Rule of Cool

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This trope is brought to you by Death playing an electric guitar.

The limit of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to the element's awesomeness.

Stated another way, all but the most pedantic of viewers will forgive liberties with reality as long as the result is wicked sweet or awesome. This applies to the audience in general; there will naturally be a different threshold for each individual.

The Rule of Cool is another principle that seeks to dispel arguments among fans over implausibility in fiction. It has been cited by animation director Steve Loter (of Kim Possible, Clerks the Animated Series, Tarzan, and American Dragon: Jake Long) in response to questions from fans attempting to justify temporary breaches in logical consistency. It is a complement to Bellisario's Maxim and the MST3K Mantra.

Of scientific laws that this trope circumvents, the third law of motion is probably the most frequently revoked, with the Square-Cube Law probably a close second.

Note that you only get to invoke the Rule of Cool if the end product is, in fact, cool. (If the coolness itself causes the result, then it's Pure Awesomeness.) Note also that different opinions on what is "cool" create the most arguments over this. That being said, the Rule of Cool is very subjective. Failure to properly use this trope can cause collision damage with walls.

You will need to refer to The Utterly and Completely Definitive Guide to Cool.

A Sub-Trope of Artistic License.

Compare Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot. Compare Cool of Rule, Rule of Funny, Rule of Fun, Rule of Scary, Rule of Drama, Rule of Romantic, Rule of Cute, Masculinity Tropes.

Contrast Viewers are Morons.

Tropes that exist just because of this rule:


Series that exist because of this rule:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Some of the items sold by such catalogues as Skymall and The Bradford Exchange would never exist were it not for this trope. This editor's personal favorite is the wall-sculpture Night Flight. Depending on your point of view, it's either awesome on top of awesome or actually kind of impressive in terms of sheer ridiculousness.
  • There's an Orbitz commercial where a guy is watering his lawn, and a scientist-type from an earlier spot floats down in a hovercraft. Getting out, he strides over to the guy and removes an envelope from his coat.

Scientist: Hi! You booked a flight and the price went down, so here's an Orbitz Price Assurance check for the difference.
Guy: Thanks! But why didn't you just mail it?
Scientist: (looks confused, points backward) We have a hovercraft.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann can be best described as the Rule Of Cool Incarnate. Everything the characters or mechs do, and even the laws of physics themselves, are subject to Rule of Cool. The fight scenes especially make absolutely no logical sense whatsoever, but it really doesn't matter because they're so awesome. Simon and Viral once actually kill enemies by the sheer awesome they radiate, for goodness sake!!!
    • Throwing galaxies like ninja stars. Just... throwing galaxies like ninja stars.
    • There's a story reason that neatly sums up all the problems, but do you really care?
    • At one point, Kamina, resident Crazy Awesome Badass draws his trusty Katana, and it keeps coming out of the sheath for like ten feet, for no reason other than it looks cool. Not to mention he was fighting against someone with a meat cleaver. The length of Kamina's sword seems directly proportional to the length of the speech he is making while drawing it.
    • In the same vein, Double K, the buddy cop version of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, seems to combine how Rule Of Cool driven both types of shows are. The result is as amazing as you think.
  • Just how did mercurion work in Soukou no Strain? What is it? All we know is it's Green Rocks. And why was the special ship pink, and what was with the big arm... Well, it looked cool.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, Spike Spiegel is basically the epitome of this rule. Altought it not always work for him.
    • ANY character voiced by Steven Blum is subject to the epitome.
  • Lampshaded by Kazuki and actually the motivating reason behind many of Captain Bravo's odd mannerisms in Busou Renkin. "Because it looks cool that way!"
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam relies on this moreso than usual to set itself apart from the rest of the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise. Among the concepts that walk the infamous thin line between "clever" and "stupid" are a German ninja, a giant robot mummy, and a martial arts master who takes off his sash and uses it to slash an enemy robot in half. The fact that the main character's special technique is called "Shining Finger" is also helped a great deal by this rule.
  • One word (or three): GaoGaiGar. What else can you say about a series where a cyborg combines with an alien robot lion, a bullet train, a drill car, and a stealth fighter to form a Humonguous Robot that uses a Hyperspace Mallet capable of turning whatever it strikes into light particles? And of course, the series features a rather famous Memetic Mutation to explain it all: "With courage, 1% becomes 100%!"
    • Said Hyperspace Mallet takes a level in badass. Yes, it is possible to do so.
    • The mallet came with several, by virtue of being a transforming tank. After the specific level in question, it becomes a transforming triad of spaceships.
  • Subverted in Metal Fighter Miku. Early in the series, the team's mentor asks the girls to explain the purpose of the robot-like metal suits used in their wrestling league. After one team member gives a detailed explanation of the various computer systems and sensors built into the outfits, he dismisses it all with a simple "Because it looks cool!" In the end, it is revealed that his overarching goal has been to convince everyone to do away with all the pseudo-futuristic glitz and return the sport to the muscle-and-technique competition that wrestling is supposed to be.
  • Black Lagoon—where do we start? A cast consisting entirely of badasses, rounded out by a anti-heroine who is able to backflip seven feet into the air, shoot three people dead mid-jump and has the vision range of a chameleon? A torpedo boat performing a joust against a gunship—and winning by using a boat-wreck as a ramp and torpedoing it mid-air? A one-eyed seventy year old nun who runs a gun-smuggling 'church of violence' and whose weapon of choice is a golden Desert Eagle she fires one handed? An invincible terminator maid with a shotgun umbrella?
  • In an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the Major one-handedly fires a enormous .50-caliber sniper rifle and reloads the bolt-action by using her knee and the force of the recoil. Why one-handed? Because she's missing her other arm. Even considering the fact that she is a full-on cyborg, the scene borders on absurd. But is it jaw-droppingly awesome? Yes, oh yes, oh yes....
    • Of course, you have to wonder if it didn't contribute to the fact she needed a new body the next day.
  • Fist of the North Star, if examined with a critical eye, would collapse under the weight of its Fridge Logic... if not for how it essentially created the Rule of Cool-based Shonen series. It's hard to complain about the implausibility of the premise when you're trying to retrieve your jaw following the fight scenes.
  • Karas is the Sentai series that Power Rangers wishes it could be; it runs on Rule of Cool. How else can you explain the ludicrously overpowered kick-arse hero who can transform into a jet and a car to combat the rise of blood-drinking Conspicuous CG cyborg demons?
    • Four words: Train-Dragon of Death
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion, of course. Erecting a sprawling civilian metropolis directly atop a military base that is certain to be attacked by aliens wielding doomsday weapons is just Saddamesque enough to be cool.
    • The best part is where the skyskrapers slide down underground to hang from the roof of the Geofront whenever one of the aforementioned aliens turn up. This ends poorly (obviously, it's Evangelion) but seeing them rise back above ground after a fight with that music comes pretty close to CMOA.
    • And, as it turns out, the entire reason Hideki Anno decided to go with the name isn't because of religious symbolism, but because he thought the words sounded cool.
  • Dinosaur King. The plot involves cards that become dinosaurs (or dinosaurs that are cards) and an evil gang who wants to use them for world domination. Makes no sense? Watch one of the dinosaur fight scenes. All your complaints will be blown away by the sheer awesomeness of dinosaurs attacking each other with elemental powers.
    • Thunder Bazooka... Just... Thunder Bazooka...
  • Jack Rakan of Mahou Sensei Negima appears to have based his entire fighting style on this. His moves include summoning a building-sized sword, surfing on a sword, and shattering a magical pocket dimension just by being awesome. It's repeatedly lampshaded by other characters.

Chamo: This shouldn't be physically possible.
Jack: It just takes a little spirit.
and
Kotomi: He just ignores the laws of magic.

    • The entire Negi vs. Rakan fight. The ridiculous lengths that it goes to (Negi reveals that he is not left handed five times in a single chapter) would just be overkill if it weren't so freaking awesome.
    • Really, a good chunk of the series is covered by either Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny.
      • With whatever gaps remaining between the two being largely filled in with Rule of Sexy.
  • Almost every special tennis move in The Prince of Tennis, and more so the further along in the story one gets
    • The Tezuka Zone, wherein Tezuka Kunimitsu doesn't move one step from wherever he is standing, and all balls, no matter how they are hit, are attracted to him
    • Atobe Keigo's World of Ice, which attacks his opponent's weak spot... and takes the form of flying shards of ice. Yes, this is still about tennis
    • Synchro is the ultimate doubles technique, during which doubles partners enter a trance-like state and are perfectly in tune with each other... and their eyes become swirling vortexes of color
    • Tooyama Kintaro's Super Ultra Great Delicious Daisharin Yamaarashi which is about as realistic as you would imagine from the name
  • Monou Fuuma destroys Ebisu Garden Plaza with empty soda cans and the power of his own awesomeness in the X 1999 manga
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch constantly uses Rule of Cool to his advantage. At one point, he even lampshades it saying that people don't give a damn about reason, but they can't resist miracles. However, this is more a case of Willing Suspension of Disbelief among characters than among the audience.
    • In a more general way, most of the character/costume designs and acting fits this trope, specially Zero. For example, his mask wouldn't work in real-life, but isn't it cool?
  • Appleseed takes to Rule of Cool to new heights, especially the fight scenes in second CGI movie ("Appleseed Ex Machina"), which opens and closes with combat sequences that would make a Cirque du Soleil-trained Green Beret turn flushed with jealousy and admiration.
  • Burst Angel provides great examples for this... particularly, its main character Jo, an awesome fighter, even if not sociable at all, who can pilot a mecha as if it was her own body, do incredible stunts with weapons, and save her damsel in distress.
  • Sengoku Basara seems to run off of this trope as much as Gurren Lagann. Seriously, it's set (theoretically) in the Sengoku Period, it features a Mecha Samurai who is twenty feet tall with a drill, jet pack (or rocket engines, take your pick) and miniature treads on his feet. He launches into battle. And can fly.
  • FLCL packs as much of this into six episodes as most anime manage in 26. And that goes double for episode 5.
  • And then, from the same guy who directed said 5th episode, came Dead Leaves. A 55 minutes long movie that crams in as much awesomeness as the entirety of FLCL, (if not even more so,) spiced up with the most Deranged Animation that can be found on this side of Salvador Dali.
  • Soul Eater's character designs and animation make for superbly awesome coolness that definitely fall under the Rule of Cool, not to mention being chock-full of martial arts, scythe-spinning and slicing through things at just about every given opportunity.
  • One Piece loves this. Everything not covered by Rule of Cool is covered by Rule of Funny or It Runs on Nonsensoleum...and several characters specifically invoke this trope, such as Luffy gaining power from a Funny Afro or Garp bursting through a wall because it's cooler than using the door. Particularly interesting is that One Piece pretty much ignores all laws of physics...except when realism (or at least more than most comics manage) makes it more awesome, such as its treatment of Harmless Freezing.
  • Getter Robo. Nothing, not even the sideburns, are realistic. No one really notices because their heads are exploding from the amount of batshit insane moments.
  • Bleach. The series runs on it. Why does anything happen at all? Because it's just so damn cool.
    • Of particular note is the beginning of the Arrancar arc, where Shinigami powers suddenly, without in-universe justification, include flight (at least while fighting).
  • In Biomega, for its special forces Toha Heavy Industries makes a folding gun that shoots hypersonic projectiles using brain waves. With this thing, Zoichi takes out a handful of intercontinental ballistic missiles within a few minutes of launch.
    • Three words: Bear With Rifle
  • Black Jack. Tezuka certainly does not fail biology, that sure didn't stop him from making up crazy new stuff for the titular hero to deal with. Like extracting a parasite from his intestines while under attack by dingoes.
  • Lampshaded in Brave Police J-Decker. Three of the main robots eventually combine to form a bigger robot called Build Tiger—which, appropriately enough, has a large tiger face in its chest. When asked why, the designer states: "Because it looks cool!"
  • Seto no Hanayome. If there is any way to explain why anything happens in that show (especially the finale) besides this and Rule of Funny...
  • Saint Seiya uses this in liberal doses so that the fans don't complain about the gratuitous use of Fridge Logic...because it's hard to question the plot when bishonen with eighties multicolour hair are beating the ever-loving stuffing out of each other for every reason under the sun, and with every attack under the sun too (from Mind Rape to Something About a Rose, literally) whilst running up stairs and visiting Hades in time for tea. It's so much fun you just HAVE to go along with it!
  • The anime adaptation of Fate/stay night has this to thank for at least one difference from the original visual novel. In the game's Fate storyline (which the anime is primarily based on), one of the main villains of the series, Gilgamesh, approaches Saber and Shiro. After severely wounding Shiro, Saber launches a series of attacks at Gilgamesh, which he shrugs off with his armor, averting Armor Is Useless. In the anime, this is replaced by Gilgamesh summoning swords from his Noble Phantasm, the Gate of Babylon, so that they block the path of Saber's swings, a method much more visually appealing than just having him stand there and take it.
    • Also gilgamesh, archer, and shirou can use swords and other bladed weapons as projectiles, raining a vast amount of swords down upon their enemies. Tell me that isn't cool!!! I dare you!!!!!
  • Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt basically runs on this and fan service. The first two title characters' weapons are literally panties and stockings which turn into guns and swords respectively. They're also foul mouthed angels obsessed with sex and sugar, respectively.
  • In Pokémon Special, if something doesn't follow game mechanics, this is probably why. And no, we don't need humans getting directly involved in our Pokémon battles, up close and personal with the danger, but things sure do get a lot more awesome that way.
  • Final Fantasy Unlimited ran on this trope to large degree for most of its run, particularly in relation to Kaze and his extremely long Magun summoning sequences.
  • Highschool of the Dead What? Anime school girls with big knockers? Been there, done that.Anime school girls with big knockers...fighting hordes of zombies?SIGN ME UP!
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's was practically built on Rule of Cool, especially in Season 3. How else do you explain a duel around a star on motorcycles? Or a duel flying under a colossal floating city that was about to crash into another city? Or, as some eloquently put it, CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES.
  • Come on, have we really forgotten Hellsing? HELLSING!? It arguably uses half of the Rule of Cool Tropes, and each chapter manages to take it Up to Eleven (with each novel taking it Serial Escalation.)
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist there is an odd demonstration of this trope. When Mustang fights Envy he continuously snaps to continue burning him to death. However, he ignites Envy with the first attack, making the snap un needed due to how his alchemy functions, by changing the explosive gas concentration in the air. The snaps are added purely to make Mustang look cool as he roasts Envy alive.
    • Also there are burning lanterns in the hallway, making even the first snap unnecessary.
    • According to the lore of FMA, Amestrian alchemy requires contact with a transmutation circle (unlike Xingese alchemy which can be remote). Mustang’s flame alchemy still relies on this principle; therefore the successive clicks would be necessary to target another body part or object, as they spring from the transmutation circle on his glove. He would not be able to control fire in the area unless it sprang from his own alchemy.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the fight sequences (long enough that you can consider the other scenes "non-fight sequences") consist entirely of "cool", and little to no realism. Just a few examples:
    • During one of several motorcycle fights, Bad Guy #2 leans over, digs his piston-powered gauntlet into the pavement, then swings around on it, with his bike clamped between his legs, to throw the whole bike at the hero with beyond-lethal velocity.
    • The hero is thrown several hundred feet into the air by his friends (one of which is a GHOST) in order to slice a dragon god in half with his sword.
    • Part of the final fight has the hero and the Big Bad swordfighting while jumping and balancing on slabs of a falling building, to a soundtrack of hammering electric guitar with a chanting Latin chorus.
    • Nomura has actually gone on record saying he told the team to ignore the laws of physics and just do what looked coolest.
    • Advent Children is basically what happens if you take a Final Fantasy game and make every attack a Limit Break. Alternatively, it's an answer to the question, "Just what would it really look like to have level 99 characters who can kill just about anything?" In a game, much of that is covered by numbers increasing, but the movie shows that kind of personal power in practice.
  • Ben-To. Apparently, half priced box lunches are enough of a reason to kick other people's asses, not that we care anyway.
  • Transformers Cybertron. Half Rule of Cool, half very long commercials for the toyline. 100% awesome.


