Terminator 2: Judgement Day – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Sarah Connor is in a mental institution and John Connor is a juvenile delinquent.

Call to Adventure

The T-800 is sent back in time to protect John Connor, by John Connor’s future self, from the new model terminator the T-1000

Belly of the whale

The motorcycle truck chase in the drain where John is nearly killed.

Refusal of the call

John refuses to follow the T-800 instructions and instead insists they rescue his mother Sarah from the mental institution first. T-800 doesn’t want to do this because he thinks it’s a risky move.

Supernatural Aid

Sarah has been John’s mentor all his life preparing him for when he must lead humanity in the fight against the machines.

Crossing the First Threshold

Rescuing Sarah from the mental institution

The Road of the trials

They go on the run with the T-800 and begin teaching him to be more human

Meeting with the Goddess and Woman as Temptress

I don’t think either of these stages are used although you could look at the relationship between T-800 and John.

Death of the mentor

Sarah decides to leave John and let the T-800 be his father. In an insane world this is the sanest choice.

Atonement with the Father

Sarah can’t kill Dyson when she is face to face with him, when John arrives he sees the humanity in his mother and instead of seeing her as a psychopath that he described her as at the start of the story, he now tells her he’s always loved her. He sees her as a mother.

Apotheosis

The T-800 cuts the flesh off his arm as proof that he is from the future and then tells Dyson the story of everything he is about to do which results in the deaths of three billion people. It’s imparting God-like knowledge of the future.

Ultimate Boon

They destroy Cyberdine, all the tech and Miles Dyson is killed. Ending any chance of Skynet coming to be.

The Magic flight

The T-1000 chases after them and the final battle in the metal factory.

Rescue from without

The T-1000 recovers from the shot gun blasts but T-800 appears with a missile launcher which strikes him in the chest and he falls into the molten hot metal.

The crossing of the return Threshold

John must say goodbye to the T-800 and live his life without him. At first he refuses but ultimately accepts it.  This stage more or less is blended with the next stage.

Master of two worlds

T-800 can’t self terminate and asks Sarah to do it for him. He now knows why John cries but he can never do it himself. The best way for him to protect John is to die.

Freedom to live

The future is saved and filled with hope “If a machine can learn the value of human life, so can we.” 

 

Terminator 2; Judgement day takes on the challenge of being a sequel by introducing new characters and giving the old characters that we knew from the first film new goals and challenges rather than just repeating the same story from the first film like many, many, many other cash-in sequels do.

Meeting with the Goddess and Woman as Temptress missing? There was a cut scene when they pulled the chip out of T-800’s head and Sarah wanted to destroy it and kill him but John refused to let her do this. This could serve as the Temptress moment and John could serve as the Goddess for the T-800 as he inspires him to be a hero. That’s my best guess but feel free to include your thought below.

 

You may also want to look at

The Terminator Hero’s journey breakdown

The Terminator Save the cat beat sheet

 

Shrek – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Shrek lives in swamp alone, he likes his privacy. He doesn’t have any relationship with the outside world.

Call to Adventure

Lord Farquad sends fairy tale creatures to be exiled to his swamp, destroying his way of life.

Refusal of the call

Shrek refuses to accept this and goes to find out who is responsible.

Supernatural Aid

Donkey is his mentor, he teaches him how to be a better person and a friend.

Belly of the whale

Entering Lord Farquad’s castle and fighting all his knights. Usually this stage happens either just after the crossing of the First threshold but often it is just before it as well. It’s the first battle which he nearly dies. (Although he easily defeats all the challengers he is held at bay by the knights by their pole axes and agrees to Lord Farquad’s offer)

Crossing the First Threshold

Lord Farquad promises him he’ll give him back his swamp if he rescues Princess Fiona  and so he goes on the journey with his new partner Donkey.

The Road of the trials

One of the stages of the road of trials is a Dragon Battle and he literally fights a Dragon in this stage to rescue the Princess from the castle.

Meeting with the Goddess

He rescues Princess Fiona and she turns out to be very different from what he imagined and she chastises him “You shouldn’t judge people before you get to know them.”

Woman as Temptress

This was omitted in this story, although you may disagree, if so feel free to list the moment you think is the Temptress in the comments below.

Death of the mentor

Shrek and Donkey have a fight and break up.

Atonement with the Father

Shrek reveals to Donkey that he’s sad because people judge him before they get to know him and that’s why he likes being alone.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis in Shrek takes the form of knowledge and that happens when Donkey discovers that Fiona is an ogre are night and a princess during the day.

