Spiritual Antithesis in Films.
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- On a production company level, A24 and Blumhouse Productions are the two companies often credited with leading the "horror renaissance" of The New '10s, restoring the genre to critical and commercial success after an extended low point in The '90s and the Turn of the Millennium, and both accomplished this with a formula that combined low budgets with exceptional creative freedom offered to filmmakers. The two companies, however, have both built distinct brands for themselves that cut against each other in notable ways. Blumhouse guns for mainstream success and box-office hits, and is unapologetic about the fact that they make B-movies, such that the company's head Jason Blum has often been compared to Roger Corman. As such, the stereotype about Blumhouse horror films is that they're either crowd-pleasing scarefests that leave the viewer with something to think about after, or Lowest Common Denominator garbage that panders to teenagers. A24, meanwhile, just as consciously built up an arthouse image, their horror films having a reputation for being offbeat and weird with both Genre-Busting premises and unusual directions in which they take those premises. As such, the stereotype about A24 horror films is that they're either bold artistic visions that break all the rules, or pretentious and incomprehensible.
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension has been described by some film critics as this to the original Star Wars. Both of them are nostalgic throwbacks to science-fiction pulp serials of the '30s and '40s, and both of them attempt to replicate the experience of watching the latest chapter in an ongoing saga—right down to making constant reference to characters, places, and past adventures that the audience never sees. But while the original Star Wars is a loving homage to old-fashioned pulp sci-fi that plays its premise completely straight, Buckaroo Banzai is an irreverent parody that plays its premise for ironic laughs. Plot-wise, the two films are also almost complete opposites: Star Wars is a story set in a fantastical alternate universe about the adventures of a hapless farmboy battling a truly dangerous interstellar empire, while Buckaroo Banzai is a story set on present-day Earth about the adventures of an impossibly cool, larger-than-life adult hero battling a gang of dimwitted aliens. Appropriately enough, they also had completely opposite legacies in the long run: Star Wars was a resounding box-office hit that spawned a massive franchise, while Buckaroo Banzai was an infamous box-office dud that never got a sequel (which, ironically, makes its central joke even funnier), and it's generally regarded as an oddball Cult Classic today.
- Damien Leone consciously intended Art the Clown, the villain of All Hallows' Eve and the Terrifier films, to be this to Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It, particularly Tim Curry's take on the character from the 1990 miniseries. Both are hammy, darkly humorous Monster Clown horror movie villains, but while Pennywise is colorful, talkative, and mostly targets kids, Art is a silent antagonist who relies heavily on body language and pantomime, whose visual design is devoid of color, and who mostly targets women, inspired heavily by the Slasher Movie icons of The '80s.
- Joe Cornish created Attack the Block as a response to the British "hoodie horror" films of the 2000s like Harry Brown, Eden Lake, and Heartless (2009), in which young, lower-class delinquents from the inner cities were portrayed as sadistic villains. In this film, the street toughs are instead the kid heroes battling an Alien Invasion."This is certainly a reaction to [those] often brilliantly-made and well-crafted movies that I think take a slightly inhuman approach to an issue that, actually, involves very young kids. I think that's the easy option, to take something in the world that already is demonised and frightens people, and just make it even more scary and horrible. ... I don't think it's an incredibly radical premise to try and have sympathy for someone who has made a mistake. I think you'll find it in the Bible quite a lot, and in various faiths; for me it's quite a simple dramatic premise, and I'd be alarmed if contemporary society decided that it could only have absolutely clean-cut, morally pure characters in its narratives. If you went through the history of art and literature doing that, you'd lose most of it!"
- Damien Chazelle's Babylon (2022) is this to La La Land, his previous comedy-drama throwback to old-school Hollywood about people who hope to "make it" in the movies. La La Land takes the Genre Throwback route, homaging the movie musicals of the 1950s and '60s while combining them with a present-day (circa 2016) setting and an ultimately optimistic and lighthearted (if bittersweet) Romantic Comedy story. Babylon, meanwhile, takes the Period Piece route with a setting in pre-Code Hollywood in The Roaring '20s, and its protagonists' dreams of fame and fortune end in disaster. Furthermore, while both films depicted Hollywood as not all it's cracked up to be, La La Land downplayed it and implied that there was still something real to the magic of the movies despite all the awful people who work in them, while Babylon pulled no punches in depicting 1920s Hollywood as, if anything, even more outrageously decadent than people normally think it is, as if to say that such depravity and abuses are Inherent in the System and run to the very heart of the film industry.
- Beau Is Afraid to Everything Everywhere All at Once. Both are surrealist comedies that feature some truly absurd imagery and center around dysfunctional familial relationships. But while Everything ultimately has an optimistic message and the dysfunctional family reconcile, Beau Is Afraid is hopelessly bleak from beginning to end and the family never gets any better.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure to Back to the Future. Both are '80s comedies about rock'n'roll-loving teenagers who travel through time. However, Back to the Future deliberately averted the raunchy humor of other teen movies at the time (e.g. from Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Revenge of the Nerds), while Bill And Ted embraced it. The time machines between both films are also decidedly different. In Back to the Future, the time machine is a modified (then-)current-day car, while Bill And Ted's time machine is a modified phone booth (a la Doctor Who) from the future. And most notably, Marty in Back to the Future accidentally traveled back in time, whereas Bill and Ted intentionally travel through time.
- Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation (2016) to D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915). The clash of values is similar to the below-mentioned example with Intolerance, but even more explicit considering the black slave motif and the title reference, with Parker's film being a dramatization of the Nat Turner slave rebellion in which the slaves are the heroes.
- Black Robe is this toward the Noble Savage romanticism of Dances with Wolves. It subverts or averts all possible cliches and stock characters that populate this kind of stories, instead paying great deal of attention to historical details and cultural context. The film goes an extra mile to portray both the unglamorous parts of natives' day-to-day life and the "good" bits, giving each the exact same amount of attention and routinely discuss or lampshade this. And rather than picking either, it endorses both inevitability of (severe) Culture Clash and how various people can be surprisingly similar.
- Black Swan manages to serve as both a Spiritual Sequel and Spiritual Antithesis to The Wrestler. Darren Aronofsky described them as "two halves of the same film": both involve artist protagonists whose careers wreak havoc in their personal life but The Wrestler revolves around the beauty found in the "lower art" of wrestling while Black Swan revolves around the horror found in the "higher art" of ballet. They were originally going to be the one movie — with a wrestler falling in love with a ballerina. Aronofsky realised that might be a bit much and split them into two.
- Sheila O'Malley, in this article about Blast from the Past, described it as this to Pleasantville, another Fish out of Temporal Water comedy from the year before about people with the values of The '50s interacting with The '90s. Pleasantville was about a pair of teenagers from the '90s who get sucked into a '50s sitcom universe, whereas Blast from the Past is about a young man who, thanks to some comic mishaps during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was raised in a fallout shelter for 35 years and emerges in the late '90s as a quintessentially '50s/early '60s kid. Furthermore, while Pleasantville subverted the '50s nostalgia of its setting by having its protagonists shake up the stodgy world they find themselves in and bring to it a measure of cultural liberation, Blast from the Past plays it straight, presenting its protagonist Adam Webber's old-fashioned values as making him superior to the coarse, ill-mannered modern world he enters.
- Ironically, Blood and Chocolate (2007) ends up being this to the very book that serves as its source material, due to the numerous changes to the plot and characters. The book has Aiden's love for Vivian turn to terror and revulsion when she reveals her true self to him; he regards her as a monster and tries to kill her. Vivian realizes that they would never work out as neither belong in the other's world (he's not as able to accept the strange and supernatural as he thinks; Vivian cannot be a 'normal' teenage girl for him) and she embraces being a werewolf and falls in love with Gabriel, finally content with her life. In the film, true love prevails for Aiden and Vivian; he loves and supports her even after learning she's a werewolf, and she defies the traditions and expectations of her pack to be with him. In the book Gabriel is the person who helps Vivian truly understand and accept herself, while in the film he's the person who tries to keep her from following her own path. Likewise, her relationship with Aiden in the book is based around her pretending to be something she's not, while in the movie her relationship with Aiden is the catalyst for her becoming her own person.
- Blumhouse Productions, mentioned above as having its own antithesis in A24, was also intended as this to Miramax Films and its successor The Weinstein Company. Jason Blum, the founder of Blumhouse, worked at Miramax from 1996 until he quit in 2000 to start his own production company after he got fed up with working for Harvey Weinstein, who he described as a Bad Boss who bullied and abused his underlings and engaged in frequent Executive Meddling. Blum's model for making movies was to instead offer filmmakers near-total creative freedom, including final cut, in exchange for very low budgets to ensure that he wouldn't take much of a loss on even an absolute bomb.note
- Boss Nigger to Blazing Saddles. Two Westerns released one year apart that satirized the racial politics of the genre, the protagonists being Black sheriffs in white frontier towns who battle the racism of the time, but while Blazing Saddles was Played for Laughs as a parody of the genre and provided an optimistic story where evil would be vanquished, Boss Nigger is a decidedly more cynical Blaxploitation film, portraying the town's racism unhumorously and with opportunistic heroes who are only marginally better than the villains.
- Brazil's idea of a dystopian authoritarian nightmare where dissidents are dragged off, never to be seen again, is similar to Nineteen Eighty-Four's dystopian authoritarian nightmare where dissidents are dragged off, never to be seen again, but one major different is how the state is portrayed. In 1984 the state is infallible, never (officially) makes mistakes, and everyone is constantly watched at all times in one of the worst kinds of surveillance states imaginable. Even La Résistance is secretly a sting operation by Big Brother to trap wannabe dissidents. In Brazil, the state is anything but infallible. It is a bureaucratic disaster where mistakes are not only frequent, but sometimes outright deadly, as demonstrated at the start where a man is dragged off to be tortured and killed because of a clerical error falsely labeling him a terrorist. And while La Résistance is real, they cause collateral damage and civilian casualties in their efforts.
- David Cronenberg has called his 1979 horror film The Brood a counterpoint to Kramer vs. Kramer, showing a much messier and more painful divorce and custody battle, ending with the child pretty emphatically scarred for life and five people dead.
- Calendar Girls to The Full Monty. Both are British comedy-drama films about aging Yorkshire natives who hatch unlikely plans to make money by getting naked. But one is about a group of impoverished working-class men in urban Sheffield who decide to stage a strip act after they're laid off from their blue-collar jobs, and because one of them is really desperate to make his child support payments so that he can see his son. The other is about a group of middle-class women in the Yorkshire countryside who decide to pose nude for a calendar to raise money for a volunteer organization, starting when one of them loses her husband to leukemia. Amusingly, both of them also have stage and musical adaptations.
- Carlito's Way to Scarface (1983). They're both films directed by Brian De Palma about a Hispanic gangster who meets a bloody end when they try to fight their way out with Al Pacino as the main lead. However, Scarface (1983) is about the rise and fall of a Cuban drug lord who gets progressively more insane from his supply of cocaine, while Carlito's Way focuses on a Puerto Rican mobster attempting to integrate back into society by reforming and abandoning his criminal ways. The settings and time periods too are also quite different: The former film is set in '80s Miami while the latter takes place in '70s New York, specifically the Bronx.
- Early in his career, Jackie Chan was pressured into imitating the recently departed Bruce Lee, but he ended up finding success by deliberately doing the opposite, making comedic films that used kung fu for slapstick as opposed to the more serious and dramatic films Lee made.Jackie Chan: "Bruce Lee kick high, I kick low. Bruce pose after a punch, I go 'ow'."
- Both film adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The first made some significant changes from the book and fared badly upon release, but subsequently gained a large fanbase over time. The 2005 film, on the other hand, was much more nearly akin to the book and did much better at the box office, but has a more negative fan reaction overall.
- Cloverfield to Snakes on a Plane.
- On one hand, they can be seen as this on a meta level, as explored in this video by Ryan Hollinger. Both were monster/killer animal movies from the mid-late '00s that relied on internet-based Viral Marketing campaigns to build their buzz, being among the first major Hollywood films to really capitalize on the nascent social media of the time. Snakes on a Plane, however, focused on using its self-explanatory, high-concept title to turn itself into an internet meme, which ultimately backfired when the meme became old hat in the year between the film's announcement and its release. Cloverfield, meanwhile, used its early ads to build a mystery around itself through an Alternate Reality Game, and took only six months to do so, meaning that the film came out as hype for it was peaking instead of long after it had faded and turned to backlash. More importantly, while the marketing team for Snakes on a Plane let the broader internet culture do their job for them, meaning that the marketing for it fell victim to the vagaries of such, the marketing team for Cloverfield kept tight control over the buzz surrounding their film. The result was that, while Snakes on a Plane was a Box Office Bomb, Cloverfield was a smash hit that spawned a Modular Franchise of films that used similar Viral Marketing conceits.
