Batman, hands down, is my favorite superhero franchise. He may not have extraterrestrial superpowers, but he definitely has the best gadgets, mode of transportation, coming-of-age story, and costume. However, Batman would not be Batman without his villains.
After reading some mixed reviews about the recent Batman vs. Superman film, which I have no interest in seeing, I asked myself the following question: Why haven’t big budget production companies started investing in the stories of villains throughout comic book turned film franchises? The FOX television series Gotham is a step in the right direction, but what about the rest of them?
If you think about it, none of these superheroes would be as cool if they didn’t have the right villain to push them to their limits. I, personally, find the majority of the “fan favorite” superheroes to be unbearably corny. Not to mention the fact that supernatural powers that no one can understand how you acquired never impressed me. Try busting some heads without flying, sticking to walls, or having laser beams come out of your anatomy.
In the essence of storytelling, I’m more intrigued by how the bad guy or girl became a psychotic threat to the hero. I find it ironic that the majority of the villains started out as decent human beings, but then life happened and they turned into someone who even scares themselves. That inadvertently tells the audience that we all have a loose screw somewhere that can potentially make us go crazy, which is interesting and makes for a great story.
I’ll give you a prime example, Suicide Squad.
I can’t describe how excited I am to see this film. It’s going to be a breath of fresh air in the midst of a superhero trend that’s been played out since The Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer. And I can go out on a limb and say that Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn is going to steal the show.
The only theory that comes to mind regarding why we don’t see too many films starring the villains is the fact that it may send the wrong message to the younger viewers. You know, messages that teach our kids that it’s ok to steal, hurt people, skip your vegetables, and etc. Which I understand, but if the story is told the right way, I’m sure that we can find some morally sound lesson about completing your homework and going to bed on time.
I just hope us viewers can see more diversity within this superhero phenomenon going forward. If films about the villains won’t work, then tell more stories about the sidekicks. Like Alfred, he was a real G. Loyal to the end!
Until Next Time…
3 Comments Add yours
First off I think Suicide Squad is going to be power struggle between Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. Yeah she steals the trailer but he’s only in if for like one shot…plus from everything I’ve ready he was even freaking out the cast and crew on set. I love that they’re showing so little of him in trailers because it’s building up the anticipation for me, I just hope it’s not a let down.
That being said, forgive me my main example will be from the Marval cinematic universe as I follow it closer…it’s a side effect of having had a Marval movie released the week of my Birthday every year since 2007. Civil War being the movie this year.
It’s no secret, I love Loki. He carries both of the Thor movies and More than steals the show in Avengers for me. He is perfect dichotomy to Thor. Thor is perfect, pristine, noble, and selfless and Loki is none of that, his, “I don’t give a f***” attitude is what makes him so great. I would love to see a Loki centric film but honestly I couldn’t care less about his origin story…about why he is the way he is. I think if do an origin story with a villain, you run the risk of almost creating too much sympathy for their cause and you toe the line of making them come off as an antihero (basically a figure that does bad things but are justified bad circumstances or good intentions) as opposed to true villain. I think a true villain just doesn’t give a f*** and that’s what makes them great…that’s what draws them to you. They’re not bad for a reason other than they just are. Their love power/death/destruction out weights all else.
Take the Joker for example. He is universally considered one of the scariest most evil villains in all of the comic universe. Many of online polls and comic book geeks put him at the top above the likes of Thanos (who is the most powerful and is literally in love with death). Why? He’s only human…no special powers? Well, there’s no backstory on him. There’s nothing but 70+ years of him just doing sick and sadistic things for no other reason than he enjoys it and he enjoys the chaos. That to me is far more interesting than any back story they can create for him. You can’t have him be the lead in a film. You have to see his insanity through the eyes of the moral and just Batman who can’t fathom it because if you see it through his own eyes then you’ll understand it and you’ll sympathize with it and he’ll lose the edge…the thing that makes him such a interesting and fascinating character. Just my two cents.
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Interesting point. I could see the audience sympathizing with the villain throughout their origin story, so much so, that they may not enjoy the film as much as they would for their hero. I just want to see more variety, and making another Spiderman film is NOT it.