Ultimate Boon

Shrek hands over the Princess and gets the deed to his swamp. His mission which began with the Call to adventure has now been completed, however he still has something to do. This story is a very clear example of the initial goal of a story is completed by the end of Act II however, he now has a new goal to complete in Act III.

The Magic flight

After the Donkey has talked him into going back to declare his love for Fiona he realizes that he’s too late and there’s no way he can get there in time to stop her wedding. Donkey has the answer, he’s brought his new love the Dragon and flies him back to stop the wedding.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Shrek runs into the church to stop the wedding and publically declare his love.

Rescue from without

The Dragon breaks into the church and eats

Master of two worlds

Shrek and Fiona kiss and her curse is broken, she doesn’t understand that she still an ugly ogress until Shrek tells her that she is beautiful to him.

Freedom to live

Shrek and Fiona get married in the swamp and go on their honeymoon

 

 

The Incredibles – The Hero’s Journey breakdown

Ordinary world

They are a family of Supers who have to keep their powers secret.

Mr I has a boring job that sucks the life out of him.

Dash is behaving badly at school because he can’t be a Super

Violet is shy around the boy she likes

Helen wants her husband to engage in the family more.

Call to Adventure

There are two possible events which could be listed as the Call to adventure. Firstly that the government has forced the Supers to go into hiding to avoid law suits and the second one is the message from Mirage inviting him to join the secret Government program.

Taking a look at the message from Mirage, he accepts this invitation immediately and then finds himself on a plane on his way to the island. This is not a typical response to the Call to the adventure. I think this event sits better as the break into the second Act. Normally the Call to adventure or the Inciting incident is something that happens TO the hero and the break into Act II is the hero taking action in response to the call. Thus, MR Incredible forced into hiding by the government is the Call to adventure and choosing to go on the secret mission is his response to that.

Refusal of the call

Mr. Incredible and his friend Frozone secretly go out at night listening to the police scanners. So essentially to save the world they are forced to go into hiding at the start of the film  and then by the end, in order to save the world they have to come out of hiding.

Supernatural Aid

Mr Incredible is an experienced hero with code of honor that guides him. He’s nicely conflicted here, he’s lying to his wife so he can remain true to himself and be a true to his inner hero.

Crossing the First Threshold

Mr Incredible tells Mirage he accepts the job offer presented to him by Mirage.

Belly of the whale

This can be a stage where the hero gets his first hint of death, that he is in dangerous situation. Mr Incredible fights the Omnidroid and climbs inside to get it to destroy itself. Which has a call back later in the film when that is the clue which helps him destroy the next Omnidroid.

The Road of the trials

Re-training himself back up to become Mr Incredible again. Getting his new uniform.

Meeting with the Goddess

His wife is the Goddess, at the start of the film he’s apathetic and detached from her, so much so that she even suspects an affair. It’s only once he thinks he lost her in the plane explosion that he realizes how much he loves her. She is his inspiration.

Woman as Temptress

Mirage is the Temptress offering Mr Incredible great rewards but he must keep it secret from his wife forcing him to make a choice between being honest with his wife and being honest with himself i.e. be a hero.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis often refers to a gaining of knowledge. Mr Incredible learns of the Omnidroid program

Death of the mentor

Death of the Mentor is flipped onto Mirage. When Syndrome tests Mr Incredible’s mettle by daring him to kill her. This essentially ends her relationship with her mentor.

Ultimate Boon

The Incredibles unite as a family and use their super powers together, destroying the guards. Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl have a moment where they relive the glory of the good old days. Now they are united and ready to take on the challenge of Act III

Atonement with the Father

While the whole family is captured, Mr Incredible realizes that his family were his greatest adventure and he almost missed it. This is a moment of self revelation which he was unaware of up till now. It took the thought of the loss of his family to make him learn this lesson.

The Magic flight

They big climatic fight against the Omnidroid  including a flight in the rocket ship to get there.

The crossing of the return Threshold

They are thanked by the government for saving the city and told by an official they are going to be looked after again as they are being driven home.

Rescue from without

A last minute save from an unexpected source; Jack-Jack’s powers come out and he burns Syndrome which causes him to get sucked into engine and blown up. “No capes!”

Master of two worlds

All of the problems at the start of the film have been resolved. Mr Incredible is engaged in his family, Violet is confident enough to ask the boy she like out on a date, Dash gets to compete at the school sports day and his parents cheer him on to come second..