- The differences in the films' marketing are also reflected in their respective tones. Snakes on a Plane, the film that relied on internet memes to put itself into the pop culture conversation, was a goofy Horror Comedy that proudly boasted a Syfy Channel Original Movie premise, its action taking place entirely within the narrow confines of a commercial airliner. Cloverfield, the film that employed a cerebral, multi-layered ARG to get people talking, was a kaiju Disaster Movie set in a massive city, one that played its premise very much for horror. Notably, while Snakes on a Plane is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and is very up-front about being such, Cloverfield relies heavily on the viewer not knowing what the hell is going on and being just as panicked as the main characters.
- Clueless, like Kids, is a teen movie from 1995 about the problems of growing up, but both approach it from two completely different angles. Clueless is a PG-13-rated comedy about a privileged Valley Girl from bright and sunny Beverly Hills, its plot being about The Power of Friendship in bringing people together, while Kids is an NC-17-rated cautionary tale about juvenile delinquents in grungy New York whose relationships are mutually destructive and wind up giving them HIV, drug addictions, and lasting scars. Tom Doher, writing for Cineaste magazine, described the two films' opposite worldviews thusly:"No wonder the polar rift in directorial sensibilities ([Amy] Heckerling and [Larry] Clark represent two diametrically opposed attitudes to filmmaking no less than towards adolescence) was seized upon as emblematic of American culture's own ambivalences towards the permanent subcultures in its midst. Are the kids alright or all screwed up, budding citizens heading into a better tomorrow or pretty vacant punks with no future?"
- The Coen Brothers are known for being fond of this trope. Many of their films are essentially back-to-back antitheses of one another, portraying similar ideas, themes and stories in completely opposite ways.
- Fargo and The Big Lebowski are both stories set 20 Minutes into the Past about unsympathetic men who try to exploit their wives' kidnappings to get rich, and about the Unlikely Heroes who set out to solve their kidnappings and save the day. But Fargo is a tense drama set in the frigidly cold rural Midwest and told in a deliberately realistic and naturalistic style (to the point that it claims to be Based on a True Story note ), while The Big Lebowski is a raucous comedy set in urban Los Angeles and told in a deliberately stylized and surreal style to the point that it includes several lengthy dream sequences. Marge Gunderson of Fargo is also a driven and hyper-competent police officer who successfully manages to bring Jerry Lundegaard to justice, but fails to save his wife Jean. By contrast, "The Dude" is a lazy, slovenly hippie who fails to solve anything, and Jeffrey Lebowski ends the movie as a Karma Houdini — though with the silver lining that his wife Bunny is perfectly safe, since she was never kidnapped in the first place.
- No Country for Old Men and True Grit are both latter-day Western throwbacks based on novels, though they sit on completely opposite ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. No Country for Old Men is a relentlessly grim and cynical Genre Deconstruction of Westerns set in the modern American Southwest about an aging sheriff who sets out to apprehend a remorseless hitman, ending with the hit-man killing the supposed protagonist and escaping with zero consequences. True Grit, meanwhile, is a completely earnest Reconstruction of Westerns set on the actual 19th century Western frontier (to the point of being a remake of a John Wayne classic) about a young girl who sets out to avenge her parents' murder by bandits, and actually gets the justice she seeks.
- Inside Llewyn Davis and Hail, Caesar! are both post-war period pieces about artists trying to make a living in the entertainment industry. But Inside Llewyn Davis is a downbeat drama about a struggling musician in 1960s New York, while Hail, Caesar! is a colorful comedy about a successful movie star in 1950s Hollywood. Further, the titular character of Inside Llewyn Davis is portrayed as an acerbic and antisocial man who struggles to make ends meet because he values his artistic integrity more than making money, and is probably too smart for his own good. By contrast, Baird Whitlock of Hail, Caesar! is a lovable, charming dimwit who has absolutely no problems with being a sellout, but is shown to be extremely gullible and manipulatable in spite of his great success.
- The Dutch film The Columnist is this to Falling Down. Both films are darkly comedic thrillers about an ordinary person who hits a Rage-Breaking Point and goes on a violent vigilante rampage against what they see as a World Gone Mad, and are deeply satirical about modern society and its ills while ultimately revealing their respective Villain Protagonists to be a lot less righteous than they think they are. Falling Down's William Foster was a right-leaning, blue-collar Angry White Man who worked in the highly technical profession of engineering at a defense contractor before losing his job due to the end of the Cold War, and his targets, from an Asian Store-Owner to Gangbangers to a homeless Phony Veteran, represent the fears of conservative Middle America in the early '90s. Meanwhile, Femke Boot, the titular protagonist of The Columnist, is a left-leaning, white-collar woman who works in the highly social profession of journalism, pushed over the edge not by economic misery but by online harassment, and her targets are internet trolls and far-right conspiracy theorists who symbolize the fears of young liberals in the late 2010s. Also, while Foster only directly kills one person even as he builds up an increasingly outlandish arsenal of weapons, Femke is an outright Serial Killer who murders numerous people yet sticks to knives, garden shears, bathtubs, and other close-in weapons throughout.
- In 2010, Alexandre Aja directed Piranha 3D, a horror movie about aquatic predators that played its campy premise to the hilt, and was filled with tons of Black Comedy and Bloody Hilarious gore. In 2019, he directed Crawl, another horror movie about aquatic predators that took itself far more seriously, the killer alligators Played for Horror as a genuine menace to the protagonists.
- The DC Extended Universe is a franchise-wide example, the Spiritual Antithesis to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both franchises are modern reimaginings of superheroes in a post-9/11 America and the films are distributed by two major film companies (Disney/Warner Bros). However, the MCU is the product of a centralized production studio where every film is ready for development and they bring in a director to work out the vision of the studio, which has resulted in fairly consistent quality control, tone, and a running story spanning between all the films even if they have been criticized for diminishing the control the director has on the individual film, and for putting too much focus on the larger picture at the expense of what the movie could be as a standalone. The DCEU, on the other hand, initially set itself up as placing the Justice League movies at the center of the franchise and emphasizing individual directors' freedom so long as they provide the foundation for the Justice League Crisis Crossover. In fact, rather than starting with a bunch of origin stories and progressing to the crossover like the MCU did, Justice League provided introductions to a lot of heroes who will eventually get their solo film. This eventually changed over time, however, as both franchises took steps in the other's direction. After the extensively covered Troubled Production and mixed critical reception of all their films bar Wonder Woman, in 2018 Warner Bros. appointed central figures like Walter Hamada and Geoff Johns to oversee their universe. In contrast, with his Auteur License granted by Disney, Kevin Feige was able to do away with the Creative Committee (which had arguably caused problems with previous directors walking off projects, such as Patty Jenkins and Edgar Wright) and allow the MCU's directors and filmmakers more freedom. This also extends to the films and characters of both franchises:
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. At face value, they have similar premises: A working-class hero going up against a wealthy hero over ideological differences. However, look at their subtitles: whereas Dawn of Justice is about former enemies who help found the Shared Universe's Super Team, Civil War is about former allies who break-up the Super Team.
- The Justice League and The Avengers. Several of the core members of the Justice League can be considered foils or Shadow Archetypes to similar members of the Avengers, taking the same basic character archetypes and turning them on their heads:
- Superman and Thor are both superpowered Human Aliens in red capes who see Earth as their adopted home, and end up clashing with rogue members of their species. But while Thor is a jovial Proud Warrior Race Guy with a family back on his home planet, Superman is a quiet stoic who never got a chance to know his biological family and has to deal with feeling like an outcast among the people of Earth. Similarly, Thor does battle with Loki, his weaselly and irreverent adopted brother who becomes a Tragic Villain, and is ultimately loyal only to himself. Superman battles General Zod, a hyper-disciplined soldier and unrepentant fascist who sees himself as serving the best interests of the Kryptonian people.
- Wonder Woman and Captain America are both veteran soldiers dressed in patriotic colors who are much older than they appear, and were fighting America's wars long before they joined their respective super-teams. But while Captain America was the scrawny son of poor immigrants who volunteered to become the ultimate soldier to save his country, Wonder Woman is the daughter of the Queen of the Amazons and Zeus who inherited her destiny as a warrior who goes to fight against the concept of war itself, and she's forced to spend a whole century waiting for the founding of the Justice League, while Captain America is awakened after sleeping for seven decades. Also: Steve Rogers fights in World War II, a conflict that is usually remembered as history's last truly glorious battle between Good and Evil; Diana fights in World War I, a conflict that is usually remembered as a tragic and pointless waste of human life which (of course) just paved the way for another world war.
- Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are both noble warrior heroines who have godly powers and were active long before joining their respective super-teams. But while Wonder Woman is an Amazon who was born with divine powers and her backstory is grounded in magic and classical mythology, Captain Marvel is a highly decorated human pilot who is empowered by alien tech and her backstory is based on the science fiction and the cosmic realm. Wonder Woman is considered a Girly Girl who wears elegant dresses, works as an art museum curator, and fights with the grace of a Lady of War. In contrast, Captain Marvel is a Tomboy who eschews feminine outfits, pursues a more traditionally male-orientated military career, and fights with the brute force of a rough-and-tumble brawler.
- Iron Man and Batman are both wealthy industrialists and corporate CEOs who live in secluded mansions and fight crime with technology, despite lacking superpowers. But while Iron Man was a reckless Manchild playboy who abused his power and wealth until a brush with death convinced him to become a superhero to atone for his past misdeeds, Batman was inspired to become a superhero after witnessing the deaths of his parents as a child, and he has seemingly never had much of a life outside crime-fighting.
- Aquaman and Black Panther are both benevolent kings of technologically advanced hidden kingdom who wish to stop their kingdom from going to war with the outside world. But while Black Panther is a quiet stoic who was born in his native homeland and accepted by his people as a respected member of the royal family, Aquaman is a Boisterous Bruiser of mixed-ancestry who grew up in America as an outcast before returning to his ancestral home to become king. Amusingly, Aquaman's backstory would also make him a heroic version of Erik Killmonger, the Big Bad of Black Panther's movie.
- Suicide Squad to Guardians of the Galaxy. Both are films where the main characters are criminals who are brought together to defeat a greater evil while the primary heroes of the respective universes (the Justice League and the Avengers) aren't involved. Although the Guardians weren't as corrupt, and willingly opposed Ronan, the Squad were convicts who were promised freedom if they helped defeat the Enchantress. For their lead females, Gamora couldn't agree to Thanos destroying worlds, but Harley was still loyal to The Joker. Also, the Guardians get their criminal records expunged, while the Squad do not get their promised freedom, though Deadshot does get to spend time with his daughter. Incidentally, Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad's sequel are both directed and written by James Gunn.
- Captain Marvel and SHAZAM!. Both are humans struggling to master amazing energy abilities with the help of a new family of allies. However, while Carol Danvers is an adult soldier empowered by alien technology due to an accident involving her long-time mentor, Billy Batson is a teenager whose powers are bestowed upon him by a wizard he only just met. Carol is generally serious and devoted with moments of snark, while Billy generally doesn't take himself or his situation seriously. While Carol learns that the people who took her in were manipulating her and separating her from her real family, Billy learns that his adoptive family cares more for him than his blood relatives. The films also end with their heroes in different places. Carol leaves Earth again to fight amongst the stars, while Billy settles back in with his adoptive family. In a meta sense, regarding their codenames, Carol started as Ms. Marvel, later going by Binary and Warbird, until she settled as Captain Marvel as a Legacy Character upgrade. Billy's alter ego, on the other hand, started as Captain Marvel, remaining consistent through the years until the New 52 Continuity Reboot changed it to Shazam.
- SHAZAM! (2019):
- The film contrasts with Brightburn. Both involve young boys having Superman-like powers and discovering what they're capable of, but while BrightBurn 's protagonist decides to show how dangerous he can be with that kind of power, SHAZAM!'s hero is simply acting like any other kid would with that power and learns how to become a real superhero.
