A little change of pace this morning. My husband and I watched Captain America the other night and both came to the conclusion that the villain was poorly developed. This got me thinking about all the superhero villains and how the movies have been affected by them.
(Now, I have not seen every superhero movie, nor do I know the comics, so this post is purely from the few that I’ve seen and what I’ve heard.)
Let’s start with Spiderman. Obviously, movie producers are coming out with a new Spiderman movie — apparently Spiderman is joining the Avengers eventually and they (I think) do not have the rights to the other Spiderman movies. Nevertheless, Spiderman began as a kid with glasses who only wanted to date Mary Jane. He gets bitten by a spider and turns into, well, you know, Spiderman. So, who are the villains in the movies? We met the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, New Goblin, and Venom. Every one of these villains got into something that made them stronger, faster, and evil — a perfect match for poor Spiderman. Other than the easy catch of criminals and the bouts with the villains, Spiderman faced little adversity. The newspaper didn’t like the guy, but that’s to be expected of the news. Spiderman was only brought down by his attitude and the hybrid villains. This effect on the movies was simple: Spiderman needed a supervillain to defeat and save Mary Jane from. Who else could face this spider and bring him down?
I’ll pick on Captain America next, since we just recently watched it. You have this skinny, small guy with the determination to get into the Army to fight in WWII. An experiment takes place to create the best defense against Hitler, and this skinny guy is selected because of the kindness in his heart. After all, he consistently tried to stand against bullies, so it’s natural he would be the right choice. Long story short, he becomes Captain America with — in my opinion — too large of muscles and increased height. He also gained some superpowers. In a rescue mission to save 400 hundred POW’s from this movie’s villain’s complex, Captain America gains a band of well-trained soldiers. All is well until the villain becomes the bigger target. Who is this Johann Schmidt, aka Red Skull, anyway? Schmidt began as one of Hitler’s top generals (if I remember correctly) and became obsessed with a glowing blue cube that made him into a superbad villain who wants to destroy the entire world, including Hitler. Alright, but poorly developed. Captain America, of course, saves the day — or seven decades. The only obstacle for Captain America was Red Skull, but probably not Johann Schmidt.
So, I didn’t know that Thor was part of the superhero vs. supervillain comics, nor did I know that he would join Earthlings in Avengers. (I haven’t seen Avengers yet, but I’ve seen a lot of previews.) Watching Thor was fun for me, though the movie had its level of ridiculous. I loved Asgard and how it was portrayed, and I actually enjoyed the fact the Loki was the villain. In the view of Earth, Thor and Loki, though both from different planets, were super people. They had powers beyond what they could comprehend. (Except for S.H.E.I.L.D., which I guess was briefly shown in the movie. I know, shows how much I actually DON’T know about these movies.) Loki was not a simple human who went through a premature experiment that altered his DNA to be some kind of ice guy, but he was, to Thor, as normal an enemy as what he is used to.
Iron Man. I won’t go into detail here because I honestly don’t remember the first movie that much, and I have yet to see the second movie. If I remember correctly the villain in this movie was a genius dressed in a big suit. Not too bad, but the suit was like a larger version of Iron Man. I need to see the movie again to refresh my memory, but I do know that Iron Man joins the Avengers movie.
Alright, The Hulk I have not seen, so I won’t even go there. What about Fantastic Four? Sure, they are not part of Avengers, but were a lovely little group who struggled trying to live normal lives. From my knowledge, I think only Iron Man was completely cool with being a superhero. Fantastic Four, in the movies, had two villains. In the first movie, when the four were injured in space, so was Victor von Doom. (Really?) This von Doom was pretty much driven by jealousy of the fair Invisible Woman with whom he almost got engaged to, as well as driven by the need to be the best and the most important. The villain in the second movie was the Silver Surfer, and I believe von Doom was the “master” of this guy. Again, another not totally human villain.
Batman, or the Dark Knight, though dark as a whole, is part of the few superhero/supervillain movies that actually doesn’t have anyone mutating into something partially human. Bruce Wayne is a millionaire who wants to seek revenge for his parents’ death, and ends up learning to fight from the League of Shadows, who fight really, really cool. He doesn’t become one of them, since deep down Bruce Wayne really just wants justice served with kindness. Throughout the rest of the movie, Bruce Wayne fights against the League of Shadows as well as a genius called Scarecrow, who devised a potion that makes everyone else insane. In the second movie, the Joker is incredibly insane, but evokes such desire to see him brought to justice. The Joker is utterly wicked, finding amusement and joy in seeing others suffer. And no matter what happens, he manages to find a reason to laugh — even at his own death. Two-Face Harvey Dent, honestly, should not have survived with his face ruined like that, but oh well. He turned into the next villain because his girl was killed and he was saved. No one, not even Bruce Wayne, has their DNA altered to become something greater and better. Probably one of the reasons why I enjoy the movies. You can do good and fight injustice without a supersuit.
I will end this with Superman. Honestly, Superman had the best villain. Though one of his movies had the band of unhappy criminals from his planet, there was the ever-present Lex Luther. Lex Luther was not insane. He was not some supervillain who could fly and match Superman’s abilities. All he had was his money, his brains, his complex personality, and Kryptonite. Oh, and he knew Superman could not stand having his Lois Lane in danger. Superman was brought down by Lex Luther, a mere mortal who just wanted — land. Not world domination, though he would go that far if it meant he’d gain more land. This guy, this “villain”, really was a well-developed bad guy. He hated Superman to the core. He devised ways to trap and mislead Superman, becoming the best adversary to the superhero.
And that, my friend, is all. The villains movies are coming up with are increasingly villains that cannot be beaten unless you had a supersuit. I thought superheroes were to inspire kids to stand against bullying and injustice, not keep them wishing that they could have their DNA changed just so they could save the world — or New York.