There have been a lot of villains in a lot of films. The villains are usually the most interesting part. You can admire them, aspire to be them. They have no rules, no inhibitions. They do what they want, when they want. It is a really awesome thing to look up to. If you’re me, and weird as all hell, anyway. But then there are those villains that totally missed the point of what their original material was trying to convey. And what’s more, they sucked. Well, almost all of them, anyway. But anyway, here are my top ten villains who needed a director who understood the source material.
10. Green Goblin
Okay, so, right off the bat, we see something really wrong. This is Green Goblin. If you take a look at the image on your left, you’ll see what I’m talking about. This guy is genuinely creepy. He looks like the type of dude who, if you ever met him on the street, you would shit your pants because you kind of know that he is going to fuck your shit up. He’s an interesting villain, for the most part.
But take a look at the Green Goblin from the film. This guy doesn’t look imposing in the slightest. Now, I should say that I am not much of a Spiderman fan. He always seemed to be just a smartass stalker. But in this movie, they took a concept that could have been really badass and turned it into something that you can get a joke at. There is nothing threatening at all. The movie even seemed to realize that, when you have all the citizens of New York throwing shit at him. If you saw the dude from the other pictures, you would be running. that’s smart. When this dude comes at you, you don’t stick around to see what he is going to do. The people in the film, they were throwing shit at him. That’s not something very good for a villain.
9. King Koopa
Super Mario Bros.
How can I start with this guy? I think I’ll show the image of the films first. Take a look at that guy. Does he even look the least bit threatening to you? But the worse part about him is that, if you are familiar with the source material, it makes no fucking sense why they had this guy as the king of mushroom bad guys and turtle people. For real – the original games were about bright colors, little mushroom people, cute dinosaurs, flying capes, and lots of other stuff. The movie was like a bad version of 1984.
Now see this guy. Does he look a whole lot more interesting than that other clown? He looks like a dude with some giant tumors growing out of his head. This dude looks like something that Godzilla would have a tough time with. This guy can breathe fire. He commands a funny little army of mushrooms, turtles, hammer-wielding turtles, ghosts, fire-breathing flowers. That is really cool. Instead of letting us see that in a film, which would have been really cool, they decided to shit all over one of the most beloved video game franchises that exists. Oh, and they also totally missed the point of their source material, but in this instance, that’s beside the point.
8. Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin)
Now, I want it on the record that I really enjoyed, and still enjoy this movie. but come on! Take a look at this guy. This looks like something that crawled out of the sewer. Oh wait, it was something that crawled out of the sewer! This creature is a total freak. Now, in this instance, he was done well. I’m not bashing the performance, just the representation. I get what Tim Burton was going for, and I like this movie, but it does miss the point of its source material.
The Oswald Cobblepot of the comics, on the other hand, was nothing like that. This guy was charming, had definite charisma. He was an educated man, who employed his knowledge into the field of crime. He ran a pub, and was a beacon in the underworld. There were times when Batman came to Cobblepot for information, but he always had to pay a price. This was a cool character. I like what they did with him in Arkham City. They showed that he wasn’t just a creepy monster, he was a gentleman. He was a man of talent and ambition. It was a cool character.
7. Asher “Sarge” Mahonin
Now, this is going to be more of a criticism of the film itself, rather than of a certain character. But yeah, this made NO sense why they had this guy as the final boss of the Doom film. The game of Doom was an awesome game. Low on plot, high in action. You’re a marine. You live on Mars. A portal to Hell opens, and demons come out, causing all kinds of hellish mayhem. That’s it. It’s simple. But the film decided that a portal to Hell may offend a soccer mom, so they did bad movie science.
For real, why would a human being be the final boss in a film that should have been about a portal to Hell? I mean, take a look at the thing to your right! Wouldn’t seeing something like that have been MUCH more interesting than a poorly choreographed fight sequence? I mean, there are so many cool choices of monsters. That’s the fun part about it being a portal to Hell. I’m going to dwell on this, because if a movie is going to adapt something, you had better at least TRY and make a good effort. Instead, they feed is really bad movie-science, and the action sequences are boring. That was the biggest failing of this film – it was boring. Really boring.
Here’s another post that is going to be more of a criticism of the film it came from than about the character itself, because honestly, while I like this film, it could have been a LOT more interesting, especially if it actually kept to the source material. But yeah, this villain was awful. He has a mask that grants him unbelievable power, and he does absolutely jack-all with it.
The original comic was about a loser nobody who was given this mask. It grants him with unbelievable power, but also takes away his inhibitions. Without those, this guy goes off on an insane rampage. He occasionally does good, but even when he does good, he does it in such a destructive and insane manner that he gets the ire of others, and has the cops constantly chasing him. Every person who claims the Mask gets the raw end of the deal, because it makes all of them go completely insane, and do untold amounts of destruction. And I really think that could have been done very well by Jim Carrey. I think he could do the sociopathic anti-hero, if he wanted to. He has been shown to be a very versatile actor, so this would have made a much more interesting concept. Granted, the one time he has played a villain, he was awful (and we’ll get to that one, don’t worry), but still, I think he could have done this role very well, if it kept to the insanity and carnage of the source material.
5. Harvey Dent (Two-Face)
What…were…they…thinking?! The character of Two-Face is one of the most famous in comic book history. He is one of the most tragic characters ever created. He starts as a gifted attorney. He is on a mission to crack down on crime in the city. At the same time, he is also a friend of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. The two go out to dinner, have good times. There is a clear bond between them. Harvey Dent is a very good example of a tragic hero. And even after he becomes a villain, the remnants of his intelligence still linger. He is still a thinking and feeling person, tortured by what he has done, and by the madness that now has taken control of his life. It’s an awesome character.
