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Weaponized Landmark

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"What's this? Were we lured out? Who did that to the White House? They shouldn't call it the White House; they should call it the Fight House!"
Jodie, Metal Wolf Chaos

What's even cooler than a Monumental Battle? When said monument takes part in it.

A sister to Landmarking the Hidden Base, this trope takes the view that the only thing cooler than placing a covert headquarters inside a world-famous monument is placing a mountain-cracking Weapon of Mass Destruction inside a world-famous monument. Merely housing personnel, labs, or arms isn't good enough; at a minimum, the superweapon should be hidden inside the landmark, while a sign of true genius is making the landmark the weapon itself. Nerdgasm levels double if the landmark transforms into a mobile battle platform or Humongous Mecha.

The Lincoln Memorial is a popular subject for this trope; apparently, the idea of Giant Stone Abe getting off his ass and kicking someone else's has some appeal…

If the landmark is sufficiently old, this could end up as a Lost Superweapon. If the opposition ever discovers the location (or even existence) of the weapon, Monumental Damage or a Monumental Battle are all but assured. If the monument is itself deciding to shoot its lasers/crush people/cause mayhem, that's a Living Structure Monster.

Note: This trope covers weapons in real-world landmarks. Weaponizing fictional buildings or installations is almost a prerequisite in some works.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Big Bang Comics: In the origin story of the Knights of Justice, Mad Scientist Dr. Henry Hyde converts the Washington Monument into a missile and fires it at the White house in an attempt to kill both Winston Churchill (who was inside the monument at the time) and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ultiman saves both leaders and restores the Monument to its proper place.
  • In Captain America #222, "The Monumental Menace!" Cap fights an animated Lincoln Memorial statue.
  • Parodied in a Spy Kids comic from an issue of Disney Adventures. The evil organization. F.A.N.G. steals Mount Rushmore and places the heads aboard an enormous robot body, only to realize they have no plan for WHAT the robot is supposed to do afterward.
  • The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) comic book series revealed a secret orbital space laser cannon housed in the top stories of the Chrysler Building; it uses a series of satellite-mounted mirrors to direct the shot towards its intended target.
  • The Incredible Hulk: A 1971 story had The Sphinx being left behind by aliens as a weapon.
  • A literal instance occurred in Psi-Force, when the title hero-entity clobbers a Russian paranormal with the Washington Monument.
  • Spirou & Fantasio: In Spirou et Fantasio à Tokyo, a live-sized statue of Hachikō (a famous Japanese dog) is animated by telekinesis.
  • Mt. Rushmore was turned into a four-headed golem in Superman #209, as seen on this poster.
    • The idea was reused by writer Brian Azzarello in the Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality mini-series. "How do you hurt a mountain?!" "Strip mining."
  • The Umbrella Academy has the Eiffel Tower being weaponized by Robot Zombie Gustav Eiffel!
    • Later, they also defeat an animated Lincoln Memorial. The Rumor defeats it by materializing an equally large stone John Wilkes Booth, who promptly assassinates Lincoln.
  • In Wanted, the Empire State Building is actually the machine that The Fraternity used to warp reality.
  • Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse: At the climax of "Wormwood Goes to Washington", Abraham Lincoln's spirit possesses the Lincoln Memorial.
  • In Atomic Robo, one of the pyramids of Egypt is revealed to be a mobile battlestation armed with a solar-powered death ray.


