while trying to convince them to join forces to save their dying world:
    Dejah Thoris: Why, oh, why will you not learn to live in amity with your fellows, must you ever go on down the ages to your final extinction but little above the plane of the dumb brutes that serve you! A people without written language, without art, without homes, without love; the victim of eons of the horrible community idea. Owning everything in common, even to your women and children, has resulted in your owning nothing in common. You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves. Come back to the ways of our common ancestors, come back to the light of kindliness and fellowship. The way is open to you, you will find the hands of the red men stretched out to aid you. Together we may do still more to regenerate our dying planet. The grand-daughter of the greatest and mightiest of the red jeddaks has asked you. Will you come?"
  • Basilard hands out one of these in Journey to Chaos, when Professor Haburt is trying to rationalize his crimes. He says that Basilard went to similar extremes as himself to revive someone and so has no right to judge him. Basilard replies that he understands the professor's pain but there is a crucial difference between them: "I didn't steal a girl from her mother's lap!".
  • Played with in The Patchwork Girl. The villain confronts at gunpoint the three people investigating the murder, and encourages them to come up with reasons why killing everyone because You Know Too Much would be a bad idea, rather than commit Crime After Crime.
  • At the very end of The Stand, Whitney Hogan impulsively gives one of these to his fellow Flagg-minions, and dies horribly. And then the nuke goes off.
  • At the end of the Father Brown short story "The Flying Stars", the titular priest-detective delivers one of these to the Gentleman Thief by admiring the ingenuity of his plot to steal some precious stones... before urging him to end his criminal career on this note of triumph rather than continue in his lawless ways, as he will inevitably end up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope at some point. And has in fact already begun to do so, as despite his pretensions of being a Lovable Rogue Just Like Robin Hood who never hurts anyone through his crimes, he has in fact ended up framing an innocent person to take the fall for his crime. It works; the thief not only returns the jewels, he goes on to reform his ways.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the series finale of 24 when Jack Bauer becomes a tragic Villain Protagonist in his quest to seek revenge against the one who's screwed him over for the last time, Chloe desperately tries to keep him from ultimately going through with it, as she's even reluctantly holding a team of agents on stand by to come in and take him down if she ultimately fails. She also happens to remind Jack that said person he's trying to kill is the head of the Russian government which will lead to Russia declaring war on the United States if he's assassinated and that the person he's trying to avenge would never want him doing anything like this. It ultimately works.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • In the episode "Turn, Turn, Turn", after John Garrett is revealed to be the Clairvoyant, he tries to explain his motives to the heroes, only to get shot down by an unimpressed Coulson.
      Clairvoyant: Come on, this is me being honest, Phil.
      Coulson: No, John. This is you being a psychopath.
    • In the Season 2 episode "A Fractured House", Coulson does this again with Ward, who has convinced himself that his Boxed Crook status makes him The Atoner for his actions as The Mole in the previous season (which also works as a Take That! against those fans who still support Ward)
      Coulson: You are not, nor will you ever be, part of my team. You dropped FitzSimmons in the ocean. You murdered Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig. You betrayed us all, you deluded son of a bitch!
    • Coulson gets another in the Season 4 episode "The Man Behind the Shield", after the Superior rattles off the reasoning for his decades-long plan for revenge on Coulson for something Coulson doesn't even remember.
      Coulson: As far as I'm concerned you're just another redshirt, like so many others, who tried unsuccessfully to stop me from saving the world. 'Cause that's what I do. So, cool origin story, bro. But this means nothing to me.
  • The turning point in the main arc of Babylon 5 hinges on a Kirk Summation that actually works. Kirk Summations also appear at other points in the series and often work, most notably during the early stages of the Earth Alliance civil war.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Subverted in the episode "Choices":
      Faith: Oh, yeah? Give me the speech again, please. (mockingly) "Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."
      Willow: It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you!
    • Buffy tended to come across this trope whenever there was a recurring villain, or a Face–Heel Turn, either averting it or playing it straight. In a later season, Anya lampshades the arbitrariness of the gang's mercy ("Spike has some sort of get out of jail free card that doesn't apply to the rest of us...").