- The film also functions as a reconstruction of the Superman archetype, and is also a rebuttal of the previous DCEU movies starring Superman. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice shows a Superman who is plagued by self-doubt, grew up with no role models to boost his confidence, is distrusted by the people of Earth, and causes collateral damage in his heroic actions. In contrast, while Billy Batson starts out with Clark Kent's glum attitude and accidentally destructive tendencies, he has the luxury of becoming a superhero after the Justice League have become a household name which he can use as a guideline, he gradually lightens up, and through trial and error he becomes an all-loving, inspirational hero who is beloved by his hometown.
- Within the DCEU, Cassandra Cain in Birds of Prey (2020) is this to Billy Batson in SHAZAM! (2019). Both are Kid Heroes with Alliterative Names who have foster parents and get pulled into superheroics, but whereas Billy got a loving surrogate family and became a superhero in his own right and the leader of a team of such, Cass instead got a foster couple who are only heard offscreen yelling at each other in one scene, causing her to turn to a life of petty crime and later become the sidekick to Harley Quinn.
- Dead Ringers to The Fly (1986). Both are David Cronenberg films adapted from written works, coming one after the other in his filmography. Each is a Psychological Thriller Tragedy with only a few significant characters in which a man's jealous love for a woman inadvertently sends him into Sanity Slippage, culminating in a grisly finale. Both involve extensive special effects and a lead actor who was very seriously committed to their performance on physical and mental levels. But where The Fly is a science fiction film involving a transformation into both a Half-Human Hybrid and Mad Scientist with extreme amounts of onscreen Body Horror, Dead Ringers is a more realistic story of a gynecologist who becomes a Mad Doctor and the Body Horror is more suggested than shown. Where The Fly involves two entities (the scientist and a housefly) merging into one with the special effects creating that creature, Dead Ringers involves two entities trying to separate themselves — the doctor and his twin, who have shared the same life if not body, with the special effects allowing one actor (Jeremy Irons) to play both. The visuals, acting, and tone are icy and chic in Dead Ringers, whereas The Fly is warmer and dowdier. Interestingly, these two films are the most frequently cited candidates for the title of Cronenberg's greatest. The Dead Ringers trailer actually positioned it as this trope in its narration (and used Recycled Trailer Music from its precursor): "From David Cronenberg, who in The Fly made the fantastic real... Now, David Cronenberg makes reality the ultimate fantasy."
- Demolition Man to The Terminator and its sequel. Both movies are about a hero and villain travelling through time to duke it out in a period that's not prepared for them, except Demolition Man is set in a future that's meant to be seen as desperately needing a heavy injection of roughneck machismo, while the Terminator films had their hero and villain come from a hellish future to a relatively peaceful present and the films condemn violence for the sake of violence.
- Die Hard is this to Escape from New York. Two of the most influential action films of The '80s, both are about a lone man in a tank top with a "cowboy" attitude fighting to escape from a Closed Circle full of bad guys trying to kill him, all with a darkly comedic streak to their heroics (both Bruce Willis and Kurt Russell had been comedy actors before they became action heroes). The ways in which they handle this basic story outline, however, are at near-complete odds, especially when it comes to the routes they take with their Genre Deconstruction.
- The biggest difference comes in their protagonists, Escape's Snake Plissken and Die Hard's John McClane. Snake's backstory is that of an archetypal Rated M for Manly Hollywood Action Hero, a one-eyed ex-Special Forces operative turned bank robber who was on his way to prison before being recruited for his mission. Russell may not have the Heroic Build of someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but everything else about his performance tells the viewer that he can kick ass, take names, and get the job done. He goes into the Manhattan prison island on the orders of the good guys (well, as good as the pseudo-fascist American government of 1997 can be said to be) to rescue the President in exchange for having his sentence commuted, and the only reason he cares about his mission is because of the Explosive Leash they implanted in his neck. John McClane, on the other hand, is an ordinary police officer who was thrust into harm's way unprepared by the bad guys when they took over Nakatomi Plaza, and despite his genuinely badass feats, he winds up more an Action Survivor than anything, ending the film in terrible shape and grateful that it's over. His motivations for fighting them are personal: they're threatening his wife, who, marital problems aside, he still loves and cherishes. In short, while Snake is an Anti-Hero who happens to be the perfect man for the mission, McClane is a conventionally heroic figure (albeit a salty one) who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and is out of his element. McClane even wears a white shirt (at least, one that starts out as white) in contrast to Snake's black one, as if to highlight his more heroic and optimistic outlook.
- They also occupy opposite points on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Escape from New York, written shortly after Watergate, is a very cynical film, as was typical of John Carpenter's output, with Snake's handlers outside Manhattan, the United States Police Force, being a bunch of jackbooted thugs shown right from the start to not have his best interests in mind and arguably portrayed as more villainous than the Duke of New York. His feeling is mutual, such that he decides to screw them over at the end for it. It's set in a dystopian near-future, and Snake is very much a product of that Bad Future. (The sequel Escape from L.A. goes even further, portraying the far-right, theocratic US government in 2013 as outright evil and the Greater-Scope Villain, one that's just as bad as Cuervo Jones' communist Shining Path army.) Die Hard, on the other hand, is far more optimistic, firmly believing that Good Is Old-Fashioned in its framing of McClane as an old-school, blue-collar, all-American Joe who feels like a Fish out of Water when juxtaposed with both the Japanese-flavored corporate excess of Nakatomi Plaza and the suave European villainy of Hans Gruber. Sgt. Al Powell, McClane's police contact outside the building, is a genuinely good man who agonizes over the mistake he made that got a boy killed, and quickly becomes his most trustworthy ally. In many ways, Die Hard serves as a celebration of the Patriotic Fervor and cultural cheerleading of '80s America that Escape from New York offered a far more satirical take on. (This is notably a big shift from the book it was based on, Roderick Thorp's Nothing Lasts Forever, which went much heavier on Black-and-Gray Morality and had a comparatively bleak ending.)
- Don't Look Up is a much more cynical and comedic antithetical sister to Armageddon (1998). In both films, a gigantic meteor is flying towards the Earth and will wipe out all life if it hits the planet. In Armageddon, the human race nobly put aside all their ideological and national differences to stop the meteor and the film ends with one of the astronauts performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world. In Don't Look Up , the human race falls into political division and petty squabbling while the meteor hurtles ever closer to Earth. A significant portion of the population actively deny the comet even exists, and when an Elon Musk/ Steve Jobs Expy discovers that the meteor is rich in rare minerals worth trillions of dollars, he actually scuppers a plan that might save the world in favour of a riskier (and ultimately unworkable) scheme to break the meteor up into pieces that can be captured for profit. The film ends with the astronomer protagonist having one last dinner with his family before the meteor hits, lamenting that the world's leadership had everything they needed to prevent the extinction of the human race and all life on Earth, except for the actual political will and competence to knuckle down and do it.
- EDtv came out one year after The Truman Show (but was based on an obscure film from five years before) and has the opposite premise of that film. Truman Burbank has been unknowingly living a fake life for almost 30 years: he is constantly being filmed by hidden cameras, and being surrounded by actors pretending to be family members and friends. On the other hand, Ed Pekurny is an average guy who wants to become famous, so that he voluntarily decides to be followed by a crew at all times, in plain sight, while living a regular life among his family and people he knows.
- Evil Dead (2013) is this to the rest of the Evil Dead series, especially the sequels. While the original film was played relatively seriously, its low budget also made it a rather campy B-Movie with a lot of Narm Charm, a direction that the series opted to deliberately go in with the sequels, which were Horror Comedies that made the protagonist Ash into a snarky Action Hero who slaughtered hordes of Deadites and vanquished demons. The remake did away with all of that and returned to the tone that the original film was going for, only now with a far bigger budget behind it, producing a graphically violent, brutal, and visceral horror film in which everything was Played for Horror.
- Fat Head is made by Tom Naughton as a response to Super Size Me, and takes an opposite approach to Morgan Spurlock's McDonalds experiment while still attempting to replicate it. Spurlock deliberately goes after the unhealtheist items on the menu, force feeds himself until he throws up, and does not keep a food log; Naughton, reasoning that he has a functioning brain, restricts his carb intake, avoids sugary sodas, and publishes his food log for transparency. Their attitudes to the larger "obesity epidemic" are also polar opposites, with Spurlock openly accusing the fast food industry of being responsible and argues that consumers should boycot them until they go bankrupt, while Naughton takes a deep dive into the statistics and research used by health experts and lobby groups such as the CSPI (used as a source by Spurlock), claiming that they have an agenda and deliberately fudged the numbers. Basically, Spurlock takes a left-progressive, social activist approach, while Naughton is a libertarian-minded, do-your-own-research and free choice advocate.
- Fitzcarraldo to Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Both are cynical stories by Werner Herzog starring Klaus Kinski about white men heading into the Amazon to civilize it and return rich and powerful. In Aguirre, they end up dying pointlessly, while in Fitzcarraldo, they actually learn respect for their own limitations and others.
- Ice Cube felt that many of the hood films of the early '90s (including some that he had starred in) were pointlessly grim, gave off a bad image of urban communities as Vice Cities, and missed the fun that a lot of people had growing up in places like South Central, so he wrote Friday as a Lighter and Softer version of that material. Its plot, about two guys having to pay back a psychotic drug dealer who they owe money to, could be taken from any number of contemporary urban crime dramas... except it's a Stoner Flick in which all of that is Played for Laughs, the inciting incident being one of the main characters smoking all the weed he was supposed to sell."In the hood, they was doing movies like Boyz n the Hood, which I did, Menace II Society, South Central, and even Colors, going back that far. Everybody was looking at our neighborhood like it was hell on Earth, like the worst place you can grow up in America. And I’m like, why? I didn’t see it all that way. I mean, I knew it was crazy around where I grew up but we had fun in the hood. We used to trip off the neighborhood."
- In the Crystal Lake Memories documentary, Sean Cunningham claimed that, in the original Friday the 13th movie, he unconsciously inverted the mother-son relationship of Psycho. Instead of Norman Bates' evil mother being revealed as a figment of the seemingly kind man's personality, he had Pamela Vorhees, a seemingly kind woman, be revealed as the culprit of murders assumed to have been committed by her son. At one point, she even says "Kill them, mommy" to herself, implying Jason was also part of her personality.
- Get Out (2017), like The Purge, is a "social horror" movie from the 2010s produced by Blumhouse Productions, using horror movie tropes to tackle themes of race and class in America. However, while both movies are condemning and satirizing racism and inequality, the manner in which they operate and deliver those messages could not be more different. The Purge, and especially its sequels, are gritty action-horror movies set in dark, creepy nighttime streets in which the titular holiday is used as an excuse to Kill the Poor, with the New Founding Fathers and their supporters depicted as thuggish WASP elitists who openly scorn the lower classes and the non-white (neo-Nazis and Klansmen are shown to be enthusiastic participants). Get Out, on the other hand, is a slow-burn Psychological Horror film set in a lush Stepford Suburbia (that trope's namer having been a major influence on the film) in which the villains wear a mask of Bourgeois Bohemian liberalism, with their racism being less rooted in open hatred and bigotry than it is in condescension and appropriation of Black lives.
- Godzilla (1954) to King Kong (1933). Both are the first in their franchises about giant monsters and have themes about man's bad relation with nature. King Kong is an American-made film from before the Second World War about an expedition mounted to the mammalian Kong's jungle island home, where he is captured and brought back to civilization where he eventually dies, with man's destruction and exploitation of nature for entertainment being a major theme. Godzilla, meanwhile, is a Japanese-made and set work after the war about the titular, reptilian monster coming to civilization on its own volition after being hurt by activity to wreak havoc and humanity being unable to stop it, with Gaia's Vengeance for nuclear testing and man's insignificance in the face of nature being major themes.
- Shin Godzilla to Godzilla (2014). Both are reboots of the iconic kaiju franchise in question, but they portray the titular creature in vastly different ways. The 2014 version of Godzilla is a Non-Malicious Monster, going out of his way to not directly harm anyone who doesn't provoke him, and he ultimately saves the day by defeating other monsters who aren't as peaceful. The Shin version of Godzilla, on the other hand, is just as malevolent and wrathful as the original King of Monsters and has no other kaiju to deal with, making him the sole antagonist of the film.
- GoodFellas to The Godfather. They're generally cited as the definitive American films about The Mafia, they're both epic sagas that unfold over the course of years, and they were directed by two of the defining filmmakers of the New Hollywood era.note But in spite of all their parallels, their portrayals of the Mafia are complete opposites in every way. The Godfather is a lavishly produced crime drama based on a bestselling novel, and it's well-known for its highly romanticized portrayal of the gangster life, portraying the central Corleone family as a clan of Noble Demons who take their family, their culture, and their personal honor very seriously even with the overall message of Being Evil Sucks. By contrast, Goodfellas is a gritty and unglamorous portrayal of gangster life based on the actual life story of reformed mobster Henry Hill, portraying the (real) Lucchese family as a gang of sociopathic thugs and murderers who were Only in It for the Money, and deserved every bit of their inevitable comeuppance.
