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  • A common trend in films about King Arthur, which is a pretty downbeat legend to begin with.
    • Excalibur combines Magical Realism with gritty, bloody violence, reaching a peak of dark edginess in an early scene in which a knight in blood-stained armour tricks the wife of his nemesis into having sex with him. There are plenty of impalings and crow-pecked corpses to go around as well.
    • Robert Bresson's Lancelot du Lac. What it lacks in gore and Dung Ages ambiance, it makes up for by being extremely dour, mechanical and joyless, Bresson films are wont to be.
    • The "historical" film King Arthur from 2004 has the Knights of the Round Table turn out to be just a pack of Roman mercenaries fighting evil Saxons in a cold, windswept wasteland of an England.
  • Babe 2: Pig in the City is very much this trope compared to the original. The original was about a little pig on a farm who was taken in by the female sheepdog and was mostly lighthearted. Tear Jerker here and there, but the darkest element was when Babe's parents are herded to the slaughterhouse. In Babe 2, there's a hotel with illegal pets, animal control, a vicious bulldog that nearly hangs him trying to kill Babe, and one of those little wheelchair dogs who almost dies (although no animals actually die in it). Nightmare Fuel for some kids.
  • Back to The Future Part II compared to the first movie. Why? 3 reasons. 1, the alternate 1985. 2, in the alternate timeline, Biff marries Lorraine after killing George. And 3, Doc Brown is institutionalized in the alternate timeline.
  • Tim Burton's Batman Returns compared to the 1989 film which started the curve away from the campy 1960's TV Series.
  • Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Saga compared to the Shumacher movies and even the Burton ones. (Batman and Robin anyone?)
    • This continued downwards through Batman Vs. Superman and Joker being progressively darker.
  • The Black Hole itself qualifies on its own. Released in 1979 it was controversial for being Disney's first PG-rated film, and featured numerous violent and disturbing sequences the likes of which no Disney film had ever shown before. Even the resident "funny robots" were not actually that funny and were played straight. Although it took a few years, the move towards more adult fare exhibited by Black Hole, Tron, a rather adult comedy called Trenchcoat and others eventually led Disney to establish the Touchstone brand for releasing films in the PG, PG-13 and even R-rated realm, while reserving the main Disney brand for (mostly) G or the occasional PG film. This later went by the wayside however as the Disney brand came to be used for dark, PG-13 rated films like Tron Legacy and the Pirates of the Caribbean films, until Disney phased out most live-action films of their own (barring a series of successful, if slammed by fans remakes) to focus on Marvel and Lucasfilm.
  • Even the classic ET the Extraterrestrial was not immune to this trope. When E.T. first became a hit in theaters, Steven Spielberg and E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison came up with a treatment for a sequel: E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears, in which Elliot and his friends are kidnapped by evil albino offshoots of E.T.'s species. Fortunately, E.T. returns to Earth and rescues them, but not until after the kids have all been tortured. Needless to say, they thought better of it.
  • G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra had EVERYONE wearing black and a knives and bullets always finding their way into enemy eye sockets. Then we have the Baroness display her cleavage and the buxom Scarlett wearing a sports bra while on a treadmill.
    • The sequel, Retribution, seems to be have of the same.
    • The reason why this is notable is because the original animated TV series, despite being about a paramilitary group assigned to combat a terrorist organization, was nonetheless intended to be child-friendly, i.e. A-Team Firing galore, and despite the fact Scarlett was armed with a crossbow, she'd never consider using it to actually, you know, kill anyone. Perhaps reflecting the post-9/11 attitudes that A Team Firing is unrealistic and even cheesy, the GI Joes of the live action film (and recent-vintage animated reprises and the comic books) are depicted as you'd expect a paramilitary force fighting terrorists would be - ruthless killers each with double- and triple-digit body counts. Even Scarlett.
  • The Godzilla franchise jumps between this and Lighter and Softer. No film has ever topped the original but some try pretty hard. 'Mothra vs. Godzilla' was bleaker than the goofy King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Hedorah had people melting and one of the biggest body counts of all the franchise after the kid-centered Godzilla's RevengeThe Godzilla movie Terror of Mechagodzilla was Darker and Edgier than "Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla which featured violence but it had a very pulpy story, Terror, even deals with the issue of suicide. Godzilla 1985 dealt with a possible world war III and was politically heavy, Biollante was just a tad bit lighter but very dark still. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah dealt with Godzilla dying, Jr. dying, and possibly a nuclear meltdown. GMK was even bleaker than Megaguirius, with a wholly and truly villainous Godzilla terrorizing Japan, and then the Legendary Pictures films and Shin Godzilla also return back to the roots of the series, with little to no humor.
