1. SUPER SUITS GETTING DESTROYED IN THE FINAL BATTLE
This is one that´s been bothering me for years. And any piece from the outfit removed counts, no matter if it´s a helmet or having openings on the suit so wide that make the super hero hope he was naked. Yes, one can argue a suit will be torn off while an intense fight is going on. My only problem is, the costumes in almost all super hero films seem to be kind enough to wait to be destroyed UNTIL the final battle, no matter how much they´ve been through before, seemingly intending to make the scene more intense. Want to find out for yourself? Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, X-Men: First Class, The Punisher, Punisher: War Zone, Daredevil (2003), Green Lantern, Batman Returns, and, I´m sure, many more to come. Take Spider-Man 2 for example: The guy fights Doc Ock, a maniac with metal prosthesis attached to his back, who throws him againts train windows and mercilessly beats him, yet all Spidey gets are a few scratches on his suit and a medium-rare mask, but then the final battle comes, and with the rags Spidey is left, he would´ve been better off going topless.
2. HERO´S LOVE INTEREST IN PERIL
Ah, this cliché´s been around since, well, since someone thought about bringing an individual with some sort of disguise to the big screen close to 70 years ago. The thing is that it keeps going. I understand there´s a need to raise the stakes in comic book films for a hero/heroine, but why is the answer always their love interests? For me, it blew up when I realized the main reason Spider-Man beat any of his villains in the original trilogy was a kidnapped Mary Jane... and then I saw Lois Lane, and then Lana Lang, and then Vicki Vale, Rachel Dawes, Carol Ferris, Iris West, Pepper Potts, Betty Ross, Roxanne Simpson, Felicity Smoak, Mckenna Hall and (I´m using a cheap advertising phrase here) many, many more.
3. THE SUPER HERO IS SHOWN EITHER DRUNK OR TRYING TO BE
As far as super hero clichés, this is one of the most problematic. We hear about many complaints in the entertainment media, from changing a character´s race to taking down a cartoon for months because of children suffering seizures, but it´s incredibly rare, and I mean this, for me to hear about someone complaining about almost every super hero movie containing the titular or auxiliary characters "insert title from this cliché here". And the worst part is these scenes are played out as funny propellers for the film/show. From Tony Stark getting completely drunk and having sex with a reporter, getting drunk again in the second one and urinating in his suit... or the third one where he gets drunk again and has sex with a scientist, Thor getting (you guessed it!) and getting into a bar fight, Superman getting drunk and melting a mirror, Clark Kent getting extra magic juice in Smallville, The Flash, Captain America: The First Avenger, to countless others that shall remain off this list due to redundancy, but I trust you understand we could go on and on. Now, I want you to realize I´m not talking about instances where the character has an alcohol addiction and it´s shown as a problem, but when they´re shown to be fundamental to have a good time or to forget (Have fun explaining this to your kids).
4. VILLAIN DIES AT THE END
In comic books, the super heroes have what is known as a "Rogues Gallery", comprised of villains that no matter how much they´re locked away, always come back with a bigger (not always better) plan. In the film world, however, our heroes are smarter and know that putting the bastards down for good is the only way to be safe. You think Lex Luthor´s henchmen died by stupidly trying to outrun the giant peak´s length in Superman Returns? Of course not! Superman used his x-ray vision and tilted the rock; he may have been thinking "Hey, if I´m going down, I ain´t going alone." And yeah, sure, we´ll buy into Harvey Dent dying by an accidental fall... we all know Bats wasn´t over the fact Rachel chose Scar face over him. Unfortunately, lately we´ve been getting more blatant demonstrations from our heroes, such as Tony Stark showing his sadism getting a crispy Obadiah Stane via lightning, Batman jumping out of a train smiling while the demon´s hair was going down with it, Hulk killing his own father by giving him extreme PTSD (or whatever that weird cloud was), Flash dodging a guy so he could jump to his death, Batman mocking the other Two-Face´s poverty and throwing coins at him all so he could be amused by watching the guy fall to his death out of desperation... all joking aside though, let´s have a minute of silence for the fallen villains over the years: Zod ´80, Reboot Zod, Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Harry Osborn, Venom, Hector Hammond, Parallax, Joker ´89, Penguin, Two-Face ´95, Aldrich Killian, Obadiah Stane, Ivan Vanko, Malekith, Ra´s Al Ghul, Two Face ´08, Bane, Alexander Pierce, The Silver Samurai, Darren Cross, Sebastian Shaw, Laurel Hedare, Count Vertigo, Galactus, Ultron...