    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Avengers (2012), Thor uses the Chrysler Building's spire to concentrate and amplify his lightning.
  • In Canadian Bacon, by means of lying that the equipment is meant for climate measurement, R.J. Hacker manages to install the "Hellstorm" computer (which would trigger the launch of every nuclear silo in America) on the top of Toronto's CN Tower.
  • In Ghostbusters II, the Ghostbusters use positively-charged mood slime to turn the Statue of Liberty into an improvised Humongous Mecha Of Love against Vigo and Janosz.
  • In The Great Wall, the Great Wall of China is equipped with many fire catapults and also has an incorporated system of rotating blades in order to stop the Tao Tei from scaling the Wall.
  • Men in Black:
    • Men in Black II has the Statue of Liberty has a neuralizer capable of mind wiping the entire city hidden in its torch.
    • In the cartoon, it was the Chrysler building.
    • In Men in Black: International, the Eiffel Tower is a secret spaceport with a portal for alien refugees coming to Earth. The Hive turn it into a Hellgate for their own race to invade Earth.
  • In Mortal Engines, St Paul's Cathedral sits on top of the mobile city, and is used by Valentine for his 'energy project'. A superweapon that deploys from the dome.
  • Sharknado 5: Global Swarming: The London Eye fires one of its capsules into the sharknado like a rocket. The Sydney Opera House changes into a battle-mode and fires off lasers and some of its shell sections at the oncoming shark-storm. In the animated credits sequence, an Egyptian pyramid takes off with rockets and zaps some spear-wielding sharks with Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the Decepticons' sun-destroying Doomsday Device is hidden inside one of the Great Pyramids of Giza.
  • The Lincoln Memorial gets a Big Damn Heroes moment in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
  • In X-Men, Magneto hid his mutation-inducing device inside the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

  • In the The Dresden Files book Battle Ground (2020), the Winter Court stores weapons inside the sculpture Cloud Gate.
  • In Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley, set in a world where demon-like creatures called "phantoms" began attacking humanity in the nineteenth century, the Space Needle in Seattle was built as an electronic beacon to repulse phantoms from the city. It wound up going down, however, requiring the Effigies to save the city after a lengthy siege. Nevertheless, it served as a prototype for similar anti-phantom towers in other US cities, most notably the Needle that dominates the New York skyline. In Paris, meanwhile, a similar anti-phantom device was installed in the Pont Saint-Michel bridge near the center of the city, the bridge being chosen for symbolic reasons as the site of a violent massacre committed by phantoms.
  • In Mortal Engines, a city-destroying laser is being built in St Paul's Cathedral.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, all of the statues around Manhattan Island are actually automata built by Daedalus — just in case.
  • Similarly, in So You Want To Be A Wizard, the statues of Manhattan are temporarily brought to life by magic to help fight the forces of evil.

    Live-Action TV 


    Tabletop Games 
  • The board game Easter Island is entirely based on the idea of the Moai being built as beam weapons by powerful wizards.
  • In Exalted's second edition, the sun is a massive battle station capable of firing death-beams and turning into a giant robot.
  • Scion: There are gods and scions who think that The Statue Of Liberty, Christ the Redeemer and pretty much any other similar sized statue could be a giant war automaton that only needs the right key to activate. There's a statue of Vulcan in Alabama that's confirmed to be one, but nobody knows how to turn it on yet.
    • Additionally, a Demigod or God with high enough Epic Strength can use landmarks as improvised melee weapons.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Fortress-Monastery. A giant and sacred church complex that serves as the home of a Space Marine Chapter and is dotted with enough firepower to discourage any would-be invaders.
    • Ramilles Class Star-forts can service Cruiser-sized Imperial ships and destroy anything smaller than a battleship.
    • The former flagship of the Word Bearers legion had a to-scale replica of the holy book written by their Primarch across the top of their hull. It was roughly a quarter-kilometer in height. It opened up, to reveal an incredibly huge plasma lance.
    • Mount Everest has been hollowed out and now serves as the Astronomican, the psychic beacon that lets FTL ships know where they're going.

