Monday, March 16, 2009

Favorite Villains

Some people are concerend about villains being too likable in movies, concerned with villainy being made a desireable thing or a promotion of negative values. A well done villain can promote values, especially in romance, where we like to see the bad guys get thier comeuppance, and the good guys are rewarded for heroic efforts.

I do know without a good villain, the hero has nothing to do. They have to be at conflict or there is no story. One thing to remember is the villain doesn't usually see himself as such. Each character is the star of thier own story. They all have thier own goals, opinions, challenges, and yearnings.
I am going to talk about some of my favorite villains. I don't watch really violent movies so there may be deadlier villains out there, these have some likability, but they are definintely the bad guys.

Magneto. Xmen
He is very easy to relate to. A holocaust survivor, he can manipulate metal. he has already seen what happens when a group of people take over who have an agenda against another group. When the mutant registration act is debated, Magneto forms an army.
He has depth, personality (ok magnetism), a reasonable concern, and an agenda. What he doesn't see is he is becoming what he hates when he decides to kill off all non mutants in an effort to save his own kind.

Alan Rickman: the sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood

When the cat's away...The sheriff is out to take over.He was funny in parts, ruthless in others. "I''ll cut your heart out with a spoon." He promised Loxley as Robin Hood fled. When his plans began to crumble he ordered: "Cancel Christmas" Eek!

Severus Snape: Harry Potter
Smooth, snarky, sarcastic. oh my! That voice can melt chocolate! Alan Rickman again.
" I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death -- if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."

He might have been a hero in the end, but to the kids, he was fear incarnate. Ask Neville!
We were kept in the dark as to his real goal and motivation, sadly we find he was a pawn of Dumbledore, as he was bound to service with an unbreakable vow. (which makes me feel Dumbledore was more villain than hero)
No wonder he was snarky.

Anthony Hopkins: Silence of the Lambs.
EEK! He was smooth, intelligent, and he reads people like a road map. He was respectable, cultured with sophisticated appetites.
“I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner.”
This villian has four movies, he has ingrained himself in our psyche.
The evil under the social facade of respectability. He did like Clarice. He was willing to sacrifice his hand to save hers. His motivation?
Only he knows.

Darth Vader: Star Wars

Great character arc though he didn't suffer fools graciously. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” He said to one man before choking him to death. He found good in his heart when he met Luke. "No, I am your father."
He ultimately gave his life for his son and redeemed his soul.

The Joker: psychotic with a twisted sense of humor. Batman movies and comics

Evil genius at its best.
“You… you just couldn’t let me go could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptable aren’t you. You won’t kill me because of some misplaced sense of self-rightousness. And I won’t kill you because…you’re just too much fun."
The evil genius had a respect for the hero, even treating Batman like a kindred spirit of sorts. "I get the feeling that you and I are destined to do this forever.”
This got on the dark knights nerves.

Cruella DeVille:"101 Dalmations:

"We lose more women to marriage than war, famine, and disease. "
"Oh, yes! I love the smell of near-extinction! "

I wonder if she and the Joker are related. Both have that mixture of crazed intelligence and unique fashion sense. Face it, Any one who could club a puppy to death is just plain mean.

Captain Barbossa: Pirates of the Caribbean

"He's a lot like meself, but absent me merciful nature and sense of fair play. (meeting with another pirate) Your master's expecting us... and an unexpected death'd cast a slight pall on our meeting. "

"You've used alot of big words and we are but humble pirates. I am disinclined to acquiesece to your request. That means no."
While everyone else loves Jack Sparrow, I gotta like Barbossa. His humor, his sarcasm, his no nonsense running of his ship. This is not a villain to take lightly. You only have one chance, cross him, and you're done.

"What now Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle until judgement day and trumpets sound?"
Jack answers "Or you could surrender." Not likely, even Calypso had a soft spot in her heart for this blackguard.

While we are on the topic of villains, list some of your favorites.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I love the quotes and it makes you realise how much a villian adds to a story of any kind.

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