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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.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The Hunt for Green October: Axel is a Neo-Nazi gang leader who hunts for the Mask to have the world ruled by the "Master Race", slaughtering an Amazonian tribe in an attempt to retrieve it. Tipped off that the Mask is in America, Axel retrieves weapons from an Arms Dealer only to have the man brutally killed, and later tortures two men and threatens the 10-year-old daughter of one to force them to give him the Mask. When the daughter turns out to be the Mask holder, Axel has no compunction trying to kill her, and when beaten, blows himself up to take everyone with him, including his own men.
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    • Southern Discomfort: Former Haitian general and war criminal, Papa Croc, and the Voodoo-practitioner hitman Ogoun, are the joint rulers of a brutal criminal empire, using their magic to violently keep their underlings in check. Kidnapping young women to steal their souls with Voodoo, the duo use the women as slaves before having them killed off in Snuff Films to finance their operation, and magically kill a detective hired to trail them painfully. When the woman's brother confronts them, Ogoun uses Voodoo to sadistically torture him with fatal injuries, enjoying it as the Mask keeps him alive through the torment.
  • 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.
  • Designated Hero: Lt. Kellaway.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: If you find the Mask, DO NOT PUT IT ON.
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  • 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.
  • Fridge Logic: "The Mask" can produce literally anything from Hammerspace. Why does he need money?
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • The Woobie: Ray Tuttle and his daughter Emily from “The Hunt for Green October”. 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.
    • "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).
  • Complete Monster: In the Official Movie Adaptation comic, Dorian Tyrell is a ruthless gangster who's planning to betray his boss "the Swede" and Take Over the City in his place. After the Mask foiled his bank heist, Dorian becomes determined to take revenge on him and steal his Mask for himself. When the reporter Peggy Brandt helps him obtain the Mask, Dorian repays her by brutally hurling her into a printing press, while cracking jokes about her death. With the powers of the Mask in his possession, Dorian attempts to blow up his boss's club with many hostages in it, including his kidnapped girlfriend Tina Carlyle. Lacking the few redeeming qualities of his movie counterpart, Dorian stands out as a surprisingly threatening villain in an otherwise comedic story.
  • 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.
  • 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 and Corruption, everyone is being advised to record their encounters with cops.
  • 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.
    • When Freeze is dying from being shot by the cops, Tyrell offers him a smoke. 24 years after the movie's release, Reg E. Cathey died from lung cancer.
  • 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. Spider-Man 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. While it's understandable that people might not want to readily accept an outright supernatural explanation for the Mask's powers, you'd think they might at least make some attempt to figure out how his tricks work before trying to attack him. This may be somewhat justified in that while Stanley had the mask, he was using it to make everything like a silly golden age cartoon. In the movie, the mask can affect reality beyond its user, which means that while Stanley had the mask, the world became like a cartoon with everyone becoming part of the act. Notably, it's only when Dorian takes the mask that people are legitimately terrified of what the mask and its user can do.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Ooh, somebody stop me!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Dorian crosses it by trying to blow up 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.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: After getting his powers for the first time, Stanley realizes he could become a superhero and help other people. Instead, he ends up acting like a jackass for the whole movie, getting petty revenge on people and screwing around with the cops and gangsters, only committing a heroic at near the film's end. Thankfully, the idea of The Mask becoming a superhero is used in the animated series.
  • 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.
  • 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 its 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.
  • 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:

  • Awesome Music: The intro.
  • 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 later, 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 Evelyn accidentally dons the mask, it turns her into Eve, 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.
      • Speaking of Son of the Mask, "Baby's Wild Ride" dealt with a baby putting on the Mask and the expected chaos that ensues. "Son of the Mask" has a similar premise but with the baby's Mask powers being internalized rather than the result of putting the Mask on.
    • "Sister Mask" wasn’t the first time we saw a character played by Tim Curry turn into a giant spider.
    • The episode “All Hail The Mask” consisted of The Mask being confused for a god by islanders, only to have the island’s power-hungry Witch Doctor try to expose him as a fake. Sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it?
  • Jerkass Woobie: Even though he’s a Bad Boss and sometimes an even worse friend to Stanley in the series, Charlie has this moment in the Adventures of The Mask comic, “How The Mask Stole Christmas”. Especially when you find out the reason why he hates the holiday; his mom died on Christmas Day when he was only 9 years old, and the Christmas after that, his dad left home, and Charlie hadn’t seen him since.
  • 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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