Superman Weakness

Even Good Can Be a Weakness

Similar to how villains can be disgusted by the actions of other villains, some heroes can be good to the point that not only can it be used against them, but it can come off as appalling or pathetic by other heroes and/or villains (current or former). This usually refers to when a hero has a villain at their mercy or has a perfect chance to kill them and end the threat they pose, but out of the goodness of their heart, or some misguided respect, or even by being tricked by the villain themselves, let them go. As a consequence to heroes and their allies, following their good heart can, on rare occasions, trigger a series of events in which are either:

  • Their closest allies/friends ended up killed/heavily injured by their enemies that backstabbed them after being spared, in which either they ended up incapacitated or worse; dead before being resurrected later on or otherwise for the rest of the story, in which all cases are depended onto the story/fiction where it occurred.
  • Suffer the huge loss on their side, ranging from having their supply destroyed or lost the very planet that they lived on.
  • Worst case, some of their allies ended up turned to the dark side out of fear, rage, or despair over the consequence of choice that hero made by spare their enemies (in some case overlaps with Despair Event Horizon as well), either the consequence was same with the previous case above or other causes that equally bad/worse.

Other examples of this could be either:

  • A hero openly expresses so much pride, or can be so naive in the good deed they've done that their allies or even witnesses can find it lame and obnoxious. Some cases of this also shown that the individual him/herself can potentially became the villain's pawn.
  • The hero overestimates/did not fully understanding unlikable traits of his allies/friends, in which when they reveal the said traits, it would became a serious trouble for the hero and his other allies.
  • The individual (either ther heroes themselves of others) overprotective with their relatives/subordinates/allies too much of something, which made their allies and even witnesses feels irritated. In some cases, their actions even too far to the point that he/she ended up ruin/hinders anything that their allies/friends dear most.
  • The hero attempt to do something with beneficial results for either themselves and their allies or everyone else, but they didn't fully took the necessary precaution for preventing the unwanted consequences.

While the heroes will do what it takes to correct the damage that is caused as a result of trusting their enemies, their mistakes often lead to irreversible consequences.

A form of opposition of this is Cruel Mercy, where the hero has taken precautions in ensuring that their enemies unable to use the mercy that he/she gave to them against him/her.

Since a person's sense of goodness differs from person to person, the members of audience often have differing opinions and both sides can get supporters.


Multimedia Franchises

  • Marvel Cinematic Universe series
    • Tony Stark and Bruce Banner: Tony and Bruce created Ultron as a peacekeeper program with help of one of the Infinity Stone within Loki's Sceptre so he would be able to aid Avengers against their enemies, but unfortunately, the said program unable to cope with the negative traits of humanity and ended up chooses to rebel and decided to destroyed humanity. Worse, Ultron's first victim was J.A.R.V.I.S., which caused Steve Rogers/Captain America and Thor Odinson berates Tony for harming Bruce Banner, causing to much trouble, and this mess. Even though that this ultimately undone thanks to help of Vision (whom born from Ultron's latest new body which programmed with the remains of J.A.R.V.I.S.) and the redeemed Maximoff siblings, it was obvious that Steve eventually became distrustful on Tony since the accident, in which became one of the reasons of their rivalries in Captain America: Civil War.
    • This also not the first time Steve Rogers berate his ally who attempted to do good thing that ended up disastrous: He once disagree with Nick Fury's idea regarding Project Insight due such project deemed too extreme in spite of its good intentions. Worse, the project later backfires when some S.H.I.E.L.D members betrayed their allies and revealed themselves as HYDRA members and caused the project targets the innocent people alongside those whom potentially get in their way.


  • Harry Potter series:
    • Harry Potter: Although he learned Wormtail's role in framing Sirius and death of his parents, he choose to spare Wormtail by proxy and intended to have him incarcerated in castle until brought to Azkaban. Unfortunately, he underestimated how deadly Wormtail can be behind his cowardly nature, as Wormtail later escaped and help ensure Voldemort's return.
    • Albus Dumbledore: He has arranged for Dolores Umbridge to be released from Centaur captivity, only for her goes to persecute and sentence muggle-borns and half bloods to death during Voldemort's reign. This was fortunately undone by the time of Voldemort's death, where she eventually confined in Azkaban for the rest of her life along with the captured Death Eaters.
  • Annabeth: Due to their past friendship, Annabeth couldn’t do her best to stop Luke and still believe that his betrayal were result of Kronos' manipulation. In spite of this, her statement that Luke never completely lost turned out true all along, as while Luke betrayed the gods and the whole world in his own volition, his motives are justifable and able to redeem himself in the end.

