[Warning: This post contains graphic images, you've been warned!]
Hey folks, it's Comic Week here on Moviepilot! So get ready for a tsunami of comic-based articles, videos, quizzes and anything else here on MP! And make sure to become a Creator so that you can profess your love for comics! In honor of this awesome week, I'm finally writing about something that I've been thinking about for a long time; super-villain movies.
Specifically, would we like them? Recently, movies have been putting the spotlight on the villains more than they have on the heroes. This can be seen in more than just comic book films. We're given details about the villains that make them less one-dimensional. Some of them have quirky and charming qualities that we adore. These details and quirks cause us to sometimes love the villain more than the hero, and even compel us to side with them.
But while we do love to see these characters when they're battling against the heroes, would we enjoy a movie where they were truly the main characters? We certainly say we do, but then there's that old saying, "Be careful what you wish for". We've always wished for a villain centric movie, but would we like what we get?
And let me make it clear, I'm talking about a REAL villain movie. Not an anti-hero movie, like the upcoming Deadpool, or a movie where the villain got the most screen time/ fanbase, but wasn't the main character, like The Dark Knight.
And no, I don't mean Suicide Squad either. Yes it's true that the main cast of SS will be mainly villains, like the Joker and Harley Quinn, two of the most sadistic and murderous villains in the history of comic books! But even though they're crazy, the villains in this movie will be a bit toned down because they are going after other criminals, rather than attacking the heroic or innocent. But would we enjoy a true super-villain movie? One where the villain is the main character, harms the innocent, and maybe even comes out on top?
For instance, have you heard of Nemesis?
If not, I seriously recommend reading it. One, because it's by comic genius and Comic Week supporter, Mark Millar! And two, because its titular character is the perfect example of a true super-villain. Mark always has a way of showcasing realism in his comics. Just look at Kick-Ass and The Secret Service, both of which are fictional and yet still have a sense of reality in them. Nemesis is no different. Nemesis isn't some super-powered villain, or some tyrant from a distant planet with laser vision. He's just a psychopathic criminal with skills in martial arts! Granted it's still a bit absurd, but a lot more possible than Darkseid ever paying a visit to earth.
Nemesis also doesn't have a superhero as a rival, he's not duking it out with the likes of troubled billionaires with mommy/daddy issues, or dodging laser rays from the prodigal son of a near extinct space race. It's just him versus the police. And he does a pretty damn good job fighting them.
That's the thing though, Nemesis is the main character, and he's mutilating police officers and committing acts of crime! He is in no way an anti-hero. He wasn't a regular soldier who due to military experiments was driven insane, he doesn't kill only the bad in a twisted version of justice, he straight up murders civilians! He also isn't doing this for some nice vendetta, like helping his sick daughter, or trying to take down a corrupt system.
His actual origin story is that he was robbed of his childhood by the police when they arrested his mother and father. Why were they arrested? Oh nothing big, you know, just HUNTING RICH KIDS!
Point is, Nemesis is not likable at all, but his story is interesting enough to keep us reading, but would it get us watching? Mark Millar has said before that a Nemesis film would be hard to do because of how graphic the source material is. But, thanks in part to the success of Kingsman, it looks like we'll be getting a Nemesis film sometime in the next few years! Now, anyone who's read Nemesis specifically, or just anything by Mark Millar is of course in a permanent state of excitement due to this news. But just for a moment, come out of your hyper-happiness and let's think about this for a second.
For the longest time, we've been asking for a movie starring a villain. If not directly, subtly. For example, though there hasn't been a high demand for a movie starring the Joker, Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight catapulted the characters popularity. Now, Mr. J is part of the Suicide Squad, a film about a squad he has never been associated with before! True, he may or may not be a part of the team, but either way, all eyes are on Jared Leto as the 'Clown Prince of Crime'!
And many fans have joked/subtly hinted about wanting a Loki movie. Tom Hiddleston took a character no one really cared about, and made him more popular than the heroes he was fighting against! It's clear that we want a movie starring a villain. But would it be the same if we ACTUALLY got what we wanted? Let's take a look at a scenario:
The Joker Movie
The Joker, after successfully robbing a bank, finds himself in the familiar situation of fighting Batman. But this battle has a shocking different ending than the last they've had. The Joker manages to gain the upper hand, and to every single person in the audiences surprise, Joker kills Batman! Or perhaps let's say he doesn't, and Batman manages to apprehend the Joker; handing him over to GCPD.
Or, in a third scenario, The Joker escapes, and Batman tries to track him down. All of these scenarios have problems. The first's is obvious, no one wants to see Joker killing Batman! But if Joker is the main character, he can't lost to Batman, which is the problem that the second faces. If Batman manages to jail Joker, this becomes Batman's movie almost immediately! The Joker may still be the main character, but now he's been overshadowed by the mere presence of Batman, let alone his apprehension. The third situation proposes that Joker escapes and both he and Batman are still alive. But now, this film has become not a Joker movie, but a prequel to a Batman movie where Bats is on the hunt for Joker. So what if Batman wasn't in it at all?
This could work, but having such a large villain like Joker and not having at least a member of the Bat Family in it is not a good move. The truth is, for this to truly be Joker's movie, he has to win. So I have a question, well three questions for all you.
Q1: Would you watch a movie about a villain, in which the villain wins and his plan isn't foiled by some good guy force?
Such a film would be strange, because a villain would actually succeed in his efforts to bomb a city, or take over the world. And that's it, no sequel where the hero comes in to thwart the villain or anything!
Q2: Would you watch a movie about a villain vs a hero, in which the hero dies?
Heroes are given that name for a reason. Sure we've had movies where a villain kills a hero, but then there are usually other heroes to avenge them. But what about a movie featuring a good old-fashioned 1v1, where the villain comes out on top? Are we ready for such a film?
Q3: Would you watch a movie starring a villain as sadistic and murderous as Nemesis?
You can answer the questions in the poll below, and if you have your own thoughts on the "true villain" movie debate, tell me in the comments! Or, if it's too long for a comment, tell THE WORLD in a post here on MP!