- The Good Son to Home Alone. Both are about an intelligent boy played by Macaulay Culkin with great ingenuity and a penchant for causing pain. But while Kevin McCallister from the latter is a Kid Hero defending his home from burglars, Henry Evans from the former is a sociopathic Enfant Terrible willing to murder his own family.
- Greyhound to Das Boot. Both films are period pieces about the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II. Das Boot is about a German U-Boat in an operation to attack Allied shipping, while Greyhound focuses on an Allied captain participating in the naval convoy system attempting to thwart the U-boats.
- Hail, Caesar! to Trumbo. Both films are period pieces about 1950s Hollywood, revolving around dramatized versions of Historical Domain Characters (Eddie Mannix and Dalton Trumbo, respectively) who end up dealing with the Red Scare as it hits Hollywood. But while Trumbo is a serious drama about a screenwriter wrongly persecuted for his Communist leanings, Hail, Caesar! is a wacky Black Comedy where the bad guys turn out to be actual Communist screenwriters. Amusingly, both films are also nostalgic throwbacks to post-war cinema, featuring multiple sequences taking place on movie sets while in-universe Films Within a Film play out. Hail, Caesar! also features many No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of the historical figures who actually appear in Trumbo, but it portrays them completely differently: Trumbo has Hedda Hopper as the main villain, while Hail, Caesar! has her Fictional Counterpart(s) Thora and Thessaly Thatcher as a comedic nuisance; Trumbo features John Wayne as a villainous bully, while Hail, Caesar! has the fictional cowboy actor Hobie Doyle (a loose parody of Roy Rogers) as a good-hearted ditz; Trumbo has Kirk Douglas as a heroic idealist, while Hail, Caesar! has his Fictional Counterpart Baird Whitlock as a bumbling prima donna.
- Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween is this to the original film by John Carpenter. Carpenter famously described Halloween's villain, the Implacable Man Michael Myers, as "an absence of character", an anonymous escaped mental patient who was locked up after he killed his sister without any explanation when he was just a child. His doctor Samuel Loomis describes him as pure evil incarnate, less a human being than a wicked force of nature. The only thing anybody needs to know about him is that he's a psycho killer, and he was always a psycho killer.note By contrast, Zombie's film spends its entire first half exploring how Michael went from an ordinary boy to a psychopath, depicting him as having been beaten down by his classmates' bullying and his parents' abuse until he finally hit his Rage-Breaking Point. In short, while Carpenter's film draws on the popular image of serial killers in The '70s as inhuman monsters who live to prey on the innocent, Zombie's film draws on the intervening thirty years' worth of scholarship on real-life serial killers and what made them evil.
- Harry Brown to Gran Torino. Both are thrillers about elderly veterans played by acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated actors (Michael Caine and Clint Eastwood, respectively) whose wives have passed away and whose lives have gone downhill since, and who now live alone in rough neighborhoods plagued by youth gangs that they fight back against. Gran Torino is a deconstruction of the vigilante film, one in which Walt Kowalski ultimately refuses to engage in a Cycle of Revenge that would just bring more bloodshed to a suffering community, even if it means dying. Harry Brown is the same plot played straight (and British), as the titular protagonist buys a gun and uses his military training to clean up the mean streets of his London housing estate.
- The Highwaymen is an anti-thesis to Bonnie and Clyde and other films that glamorized the Outlaw Couple pair by depicting them as free-spirited Lovable Rogues (a glamour that is mostly still lasting today). Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are never shown up close until their death scene, only seen from afar as they're robbing civilians and graphically murdering police officers as if all we're seeing is eyewitness testimonies of their worst crimes. Additionally, the actual main characters, seasoned Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Maney Gault, are depicted as quite methodical and ruthless in their quest to hunt down the two without any attempt to whitewash their actions, and are even depicted as pretty boring everyday people. For them, it's just a job like any other, and unlike Bonnie and Clyde, they're not in it for the glory.
- Thomas Vinterberg directly presented The Hunt (2012) as the antithesis to his previous film The Celebration. They're both movies that deal with child abuse and rape, but take the concept in two wildly different directions: The Celebration is about a rape victim exposing his predatory father at a family dinner, and The Hunt is about a man wrongfully accused of molesting children. Vinterberg himself put it bluntly:Thomas Vinterberg: Things have become colder and more fearful, obviously. We've lost the innocence, and for good reasons. [...] I was here to tell that in [The Celebration]. Now I'm here to tell the antithesis, and I'm afraid the sad truth is somewhere in between these movies.
- Kevin Williamson's screenplay for I Know What You Did Last Summer was put into production immediately after Scream (1996), which he also wrote, was a hit. Both films share a whodunit Slasher Movie plot, a cast of attractive Teen Idols, stylish direction, and a tone that hearkened back to the slashers of The '80s. Scream, however, was a Deconstructive Parody of the genre in which the characters frequently discussed slasher movie tropes and clichés, the killer evoked them as part of their plan, and reality frequently ensued in everything from the resulting media circus to the killer being an ordinary and rather vulnerable human armed with only a knife and no supernatural powers. I Know, meanwhile, was a more straightforward throwback and reconstruction that played many of those tropes straight. Also, while Ghostface, the killer in Scream, was a Fragile Speedster who ran after their targets but was rather vulnerable if they decided to fight back, the Fisherman in I Know was a more traditional slasher villain, an Implacable Man with an Unflinching Walk and an unorthodox weapon.
- Idiocracy, like Demolition Man, is a Black Comedy about a man from The Present Day who is cryogenically frozen and awakened in a dystopian future, where he uses his knowledge from the past to save the day and put the world back on track. However, both have completely different protagonists and predictions of the future they wake up to. Demolition Man is about a Cowboy Cop brought into an ultra-safe world in which all crime, violence, obscenity, and dissent have been eliminated through deliberate social engineering, one that is so sheltered and pampered that it cannot deal with a single dangerous criminal. Idiocracy, meanwhile, is about the most average soldier in the military awakening in a world so degraded by consumerism and Anti-Intellectualism that it cannot take care of even basic societal duties like waste management and agriculture, a change that is presented as a natural evolution of current trends.
- Intolerance (1915) to The Birth of a Nation (1915). Both are films by D. W. Griffith. The latter is a militaristic propaganda film rooted heavily in white supremacy and romanticism of the antebellum plantation South, while the former is a tragic story of prejudice and injustice, considered by some film historians to be an apology for the racism in The Birth of a Nation.
- It's a Wonderful Life:
- It is this to The Mysterious Stranger. Both feature an "angel" that serves as a guardian to a protagonist. However, the angel in The Mysterious Stranger is Satan, who says that nothing matters and that the universe itself is probably just a pointless figment of the narrator's imagination, while It's a Wonderful Life champions the message that every life matters and that even removing just one person from existence would have drastic consequences.
- It can also be thought of as one to A Christmas Carol. The latter is a story in which three spirits tell a greedy, miserable miser how pointless his life has been thus far, and how many people are suffering due to his refusal to help them, and what he needs to do to fix it. The former is a story in which an angel tells a righteous, yet frustrated man how much good he has actually done in his life, and how worse off the world would be without him.
- John Wick can be seen as the "anti-Matrix", as outlined in this video by Mikey Neumann. Both are American action films starring Keanu Reeves that are filled with beautifully-shot fistfights, shootouts, and car chases inspired by Hong Kong Heroic Bloodshed and martial arts movies, but whereas the action in The Matrix is portrayed as slick and elegant, the action in John Wick is portrayed as brutal and utilitarian. Furthermore, while the 34-year-old Reeves in The Matrix was a young heartthrob best known for the Bill & Ted films and Point Break (1991), his character being eager to throw himself into the action and serving as an Audience Surrogate for the young men the film was aimed at, the 52-year-old Reeves in John Wick played a world-weary Retired Badass who wanted to keep it that way and not get back into that life.
- To The Brave One. Both feature protagonists in The Big Rotten Apple (or at least a fictionalized pastiche thereof) who are beaten savagely by society and want revenge on a system that wronged them. The films even have the main characters commit their first murders on a subway while being antagonized, in reference to the real-life vigilante Bernie Goetz. The difference is that, while Arthur Fleck of Joker blames society for the issues he faces, Erica of The Brave One seeks to make her city a safer place for the society that lives there. Ironically, the Joker is lifted up by the society he hates, while Erica remains hidden and her actions are never attributed to her. The Brave One is the optimistic version of Joker.
- Also to the early DC Extended Universe films, especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Like Superman, Arthur is depicted as a troubled messianic figure who occasionally adopts the crucifix pose. Also like Batman, he was broken from decades of failure to the point of becoming a nihilist. Some viewers have also interpreted this version of the Joker's name, Arthur Fleck, as a dig at the actor who played Batman in the previous films, Ben Affleck. The similarities end there, as Arthur descends into madness and evil while the aforementioned characters find Heroic Resolve and eventually overcome their existential crisis to become/revert back to becoming heroes. While the World's Finest heroes in the DCEU are shaped into the best versions of themselves by their families and friends, Arthur is corrupted by these same influences.
- The anti-semitic Nazi propaganda film Jud Süss is a case of this to a little known British film Jew Suss, which adapted a novel of the same name by German-Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger. The earlier novel/film is based upon a historical person and a miscarriage of justice that lead to his execution, which the Nazi film turns into karma for a Greedy Jew. This also makes the Nazi film a combination of Adaptational Villainy and Historical Villain Upgrade.
- Keanu, like John Wick, is a film about a man who who loses his beloved pet to despicable criminals in which Keanu Reeves is featured quite prominently—but they're complete opposites in every other conceivable way. John Wick is a dark, action-packed crime thriller about a notoriously feared hitman who gets a dog from his beloved wife shortly before her death, and sets out to dismantle a massive criminal empire by force to get revenge on the father of the weaselly mobster who kills his dog. By contrast, Keanu is a raucous comedy about a perfectly ordinary African-American suburbanite who adopts a stray cat after being dumped by his girlfriend, and sets out to get his cat back through bluffs and improvisation after it's kidnapped by a lowly street gang. The kicker? John Wick features Keanu Reeves in a starring role as the titular hitman, while he's the namesake of the titular cat in Keanu and has a cameo as the voice of the cat in a dream sequence.
- Kimmy vs. The Reverend is the antithesis to Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
- Both are interactive films produced by Netflix with their Choose Your Own Adventure-esque Branch Manager technology as entries in two of their live-action TV properties, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Black Mirror. However, the tonal differences in the two shows reflect in these films: Kimmy is a wacky, colorful comedy, while Bandersnatch is a grim existential horror. Kimmy creator Tina Fey deliberately went in a different direction from Bandersnatch with the Branch Manager choices with deliberate pushes towards 'good' or 'proper' endings instead of a Mind Screw approach.
- Even lampshaded — in one bad ending, Mikey comments that the film just took a dark turn, "like that show Spooky Mirror."
- La La Land to The Notebook, Ryan Gosling's other retro-flavored epic romance from the previous decade. Both feature Gosling's character in a relationship with a Fiery Redhead that slowly falls apart over time, but they take the premise to completely opposite conclusions. The Notebook is a classic Star-Crossed Lovers story about two teenagers in 1940s North Carolina who defy their families to court each other, only to be forced apart by circumstances beyond their control. The ending also features the female lead tragically succumbing to Alzheimer's and forgetting that their relationship ever happened. By contrast, La La Land is a love story set in modern Los Angeles between two adults who freely fall in love, but slowly have to face the fact that they aren't as perfectly compatible as they thought, ultimately choosing to let each other go in order to pursue their respective dreams. The ending also highlights the fact that they'll always remember each other, and that they changed each other's lives for the better even if their relationship ultimately didn't work out. One could make a pretty good case for calling the film "The Notebook for grown-ups".
