Being a superhuman or a military genius does not always make you friends. Especially when it becomes publicly known just who you are, what you are capable of, and that you cannot be bought. Often times, your very existence immediately creates many enemies who now want you dead. At times, your sudden rush into power and prominence upsets even those who you thought were your friends, either because they are not comfortable with being overshadowed by you in the spotlight, personal jealousy, or other grudges that they had been holding back but cannot do so once your fame, power and position completely overwhelm and overshadow them.
Often the main reason is because you have now become The Dreaded. You have invited many Unknown Rival whose plans and way of doing business can no longer go the usual manner because of your very existence into their society. This is usually applied on the political level: your powers and/or expertise will threaten the interests of other individuals and factions, who would put a knife in you after You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Conservative forces who want to preserve the status quo will do anything to prevent you from changing it. It can also be applied on the social level: a world of muggles would be terrified if they discovered superhumans that could wipe them off the map or drastically change their world to something they don't like. Or everyone wants your powers and is willing to capture you for experimentation.
For the original phrase, see With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. Compare and contrast With Great Power Comes Great Insanity and With Great Power Comes Great Perks. A related, but entirely separate trope, is Create Your Own Villain. The Perils of Being the Best is a related phenomenon where people go after someone especially powerful, not because they're considered a threat, but to prove themselves even better. Compare Intelligence Equals Isolation. The Superhero Paradox is when "opposition" is there because of meta/out-of-universe reasons: "if there are heroes, there must be villains who oppose them for the sake of the story."
Contrast I Fight for the Strongest Side!, where people fight for The Dreaded, and Enemies Equals Greatness, when the fact people are willing and able to oppose you means that you probably are on the right path.
- A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator is among the most powerful Espers in the verse, with his ability making him nigh untouchable —and yet, people try to hunt him anyways because he's that powerful (and they see him as a challenge/want a bounty on his head etc). He eventually gets tired of it and tries to find a way to make himself horrifyingly more powerful so that people will leave him alone.
- This is the curse of those who wear the Number Two Headband in Afro Samurai. You're the only one who can challenge the wielder of the Number One Headband, which is supposed to give extraordinary power, so the Number Two supposedly would exchange through many hands. The previous wielder before Afro was his mentor, who hid the headband to prevent the flow of violence. When Afro found him out, results were...not pretty for anyone.
- Anyone is willing to sell out an Ajin for whatever it pays. The only few who don't do so is the main protagonist's delinquent friend.
- The main heroine of Izetta: The Last Witch is worshiped on the front lines as the second coming of the White Witch. Almost everyone in Europe who is not a Germanian is also in awe. One of the allies, the United States, doesn't think so and when an ambassador sees her power, he recommends her death.
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes has the two main characters, Reinhard and Yang Wen-li. Both are pushed around by political authorities because of their supreme intellect and threat to the status quo. Yang suffers through it and sticks by the rules, which results in the fall of the Free Planets Alliance. On the other hand, Reinhard takes a stand against his opponents; all of his internal enemies are annihilated in a civil war and he seizes power to make reforms.
- The major conflict on Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Ever since the emergence of George Glenn, natural born humans were so excessively jealous of Coordinators that they waged a political and later violent war to keep them suppressed.
- The beginning of Valvrave the Liberator has the students of Module 77 fending off the political encroachments of ARUS, who want their Humongous Mecha after its Curb-Stomp Battle against the Dorssians.
- A major theme of X Men is that the unveiling of mutants and their rise in population upsets and challenges society. Muggle Power and organizations representing them feel that a mutant population of superhumans would not only surpass humanity but potentially enslave it (Trask and his Sentinels, William Stryker and others). Others feel it would make them obsolete, while others see mutants as potential super soldiers to be used as chattel slaves for consumerist and militarist purposes (Weapon X). This gave rise to the main leaders Professor X and Magneto, who debate amongst themselves and their followers on what the best course of action is, to either curtail and prevent this from escalation (Xavier), or to Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto Us (Magneto).
- The arrival of Superman and the revelation of a Physical God-like being on earth in Modern stories, is often treated as a major geopolitical event, with Government Conspiracy formed as a potential check-and-balance, Lex Luthor driven to plot his downfall or bring him under his heel, as well as many alien menaces and Galactic Conqueror making Earth and Superman a special planet in the multiverse.