Art / Images[edit | hide]

Comedy[edit | hide]

  • This was also Denis Leary reacting to his new super-hi-tech stereo system on the Lock And Load album.

"...and the other stuff where you don't even know what it does but it looks fuckin' great! It's reeeeally shinyyy."


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Pretty much the reason for the existence of superheroes in general. Superman became Mr. New Powers as the Plot Demands during the forties and fifties because it fulfilled Rule of Cool for the target demographic. This is also the reason Batman will always have a T. Rex and a giant penny in the Batcave, even as he shifts between Darker and Edgier and Lighter and Softer. Damn near every superpower or fantastic element needs Rule of Cool to shield it from an onslaught of logic-wielding refrigerators, although occasionally a few hits will get through, usually aimed at Superman's disguise or how Spider-Man can stick to surfaces.
    • However, sometimes this Rule of Cool will team-up with the Fridges to produce honestly brillaint answers to superhuman mechanics.
    • Alot of the recent moves in the DCU have been because of this. Blackest Night with it's Zombie Lantern Superheroes, Superman suddenly being the general of a 1000+ Kryptonian army, and so on. The name of the game lately is more more more, perhaps as a callback to the Silver Age influences that have crept back in to the Modern Age.
  • The whole premise of Godyssey. The Greek pantheon appears before Jesus on the cross and demands that he stop mocking divinity by renouncing the low and filthy mortals he serves. Jesus responds by removing himself from the cross and beating the shit out of them all.
  • This trope explains Rex The Wonder Dog far better than anything else ever could. We're talking a dog who kills dinosaurs with atom bombs here.
    • The One World Government will take away your guns with ninja dogs!
  • The legendary Doom comic features the ultimate gut-tearing, demon-shooting, semi-witty-quipping soldier. His cause is just, his faith is strong, and his gun is very, very large.
  • Nextwave. If you need to ask why, read the entry.
  • Red Hulk punched a Watcher during one of his "sworn only to watch, never interfere" speeches to the reader. Why? Jeph Loeb.
  • Sin City comics (and The Movie) run on this rule.
  • This is the actual, canonical explanation for the name of the Marvel superhero team The Avengers. What are they avenging? Nothing, The Wasp just thought the word "Avengers" sounded badass.
  • Hitman thrives on this trope. How else do you describe a plot about a Tall, Dark and Snarky professional killer from Gotham City who got superpowers after being bit by an alien parasite having to deal with everything from demons with magic guns to zombified zoo animals?
  • Super Dinosaur How else can one explain a series about a T-rex who wears battle armors to fight dinosaur mutants armed with BFGs or BFSs?


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Six String Samurai. After the Russians nuke everything, Elvis becomes King of the remains of Lost Vegas. A samurai Buddy Holly battles Slash to claim his throne. "Only one man can kill so many Russians. Bring his guitar to me!"
  • Um, Crank anyone?
    • The awesomeness can be quantified by the fact that the protagonist dies at the end of the first movie. As the trailer for the sequel points out, "Anyone else would be so dead by now."
    • Probably the best example comes near the end of the first film. After Chase is disarmed, he makes a gun out of his finger and thumb, points it at a guy, and goes "Bang." And it kills him. It turns out to be his backup, but for a few seconds everyone watching the movie went "Mind bullets...?! Okay, mind bullets, let's go with that."
    • Crank 2 is made of this. It makes less than no sense, but after seeing it, you grow a set of balls bigger than your head, pick a fight with five burly sea toughs and win, and make a full grown lion piss itself. Its that kind of movie.
  • The canonical definition for this is the utterly preposterous premise of The Matrix, in which robots farm humans for power, using a computer generated reality to placate their minds. This ignores both the first and the second laws of thermodynamics, but who cares? Robots, man! Hey, Neo draws his sunglasses before he starts to fight Smith. THAT is the Rule of Cool in action.
    • The "humans as batteries" thing was forced on the brothers by meddling executives who thought that a population that ran SETI@Home wouldn't understand distributed computing. Prior to that, the captive humans were used to augment processing power, which is a somewhat more common sci-fi theme.
    • This trope is the sole reason the "Burly Brawl" scene in Reloaded exists. It's ten minutes of Neo fighting endless clones of Smith for no real plot-enhancing reason. It just looks cool.
    • The Agents (and later Neo's) ability to dodge bullets is never replicated to dodging much slower punches and kicks. This is due to Rule of Cool, because if they did the fights would last all of five seconds and be unbelievably one-sided.
  • Goldeneye: The Chase Scene. Yes, that chase scene.
  • Either that or the Transformers movie, Revenge of the Fallen even more so. Let's be honest, there is no other reason for these films to exist or for anyone to watch them except that Giant Transforming Robots are inherently cool. It could be argued that Michael Bay's entire career rests on this trope.
  • In the second Austin Powers movie, Basil Exposition turns to the camera and tells the (young, irritable members of the) audience not to get upset about any contradictions in the Time Travel plot of the story.
  • The Star Wars franchise has many:
    • The Phantom Menace has impenetrable force-fields that turn on at the most dramatically convenient times.
    • Darth Maul contributes almost nothing to the plot, but he doesn't need to. He has a red-and-black tattooed face, a circle of horns, and the only double-bladed lightsaber to be featured in the films.
      • Darth Maul is so cool that being dead can't stop the game designers from using him in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed when the off-his-rocker PROXY, who often has tried to kill Starkiller while using holographic disguises of Jedi, reveals that he has a Maul "skin"... cue Starkiller vs. Darth Maul. It helps that this was never alluded to or hinted at earlier in the game or in the official preview materials, magnifying the surprise for first-time players.
    • Remember when Darth Maul was dead? No you don't because he survived, managed to escape to another planet undetected during a planetary crisis, and became part spider cyborg before getting normal cyborg legs.
    • The revelation in Attack of the Clones that R2-D2 had the ability to fly was cheered enthusiastically, even though he never showed this ability in the original trilogy.
    • General Grievous would not exist were it not for this trope. An evil alien cyborg general with four arms who hunts Jedi for sport? Hell yes!
    • Clone Wars uses this even more. For example, you once see the same weapon on the Millennium Falcon being carried around by a single ARC trooper, and instead of using four arms, Grievous juggles four light-sabers around between his hands and prehensile feet (albeit as an "unwelcome surprise"), making for some of the best fights in Star Wars history.
    • Mace Windu, mostly due to the Rule Of Samuel L Jackson.
    • And of course, lightsabers, themselves. They're swords. But also lasers. And they cut through most everything.
    • The reason why Darth Vader is still in his suit by the time the original trilogy rolls around is obviously because of how cool he looks in his suit, even though there is a clear alternative to living in his suit thanks to the cloning technology in Star Wars.
      • Actually, it's revealed you can't clone Jedi, in Force Unleashed 2. Apparently, the inherited memories can drive the clones insane. And since the Emperor would most likely want Vader back quickly, the accelerated cloning would just make it worse. Also, there's a theory that Sidious purposelly wanted to limit Vader's power. As cool as the suit looks, well, read here...
    • Basically, all forms of combat featured in Star Wars are glowy sci-fi futuristic space versions of some form of Real Life combat that was (and is) considered to be extremely cool. Lightsaber duels? Swordfighting. Starfighters? Old School Dogfighting. Starship battles? Naval battles. The Clone Wars? Huge armies tearing each other apart. The Force and Force-based Psychic Powers only add more awesome to the mix.
  • Pretty much anything Quentin Tarantino is involved in, growing more so in proportion to his budget.
    • The end of Four Rooms, has the most understated rule of cool bet ever. For a $1000 tip, the bellboy wields the ax in a car-or-pinky-finger bet about whether or not one of the guys can start his lucky Zippo lighter 10 times. Chop, snatch and strut out the door.
    • Inglourious Basterds, definitely. It's not tactically smart to try guerrilla warfare when you don't have the home advantage, but is it Badass? Hell yes, especially when you put Eli Roth in a wifebeater and give him a baseball bat. Throw in Til Schweiger with an engraved knife and One Bitchface to Rule Them All, and the badass factor just doubles.
  • It takes liberal Fridge Logic to see it, but a large proportion of the film version of Stormbreaker is based on this.
  • Three Hundred. If you're bothered by the fact that Xerxes' army did not, in fact, include cave trolls, ninjas and rhinos, and that Spartans wore armor and had backup, you should recite the MST3K Mantra. Either way, the badassery of the movie can be overwhelming to untermenschen.
    • Although this is the most justified example on this page, as we're not seeing what happened, we're being told what happened by a lone survivor, to an army of Greeks about to fight the Persians, so of course it runs on Rule of Cool
  • Snakes on a Plane. Samuel L. Jackson (amongst others) is trapped in an aircraft, and he's particularly incensed about the eponymous reptiles with acted-upon Oedipal complexes. Memetic Mutation was drawn to this movie like flies to stink, and the rest is history.
  • The Martial Arts genre wouldn't exist without this trope.
    • In particular, the Wuxia genre absolutely thrives on it. How else can you explain somebody jumping 30 feet in the air, and then jumping off of their sword in midair to gain more altitude?
    • And let's not forget the infamous Flying Guillotine, which was made infamous because of these movies. It's basically a nasty little contraption that consists of a basket with blades and a chain. You throw the basket onto somebody's head, pull the chain, the blades go to work, and it's Off with His Head!
  • Everything that happens in the film Shoot Em Up.
    • For example, Clive Owen having sex with Monica Bellucci while shooting people. The awesomeness cannot be described on paper.
    • There is a shootout while skydiving. This isn't a movie, it's a religious experience.
  • Flynning looks cooler than real fencing. Just ask Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes.
  • In the commentary for Serenity, Joss Whedon discusses the scene where the good guys come through the opaque and sensor-killing "ion cloud" followed by an army of Reavers to back them up against the Alliance. Because the cloud kept the Alliance from seeing them coming, it was a perfect cavalry-coming-over-the-hill moment: 'I don't know what an "ion cloud" is, we just made that up. But I would have sold all my knowledge of science to get that scene.' (paraphrased)
  • Pretty much all of Hot Fuzz.
    • Officer Angel makes filling police forms look intense, action-packed and cool.
  • Arguably The Forbidden Kingdom, considering that it had the working title of The J & J Project (the whole point of which was to make the Jet Li vs. Jackie Chan dream fight finally happen on camera).
  • The entirety of Doomsday (along with Refuge in Audacity), a film so bad it's **** ING AWESOME. A detachable bionic eye/camera? Rule of Cool. Foam grenades? Rule of Cool. Glasgow!? Rule of Cool. The entire thing is an exercise in attaching balls to walls.
    • And that's to say nothing of the medieval combat and Bentley Continental GT.
    • Supposedly the director had a dream about an awesome showdown between a medieval knight and a modern soldier, and decided to write a movie around it.
    • Also! Scottish cannibal ninja stripper punks! "This is the best worst movie ever!"
  • Ultraviolet : Equilibrium's Gun Kata was cool enough, but the film seriously lacked a gravity-switch, clothes and hair that change colors at will, kids in suitcases, literal Hyperspace Arsenal and vampire ninjas. Thankfully, its spiritual sequel corrects that.
    • And also a female lead in skin-tight clothes. Movies like that is made of pure win!
    • "Warning: Intruder. Weapons: ...Many."
  • It looks like Wanted is built entirely on this concept.
    • Oh Hell yes. And let's not forget the director's previous films, Night Watch and Day Watch, where things exist for no other reason than because they're cool. Example: Let's drive a car across a building. Why? Why not?
    • You get the feeling that when they were thinking of the concept for this movie, someone said "What would happen if you took all the cool stunts from The Matrix, and turned them Up to Eleven?"
  • The Back to The Future films rely heavily on this as well as the Rule of Funny. One particular example, pointed out by Bob Gale on a DVD Commentary, occurs in the third film. Doc and Marty try to get the DeLorean up to eighty-eight miles per hour by pulling it with horses. Gale pointed out that the Doc would know horses don't run that fast and the Doc even points that out in the scene. However, the filmmakers had to do that shot with the DeLorean being ridden across Monument Valley like a covered wagon because it would look cool.
    • Even the fact that the time machine itself is a DeLorean is already Rule of Cool in itself. What self-respecting geek hasn't fantasized about having a time-traveling DeLorean? Which is specifically invoked as one of the reasons Doc chose the DeLorean. He starts to give a practical reason, but gets interrupted and doesn't revisit it.