- Labyrinth for The Wizard of Oz. Both films are modern musical fairy tales about innocent, virginal teenage girls being whisked away to magical lands that may or may not be imaginary, and both feature the protagonist going on a quest with a trio of non-human companions in order to get home while being dogged by a malevolent magic-using Big Bad. However, one is a classic Hollywood musical about an incorruptibly pure farm girl who initially wants a better life, but learns to love her home and family along the way; the other is a Rock & Roll musical about a flawed, selfish, antiheroic suburban girl who undergoes her quest to save an innocent child from a gruesome fate that she herself condemned him to—and it ends with the strong implication that her magical companions followed her home. Interestingly, David Bowie's Jareth the Goblin King is practically a mirror image of Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West: one is a hot-tempered, emotionally volatile, grotesquely ugly sorceress who revels in her Card-Carrying Villain status, while the other is a cool-headed, handsome, charismatic sorcerer who seems to consider himself a genuinely decent person.
- Let the Right One In and The Film of the Book of Twilight. The latter is fairly well known for its Lighter and Softer take on vampire mythos and there's never any doubt that Edward wouldn't truly physically hurt Bella. The former is a full-on Deconstruction of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire while Eli is a merciless predator, regardless of how nice she is to Oskar.
- Let There Be Light (2017), like Jesus, Bro!, is about an atheist converting to Christianity after a near-death experience involving alcohol, but are the complete opposites of each other in terms of tone. Jesus, Bro!, directed by the agnostic Brad Jones, is a parody of Christian "faith-based" films like God's Not Dead, while Let There Be Light, directed by the Christian Kevin Sorbo, is exactly that kind of movie. David Gobble's character in Jesus, Bro!, Rick Whitehead, is an atheist YouTuber who initially gets sick at the mere sight of a man praying. He eventually converts after passing out from a night of drinking and meeting Santa Christ, but only because he thinks it will make his ex-girlfriend come back to him. He proves to be just as bad a person as a Christian as when he was an atheist, driving home the film's theme that having a religion doesn't automatically make you a better person. Sorbo's character from Let There Be Light, Dr. Sol Harkens, is a former Christian who lost his faith after his son David died from cancer, and tried to make others into atheists like him. He eventually rediscovers his faith after suffering a drunk driving accident and seeing visions of David, and becomes a much better person after his conversion, reflecting the film's message that the Christian faith is the way to a righteous life. The Cinema Snob, a video series hosted by Brad Jones, naturally lampshaded this during an episode about Let There Be Light, referring to the film as, "Jesus, Bro!, but for real."
- Logan to Deadpool. Both are graphically violent R-rated spin-offs from the existing X-Men cinematic universe. However, Deadpool is a Bloody Hilarious, cheerfully amoral Black Comedy with a fourth-wall-breaking First-Person Smartass, while Logan is an elegiac New Old West Western that is mostly about two beloved characters from the earlier films getting old and dying.
- Director Panos Cosmatos stated in the interview that his second film Mandy is the yang to the yin of his first film Beyond the Black Rainbow, as both of them were inspired by his real-life grief over the death of his parents. They both combine surreal and nightmarish imagery with very long takes and monochromatic light saturation, though as an action/revenge story, Mandy has a tighter plot and more emphasis on action and gore.
- Mank, like The Social Network, is a David Fincher film that utilizes non-linear storytelling, is driven by dialogue, focuses on a historical and monumental period for an industry, utilizes a lot of Artistic License – History whilst also telling true stories, has a dysfunctional main character who ends up burning personal bridges, and has a connection to Citizen Kane (Mank being about its writing, Network telling a very similar story of a Self-Made Man who alienates everyone around him). Other than that, the films are opposites. The Social Network is set in the 2000s played in 20 Minutes into the Past mode, whilst Mank is a Period Piece set in the 1930s. Mank features an old-fashioned '30s look and style, whilst The Social Network looks like any other film made in the 2010s. The Social Network's Mark Zuckerberg is a jerkass who is left alone by his former friend, ally, and girlfriend even as he becomes the youngest billionaire in the world, whilst Mank's Herman Mankiewicz is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is left alone by his antagonistic colleagues (studio heads Louis B. Mayer and businessman William Randolph Hearst) and ends up writing a script that wins an Oscar and contributes to a film deemed to be "the greatest of all time". Herman also has a loving relationship with his wife, whilst Mark is dumped by his girlfriend at the beginning of the film. Finally, Mank depicts the "Old Hollywood" industry in a cynical light, whilst The Social Network depicts the beginning of Facebook and social media at large also in a cynical, yet more personal and less systemic light. Mank's tone is also more sentimental and optimistic despite everything, with Herman's crowning accomplishment ultimately recognized in the end, whilst The Social Network's is much darker and more pessimistic, showing Mark at the end as being Lonely at the Top.
- The Many Saints of Newark to El Camino. Both films take place in the settings of one of the most critically acclaimed TV crime dramas, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad respectively. However The Many Saints of Newark is a Prequel that takes place in The '60s where Tony Soprano was still an adolescent, while El Camino was an Immediate Sequel taking place right after the ending of Breaking Bad. Both movies also put the spotlight people close to the Villain Protagonist, but Many Saints of Newark focuses on Tony's mentor, Richard "Dickie" Moltisanti, while El Camino focuses on Walter White's student, Jesse Pinkman.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe has its own internal spiritual antitheses to their films and characters:
- Guardians of the Galaxy to The Avengers. On a superficial level, they're almost exactly the same story: a mismatched group of heroes must overcome personal differences to come together for an epic team-up in order to stop a mad alien conqueror who wants to use a mysterious MacGuffin to Take Over the World. But while the Avengers are a team of individually respected heroes who have already proven themselves through previous solo adventures, the Guardians are a team of full-on Unlikely Heroes who are initially Only in It for the Money (or for personal revenge), and are regarded as trash by most authority figures before they ultimately save the day. Another important detail to note is that Guardians are a much more tight-knit group than the Avengers and the more volatile bond they share.
- Doctor Strange (2016) to Thor. Both are magic-themed characters who, after a blow to their pride, travel to other dimensions and find a true calling as superheroes defending Earth from mythical/mystical threats. However, the difference is the path they take. Thor, a Norse Physical God, starts off as being steeped in Norse Mythology and lives to uphold his Proud Warrior Race culture, which leads him to be banished to Earth. As a result, he learns to appreciate the mundanity of human culture. Doctor Strange, however, is an ordinary mortal man who starts off as discounting the existence of magic before traveling to the Ancient One's monastery and other dimensions to learn that magic does indeed exist in the MCU. In addition, the magic of Thor is portrayed as Sufficiently Advanced Technology that follow Clarke's Third Law, while the magic of Doctor Strange cannot be explained by Earth science.
- Thor: Ragnarok to Captain America: Civil War. At the barest level, the two films do have a vaguely similar premise: Captain America and Thor are faced with a situation that they cannot handle on their own, so they form alliances with heroes outside their solo franchises in a manner similar to The Avengers films. However, that is the only similarity the two films have. Captain America: Civil War is a gritty, Earth-based political thriller that emphasizes the collateral damage of superhero battles and how traumatized the heroes themselves are, and depicts Captain America and Iron Man fighting due to the machinations of Helmut Zemo, a non-powered, non-costumed villain effectively ending the Avengers as we know them. Thor: Ragnarok, by contrast, is a giddy Space Opera and Buddy Picture that embraces the cosmic aesthetic of Jack Kirby, and involves Thor assembling a team of fellow former Avengers and warriors of Asgard such as The Incredible Hulk, Valkyrie, and his former enemy Loki against Hela, a superpowered, scenery-chewing Goddess of Death. Also, while Civil War was largely set up by the events of second Avengers movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ragnarok plays an important role in setting up the third Avengers movie, Avengers: Infinity War.
- Black Panther to Thor: Ragnarok. They both tell a story where the protagonist must lead his people after his father's death and fight against an attack led by a family member he didn't know about and the revelations about wrongs done by his father that come with it. But where Ragnarok is strong on the humor even when compared to previous movies, Black Panther tones it down when compared to other MCU productions. Ragnarok is ultimately about the destructive consequences of conquest and colonialism (supposedly to benefit the conquered lands), while Black Panther is about the destructive consequences of isolationism and xenophobia (explicitly to protect Wakanda and maintain their increasingly narrow advantage over the world). The heroes and villains of both films are evil relatives of the heroes who have deep cultural ties to their homelands, but different motivations. Hela in Ragnarok represents the tradition of Asgard as a nation built on conquest, while Thor represents a progressive desire to move away from it, and at the end of the movie he and his fellow Asgardians lose their home and become nomadic, breaking away from their old ways completely. Erik Killmonger in Black Panther wants to drag Wakanda kicking and screaming into a position he believes it should take on an international scene, while T'Challa represents the respect for the country's traditions, but in the end, he realizes Killmonger had a point even if his methods were wrong, and sets Wakanda to a less extreme path to break away from its old isolationism. Both kingdoms have a Dark Secret, but Asgard's is very large-scale and hidden out of personal shame, and Wakanda's is very, very personal and hidden for political stability. Hela and Killmonger have fatal flaws that ultimately led to their downfall: the former is incapable of change as she kills shedloads of Asgardians and would kill anyone for what she sees as the good of Asgard and the universe, the latter is a somewhat inconsistent hypocritenote whose noble-sounding rhetoric is just an excuse for him to lash out at the world over his childhood trauma for revenge.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp to Spider-Man: Homecoming. The former is the anti-registration perspective in the wake of the events of Captain America: Civil War compared to Spidey's pro-registration point of view. Much like the earlier film, Ant-Man and the Wasp features The Everyman Animal-Themed Superbeing hero (both creepy-crawlie variants, to be exact) as its protagonist struggles to figure out where he belongs in a post-Sokovia Accords world. Unlike Peter Parker, though, Scott Lang is forced to evade the law and use out-of-date or untested tech when the former was being supplied state-of-the-art gear by Sokovia Accords poster boy Tony Stark. Additionally, whereas Spider-Man: Homecoming focused on a Kid Hero who was just starting out while dealing with school problems, Ant-Man and the Wasp is told from the adult perspective while dealing with adult issues such as parenthood. Both films end with the hero suiting up in their original gear for the final battle, but Peter is stuck battling the Big Bad Vulture with no backup in the sky while Scott has the assistance of Hope and Luis in a race to protect the shrunken Pym Technologies from the Big Bad Ensemble of Ghost and Sonny Burch. Even the villains are strikingly similar with a key difference. Both Adrian Toomes and Ava Starr are extremely sympathetic villains who turn to crime in desperate times and have a begrudging respect for the heroes when they are shown mercy in the final battle, but the Vulture is a normal human who uses a suit to give him superpowers, while Ghost is an enhanced human who uses a suit to limit her debilitating abilities. Amusingly enough, both movies feature an actor named Michael Douglas playing the father of the hero's love interest. Likewise, each movie has one of the leads of Batman Returns, but with reversed morals from their roles in that movie: In Homecoming, Keaton (Batman) played the villain Adrian Toomes, but in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Michelle Pfeiffer (Catwoman) played one of the heroes, the elder Wasp.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to Black Panther. Both are the MCU's first films to feature people of color (Black for Black Panther, Asian/Chinese for Legend of the Ten Rings) as the lead, and feature supporting casts comprised of their respective races. In addition, both movies have The Hero and the Big Bad be related to each other to serve their respective plots ( Killmonger being Clashing Cousins with T'Challa in Black Panther, Wenwu being the Archnemesis Dad of Shang-Chi in Legend of the Ten Rings). Moreover, both movies have one of the main characters live in the United States before coming to their family's country (Wakanda in Black Panther, China in Legend of the Ten Rings). However, here are some major differences:
- In Black Panther, it's Killmonger - the Big Bad - who was raised in the United States and comes to Wakanda to claim the throne from T'Challa, while in Legend of the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi is an immigrant from China who seeks to avoid taking his place in his father's organization, the Ten Rings.
- Moreover, there is an inversion of the dynamics in power and status between the hero and the villain: In Black Panther, the titular hero, T'Challa / Black Panther, utilizes the Vibranium-based equipment and mystical empowerments that his position as King of Wakanda affords him, while his opponent Killmonger, grew up with none of that until usurping the Wakandan throne and the mystical empowerments that come with it. By contrast, Legend of the Ten Rings has Shang-Chi, a Badass Normal hero who worked in the United States in lower-class jobs, going up against the Big Bad, Xu Wenwu /the Mandarin, who asserts his position as the leader of the Ten Rings with the titular ten powered rings.