    Video Games 
  • Early examples involve the Aero Fighters series of Shoot Em Ups:
    • Moscow's stage in Aero Fighters involves the Kremlin's spires and domes launching into the air, turning into floating gun platforms or gigantic missiles.
    • Aero Fighters 2 also features pagoda-missiles in the opening Tokyo stage.
    • Aero Fighters 3's opening stage features the Tokyo Tower transforming into a Humongous Mecha.
    • Aero Fighters Assault puts a Weaponized Landmark on your side—in the very first stage. If the boss ("Super-X") gets within firing range of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (which you're supposed to protect), the building will suddenly rise up and transform into a dual Wave-Motion Gun that destroys the Super-X in one shot.
  • BattleTanx: Global Assault features a campaign level where the Eiffel Tower is converted into a laser cannon.
  • While not exactly a landmark, the Voyager II in Battlezone II is a space probe on a mission of peaceful exploration, just as it is in real life... except that it is armed to the teeth and is well able to defend itself in case of any, uh, unfortunate encounters. Mostly well, anyways.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
    • One mission in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 requires the player to turn the Eiffel Tower into a gigantic Tesla coil capable of destroying all of Paris. The Soviets also try to replicate Prism Towers by mounting them on the Mayan pyramids, and in the expansion Yuri not only slaps his face on the Moai statues, he turns them into turrets firing lasers out their eyes. On a more realistic note, the game allows you to garrison buildings with basic troops. This includes such famous buildings as the Pentagon, the White House, and St. Basil's Cathedral.
    • The Trope Namer is Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, which is loaded with these: Mount Rushmore has gigantic laser cannons mounted inside the Presidents' heads (one of which has the range to hit Moscow), Griffith Observatory has a giant cannon built into it, Leningrad's Winter Palace transforms into a humongous space center, the Moai Heads are actually weapons turrets or man-cannons... It got to the point where there's a building category named "Weaponized Landmark", because of the sheer ubiquity of these things in the game. In fact, the only monument that isn't weaponized in some way is the Statue of Liberty.
  • The weaponized Moai in the Gradius series—one of the earliest examples in video games, having appeared from the very first game and serving as a series staple after that.
  • In Los Disneys, a satirical Disney-bashing total conversion mod for Marathon, Disney World becomes the capital of the Republic of Los Disneys, formerly known as the state of Florida until Disney bought it from a bankrupt US government. The animatronics on famous rides like "it's a small world" and The Haunted Mansion turn out to be programmed to kill intruders like you, and your goal is to reach an underground lab beneath the park where CEO Michael Eisner seeks to clone Walt Disney and bring him back to life as The Antichrist in order to Take Over the World. ("Sounds ridiculous? I assure you, this is no joke.") Destroying Walt's frozen corpse sets off a Doomsday Device, with nuclear missiles launched out of Cinderella Castle.
  • The kaiju game, Hakaiou: King of Crusher, have the Statue of Liberty serving as it's Final Boss, where it has been converted into a mecha whose torch can blast bolts of electricity all over the place.
  • The Sphinx in Metal Slug Code J has been converted from an ancient statue to a giant Sphinx-mecha capable of firing missiles from it's headgear and laser bolts from its eyes.
  • In Metal Wolf Chaos, Alcatraz Island houses a gigantic electromagnetic cannon, and the White House is encased in armour and weapons to make it the "Fight House".
  • In Octogeddon, the Final Boss is the White House itself''. It can fly around firing giant laser beams and can be monted on a Giant Mecha among other things.
  • In Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure, the villainous forces find the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which turns out to be an ancient nuclear-powered weather-control machine, though it seems the bad guys knew all along. It can also be flown like a colossal airship and has at least enough fuel to travel non-stop from Babylon to Paris.
  • The third game in the Sakura Wars series has the Arc d'Triomphe secretly hiding a massive artillery piece known as the "Revolver Cannon", which as the name implies, resembles a handgun enlarged by a factor of about 200, set in an artillery mount. It is used to launch the heroes in their Powered Armor on a suborbital trajectory — in the fourth game, this cannon is even used to transport four of them from Paris to Tokyo in a matter of minutes.
  • The Sam and Max adventure game "Abe Lincoln Must Die!" reveals that Abe's statue is actually a cybernetically-animated robot that eventually goes on a rampage across the country.
    • And what would possibly destroy him? An ICBM hidden inside the Washington Monument. "Most powerful presidential monument ever" MY FOOT!
  • In Samurai Zombie Nation, the Statue of Liberty is transformed into a Medusa, with snakes replacing her crown. Also, she can use her torch as a flamethrower.
  • Wat Pho, aka the reclining Buddha, is a recurring locale in Street Fighter. It's actually camouflage for Shadowloo's base in Street Fighter Alpha III. If you lose, the statue's face crumbles to reveal a mechanical skull; it then fires a laser into the stratosphere, which is reflected by M. Bison's Kill Sat and nukes a major city.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge: Krang's ultimate goal is to convert the Statue of Liberty into his new robot body. You fight it in the final level.