Freedom to live

The family put on their superhero masks to take on the new threat of the Underminer.

 

This story has a long prologue to set up the story of the world of the Supers and the origin of  Syndrome. Although it appears around page ten, Incrediboy asking to become Mr Incredible’s side kick and he refuses is not the Call to Adventure and the Refusal. The first twenty pages are the prologue, similar to what Star Wars does, so the first Act seems longer.

Million Dollar baby cleaned up at the Oscars (it was a brilliant film – the third act was superb) The Incredibles was the best film of the year. It didn’t win Best Screenplay either, that went to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind.  Hmm that’s probably fair enough, that script had the rug pulled out from under everyone that watched it and had a message about eternal love, which is extremely rare in romantic comedies. But The Incredibles should have won Best Cinematography. Oh well, I guess Pixar will have to be happy with the hundreds of millions of dollars they made instead.

 

 

When Harry met Sally – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Harry and Sally have just graduated college and drive to New York to start the rest of their lives

Call to Adventure

Harry and Sally aren’t that compatible. Harry tells her that men and women can’t be friends. In romantic comedies there’s always a problem that keeps them from getting together, otherwise it’s a pretty short and boring movie – two people meet, fall in love, the end. But these two are destine to be together.

Refusal of the call

They meet again a few years later and Harry and they have some playful banter but they are involved with other people. Harry asks to have dinner ‘as friends’ but she reminds him of his earlier comment and he tries modify his position but she’s still not interested in having any sort of relationship with Harry.

Supernatural Aid

Their friends Marie and Jess are the ones who offer relationship advice throughout the film.

Crossing the First Threshold

They meet again after their relationships have just ended and become friends as they share the same pain of lost love

The Road of the trials

Falling into friendship then love. Each of them has quirks that they’re shared, tolerated, and understood with each other.

Meeting with the Goddess

They both serve as the Goddess for each other. This was a fairly evenly balanced romantic comedy and we go on the journey following both of them. They each have flaws needing fixed

Woman as Temptress

There were a few various temptations pulling them away from each other in the form of other potential and actual partners. The strongest one is when they recommend their best friends Marie and Jess for each other.

Death of the mentor

Marie and Jess end up marrying each other – their best friends are no longer single.

Belly of the whale

There’s no real Belly of the whale moment – there’s no scene which fits this concept neatly. The morning after they have sex would be the closest thing. They commit to challenge of Act II and it’s dangers are revealed. Belly of the whale can be a reminder they have to proceed with caution.

Atonement with the Father

They’ve slept with each other and it’s destroyed the friendship – This is exactly what Harry said would happen at the start of the film. This principle that he has lived with all of his adult life was correct

Ultimate Boon

This is a reversal of the Ultimate Boon. Harry implies that he slept with her out of pity, Sally slaps Harry in the face and tells him F U. Their relationship as both lovers and friends is over.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis can be a stage about learning, in this instance Harry learns he really does love Sally and he wants to spend the rest of his life with her and he wants the rest of his life to begin right now.

The Magic flight

Harry runs to Sally to be with her. (The guy running to the girl

The crossing of the return Threshold

Harry pleads his case that the reason they should be in a relationship is because of their friendship, and lists a heap of reasons why their friendship is the perfect foundation for their relationship

Master of two worlds

They learn they can be both friends and lovers

Freedom to live

They sit on the couch being interviewed just like all the other old loving couples in the film and they demonstrate their affection and compatibility for each other.

 

When Harry met Sally along with Annie Hall are the defining examples of the romantic comedy genre. Often copied, never beaten. The stories of old couples talking about their relationship to camera being capped off with the final scene of Harry and Sally on the couch as a married couple was clever.  This story also uses a technique used by sitcoms where they have things happening off screen, like when they went out on dates with other people and instead of showing those dates like a normal film they have the two main characters talking to each other about the disastrous dates and set it somewhere visually interesting.

 

 

Elysium – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Earth has been trashed and the rich people have evacuated it and live in Elysium, which has a divine lifestyle for those lucky enough to live there.

KILL THE CAT

Max is singled out by the robot cops and has his arm broken.

Call to Adventure

Max is caught in a burst of radiation while building robots for the cooperation.

Refusal of the call

He’s not going to accept that he’s going to die from radiation poisoning and seeks out Spider to give him a job.

Supernatural Aid

Spider is the Mentor/Threshol guardian as he is one who supplies him with the exo-skeleton (talisman) but also the Nun who was in charge of the orphanage served as a guide as well and gave him his morality.