- A Discussed Trope in The Dark Knight, which has the above quote. Harvey Dent is backed by a strong base of law enforcers, judges and the Batman, all of which are putting the Mob on the ropes. Mayor Garcia warns him that while his stances and allies give him an edge against crime, they also threaten the paychecks of those who profited from it.
- Throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. and other agencies become increasingly obstructive and intrusive for the sake of watching "potential threats", putting them at odds with the heroes. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, said heroes were on HYDRA's kill list. It's later discussed by Vision in Captain America: Civil War: the very presence of the Avengers invites conflict from those who want to take them on.
- In Revenge of the Sith, this is what Anakin Skywalker comes to believe of his relations with the Jedi Council: that they are jealous and afraid of his power as the The Chosen One of the Force. In reality, only one Jedi Master, Mace Windu, felt something along the lines, while the rest were "only" too mired in the conservative inertia of millennia worth of Jedi traditions to deal with Anakin's unusual circumstances appropriately. The rest was really just Anakin's delusional paranoia skillfully played up by Darth Sidious to turn him to The Dark Side.
- Harry Potter: In the fourth book, Harry and Ron have a falling out when Harry is made to participate in the Triwizard Tournament. Ron, who for three years has seen Harry be generally better than him in terms of wealth, skill and fame, thinks Harry signed up of his own free will (Harry, meanwhile, is very much annoyed at the fame he gets for having survived Voldemort's attack and had no intention of signing up for a challenge intended for older students). They make up after the first task, when Ron realizes Harry would never have signed up for such dangerous activities.
- In Transformers: Exodus, Megatron immediately abandons his friendship with Pax/Optimus when the latter is unexpectedly made a Council member, because his Dark and Troubled Past had left Megatron with an abiding hatred and distrust of their planet's government. (Essentially, he considers Optimus a Sell-Out.) Also, he considers Optimus' elevation to be a "betrayal" of their original plan, in which Megatron would be the sole leader of their rebellion.
- In Caves of Qud, Espers can use extremely powerful mental mutations that let them utterly break the game, with access to time manipulation, teleportation, cloning, and more. To nerf them, the game added a Psychic Glimmer system, which increases as their mental powers become more powerful. The more Psychic Glimmer you have, the more frequently other powerful Espers are drawn in, attacking you so they can take your power for themselves.
- As you make gains in the Nod campaign of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, your liaison Seth shows hints of jealousy and gives you hard missions with faulty intelligence to ensure your failure. Fortunately, Kane kills him before that happens.
- Discussed and ultimately averted in Heroes of Might and Magic by Gauldoth, a Necromancer who ends up becoming the founder and governor of the nation of Nekross. He recognizes that necromancers like himself make great villains and, if they become too power-hungry, risk the rest of the world coming together to destroy them, so he goes out of his way to avoid becoming too powerful, forms alliances with other small nations that he could easily conquer with military force, and makes it very clear that he's content to leave anyone powerful enough to threaten him alone as long as they'll do the same, ruling his tiny corner of the world while waiting for them to die of old age.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the New California Republic and Caesar's Legion will send hit squads after you after a certain level if you start helping their enemies too much.
- Used as an Aesop in Batman: The Animated Series. The episode "The Man Who Killed Batman" features a nerdy fat glasses-wearing nobody by the name of Sid. He is understandably tired of being pushed around and underestimated by everyone and tries to become a criminal as a result. Batman chases him during the crime and an explosion ensues after which Batman is nowhere to be found. Word spreads quickly about how Sid killed Batman and he finally gains the street cred he craved so fervently... along with scads of enemies who figure that they'll get even more respect if they kill the man who killed Batman.
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation: When Zile and Stan are on the run, Zile tells Stan that he's a powerful man and powerful men tend to attract powerful enemies.
- A major political study in international relations is whether states tend to ally against or bandwagon with the strongest or most threatening state. To the extent that there is any consensus, states balance when they can and bandwagon when they must.
- Similarly, this is the inevitable outcome of the Thucydides Trap. Whenever a new power arises, it generates fear in existing powers that eventually results in war.