  • Rob Zombie's remakes of the first two Halloween films fits this trope. While the originals were fairly dark in their own right, Zombie amps it Up to Eleven by creating a darker, gritter world filled with rapists Orderlies Are Creeps, necrophiliacs, Abusive Parents (namely Michael Myers'), and a barrage of characters who swear like sailors. Even Michael himself kills in a more violent, brutal manner. Needless to say, not everybody was fond of these changes.
  • Richard Kelly wrote a screenplay for Louis Sachar's lighthearted Black Comedy, Holes, that went in this direction. Instead of searching for buried treasure at a juvenile delinquent summer camp, the movie would have had the boys searching for nuclear weapons in a post-apocalyptic Texas. One scene has Stanley visiting a prostitute. The studio instead used the screenplay written by Sachar himself.
  • The second Home Alone film is much less lighthearted than the first, taking place in New York rather than a Chicago suburb, and with Kevin using much more dangerous traps against the Bandits. Also, when they catch him, Harry fully intends to murder Kevin.
  • James Bond films:
    • Licence to Kill is by far the darkest of the series to that point. It starts with Colombian drug lord Franz Sanchez feeding Bond's longtime friend and ally to a shark (after killing his new bride), followed by Bond resigning from MI 6, going rogue, and killing every member of Sanchez's organization in increasingly graphic ways such as Sanchez's equally monstrous dragon being thrown into a giant cocaine grinder.
    • The Daniel Craig Bond films, starting with Casino Royale are darker and more realistic than previous Bond films, going deeper into Bond's pathos and doing away with most of the wisecracks, gadgets and slapstick.
  • Johnny English Strikes Back: Although, like the first two films, this was given a "PG" rating, this film has more risque jokes which would've nearly given it a "PG-13" rating (due to the Femme Fatale). Also, the film undergoes a sudden tone shift into drama when Johnny gets fired, turning the slapstick parody comedy into a straight action film during the climactic battle (with minimal moments of Comic Relief, the colors become much bleaker (than what was in the already Darker and Edgier Johnny English Reborn), and even worse? Jason Volta, wants to disable the internet permanently whilst giving an evil lecture, who Johnny must stop. Although not without it's comedy, the film is more downbeat and somber than the first two.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Incredible Hulk is darker and a bit more violent than Iron Man, and there's little to no funny moments compared to Iron Man (the funny moments in that movie were Tony and Pepper's continuous banter and the fact that Tony lifted a car with a family inside), and the film is Played for Drama. On the other hand, the film still has an optimistic feel to it.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger is still quite optimistic, but is more serious in tone and is nonetheless mostly Played for Drama, more in the line of The Incredible Hulk than Iron Man 2. Even Thor had more comic relief moments, but was still darker than Iron Man 2. This was followed by the Lighter and Softer The Avengers.
    • Zigzagged with Thor: The Dark World. While the overall tone is a bit more serious with a full-scale war happening in Asgard and more threatening villains, there is a bit more humor than the first.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier is darker than the first, feeling more like a homage to '70s espionage thrillers than the first's optimistic war story. On the other hand, there is a bit more humorous banter exchanged between Cap and Black Widow.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron feels more like a lighthearted superhero film at first, well... that's until when the titular villain Ultron shows up to make things dark, and this doesn't help by the fact that he wants to kill all of humanity. And, whoo boy, things really get dark when Quicksilver dies.
    • Captain America: Civil War. It is truly the first pessimistic, downbeat, and cynical film to enter the MCU thus far. It is truly sad and has much less of the humorous banter that the MCU is known for, is far more violent than the rest of the MCU (even more so to the point where the film could be rated R), and is overall really downbeat. It is so dark to the point where the infamous airport fight scene has more of the traditional MCU humor.
    • Doctor Strange is quite dark even by the MCU's standards. It is the second truly dark film after Captain America: Civil War, dealing with the fact that the protagonist gets very bad hand paralysis and doesn't get the girl, the Ancient One dies, and that whole dimensions have to be saved.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 compared to the first. There is an eviler villain, darker humor, a Bittersweet Endiing, and more emotionally overwhelming circumstances than the first. It is still pretty much a lighthearted comedy like the first, on the other hand.
    • A downplayed case with Black Panther. While there may be snarky and humorous moments befitting the MCU, there is far less laugh-out-loud moments compared to previous outings such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and especially the silliest film of the MCU so far, Thor: Ragnarok. It still does have an optimistic outlook compared to the first two films in Phase Three.
    • Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game. 'Nuff said.
  • While many versions of The Phantom of the Opera go in the opposite direction, the 1989 film turned the story into a bloody slasher flick, with Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund in the title role. This movie is much more in keeping with the original novel's tone as far as the titular character's obsession with Christine goes, to the point of his being quite willing to kill for her, but even then it's still a gentler version of the story compared to the original novelization. (albeit the Phantom is less nasty in that than he is here.)