  • The Eiffel Tower was built very differently in Girl Genius as the heart of the Master of Paris's power it, like the rest of the city, can be used to fight attackers.

    Web Original 
  • The French Sentai homage France Five revolves around the idea that the Eiffel Tower is a shamanic totem holding the evil galactic empire at bay. The tower was destroyed in episode 4, but episode 6 shows that it was rebuilt following a long and hard battle resulting in the defeat of said empire.
  • Pigeon: Impossible has the Washington Monument acting as a housing for a Titan II ballistic missile.
  • THE MONUMENT MYTHOS: After being in a dormant state for over 100 years, the Statue of Freedom - which is being possessed by the very man who sculptured her and his daughter - is awakened by the ADA during their storm of the U.S Capitol in 1977. She goes berserk and murders dozens of ADA members, leading into the U.S government to use her as a weapon against dissenters.
  • This image.

    Western Animation 
  • The opening credits of 2DTV had George W. Bush pressing The Button, which caused his own face to please on Mount Rushmore and launch a missile out of its head.
  • American Dad! has Mount Rushmore weaponized with a newly-installed CIA anti-missile laser defense to destroy missiles trying to destroy the monument. It turns out both Stan and Hayley were unknowingly part of a test made by Bullock, who disguised himself as a hippie wanting to destroy Mount Rushmore.
  • Animaniacs weaponized the Warner Bros. water tower in "Super Strong Warner Siblings." This is also an actual building, though it has a greater role in the cartoon.
  • An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force features Shake sneaking off from a tour at the White House and starting a nuclear war with the Russians. Said nuclear weapons are revealed to literally be the pillars of the White House's facade and the cupolas of Saint Basil's Cathedral.
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door Series Finale, Operation: I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S., Sector V uses a weapon against the Delightful Children called the R.E.B.R.I.D.G.E.R.A.T.E.R. (Revered English Bridge Really Is Doubly Great Enemy Roadblock And Totally Ends Rundowns). Subverted in that it is only a replica of London Bridge. Well, maybe it could have been the real one... Stranger things have happened in this cartoon...
    • The comics have the KND use the Great Wall of China to flush away the People’s Liberation Army.
  • One episode of Dexter's Laboratory had Mandark turn the George Washington portion of Mount Rushmore into a giant golem/mecha; Dexter responds by animating Lincoln's portion of Mount Rushmore. The "golems" stop fighting when they realize they're similar (in particular, famous for their honesty) and walk off arms-over-shoulders to have a friendly conversation.
  • Futurama has a variation with 20th Century Fox's iconic searchlight logo, which is an actual building in Hollywood. The tour guide explains that the searchlights are designed to blind pilots and film the resulting crashes.
  • An Elseworld episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, "Worlds Without End", featured an alternate reality where the Joes were defeated years ago and COBRA now rules the United States. That reality's Destro concealed a weapon called the Parasite Matrix that captures and crushes hostile aircraft in a web of energy in the top of the Washington Monument.
    • Another episode, "Red Rocket's Glare", had COBRA buy out a chain of "Red Rocket" roadside diners in order to replace the kitschy fake rockets on the roof of each restaurant with real ones.
  • On Inhumanoids, one of the animated-statue guardians of Metlar's lair appears to be the Colossus of Rhodes. In a later episode, Metlar animates the Statue of Liberty. Subverted, as he marries her rather than uses her as a weapon.
  • Subverted in Jackie Chan Adventures, where Stonehenge isn't the weapon of mass destruction the cultists in London claim it to be. It was a UFO landing site, however.
  • Dr. Wily animated the Statue of Liberty via magic in the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon. As Lady Liberty broke off one of her crown's spikes to attack, she was restored to normal at the end.
  • A minor landmark, but on The Penguins of Madagascar, the Red Squirrel hides a missile inside Cleopatra's Needle at Central Park.
  • The animated short Pigeon: Impossible has an ICBM hidden in the Washington Monument.
  • An episode of The Real Ghostbusters revealed that the Eiffel Tower was actually a Steampunk ecto-containment grid. (Apparently, Gustave Eiffel was, well, a Ghostbuster.) This was revisited in the Ghostbusters comic book series Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression.
  • This has popped up a couple of times in Rick and Morty. One episode sees Toxic Rick do this to a moontower to spread a toxifying wave across the planet, and apparently one of the things the Galactic Federation did when they took over the Earth was weaponize the Eiffel Tower. Later on as revealed in a Cold Open for one episode in Season 5, the Statue of Liberty was actually a Trojan Horse that housed a giant female mecha inside of it. Never trust the French indeed.
  • In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VIII, France launches a Neutron Bomb from the Eiffel Tower at Springfield.
  • South Park has an episode where an animated Lincoln memorial comes to life; the Super Best Friends defeat him with a giant stone John Wilkes Booth.
  • Transformers
    • From Beast Wars cartoon, Stonehenge (or an Expy thereof) is an alien signaling probe and containment device.
    • And while it's technically not a monument per se, the second moon is actually a planet-heating Ray Gun.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, it turns out The Sphinx and three pyramids around the world are actually part of Apocalypse's mutation-inducing machine (similar to the one in the X-Men film but worldwide).

