Adaptational Heroism

A continuation of my Adaptational Villainy lists, this one is essentially the opposite, being a list of characters who are more heroic and noble in the adaptation then they are in the original work.

List items

  • In Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes, where she comes off as just another SHIELD/SWORD agent rather than the ruthless jerk she was when she was first introduced in the comics.

  • In the live action Resident Evil movie that she appeared in. While she still works for Albert Wesker, she is nevertheless still also depicted as being much more consistently heroic and less roguish then she often is in the games.

  • The Disney version, as in the original Arabian Night, he wasn't really good OR bad, but rather just an average joe who happened to acquire a source of great power. But he never really went out of his way to be noble anymore than he went out of his way to be malevolent. The Disney version conversely, is more clearly heroic.

  • The Disney and DC versions, where she's less of a shallow, promiscuous harpy than she's often portrayed as being in the original Greek myths.

  • Disney version, who also gets bonus points for being voiced by Keith David.

  • In the much reviled movie "Immortals", which I'm pretty sure is the one major depiction of Ares where he's NOT a villain. Still rather brutal though.

  • Not too many adaptations keep that time when she had her hunting animals tear apart a young boy just for spying on her.

  • The Young Justice version, in contrast to her mainstream comic book counterpart who is a straight-up villain, albeit one that does eventually retire. Even so, Artemis never spends any time as a hero in the comics (except for the Young Justice comics of course!)

  • In the musical and Disney adaptations, much like his boss. Probably gets this in a few other adaptations too.

  • None of the Greek Gods are squeaky-clean in the original myths. But with Athena, most adaptations of the character tend to portray her as one of the more unambiguously good and noble Gods.

  • In the Arkhamverse, where he doesn't engage in the acts of bloodthirsty religious fanaticism that he does in mainstream comics. Granted, he IS still tasked with doing the above after killing and replacing Batman, but assuming the player chooses to have Azrael reject his destiny, then the Adaptational Heroism is retained. And again, prior to that he never seems to have employed lethal force at any point.

  • Allegedly going to be getting this in the MCU, also apparently being less a straight-up take on Mordo and more a fusion of Mordo with other characters from Doctor Strange's world.

  • In my Marvel Universe, where he is a legit therapist rather than a corrupt one, and even when he turns into a villain it's through no fault of his own but rather because he was mutated into a Green Goblin monster against his will.

  • Technically, Batman's almost always a hero, but he could still count for this on the account of some of his Lighter and Softer portrayals that downplay (or else remove) his less-than-stellar qualities and moments from the comics. His various cartoon incarnations spring to mind.

  • While she was not a bad person in mainstream continuity, in "Justice League: Gods and Monsters", she's that world's Wonder Woman. A more brutal and violent Wonder Woman, but still Wonder Woman nonetheless.

  • In the Kick-Ass movie where his backstory is not quite so unsympathetic, largely owing to how the lies he told Hit-Girl in the comics are in the movie not COMPLETE bogus.

  • Pretty much the whole point of the character is that he's the Big Bad Wolf going straight. With mixed results granted, but unlike his classic fairy tale counterpart, at least he tried.

  • Thanks to seriously bad mis-writing and mischaracterization, Bishop is now a villain in 616, and thus any heroic version of him seen elsewhere fits this by default.

  • In my Marvel Universe, where she becomes a hero sooner than in 616 and also sticks with it much more consistently than in mainstream continuity. She eventually matures so much that she manages to get back together with Spider-Man. I would also argue she fits this in the "Marvel Heroes: Avengers Alliance" video game, where her transition from villain to hero has been consistent and permanent.

  • This one's more of a retcon, but even so. In the Original Trilogy Novelizations, Boba Fett was depicted as a sadist who enjoyed disintegrations and scalping people. But subsequent EU material depicts him in a more sympathetic light, with the Bounty Hunter even, on occasion, working with the heroes!

  • Here's an interesting case where an adaptation of an AU version gets this. In the actual Flashpoint story, Captain Cold as Citizen Cold is still the same Leonard Snart we love to hate. Conversely, the animated adaptation "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox", there's no indication that he ever killed anyone and seems to be more of a traditional hero, whereas in the original story he was just a Captain Cold who had taken advantage of a different opportunity.

  • In Green Lantern the Animated Series, where barring one moment of Star Sapphire-induced rage never spends any time as a villain. Also in Young Justice and in my DC Universe where in both she never spends any time as a villain period.