Crossing the First Threshold

Max agrees to get the exo-skeleton brain implant and capture the data contained in John Carlyle’s brain.

Belly of the whale

Attempting to extract the data from John Carlyle and the rest of the team including his best friend is killed. Max is seriously injured by Kruger and has to seek medical assistance from Frey. Belly of the whale often involves a near death experience when the plan goes bad.

The Road of the trials

This stage should have been a bit more about learning to use the exo-skeleton, I think this would have been a better film if he was developing and using his enhanced skills, learning to how to use them more efficiently and skilfully. Also the data extraction contained in his brain could have been accessed which enabled him to bypass certain Threshold guardians on Earth. Instead there’s not a lot about that, there’s some descent chase elements but pulling the pin on the grenade and surrendering himself to be captured was more of a plot of convenience rather than a plot of compulsion.

Meeting with the Goddess

Frey and her daughter are used as the Goddess, they inspire him to be the self sacrificing hero. This element is a bit weak as well, Max starts off the film as a nice enough guy, who plays around with poor kids, it would have been better if it touched on a similar moment used in Casablanca when Rick says he sticks his neck out for no one, that way when he does stick his neck out for Ilsa in the third Act we see a transformation of character, Rick has become the Hero. It’s true that Max listens to her hippo story and still refuses to help her but at that stage in the story

Woman as Temptress

This step seems missing, it’s fine for stages to be missing but it would have been better for character development to have a scene or a sequence where Max had an opportunity to save himself but in doing so it would mean that Frey and her daughter would suffer and he sacrifices this opportunity.

Death of the mentor

There is a small death of the mentor moment when a no fly zone is placed over LA. It means that Spider has essentially lost his power. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this either, it didn’t make any sense to me, if they could shut down LA with a No Fly zone and they were worried about illegal aliens invading Elysium, why not just have the No Fly zone on permanently. This would have been a better stage if Spider had been abducted and taken back to Elysium or if he’d been killed and just before he died passed some key information onto Max which he needed to complete the journey in Act Three.

Atonement with the Father

This occurs when Max acknowledges that the Nun who was in charge of the orphanage

Apotheosis

Max discovers that he has the reboot system for Elysium in his brain.

Ultimate Boon

This is also missing and why the film is not as satisfying as it should be and it relates back to the slightly flawed Road of the trials. This should be that Max has mastered how to use the exo-skeleton and the brain implant. With this ability/knowledge he is ready to take on Kruger and his men on Elysium. Instead it’s replaced with Max handing himself in by picking up the damaged hover disc and looking into the camera.

The Magic flight

Max flies up to Elysium and fights Kruger and his men

Rescue from without

Spider distracts Kruger momentarily to assist Max in their final fight, you could also look at Kruger’s arrogance during the fight which gave Max an opportunity to recover and win.

The crossing of the return Threshold

He plugs into the main frame to reboot the system and bring what he learnt (the data) to the benefit the world.

Master of two worlds

He acknowledges that he must die in order for everyone else to live and uploads the protected data into the mainframe which causes his death.

Freedom to live

The robots are reprogrammed to provide health services to all the poor people on the planet. This step was unearned as well. It was never explained why the people of Elysium wanted to keep their medical wonders from the people of Earth, given that they were using them as a slave labour force. A healthier slave labour force is a more productive one and there were expensive, comparatively primitive hospital/health services still allowed on Earth that it didn’t make any sense for them to be keeping it separate.

 

This film was good but I was a little bit disappointed walking out of the theatre, because I had such high hopes as it was made by the same man who made District 9, which is perfect.  Much of the Hero’s journey was there but, as I indicated above, The road of the trials and the Ultimate Boon stages were flawed and his character arc wasn’t perfect. I was a bit disconnected from him and the little girl.

 

There also seemed to be a few other plot issues that could have been tweaked.

  • The radiation blast that Max received should have done something to Max’s body which enabled the exo-skeleton to be attached to his body.
  • One person on the ground firing missiles into space to stop illegals entering Elysium was pretty stupid- put a gun on the star ship or fighters patrolling the space around the station.
  • The exo-skeleton should have come into it more, for instance, intially when Matt Damon shot the the ship out of the sky, it should have been directly related to the exo-skeleton. For whatever reason, you can’t have just been able to shoot the ship out of the sky, Max should have had to have had to jump onto the ship as it was taking off and then use his enhanced strength to bring it down.
  • He seemed to be drawing a parallel between Mexicans flooding into White America and ruining it. Almost everyone on Elysium was white and almost all the poor people on Earth Mexican or Black. Having rich white people running from the refugees when they landed on Elysium was too over the top for me. I’m not sure it was the best option however if you disagree with anything here, please feel free to give your opinion in the comments section.

