I want to be certain that certain bad-guy traits that matter to me personally. I want them to be creatively, salaciously, and profound, indicating their character in some ways. And here''s an important, if counterintuitive one: they are always motivated up to a point.
It''s important for any well-constructed story to clarify why the antagonist is doing what they''re doing to give them both a clear goal and an emotional driver. However, a too detailed backstory, too extensive a deconstruction of their psyche, can be as much of a hindrance as a guide in establishing a good villain. They are often scarier and more entertaining if they are unknowable to some extent, but not too much.
On the back of my head, heath Ledgers Joker in The Dark Knight, Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, Alan Rickmans Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and Anthony Hopkins Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
Here are the villains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that have become the most successful movie franchise of all time. Until Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
[Ed. note: More spoilers for Multiverse of Madness to come.]
The villain problem in Marvel Studios was especially extensive in the early stages of the series, when screen legends like Jeff Bridges or Hugo Weaving would queue up to play seemingly unquestionably large antagonists in villain origin stories. The problem is that Marvel Studios was hesitant to spend time developing these characters and its desire to kill them off after a single appearance, in stark contrast to its ability to build decade-long arcs and interwoven narratives for its heroes.
Another issue was simply that the cream of the Marvels rogues gallery, including Doctor Doom, Magneto, and Venom, had all been licensed to other studios. Can you remember anything meaningful about Christopher Ecclestons baddie space elf in Thor: The Dark World? Me neither.
The villain problem has been so persistent that it evolved into a kind of aesthetic or storytelling preference. Marvel movies do not appear to be overly interested in evil or even literal darkness. The dominant theme, strangely for films that feature so much violence, is not conflict, but the heroes'' inner struggle and interpersonal conflict. Captain America: Civil War, when Earths mightiest heroes fight not an external threat but one another.
Here are a few minor exceptions to this bad-villain rule. Tom Hiddlestons Loki is devilishly charming, and his displeasure of his father Odin and brother Thor makes him a fun and effective driver for his mischief. However, fans expressed his delight because they have gradually reduced him from an antagonist to an antihero in Thor and in The Avengers. If he opted for an alien invasion, the whole thing would be gone.
The film Black Panthers Killmonger, directed by Michael B. Jordan, has a different side of Marvel''s reluctance to make its best bad guys really bad. He is a complex and morally thorny character. It''s his twisted righteousness, rather than his charm, that keeps the filmmakers back. In this context, he symbolizes the tragic reckoning of the African diaspora with its history and ancestry, and his resentment of Wakandas as out
Cate Blanchetts the iconic Hela, goddess of death, from Thor: Ragnarokdeserves a shoutout. (I suppose it is not surprising that figures from Norse mythology should furnish the Marvel universe with two of its most memorable and clearly defined antagonists.) Hela is afraid and cruel, but she is an abstract creation more of an idea about entropy, decay, and death than an actual character.
And this is also my view of Thanos, the villainous creator of the Avengers series, and the whole first three phases of the MCU. Perhaps the characters'' weightless CG bulk, or Josh Brolins measured diction and melancholy eyes, but something about him isn''t just connected on the visceral level that a great villain should. He is also adept at retaliation and even regret, but he does not even extend us the pleasure of living.
Wanda Maximoff, who is also known as Wanda, is a fantastic baddie. She is terrifyingly powerful and devious in her ability to utilize her power. She is a great match for Stephen Strange in both themes and temperament. She is not so much morally ambiguous as amoral or post-moral, but she is concerned about whether or not she''s wrong.
On paper, it''s not surprising that the most effective villain in a Marvel film to date should be a character who has already had the pleasure of developing several programs and even her own TV show. Wanda has already had a vast relationship, so her heel turn at the start of Multiverse of Madness packs a remarkable punch. Elizabeth Olsen has a lot of experience to draw on as she steers Wanda to the dark side in her quest for a reality in which she can be reunited with her two son
Im not sure how important this story is to the reason Scarlet Witch works so well in the villain role. If anything, its an obstacle. I''ll not get deep into the heated debate over whether Wanda breaking bad does right by the character; for me, it felt satisfied and compatible with the end of WandaVision, although I accept that it plays into a problematic deranged-mother archetype.
Given that I''m not going to dismiss the fact that Multiverse of Madness has a structural problem that requires careful understanding of WandaVision''s plot to make much sense. As Chris Ryan says, an evil Scarlet Witch from another universe would have been more able to operate without being a craze.
The main reason why she is so averse about her MCU predecessors is that she is afraid. Olsen, a wonderful actor who demonstrated a wide range in WandaVision, gives her an implacable, deadened surface, with controlled rage and suppressed grief until the film''s final touch comes to an end. A tribute to Sissy Spacek in Carrie, is, nonetheless, a concern.
Raimis'' playful, gruesome visual imagination highlights the Scarlet Witch''s incredible power, but also her ingenuity and cruelty. Both in her revealing escape from the mirror world Strange attempts to intimidate her, and in her humiliating demolition of the Illuminati members, the Scarlet Witch outgun her opponents with her ability to bend reality, too. The delightfully wicked icing on the villainous cake is the way she turns the Illuminati heroes powers against them. Professor X is caught in
These killings come alive with joy and sex, as well as a joy in wickedness, and a shock value that goes beyond how almost-gory they are. Unlike fan-favorite actors like Patrick Stewart and Hayley Atwell, the audience for a Marvel film is expecting surprises, but they do not expect them to be summarily murdered moments later. This is Raimi and screenwriter Michael Waldron, despite the fact that the two are wildly wrong.
It''s also the only time that a Marvel villain has been allowed to despise the moral and physical invincibility of these alternate-universe heroes in this world. Scarlet Witch has given up on her because she can, and does it in an attempt to show how disobey she finds them. Strange''s fatal death is also significant. Surely someone who is so powerful cant be beaten, the sequence suggests, and someone who is so hollow-out cant be justified with.
Scarlet Witch is devoid of being a hero, but she can, by herself. In short, America Chavez shows her how terrible her behavior and how she is become to her beloved children. Wanda also shows her enough compassion that she is able to understand how she feels about the Darkhold. It''s not a traditional villain takedown, but if you choose a character who previously served as a hero.
Fans may never realize that a character they loved to become a monster. But they should take solace in what she became. One function of a good villain is to stoke us out of complacency, to challenge our sacred cows, and to do the unthinkable, the unconscionable. Scarlet Witch, who was supercharged by Raimi, is powerful enough, frightening enough to execute the MCUs conventions if only for half a film and show us a world where bad things can