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YMMV / V for Vendetta

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The comic:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Whether V is really a hero or just a lunatic who would rather screw over the world than be controlled by his government. Alan Moore readily encourages readers to come up with their own interpretation of V. A common complaint about the movie is that it lacks the ambiguity of the original.
  • Crazy Awesome: V is a Knife Nut who speaks philosophically, manages to make the populace of England revolt, hides out in an underground base full of lost cultural items, and wears a Guy Fawkes mask with intentions of making it the face of a revolution.
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  • Draco in Leather Pants: Yes V is the protagonist but that doesn't really make him a good person. The comic makes very clear that V is almost as capable of bastardry as the Dictatorship, even if he has much better intentions.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The opening Voice of Fate broadcast exhorts the citizenry to "make Britain great again," which you'd swear was an intentional dig at Donald Trump despite predating the slogan by decades. In fact it's a dig at Ronald Reagan's slogan in his 1980 presidential campaign, "Make America Great", which Donald Trump...adopted, with a minor and fairly inevitable alteration, for his 2016 campaign.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The titular "V" is a masked revolutionary dedicating to crafting "The Land of Do-As-You-Please" from the fascist hellhole Britain has become. Destroying Parliament, V later seizes control of the broadcasting center of London to inform the country of his intentions and escapes by having the station head dressed up as him and used as a decoy. Slowly eliminating all of those at the Larkhill Concentration Camp who could have identified him, V is revealed to be manipulating almost everyone else, hacking into Britain's dictator, Adam Susan's supercomputer and guiding a widow of a man he'd killed to eliminate Susan. V proceeds to force Evey Hamilton into being his successor by forcing her to accept her true self under torture, and later even works his own death into his plans to convince Evey to become his successor and tear down the established order.
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  • Misaimed Fandom: The Guy Fawkes mask has become a symbol on the internet for libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, despite both V and Alan Moore following more traditional, anti-capitalist schools of Anarchism.
  • Narm:
    • The government leader and blatant Hitler expy is named Adam Susan. Heil Susan! Changing it to "Sutler" in the film seems overwrought, as now the reference is way too obvious, but at least it actually sounds menacing. Likely intentional, as Susan himself is not a very impressive person.note 
    • Adam Susan's punishment from V, namely, being driven insane by orchestrated romance with a supercomputer, can definitely fall under this since, while played for horror rather than laughs, it bears an unfortunate surface resemblance to Plankton and Karen's relationship.
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  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Line Art: It was originally released in black and white, and then recolored by a different person. With watercolors. In quasi-impressionistic colors. Without paying attention to the lines.
  • Values Resonance: The comic raises question of how much violence is acceptable to combat fascism, which has become a hot button issue in The New ’10s. Moore himself has stated that he was inspired to write the comic by his experiences as a member of British antifa groups at the time.
  • The Woobie: Rosemary. A gentle, faithful but abused Housewife suffering at the hands of her ungrateful husband that politics have turned into a total asshole. It's heavily implied that either her or Derek is barren and they couldn't conceive. Seeing her falling to the bottom of society after Derek's death, suffering humiliation after humiliation to the point of being obligated to endure a life as a showgirl certainly evokes compassion. Especially when she's pushed so far over the edge that she eventually snaps and kills Susan herself.

The movie:

  • Anvilicious: A criticism of the movie is that it is heavy handed with it's almost Black and White Morality.
  • Award Snub: Hugo Weaving's amazing performance as V went unnoticed at award shows.
  • Broken Base:
    • Changing the villain's name from 'Susan' to 'Sutler'. Fans of the original comic feel it's Anvilicious, as the new name sounds too much like 'Hitler'. The other side argues that the new name is less heavy-handed if one doesn't know it was changed from 'Susan', and a villain named Susan could have caused Narm when said out loud.
    • Natalie Portman's English accent. Some found it atrocious and unbelievable. Others felt it was a decent effort.
  • Cant Un Hear It: Hugo Weaving as V. That is all.
  • Complete Monster: The Norsefire Party's High Chancellor Adam Sutler and Party Leader Peter Creedy are the sinister duo behind the Three Waters incident, leaving tens of thousands dead and allowing for their fascist regime to take over. Interning identity groups the bigoted dictatorship disapproved of, they saw Muslims, homosexuals and political dissidents imprisoned and killed while Creedy's "Fingermen" ran rampant, allowed to murder those disobeying laws and raping women as they saw fit. Sadistic and petty, Sutler and Creedy greedily take any measure they can to maintain power, with Creedy's avarice even leading him to kill Sutler to try and take power himself.
  • Crazy Awesome: V, as in the comic. Doubly so, in fact, in the film, thanks to his introduction.
  • Critical Research Failure: The Norsefire use the symbol of Cross of Lorraine. However the most famous use of the symbol is by the free French forces and the French resistance. Given those groups' extremely heavy anti-fascist leanings and the simple fact that its traditionally a symbol associated with France makes it a bizarre choice for a bunch of British hyper nationalistic fascists.
  • Cry for the Devil: V for some. He is shown to be a terrorist and murderer, but the film also explores his Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Director Displacement: The film was actually directed by James McTeigue (in his directorial debut) rather than the Wachowskis, though the latter did write and produce the film, and by all indications were very much in creative control throughout production.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: One of the first actions of open rebellion and anarchy by the citizens against the Norsefire government is when a Norsefire officer kills a little girl for making a spraypainting of V on a Norsefire Propaganda sign. On August 7th, 2011, London started suffering from a continuous riot by the population over a police officer shooting someone during a dispute.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Rupert Graves and Eddie Marsan play officials within the Norsefire security forces. Both of them would play Inspector Lestrade in different adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. Especially considering Graves' character is something of The Watson.
  • Jerkass Woobie: V isn't a very nice person but it's hard to blame him given his backstory and the setting he resides in.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Like you wouldn't believe. From a single Epic Fail Guy comic to the face of worldwide protests. Today, V is the face of Anonymous. Along with the now-famous "V" speech. Evidently, Moore is actually quite proud of this fact, but is a little annoyed that it was sparked not so much by his comic as by "the rubbish movie".
    • "Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea... and ideas are bulletproof."
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Meta-example, as it did this to Guy Fawkes. It's true that Fawkes entered Parliament with honest intentions, but few actually know what those intentions were. He wasn't trying to take down an authoritarian government, but instill a different one (indeed, since the Catholic church strongly believed in the divine right of kings, Guy Fawkes's co-conspirators would most likely have abolished the power parliament had claimed from the crown). He wanted England to move from the Church of England, which was oppressing to the Catholic Church, back to the Catholic Church (which would then have oppressed the Church of England). The history of Catholic oppression in England is still a contentious issue to this day, however, with a lot of Historical Villain Upgrade and Historical Hero Upgrade which should be treated with Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.
    • The movie has spread the misconception that November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day, honors Guy Fawkes, the plucky rebel, instead of celebrating the fact that England narrowly averted a terrorist attack on the capital. It's like thinking September 11th honors Osama Bin Laden. Adding to this, Fawkes wasn't the mastermind, he was The Heavy of the operation and a somewhat incompetent version of that to boot. One of the reasons he was sent to be the triggerman was because he was deemed relatively expendable to the more important conspirators. One guesses "Robert Catesby Mask" doesn't have the same ring to it....
    • V. Though the film does play the hero angle a bit more straightforward than the comic book, it's still made very clear in the film that V is a terrorist who took his likings of Fawkes' philosophy too far.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: V's vengeance-fueled roar while standing in the burning ruins of Larkhill Prison just sounds so epic. It could have been ridiculous but instead it's pure awesome.
  • Movement Mascot: V is something of a half example. His mask has certainly become an icon for a wide variety of social movements (and even Anonymous identifies with it) but it's typically labeled as a "Guy Fawkes mask." While this is technically true, V for Vendetta codified the look of the Guy Fawkes mask. Full V cosplays are rather rare at protest, but not unheard of.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The general who orders his men to stand down rather than open fire to avoid a massacre.
    • The robber who shouts "Anarchy in the UK!", because of course they just can't let that line away.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • Rooting for the Empire: Happens to V himself, thanks to being portrayed as a saint in comparison to the Norsefire government.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Valerie's story drops the anvil hard on homophobia in an unsubtle way - but it's easily the biggest Tear Jerker in the film.
  • The Woobie: Valerie, a young woman who is first disowned by her own parents for coming out as a lesbian. Then later on in life finds her first true love, only to have the world around them turn to fascism and hatred, and loses her loved one who is arrested in a scary, sadistic prison. She is also arrested shortly after and sent to the same prison, where she to is dehumanized to the extreme, with only used toilet paper to write her memoirs on, shortly before dying, and being thrown in a ditch.
  • Values Dissonance: While Sutler's persecution of homosexuals is meant to be seen as horrific and unacceptable, it's a bit harder to accept several years on from when the film came out. The early 2000s saw gay rights improving a little but society was still relatively intolerant towards them (most media from the 90s and 2000s saw nothing wrong with casual homophobia). The New ’10s saw acceptance of LGBT people gaining a massive amount of traction, making Sutler's pursuit of them a little harder to believe - at least that society would readily accept such a thing (in the backstory it's shown that his forces gradually took over by making small adjustments to the country). The movie shows itself as having been made in a time where the idea of making homosexuality illegal would seem more plausible.
  • What an Idiot!: Gordon's little stunt where he mocks Chancellor Sutler in a comedy sketch. This was a grave miscalculation on his part, and he really should have realized that mocking the most powerful man in the country when there is a terrorist loose causing some high tensions may not be the best idea.


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