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Very often, works that go for the Lighter and Softer approach end up overdoing it, ending with tropes like Tastes Like Diabetes, Sugar Bowl, Adaptational Wimp or Adaptational Dumbass.

However, the creator (or the studio)'s response to this is to make the next adaptation Darker and Edgier...

...too Darker and Edgier.

So, the characters that used to be so silly and idiotic to be laughable are now disemboweling people, dropping Precision F Strikes and, in general, behaving in a "grimdark" manner without ACTUALLY being more mature than the previous version.

As such, this generates the Eight Deadly Words in the audience: the work may be Darker and Edgier, but it's just as (or even more) immature than when it was Lighter and Softer.

Examples of From Sugar to Cyanide include:
  • Teen Titans Go! was criticized for a Denser and Wackier approach that relied too much on Toilet Humor and Adaptational Wimpery. On the other hand, the live-action show Titans has been criticized for having the Titans brutally murdering villains while adding unnecessary drama to the already dramatic backstories of Raven and Starfire, and removing most of Beast Boy's sense of humor. The series itself was toned down from how grim the initial trailers were, however.
  • After the Halloween series got caught in the Scream-era absurdist postmodernism, the Rob Zombie remake and its sequel were Mind Screws that went too far in their darkness, even for the standards of the Halloween movie series (in the process making Laurie Strode and Sam Loomis, the Big Goods of the series, into unlikeable jerks). The 2018 movie thankfully brought back the right balance between light and darkness.
  • After Superman Returns was criticized for being a campy throwback to the cheesier aspects of the Christopher Reeve movies, Man of Steel was criticized for being too dark and moody, and for bringing back the worst aspects of Superman's Golden Age incarnation.
    • The DC Extended Universe as a whole counts as a very grimdark response to the accusations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe being too "kiddy", but the DCEU lacks the maturity and morals of the MCU. Not to mention, Netflix proved that the MCU can be dark while still being mature. The DCEU started to mediate itself with Wonder Woman, which while still darker than the MCU, is not as grim and nasty as the prior films, while Aquaman is more MCU-ish. Shazam actually manages to be slightly lighter than the average MCU film, fighting the Seven Deadly Sins notwithstanding.
  • Masked Rider is often lambasted for being too campy for a Kamen Rider adaptation, yet Kamen Rider Dragon Knight was mostly ignored due to going too far in toning the camp to the point that it barely resembled a tokusatsu show.
  • After the 2005 Fantastic Four movie and Rise of the Silver Surfer got criticized for not taking the original comics seriously enough, the 2015 Fantastic Four movie got criticized for taking the original comics too seriously.
  • After the 1998 Godzilla movie was heavily panned for drawing too much from the cheesier Showa era of Godzilla, the 2014 Godzilla movie, while still quite well-received, received some criticism for drawing too much on the darker 1954 original. This would be alleviated with the release of Kong: Skull Island, which hit the right balance between darkness and camp.
  • While general audiences liked The Wizard of Oz just fine, Oz fans felt they toned down the original books immensely. Return to Oz generated the opposite effect: Oz fans love it, but general audiences are too taken aback by how dark it is compared to the 1939 movie. Played even straighter on the Sugar end of things with Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, and on the Cyanide end with Tin Man and the original novel version of Wicked.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is kind of a Sugar-Cyanide Pendulum at this rate; with Sonic Heroes being considered too light, then we had Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 2006 which were too dark. We hit a balance for a bit with the Storybook Series before we swung right back into too light with Unleashed, which got even lighter for Colors and unimaginably saccharine with Lost World, and then back to being too dark again with Forces. The 2020 movie thankfully strikes a balance again. Some fans would even argue the Adventure and Storybook games are on the cyanide end, arguing that Heroes and Unleashed were the balanced ones instead. Mania is agreed upon as an example of a lighter tone done right.
  • Star Wars did this between the prequels (which had way too much comic relief thanks to Jar-Jar) and the sequels. In particular, The Last Jedi, which was so grim that to some it barely felt like a Star Wars film, featuring elements such as the character assassination and subsequent killing-off of Luke Skywalker. And even the attempts at comic relief were god-awful. Rogue One, however, is an example of a darker tone done right.
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