A speech made by the hero to the villain just before the climactic fight in which he points out exactly why what the villain is doing is wrong, and begs him to forswear his ways.
This almost never, ever works. Still, he had to try: that's what makes him the hero. If it does work, he's Talking the Monster to Death.
The villain will probably respond with a pithy one-liner; this makes it okay for the hero to kill him. The villain might also turn the tables with his own speech, which may cause the hero to turn the tables again by saying Shut UP, Hannibal
Different from the Last Second Chance in that here the hero is trying to shame or reason with the villain to make him turn back, whereas in that trope the hero is offering the villain help, healing, or redemption. When the villain rejects this trope, you have a Shut Up, Kirk.
Anime & Manga
- Anime tend to use a much more abbreviated form of this: in Dragon Ball, Goku begins the final phase of almost every battle by offering his opponent "one last chance" to recant his evil ways.
- Judai/Jaden on Yu-Gi-Oh! GX loves these, usually couching them in terms of "the true meaning of the game". His opponents hardly ever buy it. In the original Japanese it's not so bad, but in the English version it always comes across as ridiculous given the situation, which someone always lampshades: i.e. "You know Jaden -- he loves giving this speech."
- At one point, he decides the speech won't do anything, so he just goes straight to the asskicking.
- In the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, it was [Yami] Yugi and the "heart of the cards".
- Vash from Trigun sometimes engaged enemies in this because of his aversion to killing.
- Nanoha from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha does this with all her enemies, which never works for various reasons. She then opts for unleashing raw firepower on them until they're in no condition to do anything but listen to her.
- Negi from Mahou Sensei Negima is also guilty of this a lot. Chamo and several others comment on this, stating that Negi would end his fights a hell of a lot quicker if he wasn't holding back so much at the start of major fights, trying to give his opponent a chance to surrender. They never do.
- It's subverted during the Mahora Festival arc. Negi decides that he doesn't know whether the Big Bad's plan (ending The Masquerade) is the right thing to do or not. He fights them anyway because they can't prove that ending the Masquerade is important enough to justify screwing over Negi, his students, and the other mages.
- He probably delivers the most epic one to Kurt Godel, effectively telling him, "No, you're full of crap."
- Cruelly subverted in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: the hero gets interrupted by a lethal bullet.
- Of all people, Heero Yuy delivers one in the final battle of Gundam Wing, rejecting Zechs's assertion that humans need to be forcibly made to give up war. Though Zechs may have been faking the whole thing. The anime isn't as clear on this as the manga.
- Subverted several times in One Piece. Luffy gets straight to the point when fighting someone. Key example, arc Big Bad Arlong asks why Luffy is willing to risk his life fighting him, and Luffy's simple answer is:
Luffy: You made my navigator cry.
- The King in The Law of Ueki delivers one of these to Margaret, and the entire race of Protectorates. Nobody listens.
- In Digimon Adventure, Angemon and Angewomon make absolutely sure that Myotismon has no remorse for any of his evil deeds before killing him.
- Naruto has this for a M.O. All he has to do is talk his enemy/whoever it is that annoys him, use some clichéd lines, and said fellow will convert to Naruto's way of thinking at best or idolize Naruto at worst. Only Sasuke seems to be averting it. He even delivers a Shut Up, Kirk on Naruto, asking him how he can be so foolish he can't see what monster he has become. Considering Naruto, however, it doesn't have much of a effect.
- There are plenty of villainous characters Naruto doesn't even try to do this with. Orochimaru and Itachi get nothing but a "f*ck you" from him, as does Madara, and he barely even talks to Kakuzu, Deidara, or Sasori.
- In Pokémon Special, this is what Dia basically does to every villain he's ever encountered before resorting to fighting them. It may not work for the villain, however, but it sure does inspire everyone else who hears it (even Dialga and Palkia, in one instance!).
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Whispers, Celestia attempts to talk Nightmare Moon down:
Celestia: "Lower the moon, Luna. We shall extend upon you but one chance."
Nightmare Moon: "Are you finished yet? If that was meant to intimidate me, you don't even pass on effort."
- Played straight between Optimus and Megatron during the climatic battle of Transformers:
Megatron: Humans don't deserve to live.
Optimus: They deserve to choose for themselves!
Megatron: Then you will die with them! Join them in extinction!