 

Not that it’s related to the Hero’s journey but both the VFX and Matt Damon’s performance were excellent. I also included the Kill the Cat moment, which is the opposite of Save the Cat, the hero suffers a gross injustice to help us like him.

I was a little disappointed with this film, I think a better character to have had go on the hero’s journey in this film was this guy

Instead of Matt Damon, who started off as a nice guy and ended up making a heroic sacrifice for the world, it would have been much better to have this guy, happily killing all the people on Earth and protecting Elysium but then the Call to Adventure happens and he uses his covert operations skills to turn on his employers and protect the people on Earth and play out the story in a similar fashion. This would have been a far better movie and a much better transformation through the Hero’s journey.

Kung Fu Panda – Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Po is a panda and a fan of kung fu. However, he isn’t a kung fu master he is a noodle seller.

Call to Adventure

Oogway selects him as the Dragon Warrior, the one who will receive the knowledge of the Dragon scrolls to protect the village against the return of Tai Lung

Refusal of the call

At first Po is unsure what has happened but the real refusal comes from Master Shifu and the The Furious Five who have no respect for him and decide to ridicule him into quitting.

Supernatural Aid

Shifu is Po’s mentor, the one who teaches him kung fu but interestingly in this story, the mentor also has a mentor Oogway.

Crossing the First Threshold

Po enters the palace to begin his training leaving behind the world of noodle cooking.

Belly of the whale

Po enters the training hall, gets chewed up and spat out and finishes at “Level Zero”

The Road of the trials

Po begins his kung fu training, and fails miserably. None of the Furious Five respect him.

Woman as Temptress

Tigress tells him he doesn’t belong if he has any respect for them and what they do he will be gone by morning. This is a temptation for him to leave the quest.

Meeting with the Goddess

Oogway doesn’t serve as a mentor for Po instead he serves as the Godess and gives the speech “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is gift that is why it’s called the present.” This is moment that inspires Po to continue when he feels like giving up.

Atonement with the Father

Shifu finally learns from Oogway that Po is the Dragon Warrior and he must commit to training him even though he doesn’t know how.

Death of the mentor

Oogway passes away leaving Shifu helplessly lost as he doesn’t know how to train Po

Apotheosis

Shifu discovers the key to training Po. Sometime Apotheosis refers to the discovery of a secret, or the ability to do something which no one else can do, in this case it’s learning to use food as motivation to train Po.

Ultimate Boon

Po learns from his father what the “secret ingredient” is – Nothing, something becomes special when you believe it to be special. This is what Po needed to hear. In order for him to become special he needs to believe in himself.

The Magic flight

Tai Lung arrives demanding the Dragon scroll. Shifu is no match for him and it’s a second Death of the mentor moment all that is left is Po. Although his skills are unconventional he Tai Lung as the Dragon Warrior.

Master of two worlds

The Furious Five bow before him and call him “Master”

The crossing of the return Threshold

He returns to the Jade Palace and tells a surprised Shifu that he didn’t die and he defeated Tai Lung. He is the Dragon Warrior

Freedom to live

Shifu has attained inner peace and the valley is safe

 

If your heart doesn’t climb into your throat when the Furious five bow and call Po “Master” you are dead inside. I loved this film and it’s rare use of mentor of the mentor. I think it also throws up a false Ultimate Boon when Po reads the Dragon Scroll for the first time and it’s blank. Even though this is the lesson he must learn he still isn’t wise enough to understand it yet. It’s the next scene when he returns to his father’s home that it clicks.

Refusal, Death of the mentor, Atonement with the father and Apotheosis are all flipped onto Shifu even though it’s clearly Po’s story.

Rescue from without is not present in this ending. If the Furious five jumped in and gave him a moment or there was some external savior from his mentor Shifu. Or if Oogway had sent him some help from beyond the grave but it didn’t happen.

Skadoosh

Toy Story – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Toys live a secret life when people aren’t around, they are real

Call to Adventure

Andy gets a new toy for his birthday. Buzz Lightyear and he replaces Woody as Andy’s favourite toy

Refusal of the call

“Just a mistake. Let’s give it a nice welcome” Woody still believes he is the favourite. And after Buzz puts on his amazing display of falling with style, all the other toys are eager to be his friend and find out more about him. “They’ll see, I’m still Andy’s favourite.” Woody ominously mutters to himself.