  • Doctor Who also features quite a few of these. They frequently add a twist wherein the villain actually will be persuaded by the speech, then be promptly killed by his even more villainous Lieutenant. In the later years, they became more cynical about this — the seventh Doctor used these speeches in "Silver Nemesis" and "Remembrance of the Daleks", knowing they would only goad the villain into carrying out his Evil Plan without taking the time to notice the Doctor's sabotage.
    • "Colony in Space":
      The Master: The point is that one must rule or serve — that's a basic law of life! Why do you hesitate, Doctor? Surely it's not loyalty to the Time Lords, who exiled you on one insignificant planet?
      The Doctor: You'll never understand, will you? I want to see the universe, not rule it.
    • In "Rose" and "The Poison Sky", people die because the Doctor insists on giving the villains a chance that he should know they won't take. In the latter, he keeps on trying to convince the Sontarans to leave even when they've turned him down flat. He should know that as a dogmatic clone race they (almost) universally have the same thought process. He really should have seen it coming that the prospect of killing the Doctor at the cost of their own lives would be seen as nothing short of one of the most glorious things they could hope for. The Doctor's proposed worst case scenario is the Sontarans' best case.
    • "The Christmas Invasion" features a parody, where the Doctor gets halfway through a speech before realizing that he's just been reciting the opening lines of "Circle of Life" from The Lion King.
    • For the Tenth Doctor in particular, this was a defining part of his much more pacifistic character — the villain was always given a chance to repent, usually followed by "or else, I'll have to stop you." The "a chance" part is quite specific, too. They get exactly one chance. They aren't told what will happen if they don't take it, but they learn the hard way that the Doctor does not play around.
    • "School Reunion" sums it up perfectly: "I'm so old now. I used to have so much mercy. You get one warning. That was it."
    • "The Family of Blood": The Headmaster gives one to Son of Mine after the latter insinuates that when the students of the school are fighting in World War I in a few years' time, they won't thank the man who taught them that War Is Glorious, retorting that he fought in wars, too, and that he would go back there tomorrow for King and country.
    • "Last of the Time Lords": When the Master threatens to destroy Earth with the black hole converters in the fleet he's built so that the Doctor can't have the planet, the Doctor coolly points out that he knows he won't do it.
      "Weapon after weapon after weapon. All you do is talk and talk and talk. But over all these years and all these disasters, I've always had the greatest secret of them all. I know you. Explode those ships, you kill yourself. That's the one thing you can never do. Give that to me."
    • In "Journey's End", Martha Jones even goes against her UNIT orders, to give the Daleks the chance to stop because "there's one more thing the Doctor would do."
    • "The Waters of Mars" has the Doctor on the receiving end of one of these from Adelaide Brooke after he Jumps Off the Slippery Slope and begins acting like A God Am I.
      Adelaide: You can't know that! And if my family changes... the whole of history could change! The future of the human race! No one should have that much power!
    • In "The Zygon Inversion", the Twelfth Doctor spends the climax telling Bonnie that her Evil Plan doesn't make sense and she should stand down. She hasn't thought it through, she'll eventually be in Kate's shoes facing new revolutionaries, and despite all she's done, she isn't unforgivable. He eventually brings her around to his way of thinking.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": The Doctor gives one to Tzim-Sha, but as with most villains, he rejects it.
      The Doctor: Poor Tim Shaw. The wannabe leader who has to cheat because he knows he's unworthy. See, that's why I know you won't detonate. Although, you could prove me wrong cos we're all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honour who we've been and choose who we want to be next. Now's your chance.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers does this between Jason and Tommy when Tommy captures Jason.
    Jason: If you were a true Power Ranger, you'd be on Zordon's side and not Rita's.
    Tommy: Zordon is but a memory. My empress will soon rule the Earth.
    Jason: She's evil!
    Tommy: Yeah. And so am I.
  • Kirk delivers one of these in just about every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation is inordinately fond of these as well.
    • In the novel I, Q, Picard faces off against his own evil side in the form of Locutus of Borg and gives such a speech. When Q can't see the point, Data suggests that he thinks Picard is trying to talk Locutus into committing suicide. To which Q replies:
      Q: Yeah, and if that doesn't work, maybe the Easter Bunny will save us.
    It doesn't. He (she?) doesn't. They escape anyway.