- In the X-Men movie, Magneto tells our heroes (whom he has handily all bound up with metal) his plan. Wolverine calls him out.
Wolverine: You're so full of shit. If you were really so righteous, it'd be you in that thing.
- Flipped in Serenity: The Anti-Villain tries presenting this trope to the Anti-Hero, who in turn delivers the Shut Up, Kirk by shooting him.
- The Lawnmower Man features this exchange:
- In Spy Kids 3D, Valentin uses this tactic to forgive Sebastian for crippling him. It worked.
- Labyrinth played it as a key plot point, as it was her destiny to deliver her "Give me the child" speech. Foreshadowed and all.
- In Star Trek: Nemesis Jean-Luc Picard delivers a Kirk Summation to a hologram of his clone, Shinzon, in his ready room during a lull in a space battle, appealing to his better nature. Shinzon goes for genocide anyway.
- Po of Kung Fu Panda does this in both movies. He tells Tai Lung why Tai wasn't ready to have the Dragon Scroll, and tells Shen to let go of the past. Neither works in the slightest, showing that the villains are beyond redemption.
- Harry Potter vs. Voldemort, round 4. Harry calls him "Riddle" and suggests he repent, before summarizing: "So it all comes down to this, doesn't it? Does the wand in your hand know its last master was Disarmed? Because if it does... I am the true master of the Elder Wand."
- Not a villainous example, but Wedge Antilles, on a world of Proud Warrior Race Humans, repeatedly hints at his disgust for a moral system that revolves around killing for honor. The native fighter acting as his guide falls for him, sees that she has no chance, and tries to go through honorable suicide-through-combat. He stops her when he sees what she's doing, and they have an exchange where he tries to convince her not only to stay alive, but to see and move past the flaws in her culture's beliefs.
Wedge: Circular thinking. I'm honorable because I kill the enemy, and I kill the enemy for the honor. There's nothing there, Cheriss. Here's the truth: I kill the enemy so someone, somewhere -- probably someone I've never met and never will meet -- will be happy. [...] I told you how I lost my parents. Nothing I ever do can make up for that loss. But if I put myself in the way of people just as bad as the ones who killed my family, if I burn them down, then someone else they would have hurt gets to stay happy. That's the only honorable thing about my profession. It's not the killing. It's making the galaxy a little better.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe has many, many examples. Basically, any time a New Republic-era Jedi faces a Sith, expect a Kirk Summation.
- In The Last Hero, it takes the combined Kirk Summation arguments of Carrot, Rincewind, and the nameless bard to convince Cohen and his Silver Horde that blowing Dunmanifestin to smithereens isn't such a good idea. It works, but technically is still played straight, as it's not the moral objections of Carrot or Rincewind that ultimately convince them, but the bard's appeal to their vanity ("No one will remember you.").
- High-King Kallor of the Malazan Book of the Fallen once boasted to Caladan Brood of the many kingdoms he had raised, ruled, and then destroyed. He asked if Caladan could understand what that meant. And Caldan calmly replied "Yes. You never learn."
Live Action TV
- Kirk did one of these in just about every episode of Star Trek. Picard was inordinately fond of them as well.
- Kirk actually does succeed against a non-automated foe, at least once: The Terran Empire in "Mirror, Mirror", when he convinces Spock that "In every revolution, there's one man with a vision!" Unfortunately for him, later events show that things went badly without him there to defeat the enemy by more traditional means.
- In the novel I, Q, Picard faces off against his own evil side in the form of Locutus of Borg and gives such a speech. When Q can't see the point, Data suggests that he thinks Picard is trying to talk Locutus into committing suicide. To which Q replies:
Q: Yeah, and if that doesn't work, maybe the Easter Bunny will save us.
- It doesn't. He (she?) doesn't. They escape anyway.
Faith: Oh yeah? Give me the speech again, please. "Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."
Willow: It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo. Poor you.
- Buffy tended to come across this trope whenever there was a recurring villain, or a Face Heel Turn, either subverting it or playing it straight at random. In a later season, Anya lampshades the arbitrariness of the gang's mercy ("Spike has some sort of get out of jail free card that doesn't apply to the rest of us...")