  • In my Marvel Universe where she comes to serve as a member of X-Force alongside fellow surviving Hellion Jetstream.

  • In JLA: The Nail and Earth 2 where she gets together with Batman and in the former even abandons her Catwoman identity in favor of becoming Batwoman. Also to a degree in my DC Universe where she's a bit more consistent in her transition from bad to good, even becoming a member of the reformed Justice League.

  • The Young Justice version, who is a pretty far cry from the Complete Monster she is in mainstream continuity, among other things caring about her sister, mother, daughter, and to a degree her husband. As of Season 2 she seems to have become (at least somewhat) good, or at the very least neutral.

  • In Cthulhu Saves the World, where he's (albeit begrudgingly) forced into the role of hero.

  • In more recent comics, Cyclops has begun to behave in a more ruthless manner and has at times indulged in ethically sketchy behavior. So much so in fact that characters in-universe have now and again likened him to Magneto, something he resents. Pretty much no alternate versions of the character ever indulge in such moral ambiguity however.

  • The Man Without Fear has flirted with darkness many a time in 616. Not every adaptation retains this, however. Matt's turns with both cartoons and video games (sporadic as they are), usually omit his darker side and moments.

  • Yes, believe it or not, Darkseid of all people has gotten this. Namely in "Justice League: Gods and Monsters", where HE is the one open to peace through the marrying of his son to Highfather's, while Highfather in turn is the jerk who doesn't want peace. Darkseid even dies by Highfather's hand!

  • In 616, Deadpool was very much a bad guy in his early years before being re-imagined into the lovable goof-ball he is now. As it stands, most other versions of the character tend to portray him as the lovable goof-ball rather than the deeply disturbed villain he was initially.

  • Arguably in Arrow. While he does eventually become a villain, initially he's more of an Anti-Hero. He's also a bit more sympathetic in my DC Universe, even working with Batman and Green Arrow against the League of Shadows at one point.

  • In the Shattered Glass reality

  • In the Maleficent movie, where he's renamed Diaval and like his master is less villainous. Honestly I think it's kind of harsh to even call him a villain at all in that movie.

  • Along with the other Turtles, Donnie was a brutal anti-hero in the original Mirage comics who frequently killed his enemies. In pretty much every single adaptation of the Turtles mythos, this is not the case.

  • Courtesy of many a bad fan-fiction. He is where the term "Draco In Leather Pants" comes from, after all.

  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he only seems bad initially before being revealed to be a fairly sympathetic character who ultimately transitions to a more gentle-giant type role.

  • In an alternate reality where a group of supervillains led by Superia took over America, Electro is a member of the resistance, and while technically motivated by revenge, he's still not really villainous in that Marvel Universe and is on the good guy side.

  • In the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game, where her transition to heroism looks to have been a lot more consistent and overall successful than it was in 616.

  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, where after defrosting becomes much nicer and friendlier than her 616 counterpart usually is, and even when her loyalties to the Hellfire Club are revealed, it turns out she thought their goals were more benevolent than they actually were, and defected after finding out the truth. She also fits this in my Marvel Universe due to my basing my version of Emma off of the WATXM version.

  • The Disney version, who is more openly kind and compassionate than her more shallow and dense counterpart in the original novel.

  • The Earth-4 version of him, who replaced that world's Peter Parker as Spider-Man after he was killed by Morlun.

  • A fairly well known and recurring case. In the original novel he's a jerk who has kids that he mistreats steal for him and really doesn't care about their well-being. Most other versions of the character however (including the Ron Moody portrayed version in the musical) make him lighter and softer, portraying as more of a "lovable rogue" type character.

  • In my DC Universe where she is one of the surviving Kryptonians and more of a neutral character than a straight-up villainous one.

  • Ronnie Raymond in the Flash show. While Ronnie is always a good guy, the Flash show version is a more compassionate and less arrogant sort than his comic book counterpart. Small wonder Caitlin Snow was drawn to him.

  • Much like his master Aladdin, he's more heroic and noble in the Disney movie. Rest in Peace Robin Williams.

  • The "In-Name-Only" take on the character from the Nolanverse, even if there I'd say he's more Lawful Neutral than straight up good. But hey, that's still better than comic Loeb.

  • While most versions of the Olympians do try to maintain their many flaws to at least some degree, several takes on them are nevertheless more forgiving than the original Greek Myths were. For a specific example, I'd direct people to the Disney versions. I might make a case for the Percy Jackson versions as well.