  • In Tensou Sentai Goseiger in the final battle, the Goseiger calls out Brajira on why is he trying to destroy the Earth when he is a Gosei Angel himself:
    Alata: Brajira! Why do you want to destroy the Earth so badly?! You are a life-form who was born of this Earth too!
    Agri: Yeah. You grew up on Earth like us!
    Moune: We receive our power from Earth. That's why we are alive!
    Hyde: Just what do you think your power exists for?!
    Eri: Doesn't it protect Earth and all life on it?!
    Brajira: (laughs evilly) Pointless... This discussion is pointless! I'm a savior. I am no longer a Gosei Angel. Pitiful life-forms with their pitiful lives... Just disappear already!
  • The Tomorrow People (1973) manages a few, notably when the Tomorrow People debate the values of their version of history with the representatives of a 20th century Roman Empire:
    Gaius: How can one man rule unless others obey? How can one be free without slaves?
    Elizabeth: How can any man rule wisely without first learning to obey? How can any man be free while others are enslaved? How can anyone achieve greatness while others are prevented from fulfilment?
    • She possibly tops that when she dismisses Colonel Masters' claim that weaponising telepaths will put an end to war, pointing out that's what people have thought about every new weapon:
      "They even thought that the old English longbow would put an end to war, after the carnage it caused at the Battle of Agincourt. Well, there've been a few wars since Agincourt, haven't there, Colonel?"


    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate: It can be unsuccessfully attempted by the protagonist when confronting the Big Bad, pointing out that they share the same paternity from the dead god of murder Bhaal, and suggesting to work together to become stronger and face the evil of the taint. He states that he is already strong, and tamed that evil within, while the protgonist destroyed his and therefore is weak.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal: Same story, but not against the Big Bad, rather against an aspiring Antagonist Hero who is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to clear out evil. Because of your heritage, this includes you - whether or not you followed a righteous path. Since he is the brother of the protagonist and both of you are facing the same enemy, you can point out that you share a common goal and you don't have to fight each other. He basically answers that he cannot risk you to live.
    • The semi-official mod Ascension allows you to convince and even recruit him if you have the requirements.
  • Fallout: The final boss commits suicide if you can convince him that his plan isn't feasible.
  • In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC story, Dead Money, the Big Bad, Father Elijah, will launch into a Breaking Speech if the player calls him out on his crimes, accusing the Player Character of being a greedy soul who got tempted by the Sierra Madre's treasures. One of the possible retorts reads thus:
    The Courier: You're nothing more than a killer that aspires to be a mass murderer.
  • Lloyd of Tales of Symphonia likes to use this, though the enemies never listen.
    Yggdrassil: Why can you not accept the ideal world that I have created?
    Lloyd: How can your world be ideal when you've caused countless innocent people to suffer?
    Yggdrassil: Human. Don't tell me what's right and wrong.
  • The whole party tries to subject Duke to this at the end of Tales of Vesperia by offering an alternative to his plan. It doesn't work, so you have to kick his ass.
  • Used in Mass Effect where Commander Shepard may attempt to convince Saren that Sovereign is controlling him through his cybernetic implants, and that they can still defeat the Reapers. Depending on your alignment, you can either convince Saren to kill himself, or suggest that he can make a Heel–Face Turn and redeem himself. Unfortunately, however Saren dies, Sovereign assumes direct control of his corpse, making you have to kill the guy TWICE, rather than just once.
  • Also used in Mass Effect 3, where Commander Shepard may attempt to convince The Illusive Man that he is being controlled by The Reapers through his cybernetic implants, and that he can redeem himself if he makes a Heel–Face Turn. Shepard must have consistently questioned The Illusive Man and chosen Charm or Intimidate options for this ploy to work, otherwise s/he must shoot The Illusive Man before The Illusive Man executes both Anderson and Shepard. Fortunately, when The Illusive Man dies, he stays dead, leaving Shepard to activate the Crucible and defeat the Reapers.
  • She may not be the lead character of the series, but Luna Platz pulls one of these on Tia's little brother, even telling his alien partner Corvus to shut it when he tells her that he just wants to cause random destruction.
  • In Ni no Kuni one of these is delivered by Oliver, not against the obvious villain, Shadar, but against Cassiopeia, the White Witch.
    Oliver: You can't just destroy the world and start over!