Live Action Films

  • Jedi Order: Jedi Order has a code that makes them passive during the wars and had justified fear towards the Dark Side of the Force. But as Anakin and later, Luke pointed out, the Order's original incarnation was marred by hubris and paranoia towards anything related to the Dark Side that they made poor efforts in finding best way to further understand and even overcome it in the first place. Both points was what gave Palpatine advantage in corrupting Anakin into Darth Vader in the first place.
    • The prequel trilogy of the series further elaborated that the same paranoia also led them believed that all evil comes from emotional attachment, and the Jedi prohibition on said attachment is quite alienating for those who want to keep their emotions and bring more harm than they realized. For example, in Revenge of the Sith, when Anakin goes to Yoda for advice about fear and the possibility of loss, Yoda lacked the moral flexibility and/or life experience to give Anakin anything but platitudes about how emotional attachment is dangerous and wrong, indirectly pushed him further into the Dark Side in process.
  • Caesar: In spite of knowing sad history between Koba and humanity and even agreed with his belief where apes are better than humans, Caesar's wish to form friendly relationships between their kind and humanity made him blind to the scope of Koba's hatred. In fact, he didn't take the possibility of anyone in either sides brutally opposed the peaceful coexistence between their kinds nor even how awful the hatred had consumed Koba until it's too late.


  • Batman (comics): Batman has a principle of never killing them, both meant to set himself apart from criminals and supervillain and inspired by trauma from his parents' death. As much as it made him an effective crime fighter and ally to Gotham Police Department, his methods proved ineffective against those who truly beyond redemption such as his nemesis Joker that his efforts in stopping them merely delayed the worst and may eventually better prepared against the Dark Knight and his allies.
    • Related to point above, in Batman: Arkham Origins, Anarky questioned Batman's principle that he believes Batman doesn't save Gotham people, but makes them dependant on him. Similarly, Jason Todd also questioned Batman's cruel mercy methods that, after dying at hands of Joker and subsequently resurrected, he takes up the mantle Red Hood out of betrayed by his morals.
    • In JLA: Tower of Babel and its adaptation Justice League: Doom, Batman is revealed to prepare plans to deal Justice League members in case if they become villains. Unfortunately, a team of villains who learned about it decided to steal them from his computer to use it against entire Justice League.
    • In Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite, Batman decided to keep his and Robin's investigation on Lex Luthor's plan with green kryptonite synthetic a secret from Superman in spite of Robin believes Superman can aid them dealing the crisis better (as it will led the Kryptonian hero know he had stashed a large number of kryptonite for situation whether Superman or other Kryptonians become a threat). Unfortunately for the dark knight and his partner, Joker and Lex Luthor ultimately stole the entire stash and blowed up the entire batcave.
  • Asterix:
  • Obelix:

Cartoon and Animated Films

  • 2003 Teen Titans:
    • Robin: In order to get close with Slade and better knowing about his plans, he made a supervillain alter-ego called Red X who proposed the alliance with the criminal mastermind, only to realize it never a good idea due to him almost crossed the line between good and evil, and worse, came close to lose his friends. While he managed to prevent the worst, someone later stole the Red X suit for his own use as a supervillainous thief.
  • Marlin: When Marlin tried to warn Nemo about dangers that a diver's boat pose to them, his overprotective and paranoia regarding his own safety ironically provoke his son to rebel and later, abducted by one of the divers and setting off the journey to save him in the first place.
  • The Queen of Ant Island: In terms of dealing Hopper's pack, Queen Ant believes that obeying the grasshoppers' demands is the best means to ensure her colony's safety, which later revealed not to be a best idea.
  • Avatar Series
    • Roku: Because of his friendships with Sozin, he didn't use any of chance to take him out in spite of seeing how far he had fallen as a firelord, which allow Sozin to used it against him and left him to die and wiped out entire airbenders so he could no longer disturb his plans of world domination. Roku's spirit many times expressed his regret that he wasn't more decisive and didn't prevent a war that lasted a century.
    • Aang: He saved Zuko instead of leaving him to freeze to death, but due to at that time Zuko still blinded by obsession to return to his home nation (which is wrong due to him repeatedly seen misery Fire Nation inflicted to entire planet due to his father and grandfather's rule), Zuko ended up turned against him in Ba Sing Se. To compound the issue, Aang didn't finish his training to come back to Ba Sing Se to save Katara and unprepared. Because he was educated that all life is sacred, he didn't want to kill Firelord Ozai, which nearly costed him his life and victory.
    • Zuko: He didn't want to young recruits to be sacrificed in battle, what was recognized as a disrespect to his father, who later challenged him to fight. Zuko refused to fight his father, what resulted him to burn a great scar on his son's face for the rest of his life, Zuko was humiliated and exiled. When he attempted to redeem himself, he almost lost his relationship with Mai. When he was already a Firelord, his patriotism and devotion to duty made him ultimately lose his beloved, severing his friendship with Avatar Aang, and risked a war he could not win (though he later undoes most of his mistake after realizing that most of his problems turned out due to his own fear of turning to the dark side as worse as Ozai ever did and immediately undo it before it could be worse). Also, despite what Azula did to him, he didn't want to kill her, what resulted her escape.
  • Bubbles: Due to her love to animals, she inadvertently saved a cat that later was revelated to be a criminal mastermind who fooled her with its charm.
  • Optimus Prime: Referring to the Transformers: Prime series, during the war for Cybertron, according to his oldest friend, Ratchet, Optimus Prime had many chances to kill their worst enemy, Megatron, but let him go out of the respect he once held for the one he once considered a brother, as they both once worked together to rid Cybertron of corruption and inequality before the war started.
  • Gwen Tennyson: She successfully goes back in time and prevents Kevin's monstrous mutation, only for her to find out that her meddling in time has caused a Bad Future were Hex rules the Earth, Kevin's Charmcaster's slave, Ben's chained in a dungeon as Hex's prisoner, and she's dead.
  • Scrooge McDuck: He becomes a vigilante to fight crime in "Masked Mallard", but a crooked TV reporter copies the identity to commit crimes and blame the hero in his REPORTS in order to boost ratings.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob's naive personality at times led him suspectible to Krabs' and other villains' manipulations and overestimating how destructive Patrick's stupidity can be, which leading to troubles. This unfortunately, led to his most controversial moment in the episode A Pal for Gary, where he bought Puffy Fluffy as Gary's roommate (oblivious with the fact that the animal itself is one of the known worst and possibly deadliest predators in the ocean). And when the Fluffy reveals it's true apex predator form and nearly kills Gary, SpongeBob himself yells at Gary for attacking him (unaware that the situation was polar opposite of what he thinks) and was nearly killed had Gary not defeated it.
    • When SpongeBob used squirrel-related jokes in Comedy Krab show to boost the said show's rating, Sandy realized that if he keep using the said jokes, he would've unknowingly (and inevitably) taught Bikini Bottom citizens to hate her kind. In fact, a day after he told such offensive jokes, Sandy figured out that majorities of Bikini Bottomites are gullible enough to assume the jokes as actual fact about squirrels where they began to either booing her or started to treat her like outcast. This prompted her to punish SpongeBob before it ultimately become a major problem.
  • Ariel:
  • Hercules:
  • Snow White: Due to her sweet nature and goodwill towards others, Snow White can be gullible and easily manipulated to rebel against the orders of others, such as she invites an old crone, who was her stepmother, the Queen, in disguise, (believing her to be a harmless, sickly old woman) into the cottage, disobeying the dwarfs' orders to stay away from strangers. This would result in her downfall as the Queen was successfully able to poison her with an apple. However, Snow White's loving heart is ultimately able to prevail, as her mutual love for the Prince ultimately saves her life. This symbolizes both the dangers and advantages of having a pure heart and making her a more human character.
  • Hiccup:

Anime and Manga

  • Dragon Ball
    • Goku: When his evil brother, Raditz came to Earth, kidnapped his son, Gohan, and threatened to kill every life form on the planet, Goku had to team up with his former enemy, Piccolo, to have the best chance of defeating him. Goku, not wanting to tip Raditz off about his knowledge of his tail being his weakness, waited until the right moment to grab Raditz' tail, rendering him immobile and defenseless against Piccolo's lethal Special Beam Cannon technique. Raditz begged Goku to spare him and promised to leave Earth and never returned. Initially, Goku refused to believe him, but soon gave in once Raditz sounded sincere enough to keep his word, despite Piccolo warning him twice not to fall for it. Raditz immediately beat Goku down the moment he let him go. Piccolo angrily chastised Goku for his naive nature.
    • Gohan: In the anime-exclusive episodes of Dragonball Z, Gohan assumed an alter-ego by the name of "Great Saiyaman" to keep his identity a secret from the public whenever he fought crime. When he saved an airline jet from crashing in a highly populated city, he declared his success with an obnoxious speech and striking several over-the-top victory poses. A little girl who watched denounced him as a "geek". Something like this happened again in the 13th movie, when he stopped two bank robbers from escaping in their getaway car. Once he disarmed them and disabled their vehicle, he made another long-winded speech and struck another pose. One of the bank-robbers questioned the length of the speech and even Videl, Gohan's girlfriend, who had also assumed a similar alter-ego and aided him in foiling the robbery, agreed, even telling him "See, Gohan? Even the low-lives agree.".
  • Naruto series
    • Naruto Uzumaki: Because of his bond with Sasuke Uchiha, he didn't go to the most extreme length to stop Sasuke from defecting; he refused to kill Sasuke when he had perfect opportunity, in which allowed Sasuke to become an international criminal and preserve his alliance with Akatsuki because of Sasuke's own vulnerability to Obito's manipulations. This resulted him critized by his friends and also by A The Raikage, who yelled at him because Sasuke seemingly killed Killer Bee that left him in vengeful rage until Tobi revealed that the said person escaped, but use this as ruse for have fun on the outside of the village.
      • Sai, who aware with this problem convince Naruto's friends that Sasuke can only be stopped by Konoha alone and no one else, as had any shinobi from other village did so instead like A (which fortunately not happened), some of Konoha shinobi would sought revenge and there's a chance that the said individuals accidently killed wrong person from other village, resulting all villages wage war against each other and later conflicts would only driven by hatred that only ended when no one left alive. Unfortunately, this idea ended up led Sakura turned against them so she could taking out Sasuke by himself out of her feelings with him, which turned out a suicide attempt had Naruto not interfere. Even with Sai himself tries to undo the unwanted consequences of this, it's turned out that Naruto was undo this instead.
    • Itachi Uchiha: He was ordered to kill his entire clan to prevent a bloody coup that would kill all of Konoha, but couldn't bring himself to kill his younger brother, Sasuke. As a result, he spared said person, and tried to enact a plan that would end with that person a hero beloved by Konoha, and capable of defending himself and it against the Madara. Instead, it ended with him as Obito to Madara, swearing to destroy Konoha. He later fix this out though once revived by Kabuto later on.
    • Out of concern with another possible rebellion from Uchiha clan, Tobirama Senju gave the Uchiha control of the Konoha Military Police Force as a sign of trust as well as means to keeping the Uchiha's emotions in check so the village would not end up with another Madara. Though this actually meant for Uchiha clan and inhabitants of Konoha to coexist in better way, this ultimately intensifies the chance for Uchiha clan to consumed by hatred. Hashirama even critizes this method when both of them revived alongside other Kages by Orochimaru's aid to undo the Fuinjustu techique that invovled the usage of the Shikigami's stomach to previously confined them as prison.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends went to Hueco Mundo to save Orihime defying Soul Society's orders. Yamamoto, who had hoped to be able to send a captain-class invasion force in three months time was forced to speed up his plans to get the captains into Hueco Mundo to follow after the kids. Then it's revealed this was Aizen's plan all along, knowing Orihime's unique powers would force the shinigami to act to prevent her power being used by Aizen. Aizen successfully split the Gotei 13 forces in half, enabling him to have to only fight half the Gotei 13 at Karakura Town.
    • Orihime Inoue: she healed Menoly despite she abused her, which inadvertly gave her the chance to abuse her more sadistically.

