“What is a good villain?” will always be a subjective question, but allow me to list some bad guy qualities that are personally important to me. I want them to be scared. I want to enjoy their villainy because it’s creative, lewd, deliciously cruel. I want them to be a good foil for the heroes: equal or even taller stature, charismatic and powerful, and in a way a reflection of their darkness. Here’s an important, if counterintuitive one: I only care about their motives.
Of course, as with any well-structured story, it’s important to articulate why the opponent is doing what they’re doing — giving them a clear purpose and an emotional drive. But an overly detailed backstory, with an overly rich mental deconstruction, can be a hindrance, as much as helping build a good villain. If they’re unknowable in some way, they’re usually more scary and fun, with a touch of humanity, but not too much.
Here are four super famous examples that meet those criteria I can’t think of: Heath Ledger’s Joker in dark KnightDarth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber in stubborn stubbornwith Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs.
Here are the villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — the most successful franchise of all time — that fit those criteria: None.until Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
[Ed. note: Significant spoilers for Multiverse of Madness ahead.]
this The villain problem of the MCU Well documented. It’s especially popular in the early stages of the series, when screen legends like Jeff Bridges or Hugo Weaving would line up to play memorable one-off antagonists in the hero’s origin story. Part of the problem is Marvel Studios’ reluctance to take the time to develop these characters, and its keenness to kill them after a single appearance, in contrast to its decade-long arcs and complex, interwoven storylines for heroes. way in stark contrast.
Another problem is simply that the best of Marvel’s Rogue Galleries, including Doctor Doom, Magneto, and Venom, have all been licensed to other studios. Can you remember the point of Christopher Eccleston’s villain space elves? Thor: The Dark World? Neither do I.
The villain problem has been so stubborn that it’s starting to seem like an aesthetic or storytelling preference. Marvel movies don’t seem to be too interested in evil, or even literal darkness. Strangely, for a film featuring so much violence, the main theme isn’t conflict, but a comedy of heroic internal struggles and interpersonal conflict.Arguably the most memorable action scene in the entire series Captain America: Civil Warwhen the most powerful heroes on earth are not battling external threats, but each other.
There are some partial exceptions to this bad guy rule. rocky in tom hiddleston Very charming, his grudge against his father Odin and brother Thor makes his shenanigans fun and effective. But with his wit and greed, he was always more cunning than scary, and fans responded to him so well that subsequent outings gradually transformed him from an antagonist to an antihero to a lovable Black sheep.if he hints at a real evil edge Thor –exist the Avengerswhen he plotted an alien invasion of Earth in a fit of rage – it’s long gone.
Black Pantherthe killer“Marvel,” played by Michael B. Jordan, shows another side of Marvel’s reluctance to make the best bad guys really bad. He is a complex and morally tricky character. For his part, it’s his twisted justice, not his charisma, that holds the filmmaker back. He symbolizes the tragic reckoning of the African diaspora and its history and lineage, and his resentment against Wakanda’s smug recluse amid centuries of black suffering is justified. In this case, it was inappropriate to portray him as downright evil, so the film’s meanest villain was outsourced to Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Crowe.
Cate Blanchett’s iconic style of death goddess Hela, from Thor: Ragnarok Worth the shout out. (I guess it’s no surprise that Norse mythology characters should provide the Marvel Universe with two of its most memorable and well-defined antagonists.) Hela is terrifying and cruel, but she’s an abstract creation— More about entropy, decay and death than actual roles.
And that’s my complaint about the mighty Thanos, the final boss of the Avengers franchise, and the entire first three installments of the MCU. Maybe it’s the character’s weightless CG volume, or Josh Brolin’s methodical phrasing and melancholy eyes, but there’s something about him that doesn’t feel as visceral as a great villain. connected at the level. He’s too smart, almost academic, and the way he pursues his horrific goal is to wipe out half of his life. He seems to carry the burden of being the worst person in the universe, with a certain degree of reluctance and even regret. He didn’t even offer us the courtesy to enjoy ourselves.
Scarlet Witch – also known as Wanda Maximoff, but I’m referring to her by the character’s alter ego on purpose – is a terrific villain. She is very powerful and cunning in the way she uses her powers. She fits the hero Stephen Strange perfectly in both subject matter and temperament. She is not so much morally ambiguous as immoral, or possibly post-moral. She thinks she’s right and doesn’t care if she’s doing it wrong.