  • In the Legendary Series (AKA the 2014 movie) as unlike in most other Godzilla series, he never spends any time as a villain and is instead solely an Anti-Hero.

  • In "Justice League: Gods and Monsters" where she presides over Orion and Bekka's wedding...and is then mercilessly massacred along with the other Apokolips New Gods by their New Genesis counterparts. Bastards.

  • Supposedly the movie version. Then again I wouldn't know because I haven't actually seen the Grinch movie and don't plan to.

  • Both cartoon versions, neither of whom ever spent any time as a Red Lantern.

  • In the Amazing Spider-Man films and my Marvel Universe where she actively helps Spider-Man in his battles against the villains as opposed to the 616 version, who's more of a bystander. Also the version of her that became a Spider-Woman that's going to be featured in the Spider-Man mega crossover Dan Slott's planning.

  • A very common example of this considering that he spent a significant portion of time as a villain (as Parallax for most of the 1990s) but nowhere, in any adaptation, does he spend an iota of time as a bad guy except as Orange Lantern in GLTAS, and even that was a brief thing.

  • Arguably in "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" where he starts out as a pacifist and never abuses or brutalizes his girlfriend. Unfortunately though, he is also a really boring and sanctimonious character in that show.

  • In Injustice Gods Among Us where she eventually turns over a new leaf and becomes a hero.

  • A couple different versions of him that would include his MCU version and also both of his more recent cartoon iterations. Why is this? Simple: in 616, he started out as a low-end Iron Man villain. That didn't last long granted, but still. It was time spent as a villain, and it's time spent that way that the movie and cartoon versions don't have.

  • Big time with the Disney version, who for starters gives birth to Hercules rather than ruining his life.

  • While Hercules in the original Greek myths IS a hero, there were during his adventures some, shall we say, unfortunate accidents and misunderstandings. Most adaptations of the character though tend to portray him as more infallible, including the Disney version and also the...

  • ...Marvel Comics version.

  • For all his being a good guy, the Hulk in 616 has done several decidedly unheroic things in his day and has sometimes served as an antagonist or even an outright villain. With most alternate versions of the character however, this is not the case.

  • The Disney version. In contrast to the misanthrope from the original novel, the Disney version of Quasimodo is kinder and gentler and simply wants to be loved and accepted by society.

  • In the DCAU where she never kills anyone and does a better job of reigning in her more unpleasant and negative personality traits and qualities.

  • In the X-Men movies, where he's more mellow and friendly than in 616 where he was the most hot-tempered of the X-Men founders and a serious jerk before then going on to be less unpleasant but still fairly self-congratulatory and smug. He's also nicer and more mellow in my Marvel Universe, as I base my version of him off of the movie version.

  • Well let's see. For one, with most alternate versions of Iron Man, Civil War never happened. This means that most other versions of Iron Man never indulged in such things as making a clone of Thor that punched a hole in a guy's chest and turned out to be a homicidal maniac, never locked up superheroes in a prison in the Negative Zone that they would stay in indefinitely until when or if they registered, never enforced a seriously flawed law, never behaved like a fascist, never employed mass murderers like Bullseye and Lady Deathstrike to hunt down his old friends like animals...I think you get the idea.

  • In Spider-Man Reign, where he's become a supporter of Spider-Man rather than a detractor and in fact tries to get Spider-Man to come out of retirement and save New York from the fascist regime running it into the ground. He's also softened his views on superheroes in the MC2 Marvel Universe.

  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, since she never spent any time as Dark Phoenix.

  • In my Marvel Universe where he comes to serve as a member of X-Force alongside fellow surviving Hellion Catseye.

  • From my understanding, the Keanu Reeves version from the 2005 movie is a bit less prone to morally dubious behavior than the mainstream version. However, that was also a terrible movie, and it's getting it's title character so wrong likely has something to do with it.

  • In the revised timeline, where he goes from bad to good instead of the other way around. Granted, he does become bad again, but only because he's been turned into a Revenant against his will.

  • Don't think she ever turned over a new leaf in the comics she first appeared in. 2012 version on the other hand, does. And then she gets turned into a giant snake and loses her mind, and then after THAT gets brainwashed into being evil again. Go figure.

  • The Disney version, who's merely a bit of a stiff and a control freak, in contrast to the original book version who was pretty much a psycho.

