Columns, Opinion

Flick Critique: The best bad guys in films

While the hero in a movie is always loved and admired, the villain brings a certain je ne sais quoi that no one else can. These six movie villains represent the best in film with their charisma and the truths of the human nature they reflect.

Since Marvel and DC have been around, debate has continued over which brand is superior. While DC’s latest movies have not been the best, Christopher Nolan’s take on the Joker has immortalized Batman’s greatest foe. Heath Ledger’s performance was captivating enough to win him a posthumous Oscar and has been made the gold standard for any superhero movie since.

Perhaps a lesser known  — yet equally as interesting — villain is Spider-Man’s Green Goblin. This villain is a father figure for Peter Parker who ultimately almost ends up killing Spider-Man. The Green Goblin’s dual personality causes him to constantly fight between good and evil. His good side is Norman, a man who wishes Peter Parker was his own son. This inner struggle shows a different side to supervillains, as they show how evil is not always black and white. They can even love their arch-nemesis.

Next on the list are the villains looking for the greater good, seeing their actions as a way to re-establish a balance in the world. These villains are best exemplified by Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men” and John Doe from “Se7en.” These two men behave erratically to say the least — one murders with a captive bolt stunner, normally used to kill cows, if they pick the wrong side of a coin, and the other kills in the form of the Seven Deadly Sins. Psychotic, perhaps, but poetic in some way. An individual with such high regard — enough to consider themselves a sort of balance in society — is perhaps one of the most frightening types of villain. Their level of obsession for their own twisted moral system may leave people wondering how many of these psychotic individuals they may be exposed to on a daily basis.

Following the moral villains are the sophisticated ones, such as Hans Landa from “Inglourious Basterds” and Dr. Hannibal Lecter from “The Silence of the Lambs.”  While these two villains seem widely different in their murderous motifs and downright atrocious acts, they can still be somewhat likeable. Granted, this statement may be a bit of a stretch — one is a Nazi and the other a cannibal — yet their suave demeanor, intelligence and even sophistication somehow makes them seem more human. Although Hans Landa is a high-ranking member of the Nazi Party, it is obvious his alliance is flimsy at best, and his actions are not entirely based on hate and intolerance. Instead, his association to the Nazis is more due to greed, an emotion that is still evil, but may be easier to identify with than downright malice. On the other hand, Hannibal Lecter is a psychopath who chews a man’s face off in the middle of the film, making it slightly harder to justify his evil misdoings. Nonetheless, his interactions with the young Clarisse help the audience gain a liking toward him. Lecter displays the duality of man, committing inhuman acts one minute and enjoying fine wine the next. He leads the audience to reflect on how, regardless of how civilized individuals think they are, they are still subject to their more animal instincts.

Overall, villains will remain a key aspect of any movie. Villains, while evil or insane, manage to show human qualities that one may be too afraid to admit and illustrate the dangers of falling to such horrible extremes.

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