    Real Life 
  • The Eiffel Tower has indeed served as a militarized landmark during its existence, though it didn't become anything as wacky or awesome as shooting lasers. During World War I, the tower's radio transmitter was used to jam German radio communications, and it played a pivotal role in slowing down German advance into Paris and helped Entente powers secure victory in First Battle of the Marne.
  • Joe Davis, renowned artist and Mad Scientist, is, according to a article, planning to build a 10-story tower as a monument to hurricane victims that harnesses excess nitrogen in the air during a lightning storm… and fires it back into the sky in the form of a giant laser.
  • Battery parks, inverted in that they started as bunches of really powerful weapons, then the ground that they were on/in later became landmarked parks.
  • The original Alcatraz began life as a coastal defense fort/military base, complete with artillery. It is no longer such, however.
    • The same is the case for the US Military Academy at West Point, which once defended a strategically important bend in the Hudson River.
    • The pedestal of the statue of the Statue of Liberty sits atop an old military fort.
  • The Rock of Gibraltar is armed with gun batteries.
  • One popular Urban Legend about the Disney Theme Parks is that Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom has missile silos installed in its turrets. The game Los Disneys, mentioned above, takes this urban legend and runs with it.
  • Inverted with museum ships and gate guardians, in that they were weapons to begin with and disarmed and turned into landmarks. In most cases, despite being relatively intact, the costs and effort it would take to repair and bring the equipment back into service is prohibitively high to the point of impracticality but not completely impossible.
  • The European castle could be classed as such with its battlements, arrow slits and sluices for hot fluids to be poured on would-be invaders. Edinburgh Castle gets special mention for rising over the city centre on its own mini mountain and having cannons that could fire over the city as far as the waters of the Firth of Forth.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Weaponised Landmark


Godzilla Tower

As part of their plans for world domination, the Nebulans' HQ is hidden within an unassuming tower incorporated into a statue of Godzilla at their base of operations, World Children's Land. This effigy of Godzilla isn't just for show, as the King of the Monsters soon learns when it begins unloading its laser gun straight into his face!

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Main / WeaponizedLandmark

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