Supernatural Aid

There is no true mentor in this story.  Woody serves as Buzz’s guide to a certain extent, teaching him about the ways of the world as Buzz has no clue.

Crossing the First Threshold

Woody accidentally/deliberately knocks Buzz out the window and the other toys throw Woody out the window as punishment.

Belly of the whale

They find themselves inside the arcade game which has the Claw as it’s God.

The Road of the trials

They constantly fight, Buzz refuses to acknowledge he is a toy and Woody desperately trying to get them back home to Andy.

Meeting with the Goddess

It’s a reversal of the Goddess. Sid is the opposite of the Goddess and intends on torturing and destroying the toys. Sid serves the same purpose as the Goddess and spurs them on to become heroes.

Atonement with the Father

Buzz learns that Woody was right all along; he is in fact just a toy.

Woman as Temptress

Buzz is tempted to give up on life when he learns about his true place in the world.

Atonement with the Father

Woody has his atonement when he is trapped in the crate and he realises his pride has led to his fall. His friends have abandoned him, he’s lost Andy and he’s most likely about to die.

Ultimate Boon

Woody and Buzz reconcile. They will work together for Andy’s sake.

Apotheosis

Woody and the other toys break the rules and come to life in front of Sid.

The Magic flight

They make a desperate chase to catch up to Andy in the removal van.

Rescue from without

Buzz uses his retractable wings to release them from the rocket before it explodes and fly them into the sun roof in the car.

The crossing of the return Threshold

They make it back into the car and Andy is happy he’s found them again.

Master of two worlds

Andy has filled his bedroom with both Buzz Lightyear space posers and Woody Wild West posters. They both are his equal toys.

Freedom to live

Woody and Buzz are happy to be side by side as Andy’s toy.

 

This is a buddy pic for Woody and Buzz, they both have something to learn. Buzz needs to learn that he’s just a toy and Woody needs to make the bigger emotional journey. He needs to learn to share Andy and that he doesn’t have to be his favorite toy.  They flip the stages of the hero’s journey between them or have beats that combine for both characters.

Kick-Ass The hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Dave Lizewski is just an ordinary young kid in New York. A standard nerd ignored by all the girls and into comic books. He ponders the notion as to why no one has ever just put on a costume and become a Superhero.

Call to Adventure

Dave gets mugged and has his phone and wallet stolen, again!

Refusal of the call

The refusal of the call comes from his friends Marty and Todd before the call to adventure, which is unusual. “Anyone who did that would just get their ass kicked. They’d be dead in a day.”

Supernatural Aid

Big Daddy is the Mentor for both Kick-Ass and Hit Girl.

Kick-Ass also has his powers increased by the surgery which has filled him full of metal plates and has frayed his nerve endings which means now has a higher pain threshold.

Crossing the First Threshold

Kick-Ass gets into a street fight and it goes viral online.

The Road of the trials

Learning how to be a Superhero when he’s really just a kid in a costume.

Meeting with the Goddess

He has a crush on Katie and she tells him about the drug dealer Rasul and he steps up to take on the drug dealer as the hero Kick-Ass

Belly of the whale

Kick-Ass tries to intimidate Rasul but fails and is captured. He is about to be castrated when Hit Girl comes in and rescues him

Woman as Temptress

Red Mist is the Temptress, Kick-Ass perceives his popularity as a threat to him. He’s jealous that Katie is excited by Red Mist and this exposes a weakness in him. When Red Mist contacts him, instead of ignoring him he agrees to meet. And then he exposes this threat

Apotheosis

Hit Girl is resurrected and back from the dead after she was thought killed by gun shot and blown out of the window by Red Mist.

Death of the mentor

Big Daddy is captured and set on fire during his rescue by Hit Girl

Atonement with the Father

Kick-Ass tells Hit Girl it’s all over but has a moment of self reflection and agrees to help Hit Girl get revenge for the death of her father because he feels it’s the right thing to do.

Ultimate Boon

Kick-Ass gets access to all Big Daddy’s weaponry and has the power to be a real Superhero

The Magic flight

Hit Girl goes to D’Amico’s head quarters and kills al the guards and faces off against D’Amico.