Doc: The way I see it, if you're going to build a time machine, why not do it with some style?

  • The movie Tron. This movie has become a cult movie, heavily enjoyed by geeks and people into computers, even though it's obvious to any such person, or for that matter, anyone above the age of seven, that computer programs are not glowing people running around inside a computer. It's just so much fun that this doesn't matter.
  • This notion was the central focus of Underworld, a world where vampires are at literal constant war with werewolves. Naturally, all know overly powerful martial arts and humans are practically invisible throughout the two films
  • The Bourne Trilogy. What else is to be said?
  • The jungle swordfight between Mutt and the bad girl in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Realistic? Not in the least. Supremely friggin' awesome? Hell yes.
    • Speaking of Crystal Skull, what about the fridgenuking? What if that as actually the writers just saying "Dr. Jones is badass enough that you can't even kill him with nukes, or whatever is immediately surrounding him"?
      • The scene in the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indy shoots the giant, black-draped swordsman in the Cairo marketplace, was originally to have been a complex whip-and-sword duel (which got cut due to a general ailment among the cast and crew that day). In fact, the Rule of Cool applies to pretty much any action sequence in the entire Indiana Jones franchise.
  • 6 funny examples how Rule of Cool can mingle with something and get rabies. "...should be pretty cool. Right?"
  • Alfred Hitchcock invoked this trope when he made North by Northwest, answering the question "Why would someone use a crop duster as a murder weapon?" with the understanding that the audience would be too engrossed in watching the next pass to care.
  • Almost anything James Bond ever does is in some way governed by this trope.
  • The climactic fight scene in the movie version of V for Vendetta. It's a ridiculously overblown Matrix ripoff, especially given that in the comic V just lets Finch shoot him, but still completely awesome.
    • Considering that it was directed by the Wachowski brothers, it's not surprising that they ripped off The Matrix. They made that one, after all.
  • The Godzilla franchise. Giant robots? Check. Radioactive dinosaurs? Check. Awesome Fight Scenes? Check and double check. Great music? Check!
    • Final Wars especially. Even the explosions explode.
  • Roger Ebert says in his review of the Iron Man movie that military weapons tend not to look nearly as cool as Iron Man, but also that "It wouldn't be nearly as much fun to see a fight scene between two refrigerators crossed with the leftovers from a boiler room."
  • The French film Dobermann, where everything goes Up to Eleven.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Period. You got your pirates, your undead, your curses, your sea monsters, your totally impossible swordfights and Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • The swordfighting wasn't so impossible, when one compares it to WALKING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN WITH AN INVERTED BOAT trapping air to breathe.
    • The entirety of the wedding scene in At World's End was Rule of Cool. Simultaneously a crowning moment of funny, heartwarming and awesome... and technically it wasn't even legal.
  • The 13th Warrior is loaded with this.
  • The Italian Job (original of course). Minis that would normally collapse with that much gold? Jumping across gaps in said cars? Driving on the roof of a building and then off again? Oh, and let's not forget only blowing the bloody doors off!
  • Once Upon a Time In Mexico. The guitar case that's really a flame thrower! Johnny Depp with his eyes gouged out, blood flowing down his face, shooting bad guys! Back in Desperado there was a guitar case hiding a HEAVY MASHINE GUN and another with a RAWKET LAWNCHAIR.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which features a Powered Armor Car Chase through Paris, an underwater dog fight, and Snake-Eyes.
    • In the "making of" commentary on the DVD, one crew member attributes the mantra (loosely paraphrased) "overdo everything; then make it even bigger" to director Stephen Sommers, and says that they were reminded of this policy daily during the production of the film.
  • Postal the movie. From a notoriously bad director, based on a non-politically correct game, starring unknowns and having a ridiculous plot, all of which is redeemed by a constant onslaught of "how in the hell did they get away with this, this is unbelievably cool".
  • Speed Racer: every glorious second of it.
    • And then some.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, due to Tolkien's terminology ("wings of shadow") describing the Balrog, nobody on the production team was quite sure whether the wings were literal or metaphorical. Peter Jackson later admitted they added the wings just because it looked cool.
  • In Jurassic Park, why does the T. Rex show up in the nick of time to save Grant, Ellie and the kids from becoming Raptor chow? Because the T. Rex is awesome and the animators wanted to show it off some more.
  • The famous lobby scene in The Matrix. There was no reason for them to be there, except for an awesome shootout. Also when Neo kicks Agent Smith, and then instead of taking his foot down, he moves it in air and then put it down. Totally Frigging Cool.
  • Avatar. Despite eschewing Space Opera tropes, it's hard to deny that the entire film is built around the idea of three-meter-tall blue quasi-Algonquian catpeople fighting mecha from space, and it plays more than a bit fast and loose with the laws of physics and probability to make that happen.
    • Along with basic botany and zoology; anyone with even the tiniest bit of knowledge in either field would know that Pandora's flora and fauna primarily evolved to look visually impressive to moviegoers. How would a giant species with impenetrable armor plating and no apparent predators not quickly overpopulate? Why the extra legs and bio-luminescence, when they serve no function and could even be a liability? Cuz' they look cool, now less thinky, more watchy!
    • It's also the only justification for some of the tactics depicted. Even if the hero knows nothing of his own world's history, common sense should tell him that having lightly armed cavalry charge armour and machine guns is suicide. But it's such cool, heroic suicide that he does it anyway. And the human air combat vehicles seemed to have been designed by a total idiot (...): You know why modern armed forces don't have open gunner's nests on their aircraft and use bomb bays rather than having soldiers push explosives out the back? Because the crew would be too easy of targets and they'd get slaughtered, that's why. In a nutshell, Cameron didn't have an open encyclopedia in his lap when he wrote the movie, so you're under no obligation to use any logic when watching it. Just repeat to yourself...
  • Oh hey Zombieland, hey. Why would you go to an amusement park and turn all the lights on, turning your location into a gigantic target? Why would you jump out of the car and let it sink into the river, instead of just hitting the brakes suddenly? Why would you try to con the first signs of life instead of going with them, then why would you leave? Why would you take a motorcycle or a shovel to fight zombies? Why? Why? Because it's awesome.
  • This song from the film Sivaji: The Boss. As this blog post puts it, "the waycool approach is to ride up, while napping, on a motorcycle that you drive with your feet, dismount by means of wheelie on the front tire, and shoot the bad guys with a machinegun hidden in your guitar. Then the stunningly attractive Bollywood actress will sing and dance with you."
  • This promo poster from Watchmen. True, he could be lighting the cigar purely from the Convection, Schmonvection of heat, or off the barrel of the flamethrower, but you do NOT want to taste a cigar that's been lit off a kerosene flame. Just trust me on this one.
  • Why do all of Ramona's evil exes meet some requirement of video game boss style, explode into coins when defeated, and that everyone naturally is just that good at martial arts? So that when Scott Pilgrim wins the girl its really cool.
  • The entire movie Alpha and Omega especially the wolf characters. Unlike most people who believe this as a case of Did Not Do the Research. A majority of the wolves have Anime Hair and a few have eye colors discommon to actual wolves. This also includes wolf society portrayed on this movie.
  • The Fast and the Furious series features this trope in abundance, but it really reaches its apex in the climax to Fast Five. The heroes steal a 10-ton vault by attaching it via steel cables to two souped up Dodge Chargers, then using the cars to tear the vault from the building. They then proceed to drag the vault all over the city in a huge car chase, with the vault careening all over the place and causing massive destruction. While still going fast enough to outrun police cars. Anyone with the most basic knowledge of physics knows that this is impossible, but it's so cool that few people have complained about it.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Mythological gods and heroes in general are full of this. That's half the point of most of them. Hercules, Gilgamesh, the entire cast of Romance of the Three Kingdoms... all fuelled by Rule of Cool. And where else are you going to hear that an Eight Headed Snake was defeated by Sake of all things.[1] In fact, most mythological heroes weren't necessarily heroic in the modern sense. A lot of the time, all it took to be a "hero" was just to be an unbelievable Badass that ran on the Rule of Cool.
  • Older Than Print: Beowulf is the Rule of Cool personified. He can hold his breath for several days, rip off the arms of giants, and generally make a nuisance of himself to anyone that isn't awesome enough to hang out with him.
    • For a prime example, his introductory speech describes the time he killed the sea monsters. All of them.
    • "Me thus often the evil monsters/ thronging threatened. With thrust of/ My sword, the darling, I dealt them due return!"
  • Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn decides that freeing Jim from the plantation simply getting the key and letting him out of his cell isn't romantic enough and wants to make an elaborate plan with Rope Ladders, a journal made of leaves, and food poisoned with sleep medicine, just like in the books. But then, in a subversion, the "cool" swashbuckling achieves nothing except get him shot.
  • Discworld:
    • This seems to be the entire nature of witchcraft. A witch is simply someone Genre Savvy enough to take advantage of this rule.
    • There exists an order of monks known as the Monks of Cool, who seek ultimate coolness instead of zen enlightenment. An acolyte has achieved this when his master takes him into a room full of all types of clothing and asks, "Yo, my son, which of these is the most stylish thing to wear?" and he responds, "Hey, whatever I select." Cool, but not necessarily up-to-date.
  • Snow Crash. A Mafia-controlled pizza delivery company, chaingun battles with aircraft carriers, ninja skateboard couriers, and intersections being shut down by sniper fire from rival road construction companies are just the beginning. Eventually you get to the part with the supersonic attack dogs and the Badass Biker who has a nuclear torpedo in his motorcycle's sidecar. Then you get to the supersonic motorcycle swordfights....on the internet.
  • Author Christopher Moore lampshades his use of this in the afterword to Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. At one point in the story Jesus goes to China and studies both Buddhism and martial arts at a Shaolinesque temple. Moore admits the temples wouldn't have been around at the time, but then adds this: "But to remain historically accurate, I would have to leave out an important question that I felt needed to addressed, which is, 'What if Jesus had known kung fu?'"
  • Garth Nix' The Keys to the Kingdom is basically Nix trying to see how much cool magic stuff and mythology he can put into one series. Answer: a lot.
    • And it WORKS. By God, it WORKS.
  • In one of the books of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine relaunch novels, an interstellar portal (which, mind you, could have led to anywhere in the galaxy) just happens to lead to a Malon garbage scow that had been taken over by a Hirogen hunter. Why? So that Taran'atar, their local Jem'Hadar character, could fight with him, of course!
  • In Meg, the main character Jonas Taylor gets swallowed by a 40 ton shark and manages to cut through the stomach lining to get into the heart chamber. Then he rips the heart and manages to go back through the stomach and reach the surface with only a broken escape pod, an air tank, a mask and a 200 million year old tooth. Logical? HELL NO! Awesome? :P
  • While most animal-themed Gladiator Games involve tigers, bears and the like, The Lies of Locke Lamora features gladiator equivalents who stand on platforms over water and fight sharks.
  • His Dark Materials : Iorek Byrnison and the Panserbjorne. No, everything's not worse with bears, especially if they're sentient and armored.
  • The last book of the X Wing Series, Starfighters of Adumar, gives us the ultimate in awesomely implausible personal weapons, the blastsword. It exists pretty much solely because it's cooler than dueling with normal swords.