- Interestingly, both movies end with one of the main characters recognizing the flaws in their family's traditional ways, and seeking to change it: In Black Panther, T'Challa recognizes the merits of Killmonger's critiques of Wakanda's isolationist policies, and responds by having Wakanda play a more active role in global affairs by using its Vibranium-based technology for more benevolent purposes than Killmonger's more radical, self-serving goals, while The Stinger in Legend of the Ten Rings establishes that Xu Xialing, scorned with the Stay in the Kitchen attitudes of the Ten Rings under the leadership of her father Wenwu, takes command of the organization after his death, and reforms it to include more women in combat positions.
- Another big difference is how the films were received by their intended demographics, the African diaspora almost universally praised Black Panther whereas Chinese audiences didn't like Shang-Chi for being a Western movie that plays fast and loose with their culture, Simu Liu and Awkwafina being ugly due to having squinty eyes and the Mandarin (a Yellow Peril character) as the main villain, in contrast with Chinese and Asian-American viewers who were more fond of it.
- Eternals serves as one to Captain Marvel in terms of their roles given to Gemma Chan. In both of these cosmic-level Marvel Studios films, Chan plays two different characters involved in separate centuries-old conflicts between alien races (The Kree vs. the Skrulls for Captain Marvel, The Eternals vs. the Deviants for Eternals). However, in Captain Marvel, Chan plays the one-shot villainous Kree Minn-Erva who helps hunt down the Good All Along Skrulls in a genocidal campaign waged by the Kree Empire. By contrast, Eternals has Chan play the heroic Eternal Sersi, who help protects Earth from the villainous Deviants.
- Zack Snyder said in an interview that he regarded The Avengers (2012) as this to his adaptation of Watchmen, though he was talking about it recursively, calling Watchmen the "anti-Avengers".
- Matilda to Léon: The Professional.
- Both are mid-'90s movies about young, pre-teen brunette girls named Mathilda (or a variation thereof) who come from abusive, dysfunctional families chiefly comprised of an apathetic blonde mother, a Fat Bastard father involved in criminal activity, and an equally fat, violent sibling, but they eventually escape their troubled households by befriending a kindly adult with a Dark and Troubled Past which blossoms into a close, family-like relationship as they work together to take down a Large Ham villainous authority figure that has a creepy fetish for an otherwise normal hobby and is shown to be outright harmful to kids. Both stories even have a branch of American law enforcement present throughout the story. However, both works belong to completely different genres and tones: whereas The Professional is an R-rated action thriller which was inspired by the success of Luc Besson's previous film Nikita, especially its Ensemble Dark Horse Victor the Cleaner, Matilda is a family-friendly fantasy comedy directed by Danny DeVito and based on a 1988 novel by Roald Dahl.
- Another big contrast between the two movies is the career trajectory of their star actresses: The Professional was the first silver screen role for Natalie Portman, who was practically an unknown actress at the time, while Mara Wilson was fairly recognizable to audiences thanks to her previous experience as cute girls in Mrs. Doubtfire and the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Portman would go on to have a successful career as an adult and nab several notable roles over the last two decades, such as Padme Amidala in Star Wars and Nina Salyers in Black Swan, while Wilson eventually fizzled out from acting after the failure of Thomas and the Magic Railroad and later became a full-time author aside from a few voiceover roles.
- Some of the characters in both films also fill out similar roles and archetypes but have stark contrasts with each other in terms of personalities, story arcs, skills, and attributes:
- Mathilda Lando and Matilda Wormwood are Wise Beyond Their Years kids forced to live with neglectful parents and an older sibling who acts like an outright bully, not to mention being outright absent from traditional schools. But Mathilda Lando is a 12-year-old girl who openly smokes, swears, uses guns, plays Russian Roulette, and has a sexual interest in her hitman mentor, though she eventually grows up to become a mature, stable young woman when she arrives in New Jersey to resume her education at Spencer School after escaping a shootout with everyone in the apartment. Matilda Wormwood, meanwhile, is a "six-and-a-half" year old Badass Bookworm child who has telekinetic powers that allow her to have a better life, especially when she's Happily Adopted by a benevolent Crunchem Hall school teacher. Additionally, Lando has a teenage stepsister and a younger loving sibling in contrast to Wormwood's kid brother, while their respective fathers had engaged in different criminal activities (drug dealing and car dealership scams).
- Léon Montana and Jennifer Honey have rough pasts involving a loved one who died under tragic and unfortunate circumstances, but they would later become the teachers to a young girl from an abusive family. However, Léon has a stoic, downbeat personality as a Hitman with a Heart after his girlfriend was murdered and Never Learned to Read, and he is killed by the film's antagonist before he could live a new life with Mathilda. Jennifer, meanwhile, is a well-educated, cheery schoolteacher despite losing her mother to natural causes, and she has a happy ending when she adopts Matilda after her rotten parents are arrested.
- Norman Stansfield and Agatha Trunchbull are both Ax-Crazy, hammy villains portrayed by British actors (Pam Ferris/Gary Oldman). The former is an American DEA agent who has an entire crew of Dirty Cops and Naughty Narcs to back him up (mostly) until he's killed by Leon in his dying moments, while the latter is a skilled Evil Brit Olympic athlete and teacher who is capable of hurting anyone without assistance or help until she is eventually ran out of Crunchem Hall by Matilda and her classmates.
- The Landos and the Wormwoods meet their ends at the hands of law enforcement, but their respective fates are quite different. The former family (especially the younger brother) are set up as Sacrificial Lambs to be outright slaughtered by corrupt DEA agents after the father cut the dope that was stashed at their apartment, which motivates Mathilda to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The latter family are arrested by the FBI in Guam once Henry's car dealership is exposed by Matilda for selling defective cars.
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post, like But I'm a Cheerleader, is a film set in The '90s about a pretty and popular blonde Girl Next Door who gets sent to conversion therapy. Desiree Akhavan, the writer and director of Cameron Post, is a fan of Cheerleader and acknowledged the similarities, but maintained that she wasn't influenced by Cheerleader when she made her own film, to the point of going out of her way to not rewatch it first.
- Cheerleader is a Black Comedy set in what was then the present day (it was released in 1999) in which the experience is Played for Laughs. The people who run the camp are portrayed as bumbling, closed-minded idiots whose program doesn't do anything, and the aesthetics of the camp are saturated in bright colors to create an artificial Crapsaccharine World feel. The experience also ironically causes Megan, who was deep in denial about being a lesbian beforehand (though it was obvious to everyone else), to come to terms with her sexuality, and the film ultimately gives her a happy ending in which she has a girlfriend and her family accepts her for who she is.
- Cameron Post, meanwhile, is a Period Piece that handles the subject dramatically, with the conversion therapy camp depicted in a naturalistic fashion as a Boarding School of Horrors that succeeds only in giving the characters a basket case of mental health issues and self-loathing. Cameron, unlike Megan, always knew that she was a lesbian, and the film ends with her and two other campers running away to an ambiguous fate that may not end well for them.
- On a meta level, Cheerleader also had to be Bowdlerised (most notably removing any and all reference to cunnilingus) to avoid an NC-17 rating, while Cameron Post was released unrated specifically to avoid this.
- Moonlight (2016) is this to Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Both films are about a coming-of-age story of a boy from his childhood to adulthood, but the two's setting and the production were polar opposites. Boyhood took 12 years to shoot while Moonlight took less than a month. The former used the same actor to play a straight middle-class Caucasian, while the latter used three actors to play a gay lower-class Black man at three stages in his life. The former took place in suburban Austin, Texas while the latter took place in a housing project area of Miami, Florida.
- A character example rather than a story one: My Name Is Emily has Emily Egan as the Spiritual Antithesis of Harry Potter's Luna Lovegood. Both girls have Missing Moms who died in accidents when they were children. Both have a Cloud Cuckoo Lander writer for a father and both are bullied at school for their oddness. Luna is The Pollyanna about her situation, has a close-knit relationship with her father and her quirky attitude causes Character Development for others — not to mention that she is portrayed as lovably odd. Emily meanwhile is bitter and depressed, is estranged from her father, is nearly Driven to Suicide over her situation and undergoes Character Development herself through friendships — and her oddness is used to show how detached she is from reality. The kicker? Both are played by Evanna Lynch.
- Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is both this and a Spiritual Successor to his previous film Inglourious Basterds. They're both historical films starring Brad Pitt that are billed as standard period pieces, but turn out to be alternate history films about infamous historical "monsters" getting the comeuppance that they didn't get in Real Life. But Inglourious Basterds features Pitt as a hardened military officer who commands a crack commando unit, while Hollywood features him as a burned-out aging Hollywood stuntman past his prime. As an epic war film about the Nazi occupation of France, Inglourious Basterds is ultimately about the evil of authoritarianism, while Hollywood (a true crime film about the Manson Family murders) touches on the dark side of anti-authoritarianism. And while Inglourious Basterds ends with Adolf Hitler getting shot to death in spectacular fashion, Hollywood ends with three members of the Manson Family getting spectacularly butchered, but also with Charles Manson himself alive and free.
- The Order is the spiritual antithesis to A Knight's Tale, reuniting the writer/director and three stars of the latter for a film that couldn't be more different in tone and content. Whereas A Knight's Tale was a lighthearted, escapist, gleefully anachronistic medieval action film where a jousting tournament plays out like a sports movie, The Order is a dark, humorless Religious Horror movie with a Downer Ending.
- Pacific Rim:
- Manages to be both a Homage and antithesis to classic Kaiju films. Here, the kaiju are flat out evil, not Tragic Monsters, the usual pollution aesop is quickly glossed over, and humanity is capable of saving itself without being crippled and without the help of good kaiju.
- Contrasts Cloverfield, with the monsters being visible from the beginning, being cool villains instead of a horrific force of nature, and taking a tone of Cool Versus Awesome with the destruction being enjoyable instead of the 9/11-esque presentation of Clover's attack.
- Michael Mirasol of Roger Ebert's Far Flung Correspondents characterizes the film as the antithesis of Michael Bay's Transformers, with the absence of vulgar humor and greater respect for the mechas, portraying them as elegant rather than merely awesome.
- Parasite (2019), like the previous year's Palme d'Or winner Shoplifters, almost feels like a situation where two filmmakers got the same writing prompt, but with slightly different instructions. The prompt would be something like "put together a full-length film set in your East Asian country's largest city about a poor family living in squalid conditions, who turn to petty crime as a way to deal with their situation, with the question of whether Capitalism Is Bad as a running theme. The family must contain a shrewd father figure, a Mama Bear mother figure, a young man with Hidden Depths, and a young woman who is skilled at roleplaying. There must be a Halfway Plot Switch centered around a Reveal that turns the story on its ear. Also, there must be a scene toward the end with the young man in the hospital recovering from the wounds of a serious injury, and also a scene where a deceased older woman is buried in the yard of a house by the father figure." But Shoplifters director Hirokazu Kore-eda would've gotten the prompt with the added sentence "Do it as a colorful human drama in a manner reminiscent of Charles Dickens," while Parasite's Bong Joon-ho got the prompt with "Do it as a Black Comedy-laden thriller, with horror elements, in a manner reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock."
- Pearl was produced and filmed back-to-back with X, the film to which it serves as a prequel, and they work as funhouse mirror reflections of each other. In X, Pearl is an Evil Old Lady who subjects the crew of a pornographic movie filming on her farm to all sorts of Hillbilly Horrors, implicitly because she resents and envies their youth, lust, and desire to be famous. In Pearl, she's still a young Farmer's Daughter who lashes out against the family that keeps her on the farm when she wants to pursue a career as a chorus girl. The contrast also applies in the cinematic style: X is a Genre Throwback to the exploitation films of The '70s, with most scenes taking place at night, while Pearl is a gory take on the golden age of Hollywood, with lots of Daylight Horror and Kensington Gore.
- Peeping Tom serves as a Spiritual Antithesis to several Hitchcock films, especially since both Michael Powell and Alfred Hitchcock were contemporary English directors with the former likely taking inspiration from the latter.
- Many people have compared Peeping Tom to Psycho since the two films, both released in 1960, helped inspire the slasher genre. In both films, the killer is a Peeping Tom whose Freudian Excuse involves an Abusive Parent, and both Mark and Norman make money by renting out their properties to other people. However, Mark lives in a suburb in the same house as his tenants and, as a result, only kills people outside of his home, whereas Norman lives by himself in a more rural area in a house away from his empty motel, which gives Norman opportunities to kill off the occasional guest on his property. Finally, Mark's love for Helen allows Helen to survive, while Norman's attraction to Marion leads to her death. Likewise, Mark commits suicide before the police can arrest him, whereas Norman is successfully apprehended. On a minor note, Peeping Tom is in full color while Psycho is Deliberately Monochrome. Both films also experienced controversy upon release. Backlash against Peeping Tom was strong enough to make it a Creator Killer for Powell, and it would take at least a decade before the film was Vindicated by History. On the other hand, Psycho was able to weather the controversy to become Hitchcock's most successful film, so successful in fact that the film would become a Tough Act to Follow for Hitchcock.