Rescue from without

D’Amico is too strong for Hit Girl and is about to kill her when Kick-Ass kills D’Amico with a bazooka.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Mindy and Dave Return to school as ordinary students, leaving the world of crime fighting behind.

Master of two worlds

Mindy and Dave retire from crime fighting and live normal lives as students happy in the knowledge that their exploits have inspired other heroes and the city is a safer place.

Freedom to live

The epilogue is a reversal of Freedom to live which leads into the sequel. Red Mist becomes the Mother Fucker and swears revenge against the people who killed his father.

I love this film, it’s excellent and Nic Cage’s Adam West is perfect. It’s a comedy but also a Superhero story. Freedom to live as a reversal and playing the refusal of the call BEFORE the call are unique elements to this story. Otherwise everything plays out as a standard Hero’s journey.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Four Turtles and a rat have been transformed into mutants by radioactive goo and have hidden from the outside world developing their ninja skills.

Call to Adventure

Raphael loses his Sai in a fight and news reporter April O’Neil keeps it in her bag. Essentially the outside world and their world have collided and things cannot be the same again.

Refusal of the call

Raphael tells Splinter he lost his Sai but he knows where it is and he says he can get it back. Splinter tells him not to worry about it and not to retrieve it Raphael disobeys him and when April when she is attacked by the Foot Clan Raphael protects her and brings her back unconscious to their lair, unknowingly revealing their hideout to a member of the Foot. “Our domain is in the shadow, stray from it reluctantly. For when you do, you must strike hard and fade away.”

Supernatural Aid

Splinter is the Mentor of the Turtles and has already trained them in the art of Ninjitsu.

Crossing the First Threshold

They return to their lair and find that Master Splinter is missing and their home has been destroyed.

Death of the mentor

An early death of the mentor moment, Splinter is missing however he has been training them for most of their lives. Their test is to see if they can put all the training they have already learnt into practice.

Belly of the whale

Raphael is nearly killed by the Foot when they are attacked by them at April’s apartment

The Road of the trials

They regroup at April’s family farm and refocus on training and getting their skills up once Raphael comes out his coma.

Meeting with the Goddess

Double duty for Splinter performing the role of Goddess as well as mentor? Danny is the son of April’s boss and Splinter inspires him to do the right thing after he came off track and joined the Foot. Danny is good but he has been led astray and is on the verge of a life of crime. (This one could go either way really as to whether or not he is serving the role of Mentor or Goddess)

Woman as Temptress

Danny is the victim of temptation in this story.

Atonement with the Father

Danny receives counsel from Splinter while he is a prisoner of the Foot and decides to do the right thing, and  help Casey release Splinter when he finds out that Shredder intends on having Splinter killed.

Apotheosis

Leonardo is able to contact Splinter through meditation and the rest of the Turtles share his vision. God like ability of knowledge.

Ultimate Boon

They unite in common purpose in order to rescue their Master.

The Magic flight

They return to New York and engage in a fight with the Foot. Now they are united they destroy the Foot and end up on roof top to face the Shredder.

Rescue from without

The Turtles are no match for Shredder, who is about to kill Leonardo when Splinter appears and lures Shredder to the edge of building by revealing he was the rat who left him scarred. He then throws Shredder over the edge into a garbage truck

The crossing of the return Threshold

Danny unites with his father and has left the life of crime and the Foot for good.

Master of two worlds

The Turtles have proved themselves as ninja fighters and they have also reconciled  into the real world with their friendships with Casey and April.

Freedom to live

Splinter suggests the “Cowabunga” as their phrase and the Turtle celebrate the defeat of their enemy. All is well for the Turtles.

 

This film took it’s story line from the original comics and added the pizza comedy elements that were added by the TV cartoon series. It went onto to gross around two hundred million at the box office making it one of the highest grossing independent films of all time. It flips a number of the stages of the hero’s journey onto Danny and his experience of falling into the Foot clan and then climbing his way back out through the help of the imprisoned Splinter. Out of all the films, this one was most respectful of the comic books and is the most entertaining. This clip, from the animated feature captured the visual aspect of the comic on film. I read a portion of the Michael Bay film and fell into depression because it was disappointingly dreadful. The Turtles is such a brilliant franchise it deserves better. Kudos to this version though, it’s awesome.

 

The Watchmen – The Hero’s journey breakdown

This is a true ensemble piece with no clear Hero’s journey for an individual. As a result, just like in Xmen 2, the stages are dropped onto different characters depending on who the story’s point of view is being told from at that particular moment. So I wouldn’t recommend reading this one first if you are unfamiliar with all the stages, instead, try reading Iron Man which has a more classic use of the journey.

