Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Valiant’s Bloodshot Movie

A Reel Leadership Article

I’m always excited to hear when another comic book related movie is coming out. I was no less excited to hear Bloodshot had begun filming and Vin Diesel was attached to play the main character.

Bloodshot is a character in the Valiant comic book universe. His first appearance was in an obscure comic, Rai #0. To see the Valiant Universe brought to life was most excellent.

The excitement didn’t die down when the movie released either. I was able to catch the early Thursday showing of the movie. It did not disappointment.

Vin Diesel in Valiant Comic's Bloodshot movie

Vin Diesel as Ray Garrisson

Vin Diesel as Ray Garrison, a slain soldier who is re-animated with super-human powers, discovers he’s being manipulated by RST (Rising Sun Technologies, a nod to the comic book), the organization that brought him back to life. Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pierce), the head of the project, has been changing Ray’s memories. He’s been sent to do the dirty work by making him think the bad guy is the one who killed his wife…

It’s not. That’s not the only surprise that’s uncovered in the fast-paced Bloodshot. If you stick around, you’ll have an enjoyable movie on your hands.

But, if you’re a regular reader, you know that’s not all a movie can provide. Every movie is an opportunity to take it to the Reel Leadership level. Bloodshot is no different. There are plenty of leadership lessons in Bloodshot.

Today’s article will look at those leadership lessons and more.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Bloodshot

1. Leaders will get scars:

Gina Garrison (Talulah Riley) asks Ray if there will be a time when he comes home with his body the same way as when he left. She asked this because every time Ray returned, he had more scars.

The scars told stories. Stories Gina didn’t like to see or hear. Yet, they were there.

The stories remained. The scars remained. Nothing changed.

Leadership is scary. Leadership is painful. Leaders will be hurt and scared. They will be scarred.

Leaders will go through seasons when they will be hurt. Their choices will leave them changed. The actions of others will scar them.

Coming home, leaders are different. They are scarred.

You will get scars if you lead long enough. Those scars will tell a story.

Be okay with having scars. They tell others you’ve led through good and bad times.

2. Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell):

I’ve got bad news for you baby. It’s not going to be okay.

Martin was one of the fake bad guys Emil programmed into Ray’s mind. He uttered this line right before shooting a fake Gina.

Martin was truthful in what he said. Things weren’t going to be okay. Things were going to get nasty and ugly.

I’ve got to be truthful here too… Leadership isn’t sunshine and roses. Leadership isn’t a happy place.

There are times leadership is bad news. There are times when you won’t be okay as a leader.

Take heart, though. You know this. You’re prepared. You’re ready to face the trials of leadership.

When things aren’t okay, go get help. Great leaders know they have to get help to lead themselves and their organizations.

3. KT (Eiza González):

Sometimes you have to rip off the band-aid.

KT was working for RST. She was one of the people who helped Ray reacclimate to his new life. Her role was to break the bad news to him.

Ray figured he would have someone in his life who would claim his body if he died. Family, friends… someone.

KT told him quickly there was no one to claim his body. She had to rip the band-aid off of the wound.

You have to be like KT in this regard to bad news.

You can’t dance around bad news. There are people whose lives are depending on knowing what is going on. Don’t hide bad news from your people.

Rip off the band-aid. Let them know what’s going on. Then let them know how you and the team can work together to make it better.

4. Test your strength:

Ray had a hard time coming to grips with his new reality. One of the new realities was his super-human strength given to him by the nanites in his blood. They gave him super-strength and rapid healing.

Ray wanted to know what he could do. So he tested his strength. He went and punched through a punching bad. Then, he began to pummel a concrete pillar until it began to crumble. Last, he went to the weight bench. There, he began to lift as much as he could.

His strength level was off of the charts. He was crazy strong.

When’s the last time you tested the limits of your strengths? Leaders are constantly pushing the boundaries of what they can do in their strength. They want to know how much they can do with what they have.

Put your strengths to the test. Find ways to challenge yourself to grow and see your breaking point.

5. KT:

We’re all broken damaged goods… But I’ve embraced that now.

KT had come to a realization. She was damaged goods. She wasn’t whole.

And that was okay.

Are you okay with being damaged goods? We are all broken. We are all damaged. But our damagedness doesn’t mean we’re worthless.

When you embrace your damagedness, you will learn what you’re truly made of. You will also see there is strength in what is wrong with you.

