"The Reason You Suck" Speech

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Cquote1.svg

"I always wondered what kind of person could do such a thing. But now that I see you, I think I understand. There’s just nothing inside you. Nothing at all. You’re pathetic and sad and empty."

Cquote2.svg

Not only has Big Bad tried to kill your girlfriend/boyfriend, slain the Team Pet and finally taken over the world, he must grind your self worth into the asphalt and explain to you why, precisely, you failed. This is where he lists all the reasons you are a poor excuse for a hero and never had a prayer of stopping him; you lack the skills, the weapons and the powers needed; you childishly fight for outdated ideals, your costume is ugly and your mentor always hated you.

Frequently a particular brand of Evil Gloating and/or Breaking Them By Talking; it's a lot like the Hannibal Lecture, except in this case the Villain clearly has done something that would seem to suggest he (the bad guy) really is the superior combatant; e.g. the hero has just been punched through a wall and is pinned under rubble as the Villain stands over him with a gun.

In a well done speech, the Bad Guy will state things that even the hero (and audience) can't argue with. Or maybe they're total BS, but it's delivered with such conviction it almost makes the hero (and audience) agree that he was wrong to have dared challenge the villain in the first place.

Sometimes, "The Reason You Suck" Speech makes the point that the people the hero is trying to defend aren't really worth it to begin with. An especially arrogant Big Bad will use "The Reason You Suck" Speech to let the hero know he's just a lesser version of the Big Bad himself, the only difference being he's not saddled with the morals the hero is. A villain going for a low-blow might bring up some previous encounter between the two when he totally owned the hero, as to state that the same thing will happen again.

Villains can also give this to other villains in an Evil vs. Evil setting. The content of this speech is going to be either along the lines of how they're Eviler Than Thou and pointing out flaws and shortcomings in the other villain, like the Magnificent Bastard chiding a Smug Snake for underestimating them and being foolishly unprepared or a Card-Carrying Villain chiding a Knight Templar villain for employing their same methods but claiming to be morally superior to them, or Even Evil Has Standards if the other villain did something they find awful.

A hero worth his salt might respond with his own speech along the lines of a World of Cardboard Speech or a Picard or Kirk Summation, among others. If it's an action movie, the hero will usually just break out a Shut UP, Hannibal and the shootout/fisticuffs will begin. Sometimes the hero survives only because they're Not Worth Killing, in which case they'll invariably prove that they are later in the story. A Crowning Moment of Awesome if the person of the receiving end of the speech is a Jerkass who had it coming, double Crowning Moment of Awesome if a Jerkass gives this to someone and he or she respond with their own to the asshole, humiliating him.

Heroes can also give defeated villains "The Reason You Suck" Speeches, often pointing out their wasted potential or how their obsession with defeating the hero has ruined them, or in the case of the Well-Intentioned Extremist adversary, how they've become everything they've fought against, or how their extremes in trying to bring a better world have done more to ruin it. Heroic "'Reason You Suck' Speeches" come out when the hero's not going to bother with the Kirk Summation or trying to persuade their foe. Chances are, they tried the diplomatic option, and it didn't sink in.

Alternatively, the speech is given by someone who's just frustrated with the other person. This is not an attempt bring down or break an opponent. This is not an exchange between heroes and villains (heck, they might even be friends). This is someone, tired of everything they have to deal with, giving a frank and brutally honest assessment of the person they're dealing with, often in a What the Hell, Hero? moment. This can be prone to backfire with a suitably shallow, self-obsessed, and/or Genre Savvy target; who typically responds with "You've just listed all of my best features!" Will often provoke an attempted refutation or justification from the target; which, depending on the source, can be played for comedy, drama, or Wangst.

Compare to Calling the Old Man Out. Could also be a Take That, Scrappy! where someone tells a hated character what the audience feels about them.

Compare and contrast the World of Cardboard Speech. See also Did You Actually Believe? Contrast Minor Insult Meltdown, where just the tip of the "you suck" iceberg can sink a character to tears.

And as a last note; no, this isn't the trope that's about the reasons that characters are bad at speaking. Neither is it a meta Justification for This Loser Is You.

One (really) last note: you'll find that some of these can be subverted to serve as Dare to Be Badass speeches as well.

Examples of "The Reason You Suck" Speech are listed on these subpages:
"The Reason You Suck" Speech