  • The penultimate stage of Parappa The Rapper 2 revolves around PaRappa delivering one of these to the Big Bad, telling him that there are plenty of great foods that would be lost forever if he turned all the food on Earth into noodles. In rap form. And it's pretty dang catchy.
  • The entire party delivers one of these before the final battle in Final Fantasy VI. Translator Ted Woolsey realised that this was probably getting a bit excessive, and gave Kefka the now-immortal line "This is sickening! You sound like chapters from a self-help booklet!" in response.
  • In World of Warcraft, Tirion Fordring gives a Kirk Summation to the Lich King several times, including during the Argent Tournament and during the final fight with him in Icecrown Citadel. In ICC, Tirion offers a swift death for the thousands the Lich King has tortured and slain. The Lich King responds with a Breaking Speech, to which Tirion replies Shut Up, Hannibal! and shortly frozen in ice and taken out of the fight.
    • At the end of Wrathion's questline in Pandaria he begins ranting about how Wrynn threw away a golden opportunity when he didn't use the Siege of Orgrimmar as an opportunity to subjugate the Horde. The previously silent innkeeper then berates Wrathion for completely missing the lessons of Pandaria: It is the conflict between opposites that makes them stronger; destroying one will weaken the other. Wrathion calls him an innkeeper and leaves in a huff.
  • The most prominent example of this in Duel Savior Destiny are attempts on Rubinas' part to talk down Lobelia, who is so bitter and resentful that she completely refuses to believe anything about how her friends valued her. When Rubinas points out that Lobelia was never resented for her abilities or appearance, she is instead met with claims of betrayal.
  • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the Templar Kenneth Abraham expresses his surprise that his enemy Antó was able to defeat him. Antó spells it out for him:
    Abraham: Antó. How many years have we fought? Your men, in the mountains, with no weapons to speak of. And my army, resplendent. And yet you live, and I die...
    Antó: You lacked the conviction to win.
  • In Undertale, if you take the Genocide route, the Final Boss gives you one of these during their battle, accusing you of going this far "just because you think you can, and because you 'can', you 'have to'."
    • In the second chapter of Deltarune, Ralsei pulls one on the Queen, which actually works and causes her to change sides and start helping the party.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman gives Professor Pyg one of these on their way to the GCPD Lockup.
    Pyg: Where are you taking me? Pyg go back to his Circus!
    Batman: I'm taking you where you won't be able to hurt anyone else. I'll make sure of it.
    Pyg: Pyg doesn't hurt! Pyg heals, Pyg fixes... My Dollotrons are works of art!
    Batman: Those people are living a fate worse than death.
    Pyg: Not death... Pyg makes life worth living!
    Batman: And the ones you murdered?
    Pyg: Too broken for Pyg to make better; too imperfect. They make Mother angry; make Pyg feel sick!
    Batman: Those things you couldn't change, it's how I identified the bodies. It's how I caught you. It's why you failed.
    Pyg: No... not fail! Pyg show you sick! Hmmm? Like to see?
    Batman: ...You've got problems, Valentin.
  • In Octopath Traveler, this happens before (and sometimes during) multiple Final Bosses, usually to sum up the Central Theme of each protagonist's storyline:
    • Ophilia's battle with Mattias has her declaring the power of the familial love between her and Lianna and how it can help them through loss, unlike Mattias's approach.
    • Cyrus has a marvelous speech during his confrontation with Lucia that sums up his reason for being a teacher, the need for knowledge to be passed on, and the importance of handling deadly knowledge with the right care so that it may be used for good.
    • Olberic calls out Werner on how pathetic a man he is, standing lonely at the top with no purpose or drive like that which Olberic himself has discovered.
    • In the last leg of Therion's fight against Darius, Therion suspects the reason Darius refuses to trust people is Darius himself is afraid people will betray him. Judging by how Darius reacts, Therion might be right on the money.

  • At the end of the "Dangerous Days Ahead" arc from Sluggy Freelance, Torg tries one of these on Aylee. Luckily it turns out not to be the real Aylee.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! Bob, who has a good track record at talking monsters to death, tries this on Fructose Riboflavin. His speech is simple, polite, even sympathetic, but absolutely devastating. But he's hit Riboflavin too close to home, and rather than backing down, Riboflavin becomes violently furious, because he knows everything Bob said is true.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan responds to Tom's Hannibal Lecture by first conceding his valid points about negative human behavior but then makes the argument that intent matters too, points out Tom's selfish ulterior motives for his actions, picks up on the fact that he's done them before, reveals to him What Could Have Been had he acted nobler, and describes his future if he continues down the same path before ending on an exhortation to be better.