6. Ray Garrison:

Doc, I’m not yours.

Ray saw Emil look at him as his project. Emil saw Ray as something to work with. Something to control.

Ray wasn’t going to have this. He knew he wasn’t some puppet to be controlled.

You’re not a puppet, either. You have your own thoughts, desires, and dreams.

Be careful of falling into the trap of letting others control you for their own means. You are not someone else’s. You are your own.

7. The experts may not succeed:

Barris Merc (Alex Anlos) told Martin to let the experts handle the situation and Ray. Barris gave Martin bad advice.

The experts were taken out by Ray. They were no match for what was coming. They failed. Their success was not guaranteed.

You may have a lineup of experts no one can compete with. Don’t get overconfident in the people you’ve brought on.

The experts can fail. There will be people who are better than they are.

Know you may have to have another avenue to success. Be willing to pivot when you have to.

8. Don’t be manipulated:

The power Ray brought to the table was immense. He had strength, agility, and healing. All of these things made him extraordinary.

It also made him a target for manipulation.

RST knew this. This is why they gave Ray false memories. They continued to make Ray think his wife was killed. Each time he took out the person who killed his wife, they implanted a new memory of a different killer in his mind.

Ray was manipulated.

With great power comes great responsibility (that’s a Spider-Man quote from Uncle Ben but it fits here). With great power also comes people looking to manipulate you.

Be careful of those who come into your life when you start to see success. Make sure they’re not there to manipulate you. Make sure they truly want to be in your life.

9. Good people struggle when people are taken advantage of:

KT saw what they were doing to Ray. Each time he came back, it was harder for KT to be a part of the work RST was doing.

She struggled internally to justify her part in lying to Ray. Eventually, she couldn’t take any more of it. She broke and chose to go rogue.

If you or your organization is taking advantage of others, beware. Your team members will begin to feel a tinge of remorse, doubt, concern.

Your team will only put up with so much. Keep pushing them, keep making them take advantage of others and they will leave.

People want to help others. They don’t want to hurt them or take advantage of them. Be a leader who can help them realize this.

10. You can’t force respect:

Emil knew he could control KT. She was equipped with a breathing apparatus that could be shut off with the touch of a button. Emil had this button. If KT went against his will, he would force her to respect his direction.

This could only go on for so long. As I mentioned in the previous leadership lesson from Bloodshot, you can only push people for so long. Once they reach that point, their respect for you goes away.

You can’t force your team to respect you. Respect is something you earn.

You have to work with your team. You have to show them you are there for them.

Work on gaining their respect. Don’t force respect.

11. Are you your best version or are you someone else’s best version?

Emil told Ray he had given him an ideal life. Ray was powerful, he was doing good, and he was alive.

Ray challenged this idea. Ray said the life he was living wasn’t the best version of his life. There were things wrong with it.

As a leader, you can try to force your version of a best life on someone else. You can try to get them to conform to your ideas and opinions. You will think you’re helping them live out their best life.

But are you?

Their best life may be something completely different than yours. Listen to the people you’re leading. Find out what their best life looks like. Help them work towards their best life, not yours.

12. Ray Garrison:

Who we were doesn’t have to define who we can be.

Ray gave KT a touching word. He told her that her past life doesn’t have to define who she will be in the future. Her future is wide open.

Ray’s words ring true for all of use. The mistakes we have made in our past don’t have to define us. We can be better than who we were.

We have to work at who we want to be. But it is possible.

Don’t let your past define you. Build upon it. Make it better. Make yourself better.

13. Dr. Emil Harting:

Your nanites are down. All that’s left is Ray Garrison!

Ray Garrison:

And that’s enough.

The nanites in Ray’s body had to be recharged or replenished. If Ray pushed too much, the nanites would die or go inactive.

At one point, Ray reaches this level of denigration of the nanites. The nanites were down. They were no longer powering him.

Emil saw this as his chance to pounce on Ray. Ray was powerless in his eyes.

But Ray knew better. Ray knew he was more than the nanites in his body. He was a soldier. He had skills. And he could still fight.

You are more than the technology you surround yourself with. You are more than what you do or can do.

Don’t let yourself think you are only valuable if you’re leading or helping other people. You are more valuable than this.

Question: If you’ve watched Bloodshot, what leadership lessons did you take away from the movie? If you haven’t seen the movie, what Reel Leadership lessons from Bloodshot that I shared resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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