On paper, it should come as no surprise that by far the most effective villain in a Marvel movie should be a character with extensive development in several films. even her own tv show. The audience’s relationship with Wanda is already deep, so her heels turned at the beginning crazy multiverse Full of dramatic impact.Elizabeth Olsen has plenty of material to draw from as she takes Wanda into the dark side in pursuit of a reality where she can be reunited with her two imaginary sons Wanda Vision.
But I’m not sure how much this backstory has anything to do with why Scarlet Witch is so good as a villain. If anything, it’s a hindrance.I won’t discuss in depth about Whether Wanda bad things are right or not varies from person to person; for me, it feels very satisfying consistent with the end Wanda Visionalthough I’ll admit it plays a problematically deranged mother archetype.
That aside, it’s definitely a structural issue crazy multiverse it needs to be familiar with the plot Wanda Vision very meaningful.as podcaster Chris Ryan already pointed outan evil Scarlet Witch from another universe just tearing through our reality with a chaotic mind could be cleaner.
The Best Thing About Scarlet Witch crazy multiverseand the biggest difference between her and all MCU predecessors is that she scary. Olson, a talented actor, in Wanda Vision, gave her a ruthless, lifeless surface, with controlled anger and repressed sadness visibly churning below. Her voice was low and menacing, her eyes burning.Whether it’s in the costume of the Scarlet Witch or the unpretentiousness of the parallel universe Wanda, she has a scary side, and Director Sam Raimi Drenches her blood at the end of the film (Homage to Sissy Spacek Carrieanother story about a troubled woman unleashing the full power of her anger).
Remy’s playful, creepy visual imagination underscores Scarlet Witch’s immense power, but also her ingenuity and cruelty. Whether in her twisted escape from the mirrorworld’s bizarre attempt to contain her, or in her shocking devastation of members of the Illuminati, Scarlet Witch not only outwitted her opponents with her reality-bending abilities— She also—they thought so too. The delicious evil icing on the evil cake is her way of putting the power of the Illuminati heroes against them. Reed Richards was unbuttoned like a scarf. Black Bolt blew his own head. Professor X fell into a mental trap before breaking his neck.
The kills are humorous and poetic, wickedly fun, and shock-worthy beyond their near-goreness. Marvel movie audiences expect surprises, but not these surprises. They’re expecting cameos from fan-favorite actors like Patrick Stewart and Hayley Atwell, but they don’t want them being summarily murdered moments later. It’s Remy and screenwriter Michael Waldron’s formula for upending the MCU, albeit within the safety of a seemingly deniable multiverse story.
But it’s also the only time, aside from Thanos’ snapshots, that Marvel villains are allowed to shred the moral and physical invincibility of this world’s heroes. Scarlet Witch rips these parallel universe heroes to shreds because she can, and the way she does so shows how pathetic she finds them. She had a perverse pleasure in ignoring everything their universe thought was important. For Strange, who is repeatedly seen as a meaningful parallel, she is just as seduced by the unbridled power of dark art as she is, but still tries to stick to a moral compass. Her random murder of the Illuminati also greatly increases the stakes of Strange’s mission. Such a powerful man can’t be beat.the sequence shows that, A man so hollow is inexplicable.
As it turns out, she can, but only on her own. Scarlet Witch is destructively focused on fantasy. Chavez USA Showing her the truth about her own evil by showing her how horrible her actions were and the effect she had on her beloved boys. Meanwhile, Variant Wanda has shown her enough empathy that she can understand how she could have gone wrong. She broke free of the Dark Citadel and destroyed it, and perhaps herself. It’s not a traditional villain strike, but in the context of a character who was a former hero, it’s appropriate.
Fans may never accept that their favorite characters have been turned into monsters like this. But they should take comfort in what a monster she’s become. One function of a good villain is to get us out of our complacency and challenge our holy cow to do the unthinkable and unconscionable. Fueled by a mischievous Remy, Scarlet Witch is powerful enough, scary enough, seductive enough to break MCU conventions — if only for half a movie — and show us a world where bad things can happen and we can feel good about it . I want the portal to this dimension to remain open.