Wes Janson: "So it's like a blaster you have to hit someone with. I've got to have one."

  • Matthew Reilly's books. All of them. He's got one of the longest entries on that page, and bypasses 11 several times in each book.
    • There's even a reason for this: he writes action packed, "awesomely cool" books as a way of getting teenage boys (usually unwilling readers) to read.
  • Why is Harry Potter's scar shaped like a lightning bolt?

J. K. Rowling: "To be honest, because it’s a cool shape. I couldn’t have my hero sport a doughnut-shaped scar."

...remind us of the pictures clever children sometimes draw "out of their own head," where you will see a modern villa on the right, two knights in helmets fighting in the foreground, and a tiger grinning in a jungle on the left, the several objects being brought together because the artist thinks each pretty, and perhaps still more because he remembers seeing them in other pictures.

  • Pride and Prejudice And Zombies (and its various sequels and imitators) has no real reason to exist except for this rule.
  • Scourge of Warrior Cats is a cat who wears a collar with dog teeth sticking out of it. It was uncomfortable, but he wore it because he knew it was awesome.
  • Labyrinths of Echo indulges in this occasionally - for a series about a Cosmic Plaything, that is.
    • Just one side character who doesn't appear in every book: Koba, the Beggars' Foreman of Echo. As the name suggests, he's the World of Rod Alternate Self of the man more known to the World of Spider as Josef Stalin. Being mind-networked to all other alternates, Koba is well aware of this, and likes to drop jokes about the excess of problem coming from excess of people, Secret Police being perfect for solving this, and so on. He is every bit as matter-of-factly pragmatic, wary, sneaky and prone to indulging in conspiracies (though doesn't go around hijacking harebrained ones). He also got knowledge of elven alchemy and enough of magic to keep a mini-palace hidden in a hovel.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

"Nice floating train. Floating trains are cool."
"And I'll tell you for why, it's because they're floating, and also, trains."

      • In all fairness, the truck did come with way too much cement in it to allow them to use it for testing, so they were pretty justified in being pissed at it.
    • They recently topped themselves by creating an even bigger explosion. For comparison, the cement truck vaporization took 800 pounds of explosives. This explosion used 5000 pounds of explosives. It's actually kinda justified, as they were trying to determine if the pressure caused by a massive explosion could create a diamond. It didn't create a diamond (at least, one that could be seen without a microscope), but it was so enormous that it left a crater.
    • And while the explosions weren't nearly as impressive, it still boggles the mind that they made a cannon entirely out of duct tape. Again, a cannon made of duct tape. And the damned thing worked.
  • Pretty much the sole reason that the monsters in Tokusatsu shows explode into fireballs upon defeat. (well, that and it's a flashy way to get rid of a monster without more expensive post-editing effects.)
    • Toku in general. Why do the bad guys send monsters one by one? How are Humongous Mecha, let alone Combining Mecha and Transforming Mecha possible? What's with those wacky villain getups and People in Rubber Suits? How the heck does spandex deflect fireballs? How do you summon suits from thin air anyway? Why would you pose dramatically before doing so, and often after? Why doesn't the monster just attack you while you're still doing your pre-morph posing? How do they do those poses their first time out as if they'd practiced them, in unison in the case of teams transforming together? Why does posing sometimes cause giant explosions in the background? Why don't those explosions kill them? How do fists cause sparks? Not only do monsters explode, but why the hell would you turn away from the monster when you think it's going to explode, since they don't all die with the first use of a Finishing Move? Come to think of it, why don't you just use the Finishing Move first and save everyone a lot of trouble? The answer to this question, however, is another question: would it be as much fun if they didn't?
  • One of the key selling points of Merlin is the authenticity of the wardrobe and the skill of the costume department at making it so. And then Arthur has a trenchcoat. Why? Because it looks badass.
  • Top Gear follows this. Why race a Bugatti Veyron against an RAF Eurofighter Typhoon? Why attempt to turn a Reliant Robin into a space shuttle? Why do any of the things they do? Because they're cool, dammit!
    • What about the Cool Wall? Nothing else matters, not how fast it is, how safe, or how functional. All that matter is how cool it is.
  • Nothing in Doctor Who makes any sense at all. Not a single goddamn thing. Not the really NineHundredYearsOld regenerating Human Alien who travels around time and space in a police box, not the Techno Babble he delivers at a hundred kilometres an hour to justify the latest Reverse Polarity, not the perpetually vague or contradicting continuity, not the Omnicidal Maniac motorised pepper pots armed with a whisk and a toilet plunger, and definitely not the screwdriver that gets New Powers as the Plot Demands. There is also, however, not a single person that cares.

Mook: "What you gonna do, sucker me to death?"
Dalek: *Promptly suckers him to death*

  • Chuck lives by this rule. The whole premise of a computer being downloaded into a guy's mind makes no sense whatsoever, and when that computer gets upgraded to make him magically learn kung fu, all plausibility goes flying right out the window. But Chuck can kick people in face, so who really cares?
    • Sarah's knife-throwing exploits fall firmly into this trope.
    • If Casey is coming to the rescue, why bother with making him take the door when you can have him parachute in through a glass ceiling with a team of Special Ops commandos?
    • The tricked-out Nerd Herder has hidden passenger-side controls, a remote control, a hidden central console, handcuffs that come out of the steering wheel to detain prisoners, and a driver's seat that can be ejected out the door. Why? Because it does, that's why.
    • Within canon, when Morgan can't think of a way to pick the Buy More's new assistant manager, he finally decides to go with a bouncy harness cage match. Not that anything involving Jeff and Lester can be terribly cool, but it's the principle of the thing.
  • Happy Days: The Fonz can channel this trope through his fist, into a jukebox, activating it just to impress chicks, with no effort.
    • The Fonz was pretty much an avatar of this rule.
  • The creators of Rome admitted they ignored the date the real Atia died simply because they loved the character and wanted to keep her on. Most fans agreed.
  • Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report uses this trope when he was protecting the identity of a former employee deployed in Afghanistan - "For security reasons I can't show his photo, and for cool reasons I will refer to him as 'Tank Gunbullet'."
  • The The Future Is Wild BBC miniseries, a followup to the popular Walking with ___ series, focuses on what life might be like millions of years in the future. It's got elements of evolutionary biology, but most of it is rule of cool all over.
  • You could fill a hundred encyclopedias with all the technical and narrative inaccuracies in Star Trek; two dimensional space, clear contradictions in the standard operating procedures of Starfleet, glaringly inefficient ship designs, questionable character development, unrealistic scale of space, unrealistic equipment, convoluted timeline of events, the list is infinite. But....when Trek fires on all cylinders warp nacelles, NOBODY gives a damn.
    • This is not completely true, as the Star Trek writers sometimes write in extra, unnecessary Techno Babble explanations for unrealistic technology, most likely due to fan complaints. One example is that the Star Trek transporter technology, which violates Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, has "Heisenberg Compensators", mentioned in Star Trek: TNG episodes "Realm of Fear" and "Ship in a Bottle", and in Star Trek: DS9 episode "Past Tense, Part I".
    • In the season four premiere of Star Trek: Enterprise, the Enterprise's targeting sensors are disabled, requiring the ship to get close enough to the target to eyeball it. This serves no plot purpose, but the target happened to be a facility in Nazi-occupied New York. The result was the Enterprise flying over New York City, fighting Stukas with plasma cannons.


Multiple[edit | hide]

  • The vast majority of super-powers fall under this.
  • The Rule of Cool most likely explains why people usually portray phoenixes as birds of prey. Granted, herons and ibises (which phoenixes were historically based on) are effective predators in their environments, but they're just not as cool as hawks or eagles.
    • Heck, showing phoenixes as birds made of fire when the original myths just said they were regular birds reborn in fire is an example of this trope.
  • This rule is arguably the raison d'etre for the most of the Steampunk genre.


Music[edit | hide]

The fight raged on for a century,
Many lives were claimed, but eventually
The champion stood, the rest saw their better:
Mr. Rogers in a blood-stained sweater.