- Doctor Who also featured quite a few of these. They would frequently add a twist wherein the villain actually would be persuaded by the speech, then be promptly killed by his even more villainous Lieutenant. In the later years, they became more cynical about this—the seventh Doctor used these speeches in Silver Nemesis and Remembrance of the Daleks, knowing they would only goad the villain into carrying out his plan without taking the time to notice the Doctor's sabotage.
- Doctor Who also featured a full-out subversion in "The Christmas Invasion", where the Doctor gets halfway through a speech before realizing that he's just been reciting the opening lines of "Circle of Life" from The Lion King.
- For the Tenth Doctors in particular, this was a defining part of his much more pacifistic character—the villain was always given a chance to repent, usually followed by "or else, I'll have to stop you." The "a chance" part is quite specific, too. They get exactly one chance. They aren't told what will happen if they don't take it, but they learn the hard way that the Doc does not play around.
- In the Series 4 finale, Martha Jones even goes against her UNIT orders, to give the Daleks the chance to stop because "there's one more thing the Doctor would do."
- "I used to have so much mercy. You get one chance. Just one," in "School Reunion" sums it up perfectly.
- The turning point in Babylon 5's main arc hinges on a Kirk Summation that actually works.
- Kirk Summations appear at other points in the series and often work, most notably during the early stages of the Earth Alliance civil war.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers does this between Jason and Tommy when Tommy captures Jason.
- Subverted in the original Fallout, in which the final boss commits suicide if you can convince him that his plan isn't feasible.
- Lloyd of Tales of Symphonia likes to use this, though the enemies never listen.
Yggdrassil: Why can you not accept the ideal world that I have created?
Lloyd: How can your world be ideal when you've caused countless innocent people to suffer?
Yggdrassil: Human. Don't tell me what's right and wrong.
- Used in Mass Effect where Commander Shepard may attempt to convince Saren that Sovereign is controlling him through his cybernetic implants, and that they can still defeat the Reapers. Depending on your alignment, you can either convince Saren to kill himself, or suggest that he can make a Heel Face Turn and redeem himself. Unfortunately, however Saren dies, Sovereign assumes direct control of his corpse, making you have to kill the guy TWICE, rather than just once.
- She may not be the lead character of the series, but Luna Platz pulls one of these on Tia's little brother, even telling his alien partner Corvus to shut it when he tells her that he just wants to cause random destruction.
- The end of Parappa the Rapper 2, where you get to pull this on the Big Bad.
- The entire party delivers one of these before the final battle in Final Fantasy VI. Translator Ted Woolsey realised that this was probably getting a bit excessive, and gave Kefka the now-immortal line "This is sickening! You sound like chapters from a self-help booklet!" in response.
- In World of Warcraft, Tirion Fordring gives a Kirk Summation to the Lich King several times, including during the Argent Tournament and during the final fight with him in Icecrown Citadel. In ICC, Tirion offers a swift death for the thousands the Lich King has tortured and slain. The Lich King responds with a Hannibal Lecture, to which Tirion replies with a Shut UP, Hannibal, shortly before being frozen in ice and taken out of the fight.
- At the end of the "Dangerous Days Ahead" arc from Sluggy Freelance, Torg tries one of these on Aylee. Luckily it turns out not to be the real Aylee.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob-- Bob, who has a good track record at talking monsters to death, tries this on Fructose Riboflavin. His speech is simple, polite, even sympathetic, but absolutely devastating. But he's hit Riboflavin too close to home, and rather than backing down, Riboflavin becomes violently furious, because he knows everything Bob said is true.
- Coop's "three things that annoyed me today" speech in almost every episode of Megas XLR, although it's always said before the villain gets trashed, and just as easily subverted (such as him blaming an enemy for things that weren't their fault, often Coop's fault instead) or said by other characters (including the villain in one episode). Lampshaded during an Enemy Mine scenario:
Coop: All right, squid. You tried to wreck the city again, made me go to some alternate dimension where Jamie is a bigger creep than usual, and you got me locked up in a jail with no food?! It's time to rumble!
Gorrath: Are you talking to me? I'm on your side now, remember?!
Coop: Oh, sorry. Force of habit I guess.
- From My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, when the mane six face off against Discord for the second time:
- A short but sweet one from Batman to Red Hood/ Jason Todd in their final confrontation in Under the Red Hood:
You say you want to be better than me. But it won't happen! Not like this!