  • At the end of the Monster Association saga in One-Punch Man, Saitama delivers one to Garou after the Hero Hunter delivers a Motive Rant about how he aimed to unite the world through "Absolute Evil" and forcing humanity to stand together against the ultimate villain he wanted to become and derided Saitama as a fake hero for treating heroism as a hobby.
    "Really, Garou. So you did have an "image of a ideal hero" inside of you. I see now. I now understand what you wanted to do. Even though you said you wanted to be a "monster of absolute evil"... What you really wanted to be was a hero. You compromised and decided to be a monster. To bring about world peace, you took the easy route, thinking a monster's job was quicker and easier than a heroes'. A monster role is simpler after all, all you had to do was defeat heroes. It's perfect for someone with no confidence like you. BUT YOU CAN NEVER DEFEAT ME. Peace made by ruling the world with fear can't succeed as long as you can't defeat me. It will never work. It's absolutely impossible for you. Your compromised monster hobby! VS my serious hero hobby! Even if that's all I had, I still wouldn't lose! It was a mistake to lower the hurdle right before the goal. A half assed objective can't succeed. But what about "next time"? What will you do next?"

    Web Original 
  • Delivered in The Salvation War by Michael to Yahweh at the beginning of his coup attempt, though it's from a villain, albeit an Anti-Villain at this point, rather than a hero.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King", one is made by Batman to the villain just before the Fight Scene Final Battle, when they discover that the Clock King has a Misplaced Retribution against Mayor Hill, who caused his Start of Darkness with an Advice Backfire.
    Batman: Give it up, Fugate! Hill committed no crime against you!
    Clock King: He did worse... He made me late!
  • The Legend of Korra: Shortly after Korra of the Southern Water Tribe was discovered to be the next Avatar, a kidnapping attempt was made on her by a terrorist group called the "Red Lotus." After eventually confronting Zaheer (the group's leader) and having a talk with him, Zaheer explains why he and his comrades wanted to kidnap her—however, Korra ultimately points out to Zaheer that his group's plan pretty much only amounts to kidnapping and brainwashing a little kid.
  • Megas XLR,: Coop's "three things that annoyed me today" speech in almost every episode. It's always said before the villain gets trashed, and just as easily subverted (such as him blaming an enemy for things that weren't their fault, often Coop's fault instead) or said by other characters (including the villain in one episode). Lampshaded during an Enemy Mine scenario:
    Coop: All right, squid. You tried to wreck the city again, made me go to some alternate dimension where Jamie is a bigger creep than usual, and you got me locked up in a jail with no food?! It's time to rumble!
    Gorrath: Are you talking to me? I'm on your side now, remember?!
    Coop: Oh, sorry. Force of habit I guess.
  • From My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, when the mane six face off against Discord for the second time:
    Discord: Will you ever learn?
    Twilight Sparkle: I'll tell you what we've learned, Discord! We've learned that friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt it's worth fighting for!
  • Attempted (and failed) in The Simpsons by Lisa when Sideshow Bob tries to blow up Springfield with a nuclear bomb after failing to get Springfield to shut down all television broadcasts.
    Lisa: Don't you see? That would be taking the easy way out!
    Sideshow Bob: I agree. *pushes the Big Red Button*
  • Space Ghost in the Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Lawsuit" after meeting his old enemy Dr. Nightmare.
    Space Ghost: You vibroshocked three galaxies out of existence! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! And then you tried to steal my brain!

    Real Life 
  • After Joe McCarthy had tried to bully and bluster his way through hundreds of hearings, destroying hundreds of lives in the process, Joseph N. Welch was having absolutely none of that shit. His famous line "have you no sense of decency sir" is only the end of an epic and righteous speech:
    "Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentle man but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me...Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Alternative Title(s): William Shatner Speech


What's Superman's Angle

Dr. Ivo can't seem to wrap his head around Superman helping people without an ulterior motive.

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (23 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilCannotComprehendGood

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