Ordinary world

Superheros exist in the world, they helped win the Vietnam war but now they either work for the governemt or their vigilantism has been outlawed. The many flashback scenes through out the film flesh out the world

Call to Adventure

Rorschack believes someone is hunting and killing the Watchmen after an assassin kills The Comedian.

Refusal of the call

Rorschack tells Ozymandias about his theory that someone is hunting the Watchmen but he doesn’t believe him and regards the Russians as a far bigger threat to world peace.

Rorschack then seeks out the Night Owl and he doesn’t believe him either. Then he tracks down Dr Manhatten and Silk Spectre II to tell them but they are not interested either.

Supernatural Aid

These are all experienced heroes so generally they don’t need a mentor as they have a code they live by. Ozymandias is the closest character to a mentor in The Watchmen, everything that happens is by his design and all the other characters are rats in his maze. He is the most brilliant man on Earth and is the answer to the question “Who watches the Watchmen?”

Crossing the First Threshold

The Comedian is buried, a number of the heroes have flashback memories of the Comedian

Belly of the whale

Rorschack is framed for the murder of Moloch and imprisoned.

Dr Manhattan exiles himself to Mars

The Road of the trials

The investigations into Rorschack’s conspiracy theory.

Meeting with the Goddess

Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II become a couple. They want to ‘play superhero’ together. They both serve the purpose of the Goddess for each other by inspiring each other to be superheroes again.

However Silk Spectre II also serves as the Goddess for Dr Manhattan as he has lost his interest in mankind and no longer cares if they die or not. It’s her influence on him that brings him back to Earth to confront Ozymandias.

Death of the mentor

Rorschach and Nite Owl discover that Ozymandias is behind everything.

Atonement with the Father

Silk Spectre II discovers that The Comedian is her father. This explains to her why she has a broken relationship with her mother and why they will reconcile at the end of the film.

Apotheosis

Ozymandias reveals his entire elaborate plan, killing The Comedian and Moloch, arranging for the toxic gas to give people around Dr Manhattan cancer and setting off the explosions which will kill millions and Dr Mahattan will receive the blame. Apotheosis in this case refers to the God like knowledge of all the events of the story so far.

Ultimate Boon

Dr Manhattan  works out that Ozymandias is  responsible for the destruction and knows he’s at his lab in Antarctica. The Ultimate Boon refers to gaining the knowledge Dr Manhattan needs to complete the journey.

The Magic flight

Dr Manhattan teleports to the lab and gets fried in a reactor, similar to the one which created him. Slk Spectre II shoots Ozymandias and they think he’s dead but he actually caught the bullet and prepares to fight the remaining Watchmen. Dr. Manhattan resurrects himself and captures Ozymandias pretty easily.

Rescue from without

Rorschack refuses to go along with the plan and will reveal everything. Dr Manhattan is left with no choice and vaporizes him. Thus Ozymandias’ plan has been saved. This is an unusual type of Rescue from without however it serves the purpose of creating dramatic irony, an unexpected response. Essentially Dr Manhattan realises that Ozymandias’ plan is the best solution for all of humanity when he sees the Russians and the Americans uniting against him. Heroes often have to sacrifice themselves which is what, both Rorschack and Dr Manhattan do.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Dr Manhattan leaves the Earth in search of another galaxy and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II leave Ozymandias alone in his lab.

Master of two worlds

Silk Spectre and Nite Owl return to New York City and will continue to fight crime.

Freedom to live

A young employee at the New Frontiersman gets the opportunity to publish the journal written by Rorschack

 

I couldn’t find any moment or character which fulfilled Woman as Temptress stage, which is fine as not all stories have to have each stage. Feel free to leave a note in the comments section if you see it.

The Hero’s journey can be extracted from this story and I think it’s a very creative use of hitting the beats by using different characters. If you have a story which is essentially following the journey but you feel it’s a bit predicatble, why not flip the stage onto another character or do a reversal where the opposite of the stage happens. This story also plays double down on a Meeting with the Goddess and Belly of the whale which is another option when you have multiple character with different story lines.

It’s a pretty interesting Superhero film in a number of ways; visually and content-wise.  One of the lead characters assassinates the President, attempts to rape one of the other heroes, eventually fathers her child and makes sexual advance towards his own daughter. No other Superhero film has gone that dark and has no stars, although after 300 you can say Zach Snyder is the film’s star.