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Took A Level In Badass / Animated Films

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They really made a man out of you, Mulan.

  • Bambi goes from an curious but helpless Momma's Boy to the badass Prince of the Forest. The midquel shows the level up process in broader detail under the Great Prince's care, while he was still in his cute little fawn age no less.
  • Big Hero 6. Start with a group of highly gifted but awkward nerds who make clever gadgets. In their first real fight, they are quickly beaten. But, by the end of the movie, their teamwork is amazing and, working together, they defeat the Big Bad.
  • Gru from Despicable Me. He goes from Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain to Papa Wolf with a Bald of Awesome who punches out a shark and dodges a Macross Missile Massacre.
  • In Flushed Away, Roddy starts out as a pampered pet rat who is frightened and repulsed by the sewer world when he first arrives there. By the end of the movie, he is a lot more relaxed and confident, stands up to the Fat Bastard who flushed him, puts a stop to The Toad's plan, and saves the rats living in the sewer.
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  • In Frozen, Elsa has a pretty good control of her powers as a child, but after an accident, the trolls warn of the possibility a Burn the Witch! response if she doesn't learn control, leading her parents to believe it will be best for her to conceal her powers and Elsa repressing them for years. When she finally lets go again, she ends up - not just accidentally, but to her complete surprise - freezing the entire kingdom and creating sentient life.'
  • In Help! I'm a Fish, Chuck starts out as Fly and Stella’s nerdy cousin, being much more pessimistic about ever becoming human again compared to them. However, after Fly is severely injured, he takes charge by busting back into the lab and single-handedly fighting off the piranhas trying to stop them.
  • In Home, after Tip convinces him that risks can pay off, Oh loses his cowardly streak and becomes the savior of his own people and the humans.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Hiccup starts as a weak workshop assistant, and levels up until he's an aerial combat tactician able to take on a dragon the size of a skyscraper and win.
    • In the TV series, he learns to be a more effective and assertive leader.
    • In the second movie, Hiccup not only creates a new fly suit, he also carries a flame inducing sword. Not only that, his way of communicating to dragons has improved tremendously — case in point, it presumably took Hiccup a few weeks to gain Toothless's trust, now Hiccup managed to win the affection of 10+ dragons in only a few minutes.
  • Po from Kung Fu Panda takes a level in each film:
    • The first film's plot revolves around this — learning kung fu in order to be ready when Tai Lung attacks.
    • In the sequel, although his fighting skills are still far from flawless, he kicks much more butt. Plus, he achieves Inner Peace.
    • The third film has him learn how to produce chi and he takes over Master Oogway's job as the Big Good and leader of Kung Fu.
  • The LEGO Movie: Emmet starts out as a Pinball Protagonist whose only independent idea was a double-decker couch. By the end of the film, he builds a Humongous Mecha in about 5 seconds flat to stop Lord Business' army of Micromanagers.
  • Simba from The Lion King (1994) goes from a feisty young cub to the savior of the Pridelands, though it does take a Bright Slap from Rafiki and a pep-talk from his ghost dad to get him out of his Heroic BSoD.
  • Megamind: Megamind was a half-joke in the beginning of the movie: a super villain who always loses, can't even impress his lady hostage with his instruments of doom anymore, and isn't really evil so much as really enjoying the endless game of being the villain to an invincible hero like Metroman. But look at him in the final battle! He's not completely different — even during the battle he's hilarious — but he pulls off some really cool moves, especially for the climax of the movie.
  • In Mulan, the "I'll Make a Man Out of You" sequence is a perfect example of this happening to an entire army, turning rowdy recruits into polished soldiers through their training.
  • In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, SpongeBob and his friends come out of the sea and fight against Burger-Beard by becoming superheroes.
  • Strange Magic: Marianne starts out a Princess Classic, running away screaming from the goblins and barely able to hold a sword steady. After seeing her fiancee with another woman, she becomes a Warrior Princess who'd prefer to practice sword-fighting blindfolded than to dance. She gets good enough to single-handily break into the Bog King's lair and fight him to a standstill.
  • In Tangled, Rapunzel starts out as a sweet but incredibly naïve girl who lives in fear of breaking her darling "mother's" rules. At the end of the movie, when she confronts Mother Gothel about kidnapping her as a baby, Rapunzel stands up for herself and coldly says that Mother Gothel will never take advantage of her again, shoving Gothel away when she tries to rein Rapunzel in. And when Gothel stabs Flynn and tries to kidnap Rapunzel away again, Rapunzel puts up a huge resistance, saying that she will never stop trying to escape unless Gothel lets her heal Flynn.
  • Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse starts the movie as an awkward teen in way over his head, and spends most of the first two acts of the movie running away from the bad guys while his powers go out of control. By the third act, he's got his powers under control and manages to defeat Kingpin in a one-on-one fight, finally embracing his role as the new Spider-Man.
  • Up:
    • Carl Fredericksen is a grumpy 78-year-old man who is completely obsessed with his house, which he considers the last remnant of his late wife, who he feels he "betrayed". He even goes as far as letting the Big Bad capture a rare bird he earlier swore to protect to save the same house (and gets a "What the Hell, Hero?"). But when he realizes that at last that the house is nothing but a house, that his memories are what's keeping his wife alive within him, and that he never "betrayed" her, he immediately goes from selfish Jerkass to happy and brave old man, recovers the energy and strength of his youth, and sacrifices the remnants of his house to be able to go and save the bird. Never underestimate The Power of Love!
    • Russell also starts out as an annoying, hopeless Load, and then finds a way to save Kevin, escape from being tied in a chair, and take on three dogs in biplanes shooting darts at him, while he's hanging onto a hose attached to the house.


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