Live Action TV

  • Kilgharrah the Great Dragon told Merlin that his attempt to see other people’s kindness can be his undoing. This was proved where Morgana and Mordred, those whom he attempt to see their kindness proved to be vulnearable to turned to the dark side. Though Merlin tries to undo this once heard about propechy where Morgana and Mordred would became evil, both of them already one step past to the dark side: Mordred callously killed two Camelot Knights instead simply immobilize them by his sonic scream spell, while Morgana start her move by mentally tortured Uther with a magically specialized mandrake Root.
  • In Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel, Haley realized her mistake with her poorly addition got in between her relationship with Calvin, which made their relationship tested.

Video Games

  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Rahm Kota implores Galen Marek not to kill Emperor Palpatine despite Marek wanting to do so anyway. Marek eventually listens to Kota when the Jedi Master tells Marek that if he DOES strike down Palpatine, he'll likely become evil again. This allows Palpatine to attack Marek and the rebel leaders again. Marek shields Kota and the rebel leaders at the cost of his own life. Ultimatly Marek's sacrifice allowed the birth of the Rebel Alliance, on the negative side his refusal to kill Palpatine began the long Galactic Civil War. Even though the war ended with the fall of the Galactic Empire and Palpatine's death, it still resulted in the death's of billions, including the destruction of Alderaan.
  • Commander Shepard can choose to spare Rana Thanoptis and Elnora, but later the former becomes a brainwashed agent of Reapers and the latter is revelated to be a murderer of a volus businessman. Shepard can also choose to destroy the Collector Base over preserving it, what gives less military power in the next game.
  • Geralt of Rivia can believe those, who look like obvious victims, but looks are deceiving. An elven girl Malena is an ungrateful backstabber and three sisters are wraiths, who were lying from the start and manipulated the witcher.
  • Mega Man and several of his other counterparts are known for having naivete, which their enemies would often point out may be their fatal flaws. For example, when he and Bass meet in battle, Mega Man would often state his refusal to fight him out of belief that they are not enemies. Another example is found in Mega Man X, who shows a lot of qualms about having to fight due to being a pacifist at heart.
  • Spiritia Rosenberg has her own naivete similarly to Mega Man above. Interestingly, her naiveness mainly comes from trusting Iris Sepperin, who eventually reveals herself to be the one responsible for having been orchestrating RKS's rebellion against the Orthodox Church all along.
  • Sash Lilac and Carol Tea are forced to turn the system for Lord Brevon's spaceship back on and give him the disk they were using to do so by him when he threatens to kill Milla Basset following their attempt to shut it down. Little do they know, that Brevon has tricked them into doing so so that he could mutate Milla into a monster and force the two to fight her.
  • Protagonist of the first Fallout game was forced to sent himself into exile from the Vault because his/her heroic action in saving the Vault from army of mutants has inspired the children inhabitants to do heroic actions that similar with what he did, an influence that threaten to bring the unwanted consequences.


Nemo! No! (Nemo: Dad?) (Marlin shoves Nemo away.) You're about to swim to open water. (Nemo: No, I wasn't.) It's good thing I was here. (Nemo: Dad, no.) (Pearl: Sir, he wasn't gonna go.) (Tad: Yeah, he was too afraid.) (Nemo: No, I wasn't.) This does not concern you, kids. And you're lucky I don't tell your parents you were out there. You know you can't swim well. (Nemo becomes angry at his father.) (Nemo: I can swim fine, Dad, okay?!) No. It's not okay. You shouldn't be anywhere near here. Okay, I was right. You know what? You'll start school in a year or two. (Nemo, pulling away: No, Dad! Just because you're scared of the ocean...) Clearly, you're not ready, and you're not coming until you are. You think you can do these things, but you just can't, Nemo! (Nemo: I hate you.) (Marlin is shocked by those words.)
~ Marlin embarrassing Nemo in front of his classmates while arguing with him about swimming out to the open ocean, leading to his son disowning him, and then getting taken by divers.
(After Emmet unwillingly crashed Batman and Queen Watevrva Wa'nabi's wedding that causes everyone of the SyStar System and even, Benny, MetalBeard, Unikitty and Bananar started to cry) What's happening? (Emmet removes his headset) What did I just do!?
~ Emmet realizes that he has done, when he was tricked by Rex Dangervest aka his future self


See Also

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