  • The video for Muse's Knights of Cydonia features cowboys, androids, birds of prey, seduction, kung fu, rayguns, dirtbikes, execution, Soviet imagery, holographic band members, a unicorn and a half-submerged Statue Of Liberty, and is apparently set in a goldrush town named after the Martian region of Cydon îa. It doesn't make a great deal of sense, But it is still awesome!
    • Rule of Cool is really the reason for Muse's existence. It ain't high art, but who cares if you have songs about "superstars sucked into the supermassive", with huge riffs and piano's that would make an appropriate soundtrack to Dante's Inferno. Oh, and the live shows are truly awesomely epic. The Power of Rock, indeed.
  • The video for Shine on Me by Chris Dane Owens. It's every fantasy movie imaginable fed through a wood chipper, spliced with shots of a Legolas lookalike strumming a guitar. And it's epic.
  • The reason anyone likes DragonForce.
  • Two words: Captain Dan. More specifically, Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew, a group of rapping pirates with song titles like "Hook it up," and "Keel Haul 'Em."
  • Seasick Steve is a folk singer who used to be a hobo. Need we say more?
    • Yes. He plays a three-string guitar.
  • Rush's 2112 is 20 minutes long and the vocals account for less than 10 of them. Does most of the rest of the song have anything to do with the story it tells? For the most part, no, but that's not going to stop it from being awesome.
  • Liquid Tension Experiment; when Dream Theater members gave up any semblance of composition and just dazzled everyone with their unbelievable instrumental prowess.
  • "Godzilla Eats Las Vegas". Which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Michael Angelo Batio. Particularly the Double and Quad guitar. Look it up in Youtube.
  • Frank Zappa's "Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar" series and "Black Page Pt. 2"
  • GWAR. Just GWAR.
  • All Cynic songs, but "Textures" from Focus features a bass solo that would make Jaco Pastorius shit himself.
  • The album cover of Painkiller by Judas Priest definitely qualifies. It has a silver angel riding a motorcycle with buzzsaw blades for wheels, and a chassis that is a dragon. This shiny angel rides his impossible motorcycle through the air over a bunch of skyscrapers slowly sinking into lava. That, is just amazingly cool.
  • Ninja Sex Party's song "Dinosaur Laser Fight". It's about dinosaurs having a laser fight in space with sharks and robots because a tyrannosaurus couldn't get a high-five.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • It runs on this trope. We really need not say more, but... what the hell.
  • Some wrestling moves (especially the more elaborate finishers) fall into this category; the most obvious one is TNA wrestler Petey Williams' "Canadian Destroyer", a flip piledriver that would break the laws of physics if the opponent weren't helping—but it looks incredibly awesome, so it doesn't matter too much.
  • Jeff Hardy....I...have nothing else to say...
  • Rob Van Dam. 'Nuff said.
  • The effectiveness of every move used in pro wrestling is directly proportionate to how cool it looks. An example is the People's Elbow, which could finish anyone off, despite being done from a standing position, as well as The Rock bouncing off the ropes twice for no reason.
    • Were it just a straight elbow drop with the full body weight behind it, and not a showy, elaborate, pulled strike designed to miss, it would hurt like hell.
  • Surely, a wrestling grave-digger zombie biker would be a laughable gimmick that ends up in infamy, but surely enough, The Undertaker has been alive (undead?) and kicking for about 20 years now, and has become one of the most iconic figures in all of wrestling.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Several White Wolf games have an literal Rule of Cool called Stunting, It started with Exalted, and then spread from there...
    • This is, in fact, the central rule of the Exalted. Not only do many, many things in the setting exist solely because they're cool, but it's an actual rule—although it doesn't use that name, it's a mechanical manifestation of it in spirit—where giving a cool description to accompany an action grants a Stunt bonus to perform it. The more awesome it sounds, the bigger the bonus.
    • Case in point for the Exalted Rule of Cool outside of the Stunt mechanic: chainklaves. Then the Alchemicals had to go and beat it with the gyroscopic chakram: for when Captain America (comics) needs to get in on the Chainsaw Good.
    • Stunting also makes it into Changeling: The Lost, in the specific context of Dream Combat, and with some caveats appropriate to that.
    • Scion, uses the same "stunting" rule as Exalted.
  • The open-source game Wushu thrives on a stunting rule, giving you dice for every detail that you hammer down for a given action. And everything you describe happens unless the other players veto it.
  • The indie Legend Game System is actually published by Rule of Cool Games.
  • Ever wanted to play a wise-cracking time-hopping secret warrior maverick cop with a heart of gold from the future with kung fu powers dual wielding his BFG in one hand and a Magitek energy rifle in the other trying to stop evil eunuch sorcerers and cyborg gorillas from replacing the entire history of mankind with their own warped version just by capturing a few places that are heavily tied to the chi of the world? Try Feng Shui. The entire game is pretty much built on every Rule of Cool trope ever. It makes Exalted look like very Serious Business indeed. Based on a card game called Shadowfist.
  • The Eberron campaign setting in Dungeons and Dragons. For one thing, there's a magic train that exists for the sole purpose of players fighting on its roof. Then there's the Lost World continent, the modular magic-powered robots known as the Warforged (who are a PC race!), the dinosaur-riding halflings...
  • The small RPG company Atomic Sock Monkey Press has a particular obsession with the Rule of Cool. At least one of their games ("Monkey, Ninja, Pirate, Robot") relies entirely upon the principle behind the Rule to exist. Most games from the company incorporate a rule called "Being Badass," where if the player describes something he does in a particularly cool or effective way, the attempt gets a + 2 on the dice roll (and in a game that uses only two six-siders, even + 2 is a worthwhile bonus).
  • The RPG Fire Born from Fantasy Flight Games was built on this trope, featuring as it does reincarnated dragons. Who fight the forces of darkness in near-future London. With kung fu. As the game progresses, they get flashbacks to when they ruled the ancient world as full-size dragons.
  • Warhammer 40000. Physics is the Rule of Cool, and it's fueled by abyssal nightmares.
  • In GURPS the Rule of Cool is neatly quantified for Game Masters wishing to run cinematic campaigns: "The "cinematic" campaign is one where realism doesn't rule because if it did, it would constantly get in the way of the story. In a cinematic campaign, swashbuckling heroes can defeat dozens of foes because the story calls for it. Spacecraft whoosh or roar in the silence of space because fast things whoosh and powerful engines roar. Rightness always overrules mere correctness."
  • Shadowrun lives off of this trope too. The game has been described thusly: "Say your mission was to get a can of coke from a vending machine. Step four can be 'pull out rocket launcher' and nobody will blink."
    • With the proper min/max techniques, it is possible to acquire an ECM-equipped armored stealth helicopter equipped with a long-range armor-piercing missile launcher with 36-hour operational endurance and a secondary heavy machine gun as a basic starting character. Whether your game master will let you, on the other hand...
    • A certain selection of Adept powers boost your character's unarmed combat ability. If you boost your Magic attribute high enough, it is easily possible to create a character who can punch through an armored battle tank without breaking into a sweat.
    • Misuses of the Restricted Gear quality could fill pages. Want a helicopter with a heavy laser cannon? Go ahead. 5 kilometer range remote-guided armor-piercing missile launcher? Sure. Power-armored troll with an assault cannon? It would take two applications of the quality to get military-grade armor and the assault cannon, but yes.
  • Spirit of the Century, besides having PCs able to pull off basically anything they've ever seen in a movie (that doesn't involve post 1920s technology, at any rate, and even then it's possible for the Man Of Science), fight gorillas on top of a zeppelin, ride dinosaurs, etc., actually asks the GM to stop and think, before declaring any rule, "What happens if the PCs succeed, and what happens if they fail?" and is expected to come up with a sufficiently interesting answer for both, just to guarantee every roll will have cool enough results either way to be worthwhile. The game also encourages things like taking gangsters and making the zombie gangsters, or making their leader a talking gorilla, etc.
  • Star Wars Saga Edition has the Second Wind mechanic, Force Points, and Destiny Points, which are practically Rules FOR Cool. The Second Wind ability allows a heavily beaten character to pull himself back on his feet and return to the fight for a short duration. The rare Force Points significantly increase the chances for success in critical situations, while the even rarer Destiny Points can almost guarantee success when it is vital for everything he fought for. (Like having only one single shot left before the Death Star blows all your friends up.)
  • This is an explicit rule of design in Magic: The Gathering. Pretty much anything can see print if it's cool enough.
  • The independent game Cosmopol seems to only exist because of this rule. Theodore Roosevelt having four terms as president, Buckminster Fuller designing an entire city?
  • Champions or the Hero System invokes this rule repeatedly. The rules emphasize "dramatic realism" but we all know what they mean by that. Combine that with the fact they have strength tables high enough to permit the character a PC to lift a castle.
  • The Torg setting is made of this rule. Humanoid dinosaurs? Check. Oppressive cyberpunk theocracy? Check. Two-fisted archeologists? Check. Ninjas fighting megacorporations? Check. Ancient astronauts? Check. Lovecraftian horrors in the jungle? Check.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Dino-Riders: time traveling humans and alien monsters, some with sharks for heads fighting each other while riding on dinosaurs outfitted with space age armour missile launchers and laser cannons. Dinosaurs equipped with thumping great guns and laser cannons battling each other! How did that not catch on? These days, they're mostly remembered through pictures shared as "most-awesome-thing-ever" memes.
  • Although the concept of 'cool' was merely used to market the toys and rarely had a bearing on the story, other than giving it an alien atmosphere, Bionicle definitely qualifies, with such things as giant-sized, biomechanical tigers that can extend their neck and have caterpillar tracks instead of back legs; robotic heroes surfing on lava or riding on rock slides with buzz saws attached to their feet; humongous insects with powerful blasters implanted onto their bodies; desert bandits riding on dinosaurs; and all kinds of warriors/villains/monsters you can build out of Lego sets with the most bizarre powers you can imagine. Even such mundane things as transportation were cool when the setting called for it. Nowadays, the story tends to focus less on these aspects and more on the actual plot—that is why the introduction of cybernetic dinosaurs with laser targeting-systems was so welcomed.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Luminoth Script in Metroid Prime 2. It's a three-dimensional array of lit and unlit nodes, linked by lines, with the shape and which nodes are lit or unlit apparently conveying the message. This array is impossible to read or write in two dimensions, needlessly complicated, and likely can't actually convey the amount of information it's shown to... but it looks awesome.
    • For that matter, almost any technology in any of the Metroid games exists either to be unnecessarily cool or to be unnecessarily complicated, and often both.
    • There is not a single creature in the series that is not Art Major Biology in one way or another.
  • A good deal of the things Dante from Devil May Cry does. If you don't think that Dante's motorbiking up the vertical walls of the Temen-ni-Gru was cool, your definition might be unnecessarily strict. And that's just one of the most famous. In fact, the core basis of the gameplay is beating shit up and making it look goood. Like rocking on a guitar bearing the soul of a lightning succubus for crowd control.
    • Oh yeah, and the bike had flamethrower attachments.
    • Did we mention that Nero's sword revs like a motorbike? That it revs like a goddamned motorbike?!
    • In fact, it's even been theorized that Dante's half-demon background physically forces him to do absolutely everything as awesomely as he possibly can.
    • Rule of Cool explains how Dante still manages to get business, even though the standard response to a call for help seems to be to kick the front door out, shoot randomly at the street, and blow up your own damn shop, if the bonus clip in Devil May Cry 4 is to be believed.
  • All of Bayonetta. Every second, every element. Right down to the hair suit.
  • Fallout 3 can allow you to launch mini-nukes from a handheld launcher capable of hurling a multitude of different kinds projectiles. It gets even better with the experimental MIRV nuke launcher. You don't NEED to fire eight mini-nukes at once, but it looks incredible.
    • Just about ALL of Fallout 3 runs on Rule of Cool, really. That and the intentional Zeerust are the only things that can explain the giant scorpions, the radiation hanging around after 200 years and keeping things a wasteland, and the fact that that many buildings are still there after being nuked then left to rot for over 200 years, cars that explode in mushroom clouds and most of all... Liberty Prime. A giant, bipedal robot with Gort's laser eyes and a backpack of miniature nuclear missiles, which it throws like footballs. Which is voiced by Peter 'Optimus Prime' Cullen.
    • Is it possible to blow someone's head apart by launching a teddy bear at them? Probably not. When you get the Rock-it Launcher and manage to do just that, will you care about the previous question? No.
  • The final battle in Kingdom Hearts II, where Sora and Riku fight Xemnas, especially the parts when you're floating in space, and you can slice buildings flying at you in half and send them flying back without moving, is so impossible the only explanation is that the laws of physics were breaking. (Though considering what was happening at the end of the game, that's actually not too far-fetched.)
    • The opening sequence of the first Kingdom Hearts counts. Yes, it's a tutorial level, but does it really matter when Sora is navigating a black void, walking on stained-glass floors of Disney characters, and it all culminates in a battle against a giant Heartless with a hole in its chest in the shape of a heart symbol?
    • A lot of the combination attacks with world-specific partners fall into this area, as do the Drive Forms. Where did Donald and Goofy go? Why does Sora roaring with Beast kill everything? Why does Auron's sword do more damage when he's got Sora attatched to his back? Where did Sora and Mulan get all those fireworks? Better question. Who cares!? It's freaking awesome!
  • Painkiller predominantly operates on Rule of Cool. Why is one of the bosses an impossibly enormous zombie/Frankenstein's Monster? Why do your weapons include a divine weed whacker with a laser grapple, a shotgun that can fire freezing blasts, a combined rotary cannon and rocket launcher, and a strange weapon that fires shurikens and arcs of electricity? Why can your character turn into a demon, becoming invincible, killing nearly everything in one hit with blasts of inexplicable force, and slowing down time? Because it's cool.
    • This is even more true of the Gaiden Game Painkiller: Overdose. Why is your character a wisecracking angel/demon hybrid who makes pop-culture references his backstory couldn't possibly let him know? Why are your first three weapons a disembodied demon head with dangling spine, a redesign of the aforementioned shotgun as a weapon that fires bone shards and petrifying sludge, and a redesign of the aforementioned weed whacker as a magical puzzle cube? Why is one of your stated opponents at the start of the game the Jerkass angel that ordered Daniel around in the original game? Because it's cool.
  • Serious Sam and Serious Sam: Second Encounter. Hordes of enemies rushing at you for no reason in locales so vast, grandeur and glorious that the only real explanation is to look cool and make you feel like the coolest player ever. Which you are. Sometimes.
  • Metal Wolf Chaos was probably created with this rule specifically in mind. It's the only logical explanation for why you're playing as the President of the United States battling a coup by the Vice President in a heavily-armed mech, the giant robotic spider the Vice President unleashes on Manhattan, the huge ray-gun on Alcatraz Island and much else.
  • Ragnell in the 10th Fire Emblem is said to be indestructible, but in the ending cutscreen it is shown heavily nicked for no other reason than to look cool.
