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The original The Mask comic series has the following tropes:

  • Acceptable Targets: Almost every version of Big Head targets bad guys as their sense of justice allow. Obviously the slaughtering goes Up to Eleven thanks to the Mask's influence.
  • Awesome Ego: Various of the incarnations of the Big Head have this.
  • Crazy Awesome: Big Head, of course.
  • Creepy Awesome: Walter, who even gained his own Spin-Off series and appeared as a character in the animated series.
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  • Designated Hero: Lt. Kellaway.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: If you find the Mask, DO NOT PUT IT ON.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Lt. Kellaway and Walter.
  • Evil Is Cool: Subverted when a group of teenagers get hold of the Mask and use it to become rockstars or superheroes. The Mask overrides their free will, leading to all the teens agreeing that it's more trouble than it's worth.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Stanley taking his killing spree to an elementary school becomes even more horrifying after the series of school shootings that happened in the near-30 years since publication.
  • I Am Not Shazam: "The Mask" is the title of the book. Anyone who wears the mask itself is always referred to as "Big Head".
  • Magnificent Bastard: Big Head, no matter which incarnation is.
  • Nausea Fuel: A lot of Big Head's kills are this. The poor sod who had his skull replaced with a muffler is a particularly squeamish one.
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  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Especially compared to the film and the cartoon. Averted with Itty Bitty Mask which was made for children on purpose.
  • The Woobie: Ray Tuttle and his daughter Emily. Ray's wife was killed and his hands were irreparably damaged in an industrialised accident. Emily was left mute from shock and is treated like a freak by the kids at school.

The movie adaptation of The Mask has the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Displacement: All adaptions since have at least used some inspiration from this film, despite the comics being very different.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Lt. Kellaway while an officer of the law, was he really the tough and no-nonsense authority figure that deep down inside had a sort of warmth to him like he was meant to be, or just something of an overall Jerkass who used his position of authority rudely and condescendingly. Sure he may have been on the right track when hunting down the one who robbed the bank doing his job, but considering his overall antagonizing, slightly condescending, mildly and openly rudely insulting attitude (particularly the one he displayed toward Stanley), some (or few) may not have found him to be all that sympathetic. Although it's possible this was intentional to make Stanley more sympathetic.
  • Awesome Music: "Hey, Pachuco! HEY!" Also "Cuban Pete." Observe.
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    • "Hey Pachuco" is so awesome, that it was reworked as the opening theme for the Animated Series. Rob Paulson, who plays Stanley/The Mask in the cartoon, also uses it as his intro music for his "Talkin' Toons" podcast.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Cuban Pete." A dance number in the style of a Spanish flamenco dance with Stanley using the Mask's powers to start a full-scale song and dance number. Afterwards, Stanley escapes the police, and never mentions it again. Although, Kellaway and Doyle are heard grousing about it later as they're leaving the station (and before Stanley gets dumped in front of them by Dorian's henchmen).
  • Crazy Awesome: This is basically the entire point of The Mask's character. His reaction to being stared down by a massive amount of cops is to start singing and dancing.
  • Designated Villain: Lt. Kellaway is a Jerkass cop that ends up being humiliated at every turn and is chewed out by the mayor at the end. We're supposed to laugh but in reality, the guy was trying to arrest a bank robber. He's a Hero Antagonist in the comics, where he tries to stop the users of the mask from causing destruction and death at any cost.
    • It should be noted that while he's technically an officer of the law, the film version of Kellaway is still overly antagonistic and surprisingly incompetent. A good example would be when Dorian's men literally throw Stanley at him and he doesn't question the suspicious circumstances behind this at all.
  • Ear Worm: "They call me Cuban Pete, I'm the king of the Rumba beat."
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Milo, Milo, MILO.
  • Fanfic Fuel: The very concept of the Mask invites one to speculate who could find it, what they would become if they put it on, and what they would do with the power. Imagine if the Mask washed onto the shore of another television show, or your favorite cartoon, or another comic character's hometown...
  • First Installment Wins: The movie was considered a comedy classic compared to its sanitized stand-alone sequel.
  • Friendly Fandoms: For some reason, the internet is fond of depicting Lisa Loud wearing The Mask.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: When Stanley/The Mask is getting arrested in the park, he remarks "Where's a camcorder when you need when one" in a joking matter when some police officers grab him rather roughly. Now with the rise of Police Brutality, that joke isn't so funny anymore.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: During the climax, Ipkiss hands a gun to Charlie to help the hostages escape. Richard Jeni who played Charlie shot himself 13 years later.
  • He Really Can Act: Bizarrely enough, the dog! His comic takes are uncannily human, especially the way he pauses when prison guard stirs as Milo is stealing his keys.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Ben Stein, a noted Creationist and Biblical literalist, tells Stanley "It's mythology" and reminds him that his book is metaphorical, not literal.
    • In the Oscar Bait scene, The Mask references A Christmas Carol (among other things). Fifteen years later, Jim Carrey starred in A Christmas Carol.
    • In this movie, Jim Carrey wears a green mask, years later, he'd do it again for How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
    • An adorkable protagonist wears something that makes him act wild, culminating in a dance number. Also included is a love interest who sings and a love rival who turns into a monster when he wears said item. Spiderman 3 would run with this exact same plot.
  • Idiot Plot: The Mask repeatedly performs clearly superhuman feats in front of numerous eyewitnesses, and even gets caught on camera moving at superhuman speeds once. Despite this, it takes half the movie before it occurs to anyone other than Stanley that The Mask might not be a normal human, and nobody ever considers that his powers might allow him to become Immune to Bullets or escape from handcuffs. This even includes people who are currently watching him flagrantly defy the laws of physics.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN'!
    • Ooh, somebody stop me!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Dorian crosses it by trying to blow out the Coco Bongo Club along with Tina and rest of the guests.
  • Sequelitis: The Mask is fondly remembered as a great piece of 1990s pop culture. The sequel, Son of the Mask, was universally panned by critics and audiences alike, and won a Golden Raspberry Award.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Jim Carrey's cover of "Cuban Pete" used in the film varies the tune slightly from the original.
  • Trailer Joke Decay: The trailer featured most of the crowning moments of funny of the movie, so those who saw the trailer first were left unsatisfied by the end of the movie.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The effects of The Mask still hold up to this day. It's helps that they aren't spectacle so much as necessity, as a live-action movie about a man turning into a living cartoon character can't really be done without these kind of computer graphics.
  • What an Idiot!: Tina getting captured by Dorian's men wouldn't seem so bad if it didn't occur right outside the freaking police station! Why she didn't just turn around and head back in is anyone's guess.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The film certainly has as Saturday-morning cartoon feel, but given it's inclusion of not-so-subtle adult humor and a rather crass toilet gag, it's not hard to see why it was given a PG-13 rating. It also aired on Cartoon Network.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Not including deleted scenes, Dorian Mask only gets one real use out of his powers. Fortunately the character is so intimidating, you might not notice.
  • The Woobie: Stanley. There are several times in this movie where you just wanna give the poor guy a hug.