  • In Arrow, where he never goes by the alias (at least not yet) and is in fact an old friend of and ally to Oliver Queen.

  • In the Wanted movie, where he's not even called the Killer and is a morally ambiguous Anti-Hero instead of the Complete Monster he is in the original comic.

  • In the Arrow/Flash continuity, where she at least starts out as a non villainous character and in fact helps both Arrow and Flash at least once each as a STAR Labs scientist.

  • In his one appearance in the Millennium Series, where he's a good guy as opposed to the Complete Monster that he is in all other versions of the mythos.

  • In the Peter Jackson film, where he's portrayed as a more tragic and sympathetic creature.

  • In my Marvel Universe, where like in Amazing Spider-Man 2 he serves as a sort of mentor to a young Spider-Man.

  • Kind of in the movies, where it's revealed that she's not evil by choice and only works for Stryker because of brainwashing/mind control. In my Marvel Universe, Lady Deathstrike is based off of her movie version, but also ultimately overcomes the brainwashing and turns on Stryker.

  • Kind of sort of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As "Mr. Blue", he's a pretty good-natured and amiable scientist who tries to help Bruce Banner overcome his Hulk problem. And even his turning Emil Blonsky into Abomination was only because Blonsky forced him to.

  • Along with the other Turtles, Leo was a brutal anti-hero in the original Mirage comics who frequently killed his enemies. In pretty much every single adaptation of the Turtles mythos, this is not the case. Leonardo in particular is often turned into the most noble and honorable of the four.

  • While she's always a good and noble character, in the comics she does have one black spot on her otherwise squeaky clean resume; she refused to help Stephanie Brown after her torture by Black Mask to "punish" Batman for taking on a young ward. The Gotham version has no such blatant violation of the Hippocratic Oath.

  • In Injustice Gods Among Us, where he is not only a member of Batman's Insurgency, but in fact was never a villain in that world. Instead he's a total nice guy. He's also on the side of the Angels in "Justice League: Gods and Monsters", and even becomes that world's equivalent to Metron...and Stephen Hawking. Yeah, it's weird.

  • In Treasure Planet, where he's only sporadically villainous and ultimately ends as a good guy.

  • In my Marvel Universe where she's a spy for SHIELD working to hurt Hydra from within.

  • In the Age of Apocalypse reality, where he's consistently an Anti-Hero as opposed to a sometimes hero, sometimes villain. He's also the founder and leader of the X-Men in that reality!

  • He briefly appears in one episode of Young Justice as a US military soldier who helps the Young Justice team.

  • The Angelina Jolie version, who has a sympathetic backstory that her original version lacks, and also winds up redeeming herself.

  • In Beware the Batman where he is only initially a villain in his first appearance before becoming an ally to Batman. There's also the "Justice League: Gods and Monsters" version, who happens to be Batman (albeit a brutal vampire Batman, but still).

  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe where she's a lot nicer and less of a jerk. It probably helps that she's really Robin from How I Met Your Mother.

  • In one of the original games he was in, he was the abusive owner of a certain gorilla that he battled atop a construction site. Future games? He's Nintendo's number one hero. So yeah. I'd say there was a substantial change there.

  • The version of her seen in Exiles that became Spider-Woman.

  • The Disney version, as seen in Hercules the Animated Series.

  • In the Shattered Glass reality

  • While he is usually a good guy, most adaptations of the Arthurian Myths tend to white-wash him a bit and omit or gloss over his less than savory decisions. This does of course include the Disney version of Merlin.

  • Along with the other Turtles, Mikey was a brutal anti-hero in the original Mirage comics who frequently killed his enemies. In pretty much every single adaptation of the Turtles mythos, this is not the case.

  • The version that was a longstanding member of the Exiles, as he was more consistently heroic than his 616 counterpart.

  • In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and Marvel Ultimate Alliance, where he never engages in some of the more brutal and insane things he's done in 616 (like hitting his girlfriend, for instance).

  • Seemingly in the Avengers Alliance video game, where she ostensibly goes straight and becomes a playable hero in the game. Of course, it could just be an act...

  • In my DC Universe, where unlike in mainstream DC continuity I actually maintain Morgaine le Fay's redemption and transformation into an ally of King Arthur's as opposed to an enemy.

  • Arguably in my Marvel Universe, as along with most other versions of the character he doesn't have any of his 616 counterpart's jerk moments.