  • Super Smash Bros.. in its entirety is fueled by nothing but Rule of Cool and Rule of Fun. There is no other way to justify scenes such as a crossdressing ninja punching a hole through a fighter jet to fight its anthropomorphic fox pilot or a giant penguin bitchslaping a turtle-dragon.
    • And then, following the crossdressing ninja punching a hole through a fighter jet to fight its anthropomorphic fox pilot, both fighters are stopped by being offered tea by a princess. All of the storymode in Brawl is built on 'that would look so cool'.
    • And the princess and the fighters to whom she is offering tea are on top of a moving airship that is currently engaged in combat.
    • Another of the settings has the fighters doing battle on top of a spacecraft while it flies out of the atmosphere, climbs into space, goes into hyperdrive, weaves through asteroid debris, hyperdrives back to the planet, re-enters the atmosphere. Just as a backdrop.
    • All these are in a game with surprisingly little Cutscene Power to the Max. A normal situation in multiplayer involves a giant gorilla with a tie headbutting Solid Snake into the surface of a moving craft then launching him offscreen with a haymaker. Then, Snake grabs the Smash Ball and his player goes through an Unexpected Gameplay Change and starts firing grenades from the foreground, causing a Total Party Kill. IN SPACE!
  • Pretty much everything in Red Alert 2. And Red Alert 3, too. Armored paratrooper bears, anyone?
  • BioShock (series). No, they didn't have automated turrets or flying unmanned machinegun robots in the 60s, and the technology to build an entire city on the bottom of the ocean wasn't even feasible in the late 1940s. But that's terribly irrelevant when one considers that you also have a Magical Hand That Shoots Bees and can set people on fire by snapping your fingers.
    • For BioShock Infinite you get the magic to sic a murder of crows on people. Even so, how does the flying city of Columbia carry enough fuel to stay airborne, or to lift all those stone buildings, marble statues, cobbled streets and parks at all? Though awesomeness.
  • Absolutely everything in God Hand. Just to give you an idea, a Memetic Mutation about the game goes from "These levels look bland" to "HOLY SHIT THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME I'M THE MOTHERFUCKING Fist of the North Star JESUS CHRIST" in three panels. And it doesn't even mention the Luchadore Gorilla.
  • God of War. You play as a large Spartan wearing little but a tunic, wielding blades attached to chains that are sheared into his arms, and you kill monsters 10 times bigger than you in brutal over the top ways. Also, you get to kill a god. Several times. Hell, half the stuff Kratos does would seem appalling if they weren't so damn awesome.
    • Only HALF?
      • Well, the other half is both appalling and awesome at the same time.
  • Fighting games in general lean heavily on this one, but the most prominent example in recent memory has to be Yoda and Darth Vader in Soul Calibur 4. There is no other possible explanation, and if the developers try to provide one, they are lying bastards.
  • Disgaea. There is an entirely logical explanation as to why your Pettanko brawler can punch her enemies into the sun: it's because it is ridiculously awesome looking. Not just that, you can also launch the entire battle map into the sun.
  • Ninja Gaiden indulged in this from time to time, but Ninja Gaiden II for 360 positively revels in it. There are zombies with chainsaws and cannons for arms, six-limbed werewolves with giant scythes, flying battleships, ninja special ops forces with rocket launchers, and a boss fight on the Statue of Liberty.
  • Then Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 makes you fight the goddamn Statue of Liberty itself. And two-headed robot spider women, can't forget those. Though you might wish you could
  • Supreme Commander features quite a few units that operate by this trope, including virtually all of the experimentals. The Fatboy, Czar, and Megalith are Military Mashup Machines par excellence, the Galactic Colossus is a textbook example of Awesome but Impractical, the Monkeylord is just kind of the Monkeylord... the list goes on.
  • Majora's Mask featured a moon falling to the planet over the course of three days. If it isn't stopped it'll destroy just about everything, even at a speed of five mph, once you beat the game it becomes a rainbow, apparently. Neither of these conclusions are great for the tides and oceans. Looks pretty good though.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures lives and breathes this trope. It stars a heavily armored anthropomorphic opossum who flies around with a rocket pack and wields a sword that can generate Razor Wind, it's utterly saturated with Steampunk Humongous Mecha, Airborne Aircraft Carriers, and Military Mashup Machines, and your enemies do things like deliberately blowing a hole in the side of their own spaceship to try and kill you or following you down through re-entry into the planet's atmosphere.
  • Prince of Persia went from possible, though infeasible (largely due to human stamina limits) acrobatics in Jordan Mechner's original games, to Ubisoft's complete and utter disregard for the laws of physics relative to human motion. Could a man jumping twelve feet out into space at a sheer stone wall grab an eight-inch, ninety-degree angle stone ledge with anything resembling enough grip to keep himself from falling? Oh, man... roll the dice. One man in a hundred, maybe, could pull that off once, and he probably wouldn't feel his fingers for a week afterward. Try doing it ten times within a minute's span, with your life on the line each time. This is not to mention running along or up walls for anything more than three steps at most. Why does it all work? Because it's cool as hell.
  • Dantes Inferno. You start off by killing the grim reaper, stealing his scythe, descending into hell and eventually killing the lord of hell himself. Also along the way you also fight a giant naked woman throwing babies out of her boobs. Everything this game does is to be cool and to slightly follow the original poem.
  • Solid Snake of Metal Gear Solid fame is at times a quiet and profound kind of cool, and at other times an artistically lethal example of the beauty of perfect motion. The cutscenes from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty almost invariably function on splicing this trope directly with another trope (or several others) for multiplicative results. One Boss Battle and the cutscene following it actually manage to include more than ten tropes that are easily identifiable offhand, wherein Snake takes on Revolver Ocelot in a running firefight to save a tortured hostage tied to a pillar in the middle of the square room, forcing the player to carefully avoid shooting him throughout the fight. Moreover, the entire center square of the room is criss-crossed with tension wires tied to blinking Semtex bombs, meaning the player has to be extra careful not to so much as touch one while still trying to dodge Ocelot's impossible ricocheting shots which can hit you even if you're safely behind cover, or the game will immediately end in failure. And if all that wasn't enough, winning the fight cues the sudden appearance of a stealth ninja cyborg character who announces his entrance by cutting off Ocelot's right hand in mid-aim, then surgically severing the trigger wires in such a way that no one is killed when the bombs all explode. The ninja then attacks Snake, immediately deflecting several bullets with his sword. Snake employs a combination of gunfire, martial arts, and desperate gymnastics to bring about a split-second stalemate with the ninja's sword at his throat and his SOCOM pistol at the ninja's head, point-blank. Now, the ten separate tropes linked here are all present and actively played during this scene, but would you believe there are actually even more in there? This entire game gets a double award for usage of the Rule of Cool, since not only the events within the narrative clearly qualify, but the writers and directors score likewise for the pure and utter improbability of all of these elements ever playing together so well, and the greatest part (as well as the part which makes it a fit addition to this section) of all? It seriously works. See for yourself here. And here. And here. And, probably most impressively, here.
  • From Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, it's also worth mentioning the final confrontation, the Climax Boss battle of the game. It's a fistfight. Between two guys biologically clearly over fifty. Both still perfectly capable of kicking your ass. On the top of a submarine. Why? Because it's cool.
  • A Let's Play series for Persona 3 calls attention to this when it happens to mention who the main character's ultimate Persona is: "Messiah is...well, he's that guy. Yeah. THAT guy. We're going to battle against the incarnation of Death by summoning that guy. I don't think this game could possibly be any more metal."
  • Elite Beat Agents. The game's plot revolves around an organization of The Men in Black and Cool Shades who appear to help people out with their problems while dancing to pop songs. Helping a white blood cell fight off a virus just in time for the Olympics to Ashlee Simpson's La La? No problem. Assisting a coffee-addicted taxi driver in driving a pregnant woman to the hospital to the song Sk8er Boi? That's nothing for the EBA. Helping a diver find treasure while YMCA is blaring in the background? Come on; that's not even trying! And then there's the final level.
    • How do you save a down-on-his-luck baseball player? By helping him win his next game? No! Clearly, the solution is to help him save a small boy from a giant lava-spewing rock monster in an amusement park! With baseball!
    • Needless to say, EBA's predecessor, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, ran on this trope too - if using Japanese-style male cheerleading to encourage a buddy cop pair to fight back against an invading army of battery-like aliens, or an overworked salaryman to protect his city and his daughter in Ultraman fashion, or the entire planet to blast an oncoming meteor with concentrated willpower isn't Rule of Cool, we don't know what is.
  • Contra 3: The Alien Wars for SNES had one level almost entirely composed of the player riding on in-flight missiles. By holding onto them from underneath using only one arm. And then jumping from missile to missile. One of the coolest things any fictional action hero has ever done, and one of the most unlikely.
    • Contra: Rebirth game for Wiiware attempts to one-up this by having the character ride down the flaming remains of a space station during reentry, and jump from one to the other. While fighting a boss. And entering said space station stage by jumping off a helicopter.
  • The only possible way to explain Dissidia Final Fantasy, in which the heroes and villains of the first ten Final Fantasy games all beat the crap out of each other. Not to mention the battle mechanics, where, among other things, if you can hit someone with your giant sword in just the right way... they will apparently explode.
    • Final Fantasy in general runs on this trope. The Summons being particularly good examples. In Final Fantasy VIII there's one particularly extreme case where a giant interstellar entity hurtles your enemies into a galaxy going supernova. Of course, Bahamut's got a long history of destroying things from orbit.
    • Bahumut can do that, huh? For example, in Crisis Core, his signature move, Exaflare, involves the giant dragon surrounding the MOON with crystals, blowing half of it up, and turning it into a GIANT LAZER which is pointed towards the planet, thus taking out a good amount of HP.
  • The Gungrave series is built on this. For example, in the original Gungrave video game, if a boss comes close to dying, using a demolition shot as the killing blow causes Grave to activate the "Graveyard Special" (insane Finishing Move), where his coffin launches a super-charged attack (which usually combines two or more his normal demolition shots). While this is not required to kill any boss, the demolition shot is so over the top that it just looks plain awesome. Not to mention your player character is the reanimated corpse of a hitman with Guns Akimbo and a large coffin on his back that shoots rockets and can semi-morph into a machine gun.
  • The makers of Deadly Creatures even said the game was built upon this. "In real life, tarantulas don't go web swinging from area to area. But wouldn't it be cool?" Also, most of the scorpion's finishing moves.
  • ALL of Ratchet's guns are powered by this except the most basic ones (sometimes not even them). Let's consider a few:
  • The Karmic Transformers in Okami. Sure, they don't serve any other purpose than making Amaterasu look different, but there's something awesome about seeing a Japanese Spitz beat up enemies and bosses. Oh, and while we're on the rule of cool, how about Waka's flute, which can turn into a glowing sword? Not to mention the fact that it's called 'Pillow Talk'.
  • The official roleplay rules for Furcadia involve something called the Rule of COOL, but that has nothing to do with this trope, although our Rule of Cool probably gets invoked by the players often enough.
  • Pretty much any time you become Super Sonic in a Sonic Game. A flying golden hedgehog going well over the speed of sound? Hell yes.
  • Prett much how Crazy Taxi works. In real life taxicabs wouldn't be allowed to break every traffic law in existence in an effort to get their customer to their destination as fast as possible. Thanks goodness this isn't real life.
  • Diviner Maros in City of Villains. He's a seer who can see an entire section of time at once and spends his time forgetting what week it is and creating time paradoxes. At one point he starts to send you on a mission, only to realize you did that two missions ago and then pauses to remember when he is. And he frequently sends you to places he only knows about because you told him where they were when you got back, or gives you advice based on stuff you told him in the future, because he gave you that advice. How can he do this? Because he's cool.
  • Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar.
  • Mischief Makers is a game that takes the Rule of Cool Serial Escalation. Sequences in the game include outrunning a tidal wave on a tricycle, riding giant bees, and a stage literally called Missile Surf.
  • Prototype's combat is the definition of the Rule of Cool. Sure, you can punch your enemies to death, but why do that when you can achieve the same result by shoryukening them, punching them thrice in midair, then slamming them into the ground like a rail spike?
    • And then using his corpse to down a military helicopter, grabbing the now-plummeting helicopter in mid-air and chucking it down at a tank and finish off with a ground-pound, taking out any infantry stragglers.
  • Six words: Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ. Sure, Little Red Riding Hood may not be the definition of cool. We've seen zombies in media a million and a half times. BBQs are what middle age men do to show off their cooking skills while keeping their testicles intact. But there is nothing uncool about a grown Little Red Riding Hood in skimpy clothing using a flamethrower on the undead.
  • All of you lose to the sheer badassery that is Ninja Blade.
  • Ninja Blade loses to Scribblenauts. Why make a game where you can make God fight Cthulu? Why make a game where you can travel back in time, ride a dinosaur through the time machine, kill robot zombies with said dinosaur? Because you can.
  • Not strictly in a video game, but the Nintendo 64 controller was made with three prongs instead of two because it would look cooler, nevermind the fact that it prevents all of the buttons from being in reach at the same time. Also perhaps trying to 1up the PlayStation, released about a year and a half previous, whose controller only had two prongs.
  • Shinobi III, Return of the Ninja Master runs on this trope. Ninjas on surfboads? Check. Ninjas on kites? Check. Climbing your way to the top of a cliff on falling rocks while fighting flying ninjas? Hell yes, check.
  • Touhou has Marisa, who mentions that spellcards aren't made to be overwhelmingly powerful, but to have beautiful patterns and just look cool in both Silent Sinner in Blue, and her own Grimoire of Marisa. That isn't to say there aren't spell cards that worry more about pure power rather than style, but as a whole, you could sell tickets to an audience to see a spellcard lightshow if you were so inclined.
    • The entire series (or at least the Windows era) runs on this. The fact that you can't use a card that can't be beat shows that power isn't the main focus, and the point of the system in the first place was so that youkai would ease up on the power and allow competition between themselves and humans.
  • While Naruto isn't exactly a prime example of Rule of Cool, the Narutimate (or Naruto: Ultimate Ninja) series certainly is. Using an Ougi (or Ultimate) triggers a cutscene of your character using his powers with all the almighty coolness you couldn't ever think you would see in a Naruto character. Ougis are absolutely ran by the Rule Of Cool.
  • Crimson Skies. All of both the PC and Xbox versions. Everything is powered by the Rule of Cool.
    • The PC version: received this line in a review.