- Peeping Tom is also comparable to Rear Window, albeit with some differences. Both films feature a Peeping Tom whose profession involves the usage of cameras: Mark in Peeping Tom is both a film cameraman and a photographer, and likewise, Jeff in Rear Window is also a photographer. Like the aforementioned Psycho, both movies comment that watching a movie is a form of voyeurism, a message that is made more explicit when Mark and Jeff utilize their cameras to secretly observe the other characters. However, Mark is easily more villainous than Jeff, as Mark is a Serial Killer whereas Jeff is a Nosy Neighbor whose voyeurism exposes one of his neighbors as the murderer. In addition, while Mark occasionally travels to other locations for his form of voyeurism, Jeff does all his spying from his room due to a broken leg.
- The titular villains of the Predator series, as in the Alien series, are alien creatures who like to violently kill humans and are presented as some of the most fearsome hunters in the world, but that's where the similarities end. The Xenomorphs from the Alien films are pure animals, mindless killing machines whose sole purpose in life is to eat and reproduce with no capacity for reason. Outside of the second film where they fought space marines, its victims are usually people who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, be they Space Truckers in the first film, convicts in the third, or scientists in the films after that. The Yautja from the Predator films, on the other hand, are a Proud Hunter Race who believe in fighting their prey honorably rather than simply slaughtering them, sparing the lives of unarmed combatants who pose no threat to them, and giving themselves a challenge to make things more interesting and fair, specifically targeting elite killers from alien societies who they see as Worthy Opponents (the squad of elite mercenaries in the first film, the gangbangers and police officers in the second, the motley crew of soldiers and hardened criminals in Predators, the Comanche warriors in Prey) and even dropping some of their weapons in order to even the odds. Ironically, these stark differences wound up making for great crossover fodder. In the Alien vs. Predator franchise, the Yautja treat the xenomorphs as the ultimate big-game prey, going so far as to breed them for hunting purposes.
- Despite being an official prequel to the Alien franchise, Prometheus is actually a Spiritual Antithesis of Aliens in many ways. While Aliens is told from the perspective of a platoon of working-class soldiers, and it largely uses the Xenomorphs as a metaphor for the insecurities of childbirth and parenthood (subtly highlighted by Ripley's relationship with Newt), Prometheus is told from the perspective of a group of well-paid academics, and it largely uses the Engineers as a metaphor for overbearing parents (subtly highlighted by Meredith Vickers' relationship with her father, Peter Weyland).
- Pump Up the Volume is the Spiritual Antithesis to Heathers. In many ways, the later film is the sort of earnest, teen issue-centered angsty melodrama the earlier film both deconstructed and parodied.
- Ready or Not (2019), like You're Next, is a film about a young woman fighting to survive in the home of the wealthy Big, Screwed-Up Family of her lover and turning out to be far tougher than she appears at first glance, with villains motivated by financial gain who include members of the family in question, all amidst a tone that adds a streak of Black Comedy to otherwise grim and violent proceedings. Both of them even star Australians who'd cut their teeth on Home and Away, Samara Weaving and Sharni Vinson respectively, as the heroines.
- You're Next leans much closer to the "horror" side of the equation, with the villains portrayed as a pure menace and most of the humor coming from the family's interactions and personal drama, while the family themselves are just as threatened by the killers as the protagonist Erin is. The fact that three members of the family are secretly leading the plot in order to collect on a massive inheritance is presented as a twist. Erin being an Action Girl as opposed to an Action Survivor, meanwhile, is used to build her up as a genuine badass, an Awesome Aussie raised by a Crazy Survivalist who claims half the film's body count by herself and functions like how everybody watching a horror film imagines they'd act if thrown into such a scenario.
- Ready or Not, meanwhile, is a full-blown Horror Comedy in which the family themselves are the villains, having made a Deal with the Devil for their fortune and setting out to sacrifice the protagonist Grace in order to keep up their end of the deal. Also, while Grace too is a badass, she's closer to an Action Survivor, going up against easier prey in the form of a family of Upper-Class Twits who are quickly revealed to be a bunch of idiots who have no clue what they're doing. Most of the film's deaths, even before the ending where Mr. Le Bail kills them all for their failure, are a direct result of their mistakes getting themselves killed. (Also, Grace is simply played by an Australian.)
- The Report to Zero Dark Thirty. Both fact-based Government Procedural films related to the War on Terror, but while the latter was controversial for how it portrayed torture as part of the process and a Necessary Evil to stop terrorism, the former deconstructs and refutes the idea that torture is in any way effective or necessary.
- Rio Bravo was this to High Noon. Director Howard Hawks and star John Wayne loathed High Noon's message and politics (its writer, the blacklisted Carl Foreman, having written it as a critique of McCarthyism), with Wayne calling it "the most un-American thing I've ever seen in my whole life" and Hawks referring to its protagonist as a man who "run[s] around town like a chicken with his head cut off asking everyone to help, and finally his Quaker wife had to save him." As such, they sought to make a Western with a story similar to High Noon (a town is about to be attacked by a gang of outlaws and the sheriff must gather allies to stop them), but instead of having the sheriff protagonist be somebody who barely defeats the bad guys and grows disillusioned with his job due to the townsfolk's cowardice, he is instead a morally upright man who believes in doing what's right, is surrounded by people who do the same, and is ultimately successful through his own effort and righteousness.
- The 1940 film Die Rothschilds produced in Nazi Germany is antisemitic, whereas 1934's The House of Rothschild denounced antisemitism.
- Scream (2022) is this to Scream 4, the previous installment in the Scream series.
- Both movies are literal sequels to and metaphorical remakes of Scream (1996). However, Scream 4 was made in a time when horror remakes like Friday the 13th (2009) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) were often full Continuity Reboots that radically altered the source material for a new audience, whereas the 2022 film came out in a time when Soft Reboots, or "re-quels", like Halloween (2018) that were heavily rooted in nostalgia were the new trend. This is reflected in how the two films differ greatly in their ruleset, Plot Twists, and commentary on the horror genre, most notably with the identities and motives of their respective killers. Scream 4's Jill, a glory hound who staged a murder spree and ultimately tried to kill her cousin Sidney so that she could take her place as the new hero of Woodsboro/the franchise, served as a symbol of remakes that cynically attempt to copy the original film without understanding how it worked just for the sake of attention. The 2022 film's Richie and Amber, meanwhile, are two Loony Fans of the Stab films (Scream's in-universe version of itself) who, believing that Stab has gone off the rails and that the series works best when it's Based on a True Story, stage a murder spree just like in the original film in order to create new "source material" to bring Stab back to its roots. In this, they are representations of nostalgic sequels and remakes that are overly reverential towards the originals at the expense of doing anything new.
- Both of these films' Ghostfaces also satirize contemporary internet culture. In Scream 4, Jill is motivated by the pursuit of fame (with the killings being recorded and uploaded onto the web), and explicitly says that she doesn't need to be talented or a good person to become famous. With this, the killer is a satire of the irony-drenched internet/social media culture of the late '00s and early '10s, treating everything, even murder, with snide, dispassionate irreverence as an exercise in building clout. In the 2022 film, Ghostface is the duo of Richie and Amber, a pair of Loony Fans of the in-universe Stab movies whose obsession leads them to kill and harm multiple people, including the real-world figures who inspired the characters in the films they love. Amber even tells Dewey "it's an honor" as she kills him. This film's killer is a snapshot of toxic fandom run amok, someone who is extremely passionate about what they love to the point that they are willing to engage in horrible behaviour in the name of expressing that love and claiming ownership of it.
- The Shawshank Redemption to Cool Hand Luke. Both stories centre around a Blithe Spirit who gets sent to a brutal prison, gradually earns the respect of their fellow convicts at the expense of becoming hated by the guards, and eventually starts trying to escape. However, Luke's attempts to escape are framed as a matter of Honor Before Reason, as he was only meant to serve a short sentence for a minor crime, and his escape attempts just keep making things worse until his eventual death. The other convicts around him are also mostly portrayed as a decent bunch of guys, despite having broken the law. In Shawshank, on the other hand, the protagonist is serving a double life sentence for a murder he didn't commit, he's repeatedly raped by a brutal prison gang, and after 19 years of hard work, he eventually flees to live a happy life in Mexico.
- Steven Spielberg has often done this to his own films.
- Spielberg produced Poltergeist (directed by Tobe Hooper, though it's widely believed that Spielberg was a lot more involved than his producer credit suggested) at the same time that he was making E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He described ET as the Suburban Dream... and Poltergeist as the Suburban Nightmare.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial can be considered a spiritual antithesis to Spielberg's earlier film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. They're both science fiction films about suburban everymen encountering aliens and tangling with government agents, but Close Encounters is a thriller about a suburban man embracing his inner child as he tries to understand the boundless mysteries of space, while E.T. is a light-hearted Coming of Age Story about a suburban boy bonding with an all-too-human alien who spends most of the movie trying to understand the mysteries of Earth.
- Spielberg later said War of the Worlds (2005) served as an antithesis both E.T. and Close Encounters, having an everyman discovering evil aliens instead of benevolent ones.
- Star Trek Into Darkness is the spiritual antithesis to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "In The Pale Moonlight". Like the below-mentioned War of the Worlds (2005) and Independence Day, the two stories reflect their respective post- and pre-9/11 origins. "Pale Moonlight" was made in 1998, three years before the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terror began. In "Pale Moonlight", Captain Sisko forges evidence of hostility by the Dominion to persuade the neutral Romulans to join the Federation's side in the ongoing Dominion War and win it together, with some particularly Dirty Business shocking Sisko at first before he ends the episode saying "A guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant.". Into Darkness was made in 2013, 10 years after the War on Terror led to the Iraq War, which was widely speculated to have been fueled by faulty or forged evidence, accompanied by massive backlash to the War on Terror as a whole. In Into Darkness, Admiral Marcus, working with Section 31 (who were introduced on DS9) forges evidence of hostility by the Klingon Empire in an attempt to instigate a war between the two powers, which Captain Kirk and his crew thwart, and the story ends with Kirk giving a speech about the importance of Starfleet's values of peacekeeping, saying "There will always be those who mean to do us harm. To stop them, we risk awakening the same evil within ourselves.", a refutation of both the War on Terror and the Darker and Edgier direction that the Star Trek franchise and sci-fi genre had taken in recent years.
- Star Wars:
- Rogue One is this to the larger Star Wars universe. Many of the Star Wars movies (especially the Original Trilogy) portray the universe with truly Black-and-White Morality; the rebellion and the Jedi are unequivocally good, and the Empire and the Sith are equally evil. While the prequels attempted to flip this on its head (the Jedi, for example, were Lawful Neutral monks fighting for a large, corrupt republic, and the Separatists — those fighting for freedom against an oppressive government - were portrayed as evil), Rogue One took this a step further. The Rebellion, which had previously been portrayed as united and pure, was now divided by infighting and filled with a sense of hopelessness. The characters, too, were deconstructions of the OT's cast: many of the rebels had committed murder and worse for the cause of rebellion — as demonstrated in the first minute that Han Solo Expy Cassian is on the screen — and, unlike Luke, Jyn wanted nothing to do with the rebellion and simply kept her head down and did her best to ignore the oppressive actions of the Empire.
- The Last Jedi, meanwhile, can be seen as this to The Force Awakens, especially on a metatextual level. The Force Awakens was the franchise's return to the big screen after over a decade of dormancy following the end of the prequel trilogy, and as such, it leaned heavily on nostalgia for the older films. The plot largely followed the contours of A New Hope, and many characters are heavily, consciously based on their counterparts in the original trilogy (Rey = Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron = Han Solo, Kylo Ren = Darth Vader). The Last Jedi, while following the general outline of The Empire Strikes Back, tries to reject such nostalgia and plays as an Internal Deconstruction of many classic Star Wars tropes, with its main themes concerning how the aforementioned characters — and by extension, the franchise as a whole — have to get past trying to copy the legacy of their inspirations and become their own people. It is perhaps best reflected in the most common criticisms of each film: while The Force Awakens was criticized for being too similar to the originals, to the point of inspiring the "member berries" arc on South Park, The Last Jedi was criticized for being too different from them.