But then Joel Schumacher came along, and fucked it up. I don’t know how they got Tommy Lee Jones to play this guy, but I’m sure it is a role that he looks back on with shame. This guy is nothing more than a petty crook. All of the intellect, the conflict, the intrigue, it’s all taken away. The tragedy of the interaction between Bruce and Harvey is gone, too. In this film, Batman doesn’t seem the least bit upset that he has to fight this guy. There isn’t any struggle. You never see what happened, either. The film shows some events happening, but since there is no context, and you never feel even the least bit bad for him, there is no catharsis in it. This wasn’t the worst thing to happen to Batman, but Joel Schumacher definitely deserves some lambasting for what he did a very tragic and very cool character.
4. Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze)
Batman and Robin
Now, I need to make a concession here that the original source material for this character wasn’t that great, but nobody pays attention to that. We all look at the character from The Animated Series for who Mr. Freeze has become. In that, he became a tragic character. His wife is dying. He is desperately trying to save her. His experiments are interrupted, and he loses her. Mutated into a being that can only survive at freezing temperatures, you grow a great deal of sympathy for him.
That is, until you see him in the OTHER Joel Schumacher Batman film. I’m not a big Arnold fan. I don’t get where a lot of guys find the enjoyment from him. The endless one-liners in this film were so ANNOYING! You just wanted to grab a loaded .44 and blow his brains out! Of all the villains who were in this film, and they all sucked and paid NO attention to their source material, by the way, this has to be the worst, in my eyes. If you watched The Animated Series, or played Arkham City, this was a cool character. He was smart, witty, clever, and ruthless. He was on a mission of revenge. He was your ally one minute, then your enemy the next. But in this movie, he was just a typical bad guy, who wanted to take over the world (Of course! [Unless you watch The Nostalgia Critic, that won’t make sense to you]).
3. Edward Nygma (The Riddler)
I love this character. When I was younger, and I got to see him for the first time, this was the villain that I wanted to be. He was smart. He was clever. He was cunning. The man was a genius who wanted to use his knowledge to create hell for everybody else. He was using his intellect to make puzzles for others to figure out. There was just one catch – the wrong choice, and you could die. He didn’t want what other villains want – power, money, all that jazz. He wanted to create hell fore everybody else. He was in the villainy game just for the fun of it. And that is, what’s the word? Oh, right, BAD-ASS!
But then you have Jim Carrey, in this movie. Sigh…
I can’t tell you how much I hate this character. He is devoid of all the intellectual merit that his original character had. All of the charm, too. Not only was the comic Riddler smart, but he was also very charming. In this movie, he is a giant man-child, who has to make a bad joke out of EVERYTHING! Not only that, but all the spandex suits were a real turn-off for me. I mean, nobody should ever wear that. Ever! But seeing a character who always had a cool fashion sense that was modeled after a question mark being reduced to this, it illicits some of my gag-reflex. But yeah, he was awful, and a shame upon a very cool comic book villain.
Do any of you remember Venom? Fuck yeah you do! Venom was the absolutely awesome and badass villain from the comics. He was all muscle and teeth and claws. He was Spiderman’s arch-enemy. This dude’s sole occupation was finding heroes and fucking their shit up! This was a guy who was cool, in every single possible way. Sheer size alone makes this guy awesome. So when I saw that he was going to be in a full-length film, you can imagine that I was pretty freakin’ stoked.
Alas, my hopes were dashed against the wall, when I saw who was playing him. Topher Grace. The little nerd from That 70’s Show. Yeah, this is who they got to play one of the most awesome villains ever. A man with absolutely NO muscle on him, at all. Now, while I give that the Symbiote did amp up Eddie Brock’s strength, they didn’t even do THAT in this movie! Instead, they have Venom still as a skinny little nerd. No hardcore claws, no giant teeth, nothing. This was just a total shame upon everything that made this villain cool.
But you know what, I still have respect for a lot of these villains. But I HATE, viscerally hate, the one that is at the top of the list.
The Last Airbender
There are so many levels that this character in this film failed. I love Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. His character in that show was nothing short of awesome. This was a really good tragic hero. A fallen prince, who has been banished from his kingdom, Zuko is trying to reclaim his honor, so he can go home. To do this, he has to capture the Avatar. Dead or alive. Over the course of the series, he gradually realizes that his goal is wrong, and his nation is destroying everything. There is tragedy to his character, and therefore, honor to his redemption. It is a great study of a tortured heart. Every minute he was on the show, I liked him. And he got better and better with each passing season.
The film character, on the other hand, was nothing but a joke. I laughed when I first saw him. I loved the article Cracked.com which pointed out how dumb this character is, along with how he is vaguely racist. In the first season, two of the three main characters are natives, not white people, while Zuko is a white guy. In the film, the heroes are all white people, while Zuko is not. Yes, because all heroes are white people. Obviously. But that aside, this guy was not interesting. At all! He was nothing more than a whiny bitch. Now I will say that Zuko did do a lot of bitching in the first season, but you know what, he was still tough, and he had a rather tragic back-story, so you felt for him. This guy, you wanted to beat with a hammer.
Until next time, a quote,
“My father said that my sister was born lucky, while I was lucky to have been born.” -Zuko, Avatar: The Last Airbender