These things could never get off the ground in real life. But who cares? They. Look. Cool.

    • The Xbox version: not only are the vehicles ridiculously impractical, but you spend your time fighting rogue Nazis equipped with zeppelins designed to eat other zeppelins, Humongous Mecha Spider Tanks, planes with lightning guns, and a base located inside an ancient Inca ruin packed with magma and Death Traps (it may have been built by Dwarves instead). In the final mission, they turn up with two zep-eaters attached to either side of a giant weather control weapon. Oh, and your basic starter plane comes equipped with magnetic homing missiles. This is supposedly set sometime during the 1930s.
  • Ace Attorney: Court proceedings aren't anything like that in real life, but after you've played a bit, you'll wish they were.
  • Team Fortress 2: So it comes time to update the most overpowered and controversial class in the game with a new weapon, what do you give him? Valve gave him a claymore sword that decapitates on killing blows, and a shield that resists fire and explosions, AND makes him run faster than any other class in the game. All of this for seemingly no reason other than the fact that the demoman is Scottish, and it makes a pretty cool Braveheart reference.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a game ENTIRELY BASED on doing things with the Force that were so epic it blew your mind away. Fighting a forty-story tall alien tentacle monster? Throwing Darth Freakin' Vader into the wall? Crashing a low-flying STAR DESTROYER into a major city!
    • And let's not forget the tutorial level. You're freakin' Darth Vader. You just arrived at Kashyyyk and you already know that the sortie is not going well, showing your displeasure to an Imperial Officer. You got word that the Wookies are helping a fugitive Jedi Master hide out in their world and you'll have none of it. So what do you do? You proceed to kick some furry ass and take names as you learn the nuances of using your powers of the Force. Basically, the level is all about mopping the floor with the Wookies either by slicing and dicing, tossing them like ragdolls, or Force choking them to death as Darth freaking Vader! You cant get a better beginning than this in a game.
  • A lot of Beatmania's background videos could count as this. Especially GOLDEN CROSS, which makes the Shoji board game crazy awesome.
  • There is a part on Shadow the Hedgehog's intro cutscene showing Shadow doing Chaos Control quickly, then punching an alien. Rinse and repeat for 10 to 20 seconds. That part of the cutscene does look pretty cool, and has no effect on any aspect of the game at all, so the use of chaos control here is justified by this rule (Normally, you need a Chaos Emerald and charge up the chaos control to do it, you cannot do it instantly).
  • Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. Why else would a four-foot-tall, 107 lb, 17-year-old kid from The Bronx be travelling around the world, fighting circus freaks, competing for the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship? Because it's cool.
  • Pick any Shoot'Em Up. Because firing Frickin' Laser Beams larger than your fighter could handle isn't cool enough...
  • Pretty much why the Grenade Launcher exists in Left 4 Dead 2. As Valve said, they and many people wanted to see more stuff blow up, so they threw in the weapon. Combine the weapon with fire bullets and you got a gun of awesome.
  • There's a certain online game that fits this trope to a T, and you know it does before you even play it. Why? On the loading screen, the following is displayed: "The following game is really mad, because unlike other games it does not try to obey or emulate any rules of physics correctly. In fact it was programmed on the basis of if it looks cool and feels cool, then it's cool." The name of said game? Need for Madness.
  • Hybrid Heaven. It's your typical "aliens plotting to take over the world and only you can stop them" plot, but you beat the aliens by performing wrestling moves on them.
  • Just Cause 2 's programmers stated that they tried to set the game so that the laws of physics would seem to be sort of drunk, to encourage the players to do more crazy awesome things. It worked, too.
  • Ultima I. Just Ultima I. After spending much of the game fighting in a standard RPG setting you must upgrade your weapon to a Phazor, buy a space shuttle and fight TIE Fighters to become a Space Ace so a princess will give you the location of a time machine that you can use to stop the Big Bad before he reaches One-Winged Angel form. Spoony said it best:

"This game takes D and D, Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, among many other things, throws them in a blender and just hits the puree switch. And my God is it beautiful!"

  • Alan Wake has a scene where you have to defend yourself on a rock stage (in the middle of a farm field) while a kickass metal song plays and pyrotechnics explode around you. Why? Because fuck yeah.
  • Two words, Asura's Wrath.
  • Most games in The Legend of Zelda poke at the Rule of Cool, but none goes quite as far as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Epona gets an upgrade from the "X" in a boy and his horse into a bona fide war horse in this game, complete with a few Rearing Horse moments. Everything's Better with Spinning applies to the Spinner and the trusty spin attack. You can do some cool Spider-Man moves with the Double Clawshot, walk on walls because of the electromagnets in the Goron Mines, some truly awesome boss fights including the one in the flying city, and when fighting bosses there is almost always a moment of Theme Music Power-Up when you've exposed an enemy's vulnerabilities. Really, it almost seems like they went out of their way to make this game just plain cooler than the others in the series.
  • Viewtiful Joe is built almost entirely around this trope. Upon entering Movie World, Joe becomes a martial arts expert, is capable of taking tank shells to the face, and can kill enemies just by striking a pose. Not only that, but the game just keeps trying to top itself. After you defeat Fire Leo by burning at temperatures over 1000000 degrees, you end up in a planet-dwarfing mech-battle. And that's only the first game.
  • Tomb Raider is built on this trope. Where else can you play as a daring female archeologist that is packing heat as she fends off enemies from wolves, to henchmen, and even a freaking Tyrannosaurs Rex while performing crazy acrobatics to either evade enemy attacks or to get from one place to another. Things get even crazier once Lara Croft gets on a vehicle and can run enemies over or make insane jumps over a chasm. Even the traps are taken to the extreme, such as poison darts, rolling boulders, spikes, fire traps, and many more as the series progressed, yet they still remained awesome.
    • In the Crystal Dynamics versions of the games, Lara's craziness is kicked up a notch as she is seen doing the following: storming a Yakuza's stronghold in nothing but a torn evening dress, skydiving to a Russian military base under attack by American forces, and assembling ancient weapons of power to kick even more ass (namely the Excalibur and Thor's Hammer).
    • The trope gets lampshaded by the developers in the remake Tomb Raider Anniversary when they discuss the Uzi wielding teenager. In the original game, the kid was fought what appeared to be a freaking underground skateboard park and he fought Lara by shooting at her while he was skateboarding (and the area had a ton of pits with lava in them in case you weren't in enough danger) and giving the line "You firing at me? You firing at me? There's no one else here so you must be firing at me!" The developers admitted that looking back on the level design for the boss fight now, it looked pretty damn silly, but at the same time, it was just too cool.
  • The Esp Galuda series features characters who can slow down bullets and power up their attack by using Kakusei ("Awakening"). Not only does activating this instantly change their gender, but they also inexplicably change into a different set of clothes. The character designer said that it was just to look cool.
  • Sengoku Basara. Samurai Dual-Wielding spears, scythes, chainsaws or just six swords at once. Riding horses like circus freaks. Shit blowing up. Engrish. Ninjas. Pirates. Zombies. Gundams. A Norio Wakamoto -voiced villain. All historically accurate, of course.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • This page from a webcomic called WICKEDPOWERED
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja positively thrives on this. The inclusion of raptor-riding banditos alone pretty much proves the point here, but if that doesn't convince you, there's also Dracula, who happens to have a moon base. With a moon laser. Where he hangs out with Paul McCartney, the real Micheal Jackson, and Tupac.
    • Eventually, you get to this.
      • Apparently, KING RADICAL epitomizes the Rule of Cool. So...radical....
      • It gets even better in the most recent issue with this strip and the one directly following it. No other webcomic features a ninja MD flying a private jet into a thunderstorm where he will be attacked by missile volleys and pterodactyls birdosauruses, which he will subsequently defeat in a single minute so that he may continue on to the apocalyptic Aztec tennis temple to save the world's greatest tennis champion who must play a game of tennis against the avatar of the Aztec god of destruction in order to save the world from imminent doom. The only reason any of the above makes any sense, at all, is because it is so goddamn cool.
    • Ent. With. Helicopter. Head.
  • Obligatory xkcd example.
  • Sluggy Freelance uses this mixed with Rule of Funny to make its bizarre and frequently absurd mythology work. Probably reaches its peak during the "Holiday Wars" arc. Bun-Bun, a murderous talking rabbit with the stolen powers of Halloween and the Easter Bunny, leads an army of ghouls in battle against a mutated, alien Santa and his own army of black ops elves. Santa and Bun-Bun have their final showdown where they fight each other at Super Speed using the same ability that lets them deliver presents/hide eggs all over the world in a single day. Eventually Bun-Bun performs a Coup De Grace on Santa using a Nerf gun. Seriously.
    • Then he manage to steal the Deus Ex Oveum before he can use it as a last resort because... well he is the Easter Bunny, he hide eggs deal with it.
  • In Mixed Myth, this is treated as one of the laws of the universe (under the name of Cynmatics). It causes anything that looks awesome to be inherently more powerful, such as how a gold wand with crystals in it is more powerful than a wooden wand. The Genre Savvy characters often take advantages of this, particularly the elves, who take it a bit too far (sometimes receiving a What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? from other characters).
  • Chess Piece has some sequences that fit this. Seeing Crimson Chin, Doug Quailman and XJ-9 duke it out is certainly awesome. Also, Phantom using blood bending. Awesome Nightmare Fuel!
  • This comic brought to you by a man on a shark fighting a Werepire
  • (Ahem) In the Name of the Gun. Jesus gets fed up with God's inaction, and comes back to Earth circa 1940. He proceeds to kill Nazis. With the help of other celebrities. Like Ernest Hemingway.
  • At some point we must all chose between what is right and what is awesome.
  • In Order of the Stick, Rule of Cool seems to be the only explanation for how this is possible.
  • Cyanide and Happiness also seem to know what a webcomic needs to be cool.
  • In Snowflakes, Wray's logic and knowledge of history, and even her grip on reality, are often come into question. But who cares if Erik the Red never piloted the Enterprise, or whether there are wraiths? It's awesome.
  • In Mob Ties, there is an entire clan of time traveling yakuza monkeys. 'Nuff said.
  • Invoked by the protagonist of Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger in-comic here.

