Episode 66 - When Characters Don't Take the Shot

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Justin_Case001

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Hey.  Y'know what really grinds my gears?  When movie or tv characters don't take the opportunity to kill (or at least incapacitate) their opponent when they have it.  This goes for both good guys and bad guys.  This is such a common Hollywood trope.  It happens constantly.  They bad guy usually has the good guy at his mercy--good guy's on the ground, unarmed, bad guy has the gun pointed at him, and the bad guy then laughs for a bit, then possibly launches into a tirade about how's the best and there was no way the other guy could win or whatever the sh*t.  He just farts around for awhile until the good guy gets his chance to get back into the fight and turn the tables, then the shoe is on the other foot, and when the good guy's got the shot, what does he do?  Hesitates and shows mercy because he's the good guy.  :scoots:  And then what happens?  Bad guy kicks the gun out of his hand or whatever.  You f*cking idiot.  This trope was never worse than in Maze Runner: The Death Cure.  Now there was a promising franchise that went downhill.  :dry:

Now, just to be clear, I'm not talking about a scene like Luke vs Vader, a fight where neither one really wanted to kill the other, and each was hoping to bring the other to his side, or something like that.  And I'm also not talking about a character like Heath Ledger's joker, who clearly said that Batman was too much fun for him to kill.  I'm talking more about an action shoot 'em up type movie where the bad guy is just an evil maniac that wants nothing more than to see the good guy dead, and he has the shot, but just laughs and talks for awhile and throws it away.

This moment when one side has the advantage and they just piss it away by monologue-ing or something, it just kills movies for me.  It pulls me out of the story instantly and just makes me think: "You had 'em.  You f*cking had em.  Why didn't you just shoot?!  Why should I care what happens to you now??"  When characters throw away the chance to end the fight, it really makes me wonder why I should continue giving a f*ck.  If you're not gonna take the fight and threat seriously, then why should I take the story seriously?

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That bothers me in cartoons. I get that the show can't kill people, so they have to come up with some way for the villain to escape. But sometimes the bad guy is running away and the good guy says, "Let him go. We haven't seen the last of him." The worst was in Transformers Prime. Starscream had killed before. The Autobot (forget her name) had him captured and tied up and could have killed him. Instead, she unties him, they fight, she beats him again, and...lets him go. Fuck you, Autobots. I hope you lose.

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It doesn't bother me when the good character does it cuz you know they're the good one so of course. 

However, the bad character doing it does bother me for similar reasons. But also in terms of the story telling it bothers me alot! It turns the story, in alot of cases, into "the only reason the hero/protag./etc. survived was because the bad guy decided to talk for a bit." Kind of ruins a part of the narrative. 

However, I do wanna offer a counterpoint the bad person/antagonist not only wants to win, but they also want to crush the hero/protag. They so to speak "get off" on their "rival/enemy" being put in their place, being defenseless; therefore, killing their enemy, as in the main enemy, not just some scrub, has to feel ceremonious or something. Their main enemy that they've been battling over the course of some time and it's over, like I'm sure that would fill the villain with evil joy that they can't help but cherish the moment. Of course, this depends on the character but yea. For example, if Michael Myers started laughing or gloating before he kills the final character that would be fucking weird considering that he just kills everyone else without hesitation.

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Yeah, I can understand a good character not wanting to kill the bad guy because "he won't stoop that low" and the bad guy deserves to be tried and punished according to the law.

But a bad guy, who probably killed many people, not wanting to kill the good guy is annoying. Also annoying is that if the bad guy decides to kill the good guy, he uses some elaborate method (that allows the good guy to escape) and does not even watch to make sure. Just grab a gun and shoot him multiple times until you are 100% sure he's dead.

The only argument against just shooting the good guy I can accept is that if the bad guy has a personal reason (as in the good guy did something to the bad guy before, instead of being just a random cop etc) to kill the good guy and wants to torture him for a while before killing him. This does not excuse not watching the process and having a gun just in case though (as I would expect the bad guy wanting to watch his enemy getting slowly tortured to death).

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On 10/17/2020 at 10:03 AM, SpookyBrony42 said:

The worst was in Transformers Prime.

Yeah, that sounds bad, but I can top it.  I forgot about this one when I wrote my main post.  I read a book series called The Balanced Sword Trilogy by Ryke Spoor.  Decent series, but hands down the worst ending to any story I've ever seen, of any kind, period.  I'm just gonna go ahead and spoil the whole thing for you since it's sucks balls anyway.  Fantasy story, sword and sorcery.  Pretty basic stuff, but decent.  The protagonists are battling this ancient evil god type villain named Virigar.  The cool thing about this story is that Virigar actually pulled off the absolute best long-con/deception I've ever seen in a story.  He was a shapeshifter, and masqueraded as other beings and basically orchestrated the actions of the good guys from behind the scenes for three books.  He was an ultimate badass.  So, the good guys finally get him in the climax, the defeat him in battle, and he runs away.  Now, keep in mind that Virigar is hundreds of thousands of years old, and an existential threat to all sentient life.  So, the heroes found a way to completely overpower him, and could have easily chased and killed him, but they literally just let him go, quite literally just saying, "I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him.  We'll face him again someday, but not today."  Then the book just ends and you never hear of Virigar again.  That was the end of whole series, and Ryke Spoor apparently had no intention of continuing the story.  Worst f*cking ending, ever.

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I love it in horror movies when they just push the killer down and run away, maybe hit him moderately hard. Yeah, STANDING UP is gonna cost him seconds! That's really going to make all the difference!

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