- A case can be made that Solo is this to Rogue One. Both films substitute Black-and-Gray Morality in place of the franchise's usual black and white morality, featuring more morally ambiguous main characters doing morally ambiguous things. However, Rogue One is a war movie and its leads are members of the Rebellion who are often forced to do shady things in their war against the Empire. Solo, on the other hand, is a heist movie. Its leads are ruthless criminals who are only looking out for themselves and have no interest in the budding conflict between the Empire and the nascent Rebellion. With the exception of Enfys Nest and her Cloud Riders.
- The film adaptation of Starship Troopers is this to its own source material. Paul Verhoeven was already working on a script that deconstructed the War Is Glorious trope, and after he read Heinlein's novel he kicked everything into high gear. The resulting rewrite is one giant, deliberate Take That! to the novel and what Verhoeven saw as a militaristic, borderline-fascist message, turning the novel on its head into a satire of militarism and propaganda.
- Striptease to Showgirls. Both erotic films from the 1990s about hard-working strippers taking on powerful men and winning, though they're both much more famous for their dance sequences. But Showgirls (released in 1995) is an erotic drama about Nomi Malone, a blonde-haired young woman with a Dark and Troubled Past who eagerly sets out to seek a career as a showgirl, only to find that the world of professional dancing is a dangerously cutthroat world where most dancers are out to get each other. Striptease (released in 1996) is an erotic comedy about Erin Grant, a dark-haired divorcee and single mother who's forced to become a stripper to make ends meet after she loses her "respectable" secretary job, but finds that most strippers are fiercely loyal to each other. Nomi gets repeatedly shamed for her erotic dancing, and is often told that it amounts to prostitution, while Erin is frequently assured that it's just a job, and strippers deserve just as much respect as everyone else. Their contrasting settings also help: one is set in Las Vegas in the West, and the other is set in Miami in the East.
- The 2018 remake of Suspiria (1977) is a case study in how two directors can approach the exact same story — a young American woman attending a European dance academy finds that it is run by a coven of evil witches — and produce two radically different takes on it. The 1977 original, directed by Dario Argento, is famous for its bright visual palate and use of color to convey emotion and theme, while for the 2018 version, Luca Guadagnino used mostly washed-out colors for a bleak visual design and instead employed dance as the film's major stylistic flair. Furthermore, while both films are set in West Germany in 1977, Argento's version is a dark fairy tale set in what was then the present day that's not interested in the world outside of the dance academy and the people within it, while Guadagnino's version is a grounded Period Piece deeply rooted in the setting and the political strife of the time period, using its story as a metaphor for Germany's grappling with its postwar national guilt. Finally, while in the 1977 film Susie is a traditional Final Girl, in the 2018 version she was the villain Mother Suspirium all along. And she may have been justified.
- Tár is one to Whiplash: while both are films about abusive musicians and their students, Whiplash is from the student's perspective while Tar is from the teacher's and is also the lead, and while in Tar the teacher is female, in Whiplash he is male. Whiplash ends with Fletcher getting no punishment for his methods, Tar is about Lydia facing consequences for hers.
- They Live! to Ghostbusters (1984), specifically in terms of their political leanings. Both are sci-fi action films with a comedic/satirical undercurrent, but while Ghostbusters is a very pro-capitalist and pro-business film, with the heroes being men who use their technology to go into private enterprise and have to contend with an Obstructive Bureaucrat trying to shut them down (with disastrous results), They Live is a vicious satire of consumer capitalism, presented as an instrument for an alien ruling class to Take Over the World.
- The Thin Red Line has been seen as this to Saving Private Ryan ever since they came out, largely because they were Dueling Works. Both films are big-budget World War II epics that explore the War Is Hell theme in great depth, but they take completely different approaches to their subject matter, and ultimately come to very different conclusions about the nature of war. Saving Private Ryan tells a linear, character-driven story about sacrifice that ultimately comes to the conclusion that soldiers can redeem themselves for the atrocities of war through noble acts. By contrast, The Thin Red Line is a much more philosophical, open-ended story that seriously examines the idea that war is an inherently unnatural act, and seems to suggest that humans often fight wars without truly understanding why. The different settings also help (one is in the European Western Front, the other in the Pacific War).
- The Thing has often been read as this to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Both films came out around the same time, but deal with humanity's first contact with aliens in very different ways: E.T. lands in the American heartland and befriends the protagonist, with the main goal being to help him return home, while the Thing turns up in the Antarctic wastes, destroys everything it encounters and must be kept from escaping at all costs.
- The Third Man for Casablanca. Seriously, watch them back to back. It's amazing. And depressing.
- Tropic Thunder is this and a Spiritual Successor to ¡Three Amigos! and Galaxy Quest. They're all about actors who are mistaken for the heroes they play, but while Three Amigos and Galaxy Quest are Affectionate Parodies of classic westerns and sci-fi (specifically Star Trek), respectively, Tropic Thunder is a very caustic Deconstructive Parody of war movies, specifically Apocalypse Now, and Hollywood itself.
- Trouble with the Curve is a Spiritual Antithesis to Moneyball. Moneyball is a film that champions statistics over experienced evaluation from scouts, and subtly ridicules the human insights that scouts can bring as being vulnerable to human bias. By contrast, Trouble With the Curve tells the story of an old-fashioned baseball scout and tries to vindicate all of the experience scouting has compared to stats. Every suggestion made by the scout in Trouble With the Curve turns out to be correct.
- The Film of the Book of Twilight was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, at the time best known for her debut film Thirteen. Like Thirteen, Twilight is about a teenage girl raised by a single parent who becomes friends with an edgy classmate. Both films also star Nikki Reed, as the friend in question in Thirteen (which she also co-wrote) and as a member of the friend's family in Twilight. In Thirteen, Tracy Freeland's new friend Evie Zamora is a cool Fille Fatale who quickly becomes The Corrupter, leading Tracy down a path of sex, drugs, and petty crime until her mother Melanie finally grows a spine and gets her free from her toxic friend. In Twilight, Bella Swan's new boyfriend Edward Cullen, despite being a vampire, turns out to actually be a pretty stand-up guy beneath his brooding exterior, the story being a straightforward, idealized romance between the two in which Bella becoming a vampire herself in Breaking Dawn is presented as a good thing.
- Urban Cowboy is both this and a Spiritual Successor to Saturday Night Fever. Two dance films released three years apart starring John Travolta as a young working-class man who spends the nights expressing himself through his hometown's music scene, and which helped to popularize the respective genres of music featured on their soundtracks, but with aesthetics that are polar opposites. Saturday Night Fever was the film that defined disco in the popular imagination, with Travolta playing a disco dancer in New York City nightclubs. The plot was also a dark Unbuilt Trope example of the genre, in which the club is portrayed as Tony Manero's escape from an increasingly toxic life that he ultimately cannot outrun. Urban Cowboy, meanwhile, is set in Houston and is about Country Music, which sits on the opposite end of the spectrum from disco in terms of the values associated with it (i.e. down-home traditionalism instead of big-city glamour) and enjoyed a boom in its popularity as the anti-disco backlash set in during the early '80s. Its plot is also more optimistic, with Bud Davis ultimately making his marriage with Sissy work while the villain Wes gets sent to prison.
- Venom is this to The Mask. Both films are about unlucky guys who end up getting something (an ancient mask in Stanley Ipkiss' case, an alien symbiote in Eddie Brock's) that helps them get payback, but while The Mask is a Romantic Comedy film that revolves around Stanley and his alter ego The Mask causing harmless mayhem and having fun, Venom is a Black Comedy film that revolves around Eddie and the Venom symbiote causing trouble and even killing some people as well. In both films, they try to be with the women they love, but while Stanley gets the girl, Eddie does not, even if the Venom symbiote does intend to bring them both together. Additionally, the antagonist in The Mask has to steal the titular artifact, which means Stanley can only fight him when he doesn't possess it, eschewing a visually striking clash in favor of character development. Venom, on the other hand, has its antagonist gain his own symbiote, which leads to a spectacular battle between two empowered beings.
- Within the VHS series of found footage horror anthology films, V/H/S/2 and V/H/S/94 each have a segment set in Indonesia and directed by Timo Tjahjanto. In V/H/S/2, "Safe Haven" was a Religious Horror story about a film crew investigating an evil cult in which the menace is supernatural, while in V/H/S/94, "The Subject" is a Sci-Fi Body Horror story inspired by David Cronenberg about a Mad Scientist who subjects people to Unwilling Roboticisation.
- Steven Spielberg's 2005 adaptation of The War of the Worlds:
- It is this to Spielberg's own E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Both films focus on alien contact from the perspective of a working-class American family, one of them a 10-year old child. But while E.T. has an optimistic tone and features a friendly alien, War of the Worlds focuses on an invasion by aliens who want to exterminate humanity, and has a very bleak and cynical tone. While E.T. is told from the perspective of a child trying to protect his alien friend from the adults around him, War of the Worlds is told from an adult perspective, focusing on a father who is determined to protect his children from the aliens.
- It's also this to Independence Day, as described in this video by Lindsay Ellis. Both are stories about an Alien Invasion destroying American society, with War of the Worlds recycling a lot of Independence Day's visual shorthand, and Roland Emmerich, the director of Independence Day, explicitly cited H. G. Wells' original novel as an influence. However, the two films go for very different tones that reflect their respective pre-9/11 and post-9/11 origins. In Independence Day, the heroes make quips about kicking alien ass, the focus of the carnage is on Monumental Damage that is framed to look cool and exciting, the invasion brings the world together as one to fight the aliens off, and the film overall has a very strong America Saves the Day feel. War of the Worlds, on the other hand, drew on the 9/11 attacks four years prior for inspiration; the characters' reactions to the invasion range from panic to a desire for revenge, focus is placed on loss of human life that is played for horror (the only real landmark that gets blown up is a local one, the Bayonne Bridge), the invasion causes society to break down, and the aliens are defeated by terrestrial microbes after the military struggles to stop them.
- Madonna's film W.E. (2011) is one to The King's Speech. The latter is a loving tribute to George VI and his wife, and vilifies Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson; the former does exactly the opposite.
- The Wicker Man (1973) was made in sharp contrast to the Hammer Horror films that had ruled British horror cinema for fifteen years by then, with director Robin Hardy and writer Anthony Shaffer setting out to make a horror film that treated seriously the pagan religious traditions that, by that point, had become cliches in Hammer's films. Christopher Lee's villain was also radically different from the Dracula that he was best known as — instead of an immortal, aristocratic vampire who lives in a castle, Lord Summerisle is a human, pagan religious leader who lives in tune with nature.Hardy: "We had been aficionados of the Hammer films. They used all the old clichés of the witchcraft thing, holding up crosses, garlic — things the Catholic Church invented as propaganda against the still-surviving old religion that they had replaced. We thought it would be quite good to create a society where the actual Celtic religion informed everybody. We went for all the religious and quasi-religious things which informed the mythology of various nations going back, back, back."
- The 2005 documentary Without My Daughter was a direct answer to Not Without My Daughter. In it, the real Sayyed "Moody" Mahmoody, who Not Without My Daughter portrayed as an abusive husband who trapped his wife Betty in Iran, argues that Betty exploited anti-Iranian sentiment to make money and screw him out of the custody of their daughter.
- Oliver Stone's World Trade Center is this to his film JFK. At that point, the 9/11 attacks were already starting to displace the assassination of John F. Kennedy as the most notorious conspiracy theory subject matter in American society and popular culture, and given that the main dramatic thrust of JFK was to endorse the conspiracy theory around the assassination, critics expected the worst when they learned that Stone would be making a film about 9/11, namely that he would promote various crackpot ideas about who was really behind the attacks. Instead of a cynical Conspiracy Thriller, however, World Trade Center turned out to be a straightforward Based on a True Story Disaster Movie about a group of Port Authority police officers fighting for survival amidst the attacks, the focus placed on their heroism.
- Zwartboek to Soldaat van Oranje. Soldaat was a Dutch epic war film by Paul Verhoeven about the Dutch resistance bravely playing cat and mouse with the unscrupulous Nazi occupiers to achieve freedom. Zwartboek was Verhoeven's return to the subject matter of Soldaat after years in Hollywood with an uncannily similar premise and plot, except that the idealism levels are exactly nil. The Nazis are even more brutal, the Resistance are deeply corrupt and bigoted themselves, everyone turns on each other, and even the end of the war doesn't hamper the conflict. It's a very bitter foil to the freedom-fighting heroism of Soldaat.