Plotya Foreshadow: But why did you fire an entire salvo of photon torpedoes to detonate it? A remote self-destruct command would have done the job...
Quentyn Quinn: Well yeah, but this way looked cooler.

The simplest explanation usually dies in an epic space battle against the most awesome one.

  • Pitch Black has the (self-proclaimed) Ambassador of Awesome - a space mercenary/hitman cyborg dinosaur with glowing red eyes, wielding (and playing) a guitar-axe riding on his green ship with red cockpit and some teeth attached. Whether you want to have this guy around even on your side is a big question, however... Introduced here. see also [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] (see the next part here).

Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Dino Riders is about people from the future riding into battle on dinosaurs with Frickin' Laser Beams attached to their heads!
  • Be Prepared, Scar's song from The Lion King has the ground lifting up to the moon while Scar and the Hyenas are standing on it to make a menacing tower, in addition to lots of green lighting and smoke coming out of the ground. Why? Because it's COOL!
    • You Fools missed the pyrotechnics of the scene.
  • Transformers would probably not exist without this, in just about any incarnation. Several commercials for the 2007 movie were constructed basically of the robots appearing onscreen and onlookers standing around saying "cool."
  • Much of the Animated Adaptation of Teen Titans is built between the Rule of Cool and the Rule of Funny, resulting in quite a bit of varying controversy. Many recurring questions that linger in the fandom are the identity of Red X, the identity of Slade and the fuel behind his motives, and which of the Robins Robin is. Glen Murakami on the other hand has openly expressed that he couldn't care less about any of these things, so long as the kids liked it and found it cool. In one interview, he uses the word "cool" a good fifteen times to answer just about every other question. Inevitably, the series concluded with more unresolved plotlines than you can count on your hand.
  • Parodied in Invader Zim, where the Virtual Ghost of a Martian justifies their embarking on a ridiculous, pointless project that drove their race into extinction with "Because it's cool."
    • To be fair, they turned their entire planet into one giant moveable spaceship. That's pretty dang cool!
  • Tai Lung of Kung Fu Panda embodies this trope. What else can explain picking a lock with a feather, kicking spears out of mid-air, defying gravity repeatedly, or being able to fight with his fists on fire? A close second would be Tigress and the rest of the Five's fight at the bridge, Shifu's Bullet Time flip of a buster sword, Po's training (and later use of the Wuxi Finger Hold) and kung fu in general.
  • The Rambo cartoon, go with it, seems to be loaded with this kind of thing as seen here. Most of the time it's just cringe-worthy how ridiculous it all is, the flawed animation and complete insanity of the idea of basing a cartoon for children on an ultra-violent action hero making it impossible to take seriously. Highlights include Rambo wrestling a panther under water, driving a motorcycle on top of a train, and jumping out of a burning aircraft with a rocket launcher and somehow managing to turn around and blow up several missiles headed straight for his ally's helicopter with it.
  • The creators of The Batman, the Continuity Reboot to Batman the Animated Series, were looking for a way to set their series apart from the rest. So, they made a spin-off movie entitled, The Batman... versus Dracula. Batman. Versus. Dracula. The epic bat-imagery crossover lets it actually make a twisted kind of sense, despite being a complete derailment of the Batman franchise. And the movie lives up to the concept. Yes, Batman finds a cure for vampirism at the end, and all the citizens of Gotham who were vamps go back to normal. The Penguin becomes The Renfield. Oh, and as if it wasn't cool enough already, The Joker gets turned into a vampire for a while. Vampire Joker. VAMPIRE. JOKER. This isn't Rule Of Cool, this is Rule Of PURE AWESOME.
  • In George Shrinks Becky asks George why his ghost catching machine requires bells and horns. His answer: "they're cool!".
  • In one episode Kim Possible jumped off a plane, without a parachute. Even while she was falling towards her doom, she didn't panic once, and just by sheer luck was she saved by a blimp. While asked why Kim would do such a deadly stunt, the director answered that it was cool.
  • Near the end of the third season of Re Boot, with the system crashing, "User" characters from every game seen prior to the episode suddenly begin appearing in Mainframe. This is explained by the instability of the system releasing "undeleted RAM"—but it seems more like a thinly-veiled excuse for a battle royale between the cast and every User at once. Nobody complained.
    • A better example would be the episode with Enzo's birthday party. During the festivities, Big Bad Megabyte crashes the party, and brings out... a guitar? With a dial turned to 11? Megabyte begins jamming, almost painful because of how loud it is. Then Bob steps up to face him, seeming angry at him for crashing the party. Then he commands his keytool to turn into a guitar and thus begins a rocking guitar duel, between the Hero and the Big Bad! The whole thing ends with Megabyte giving Enzo his guitar, "I've always wanted to do that" and then leaving. Sure, it could've been a trap, or just about anything, but those thoughts never crossed ANYONE'S mind, simply because it was just that freaking AWESOME.
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold lives on Rule of Cool. As well it should, being inspired by the glorious lunacy of Silver Age DC Comics.
  • MEGAS. FREAKING. X. L. R. A badass opening theme song, a badass robot that can turn into a car and is piloted with a video game system, the fact that Coop can pull off amazing and special moves because he played video games all his life, an episode where Coop fantasizes about destroying the DMV, awesomely designed villains (some with their own Ominous Latin Chanting music), and some of the most high-octane giant robot fights to rival any Giant Robot Show Japan has made. In fact, it was so awesome, Cartoon Network couldn't take it, and canceled it.
    • Megas was not a robot that could turn into a car, it was a giant robot with a badass car for a head.
    • It can all be summed up by these two lines, from the episode where Coop enters Megas into a car show:

Coop: Man, there's some tough competition this year.
Jamie: Competition? Dude, you have a giant robot from the future, with a car for a head.

  • Tried, but failed, in the Mister T animated series. (If it managed to fail at the Rule of Cool despite having Mr. T as the main character, you know it failed big-time). While a few moments (most notably spinning an alligator over his head) managed it, the punctuating thuds of anvils landing got in the way.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka has a space sword. A sword made from meterorite.
    • The energy-bending final battle, which practically everyone agrees is discontinuous and pretty much a total Deus Ex Machina, but is nonetheless totally awesome.
    • The giant drill - that could have been done so many other less cool ways.
  • Swat Kats... pretty much constantly. How did they manage to build an entire serviceable jet fighter from parts in a salvage yard? One better than the official military's jets? After building a secret hangar? And many of their Special Missiles completely violate logic and physics. Not to mention the times their jet ends up crashing into the water with stalled engines and they manage to get the engines restarted underwater and fly away. But who cares? It's RADICAL. And plays to an awesome electric guitar soundtrack.
  • Samurai Jack refines this trope to a fine art form.
  • An in-story example appears in Toy Story: Almost no-one calls out Buzz Lightyear on his delusion about being a real space hero as opposed to a toy, because he's just that cool. Applies regardless of how many of them may actually believe him, because if they do, it's still because he's so cool.
  • The Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "The Mandalore Plot" featured a villain with a lightsaber. Not just any lightsaber, one with a black blade and shaped like a Katanas Are Just Better.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door is made of this trope. The stuff that happens on a typical episode would be laughable anywhere else, but the fans overlook that little detail because it has 10-year-old badasses with homemade weapons and vehicles. Yes.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, the climax consists of SpongeBob, seemingly doomed because of Plankton's Evil Plan, singing about the Goofy Goober using a visor and microphone from nowhere to distract Plankton, and when Plankton finally instructs his minions to attack SpongeBob, the microphone and visor are gone just as easily as they appeared and SpongeBob now has a wizard costume with a peanut pattern as well as a Goofy Goober guitar which he uses to play a solo which involves lasers fired from the guitar destroying Plankton's mind-controlling helmets. Despite the blatant, out-of-nowhere Deus Ex Machina, this sequence is still too cool to question.
  • Motorcity takes what made its sister series Megas XLR so awesome and dialed those traits Up To Beyond the Impossible levels by featuring a city over a city, nukes, tornado stunts, tanks, and car chases that basically says "SCREW YOU" to physics. Think a more child-friendly FLCL, except with cars instead of guitars.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The simple act of taking Luke Skywalker's prop lightsaber up on the space shuttle.
  • The only reason for the existence of the Bugatti Veyron.
  • Parkour and Freerunning, when performed by professionals.
    • This applies to Freerunning especially, since Parkour is usually more concerned with efficiency.
  • Concorde. An experiment in engineering that was the epitome of cool. Such it was that running in the red didn't matter. It just had to fly.
  • They ultimately settled on just kicking down the door and shooting him in the face, but check out this plan the Pentagon recieved for catching Osama bin Laden: Parachute in BEARS who would track him down with their "Excellent sense of smell." As if the bears could be trusted. After all, who would bears side with: People who threw them out of planes, or a hairy guy living in a cave?
    • Irrelevant! The bears would never side with humans; we're too delicious!
  • Volcanic lightning.
  • This physics experiment. If you want your students to remember waves, the answer is "Flaming Heavy Metal"
  • Related to the meteorite sword mentioned above: legend has it that the first copy of Jim Bowie's eponymous knife was made from iron derived from a meteorite.
    • Terry Pratchett's sword actually is.
  • The Nintendo 3DS. Don't bother explaining the fact that the light from the screen is split up into lines of varying brightness and color to simulate depth... Once you realize the fact that the graphics are in 3D, it won't matter.
  • Less optimistically, quite a lot of science (especially medical science) worked this way for most of history, regardless of what reality had to say on the subject. Mercury was reckoned to be a cure-all for centuries just because oh my God look at that that is so fucking awesome.
  • Quartz watches are not just a lot cheaper than mechanical; they're also a lot more accurate. Why do people buy mechanical at all? A combination of conspicuous consumption and Rule of Cool.
    • The Seiko Spring Drive is a hybrid mechanical, electric and magnetic watch movement that provides a really cool solution to... no actual problem that can't be solved cheaper by a conventional quartz watch.
  • There are quite a few instruments and objects used as instruments which may or may not have practical advantages, but are undeniably Cool, such as:

Notes

  1. Besides Okami