The Saturday morning cartoon version of The Mask has the following tropes:

  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Literally in "Flight as a Feather," with the one-time appearance of the Mayor's ex-girlfriend Cookie BaBoom (who is a strip — er, exotic dancer). You know there's a plot about a Swedish karaoke contest and the Mask losing his feather and running through the city to get it, but once you see that entire sequence with Cookie, you'll forget about that right quick.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Flight as a Feather" was a weird, envelope-pushing episode (and that's saying something, given the rest of the lot). It didn't have Stanley in it at all, The Mask actually has an excuse to cause trouble (Mrs. Peenman barking at him to keep quiet and everything he did to try and retrieve his feather), there was no villain out to destroy the city (like Pretorious) — unless you count Cookie trying to assassinate the Mayor, and the Cookie BaBoom sequence felt more at home on a show that carried a TV-PG rating (which is why FOX Family and CBS never aired this episode).
  • Canon Defilement: A rather odd official example- Lionel was completely ignored for the film and cartoon. Instead, they gave the role of Lt. Kellaway's partner to Doyle, a character so completely different it's not even safe to say he's based on Lionel.
  • Foe Yay: In "Bride of Pretorius," Pretorius shows a disturbing admiration for the Mask's abilities, even telling him "If you were a woman, I'd marry you." This squicks The Mask out about as much as it does the audience.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Everything about Cookie BaBoom's assassination plot in "Flight as a Feather" stops being funny due to 9/11, the Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction fiasco in 2004 (well Cookie's Shameful Strip is still a little funny even after that), the Bill Clinton - Monica Lewinsky scandal (though the idea of a corrupt city politician having an affair with a woman who has a job in the sex entertainment biz is more reminiscent of Eliot Spitzer, which wouldn't happen until the late 2000s). and an incident in which a man named Brian Wells robbed a bank with a bomb strapped to his neck (not as outrageous as a suicide belt bikini, but the principle's the same) and died when it detonated. To put it in simple terms: There's no way in Hell a sequence like that would even be considered suitable to air on anything that's not PG-rated (at least in America), as America has gotten more squeamish over content on TV between the 1990s and the 21st century (especially if it's sexual and/or is considered "in bad taste" due to a recent tragedy).
    • The beginning of "Counterfeit Mask" where the Banana Republic Liberation Army freedom fighters hijack a plane. The whole thing turns out to be a dream, thankfully, which is more than what anyone can say about 9/11.
      • And after that dream sequence we get a scene where a Jerkass security guard doesn't bother to look at Stanley's luggage (which was switched with one containing counterfeit money. Imagine if it was a bomb...) because "a wimp like you couldn't sneak a peanut past a sleeping baby". And when Stanley insists he gets his bags checked he gets thrown out. These days, with airport security tight as ever, this would be hideously illegal and would cost a TSA agent his job.
    • Don't forget Kablamus- if you ignore the fact he survives each "pop", his superpower is that he's a suicide bomber. It's unlikely this character would be approved of for a modern series, either.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The episode "Broadway Malady" centers on a disastrous musical made from the "Mad Monkey" movie series, much like the Spider-Man musical would years later.
    • The beginning of the episode, "Future Mask," has The Mask playing on a mini-golf course. The prop on the seventh hole can easily be mistaken these days as a character on the [adult swim] cartoon, Squidbillies.
    • The episode "Santa Mask" centers around The Mask dressing up as Santa Claus in order to save Christmas. 5 years after that episode aired, there would be another green-faced Jim Carrey character dressing up like Santa to do the exact opposite.
    • In "Bride Of Pretorius" when Stanley's timid date Eve accidentally dons the mask, it turns her into a wild woman who's absolutely crazy about him. He briefly considers letting her stay that way, until he talks himself out of it, questioning what their kids would look like. Funny he should ask.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The first season opening theme owes its melody and style to "Hey Pachuco" from the movie adaptation. Two other openings (one used in American syndication and the other used for season three and international airings of season two) don't sound like "Hey Pachuco" at all.
  • The Woobie: Stanley yet again, due to him becoming an even bigger Butt-Monkey than he was in the movie. The poor guy just can't catch a break... to make matters worse, the one time he did start to act confident and began to see a better personal life for it, it completely eradicated his repressed side and the mask no longer worked when he tried to use it- meaning Edge City lost its only means of defense against a new supervillain that was attacking the city. Stanley has to remain a meek, repressed man for the city to have a superhero.
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