5. DISGUISED HEROES INTERACT WITH THEIR OBLIVIOUS (To the fact they know them as civilians) LOVE INTERESTS (Voice changer optional)
You want to be a super hero? You think by getting a cape, mask, tights and powers you´re all set up and ready to go? B.S.! You need convenient shadows, a voice changer and a girlfriend dumb enough to not recognize you, giving all the years you´ve known each other the middle finger. It all semi-started with Batman Forever, then it went full boom with Spider-Man (2002) in the form of balcony-jumper Mary Jane. After this, many super hero shows and films have followed, such as Batman Begins with the titular character saving Rachel Dawes and with a disguised voice giving her information on crooks, Smallville with Clark Kent (Ugh, "The Blur") with a disguised voice keeping in touch with Lois "Save Me" Lane after rescuing her, Arrow with Green Arrow saving Laurel Lance and with a disguised voice helping her afterwards, The Flash (2014) with Flash, (You guessed it) disguising his voice and face, reaching out to Iris West numerous times... Green Lantern (2011) even mocked the overused plotline when the titular hero pays a visit to Carol Ferris.
6. THE SUPER HERO´S GEEK ALLY
In comic book stories from the past, for the hero to get out of a predicament a crazily stupid talent or gadget would be thought up to end said dire circumstance. But, as the heroes entered the "grounded" approach for new mediums, a more realistic solution had to be put forward. What was that? The geek friend! That person who is quirky, awkward, yet so damn-likeable that you can´t help putting a smile on your face every time they explain weird mambo-jambo or are providing our heroes with the tech they need. If you think finding a friend lacking social skills but still loyal enough they´d take a troyan virus for you is difficult, Chloe Sullivan, Felicity Smoak, Cisco Ramon, Winslow Schott, Microchip (Yes, I know he´s from the comics but he´s still the quirky friend in War Zone) and Tina McGee would disagree with you.
7. LOVE TRIANGLES
Love triangles in comic book-related media are plotlines so overused that they have me guessing why we still see them so often. How can we understand the heroes have struggles? Give them a girl to pursue and another guy to interfere. You like the formula? You better, since series and films like The Flash (2014), X-Men, X-Men: First Class, Spider-Man (The mother of love triangles), Hulk (2003), Fantastic Four (2005), Thor: The Dark World, The Dark Knight, Smallville, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman Returns, Arrow, Supergirl (2015) and Gotham have been and will continue to embrace it.
8. VILLAIN´S PLANS ARE MOTIVATED BY THEIR HATRED OF THE HEROES
Heroes, they represent everything we wish we could be, they inspire us... to go further, to fly higher... until you realize it´s basically their fault the world´s in danger in the first place. The Green Goblin wouldn´t have put those kids and Mary "Ahhh" Jane if it weren´t for his hatred of Spider-Man, same as Venom and Sandman, Lex Luthor with Nuclear Man, Reboot Zod´s entire motivation was killing Superman to build his world, Joker wouldn´t have gone to Gotham if he hadn´t been attracted by the idea of challenging Batman, Talia Al Ghul returned to Gotham to get revenge on the caped crusader, Reverse Flash created a whole new freaking timeline just to get back at Flash; same could be said about Obadiah Stane, Ivan Vanko, Aldrich Killian, Harry Osborn, Rebooted Harry Osborn, Electro, Dr. Doom, Zoom, Aunt Astra, Loki, and (as dumb as his motivations were) Ultron.
9. KIDS IN UNNECESSARY PERIL
This one´s a crotch kicker every time it appears on screen. Is it cute when Superman rescues a kitty from a tree? Or is it cuter when Spider-Man has to go full Forest to get Billy, who stares in awe for twenty minutes at the freaking giant ball about to crush him? As far all the clichés listed here, this is the one I hate the most, since it comes off as a lazy attempt to make us care for the scene. I´ll tell you the only things I care about when I watch them: Getting kidney stones. Fun fact, four out of five Spider-Man films have this scene. Flash has three of them in three different episodes of season 1. What do directors want us to be concerned about? A child "ah, bravely looking into the face of danger"? Or the fact that their parents are so stupid they get out of a burning building and leave their children inside? (Spider-Man 2 , The Flash (2014) Or to "forget" them in an active war zone where killer robots are attacking? (Avengers: Age of Ultron) Do you want to know how often these ridiculous scenes are used? Watch Spider-Man (2002 (There are actually two scenes in this one)), Spider-Man 2 (2004), The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Blade: Trinity, Batman Begins, Superman II, Iron Man 2, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Smallville, The Flash (2014 (I´m sure there´s one somewhere in the 90´s version)). We´ve even got one coming for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
What did you think of these clichés? Are you sick of them? Are you okay with them? Did you notice any of them before? Do you even care? Leave your thoughts on that cute little orange box below!