  • Russell Crowe's 2010 Robin Hood (2010 film) film.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman compared to almost any other adaptation without a doubt. From the trailers alone, we can already see that this movie is way more violent, with epic-scale battles and soldiers smashing each other to pieces left, right and center, has very scary-looking creatures, and even throws in a few nasty twists such as [the Queen really being a much older woman that sucks the life out of much younger women to preserve her youth as well as having a brother that's heavily implied to be a serial rapist. Oh, and if that weren't enough, almost the entire film and its settings are very dull and colourless, whereas in most other versions, the kingdom and most parts of the forest are much more colourful and presented as nice places to live. Here? Not so much.
  • Snow White a Tale of Terror. Even more so than the original fairytale.
  • And to an extent, and also just like with television, films in general as a whole as of The New Tens. Actors, actresses, screenwriters, directors and the like seem to take it very seriously when it comes to Oscar Bait, film critics are more serious when it comes to films recieving either positive, mixed, or negative reviews, and even worse, the dreaded "G" rating is now completely avoided (well, for live action films anyway), only either giving films a "PG", "PG-13", or "R" rating. Also, film plotlines become somber and more serious than usual (Black Swan dealing with a troubled, drug-addled ballerina, Avengers: Infinity War dealing with the killing of half of all life in the universe, and Wonder dealing with a boy with facial deformity having a hard time at school), and we are getting more R-rated films than PG or PG-13 ones, as well as lesser comedies, taking a Tone Shift to more morose drama films (even exaggerated by the fact that actors who were known for appearing in comedies started appearing in drama films). And, when actors/actresses/directors etc. get snubbed, it gets fucking serious. It can also be seen as this in stark contrast to every prior decade in the film industry.
    • It may also feel this way considering that the color palette in each film are overall meant to look darker or more realistic.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Empire Strikes Back is darker than A New Hope, especially the ending.
    • Revenge of the Sith manages to be the darkest of all prequels, and probably the darkest of the entire saga so far. (Notably, it is the first Star Wars film to garner a PG-13 rating). This is where you know the plot of the Fallen Hero, The Bad Guy Wins this time and this is the first in the series that blood shown graphically (note when Anakin is almost killed). The movie contains an infamous scene of Vader murdering children.
    • The Force Awakens has a decidedly more "adult" tone than most of the other movies, and is the second Star Wars movie to be rated PG-13. The movie opens with a village on Jakku being invaded and destroyed by the First Order as its inhabitants are slaughtered, and keeps up the darker tone from there with more realistic violence (with some blood) and a minimal amount of kid-oriented "whimsical" humor compared to the previous movies.
    • The Force Awakens has a decidedly more "adult" tone than most of the other movies, and is the second Star Wars movie to be rated PG-13. The movie opens with a village on Jakku being invaded and destroyed by the First Order as its inhabitants are slaughtered, and keeps up the darker tone from there with more realistic violence (with some blood) and a minimal amount of kid-oriented "whimsical" humor compared to the previous movies.
    • Rogue One manages to be even darker still, to the point that the already dark The Force Awakens has been called "family-friendly" in comparison. It has an aesthetic and tone closer to a war movie than a space opera. The film is bleak throughout, introduces Black and Grey Morality into the franchise, and contains much more realistic violence than the previous entries, with a very brutal scene in particular of Vader wordlessly hacking through a group of Rebel soldiers like Jason Voorhees. It is easily the darkest (and best) of Disney's theatrical efforts, and the darkest Star Wars film yet.
    • The Last Jedi is arguably even darker than TFA, and the teaser poster even has a red logo to boot! The film is closer to Revenge of the Sith than The Empire Strikes Back at the end of the day, with less hope and a higher bodycount. On the other hand, we get a lot more comic relief.
  • The Transformers series in general. Robots are getting ripped apart, blown up, or their faces bifurcated. The added sexual content (and not much else) is supplied by Megan Fox.
    • Although amputation, decapitation and on at least one occasion, crucifixion, were all features of the 80s transformers comics.
    • And the third film cranks it Up to Eleven, with humans being assassinated, as well as having Sentinel Prime launch a full scale Decepticon assault on Earth, complete with scenes of carnage.
  • Red Riding Hood, as seen in the trailer. The original wasn't exactly what modern readers would call kid friendly either though.
  • Tron: Legacy is much more grim than the 1982 original. When you got programs violently shattering into data, genocide, a brutal dictator, and brainwashing programs to invade the real world, you got more than just the suits and the environment that's darker than the first Tron.
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