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Exploring The Villian

The notion of the villain or the "bad guy" is a theme that often appears in many films, particularly superhero narratives, or similar films. However, as a viewer, sometimes questioning the way in which someone is depicted could be interesting as well. Is the villain entirely bad? Or are they in some ways victims as well? Do you think the hero is always right? Or do they have a past that could have easily made them the villain? How much of the villainization is inherent and how much of it is fed to us?

  • Villains are always interesting. I think Magneto was a sympathetic villain. Could you correct the spelling? Thanks! – Munjeera 2 years ago
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  • Interesting topic! Though it is not the central theme of the article, perhaps one paragraph could focus on villains turned heroes later on? For instance, Zuko, from Avatar the Last Air Bender, or Root, from Person Of Interest. Do such (not-so-)villains differ from “true” villains? If so, how? If not, why? What impact it may have on the viewer? – Gavroche 2 years ago
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  • Interesting. I think you should look at superheroes or Disney films. The villains are quite interesting. You could compare different types of villains to see what makes them a villain, why they are villain. Most of the time it’s because of the hero. – zazu 2 years ago
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  • I agree with zazu's suggestion about exploring superhero films, particularly films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (while we're on the subject of Disney and superheroes). The MCU started off with villains that were basically just dark mirrors of the heroes (Iron Man 1 had Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger, The Incredible Hulk had The Abomination). Villains like Loki and Killmonger, however, have been praised as some of the more interesting of MCU villains due to their sympathetic motivations. Both of them are still tied to the heroes' origins in some way, yet they represent the outcome of a different upbrining than the hero in the same environment. You could either explore how MCU's potrayal of villains changed from Iron Man to a film like Black Panther or the ways in which the MCU has designated certain characters as 'villains.' – CharlieSimmons 2 years ago
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  • This brings to mind the 2003 film, Monster, where the heroine can be both viewed as good as well as a villain. Just one small error fix, change villian to villain. This would be an interesting topic for me to write except I'm not a fan of superheroes. Whoever decided to write this can use the character, AIllen Wournos, in Monster as a stepping stone. – Montayj79 4 months ago
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  • I absolutely think a villain with sympathetic qualities, or one who is more complex than simply being the "big bad" of any given book/show/film, is far more interesting than a two-dimensional "evil" character! I think of Lord of the Rings, and the fact that for me, it is the Witch Kings who are far more ominous adversaries than Sauron himself. They're "fallen" men, corrupted by power, and are far more dynamic than the evil eye in distant Mordor... also "villains" like Denethor, or even Boromir to an extent when he's influenced by the ring (before he overcomes it, and dies a hero). Their humanity, flaws and pitfalls, and the fact you can map their trajectory toward their "villainy", makes them all the more fascinating! And think of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire... the white walkers and Night King are terrifying, yes, but it's villainous characters like Cersei, Littlefinger, and Ramsay Bolton who make for more interesting storylines. Once again it's the humanity in them that fascinates and compels. – elizheff 3 months ago
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  • I think an important character to consider when examining villains is Walter White from Breaking Bad. A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal cancer turns to manufacturing and selling meth to be able to leave money for his family after he passes. However, as the story progresses, an Walter becomes more evil and is enamored with power, control and greed. He becomes the villain of his own story, yet the viewer still emphasizes with him – greenturnedblue 3 months ago
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  • Very interesting topic. I definitely like flawed heros and villains with good reasons to be evil, and I love when morality wavers and falters. Think of a so-called hero in a science fantasy that would bomb an entire city of civilians just for a show of power, but at the same time freaks out if the foes do the same to his country. In this regard, Erikson's Malazan series gives us the perfect example of moral ambiguity in fiction. – mnorman 3 months ago
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