Supervillain Gadgets That Are Hilarious In Retrospect
It's easy to think of what superpower we'd have if we could wish for them. Flight, increased strength, something with erections -- I thought of those three almost immediately and I'm sure that I could think of a dozen more that dealt with erections if you asked me to.
But the gadget that you'd build to compliment your new skills is where it gets tricky. Because while a superpower is often randomly granted to you, a gadget is something that comes out of your own dumb noggin. And in the case of these five supervillains, it revealed things about them that are stupidly amazing.
The Joker's Fake Hand Makes Him The World's Greatest Troll
At the end of Tim Burton's Batman, after losing an embarrassing fist fight with the Caped Crusader, the Joker is literally punched over the side of a cathedral. Batman and Vicki Vale, curious to see what a corpse looks like when it's burst in a purple jacket, lean over the side of the building to check. But surprise! The Joker grabs both of their hands and drags them down. They hang precariously there for a second, before Joker offers to lend Vicki Vale a hand, because he may be a homicidal circus clown, but he's also a gentleman.
OPERATION HAND IS A GO.
Vicki Vale grabs the Joker's hand only for it to detach. Batman eventually saves her, meaning that OPERATION: HAND needs to go back to the drawing board with the note "Needs less Batman," but wait. When did he put that hand on? He didn't have a fake hand when he was throwing puny body shots against Batman's rubber abs. And he definitely didn't have a fake hand when he grabbed both of their wrists to yank them down. So, in the brief time that Batman and Vicki were hanging there, the Joker attached a plastic hand right in front of them. That's some amateurish supervillain-ing, and some much more amateur-ish Batman-ing for the World's Greatest Detective to see his arch foe slip a false hand on and just not say anything when the love of his life grabs onto that shit, but it also brings up a much bigger issue. The Joker has kept a fake hand around for that, and only that very specific moment.
That's fucking incredible and it shows that Joker is primarily concerned with accomplishing the dumbest tricks possible. And before you say "Oh, he might have had it around for another gag," remember that this Joker already created a joy buzzer that roasts you alive when you shake his hand. He's out to kill. He's not going to leave it in some other mob boss' grip and walk away. No, the Joker, before he even decided to throw his big, Prince-fueled poison gas event, decided that he needed to be ready just in case someone was hanging off the side of the very high place in front of him.
"Hold on. Just wait there for a second. I have just the best thing ever to show you."
He carried around a fake hand for at least a few hours, hoping to eventually run into someone that needed help pulling themselves onto a roof. And I'm not so convinced that Batman was always meant to be that someone. If Joker had been dancing on his float and saw someone dangling from a nearby skyscraper, he probably would've stopped the whole thing. "CUT THE MUSIC. CUT THE MUSIC. TURN THIS SHIT OFF. I GOTTA GO USE MY HAND."
That is such a magnificent waste of time and manpower and pocket space. Joker created a pistol that could shoot down a plane invented by the smartest crimefighter in the universe. He had the resources and know-how to create a whole murder parade that everyone in Gotham, except Alfred, went to. If he had not been such a painfully terrible troll, he probably could've invented an anti-Batman towel or something. But whether it was a spur of the moment decision or a fetish that he'd wanted to act out for years, Joker created a dummy hand just so he could prank a person into falling to their deaths.
The Riddler's Canes Show That He Could Be The World's Greatest Villain
I'm okay at conversation, but I always go one detail too far. If someone asks me about myself, I'll tell them about my interests, it'll go smoothly, and then...
"Oh, you like pro wrestling? I guess that's cool."
"Yeah, I think it is, too. AND HERE IS HOW JOHN CENA FITS INTO THE MODERN ENTERTAINMENT CLIMATE, TOTAL STRANGER."
To be fair, I'm only friends with people that I can talk to about John Cena for at least an hour with.
It's because of this that I completely understand the Riddler's plight. He's a dude who constantly screws himself over because he's compelled to leave riddles behind for Batman to solve. He could get away scot-free from his bank heist, but he's psychologically unable to refrain from leaving behind a little tidbit that says "What is red on two ends and read on four ends? TICK TOCK, DARK KNIGHT. TICK TOCK." It sucks that it has to be that way, because the Riddler could take over Joker's spot as Batman's number-one heavy bag if he dropped the riddles and spent all of his time polishing his best skill: the creation of super canes.
Batman farts his way through every "What runs but never walks, jogs but never talks?" or whatever, but he is nearly helpless when faced with the Riddler's array of magical metal tubes. Take Batman Forever for example. Sure, the Riddler has invented a way to suck the intelligence out of every citizen of Gotham, meaning that he gets all of their precious bank passwords, dangerous secrets, and banana bread recipes. But before that, he breaks into the Bat Cave with his cane. Batman has spent years reinforcing his security all so that people wouldn't be able to, basically, find his basement. And the Riddler gets in there by pointing a stick at a door.
Also, he gets it with the second door he tries. Batman Forever is just one big neon ball of frustration.
He can also detonate his little bombs with his cane, but that's only secondary to a function that allows him to potentially walk into every room on earth. He can also beat the piss out of Batman when he wants to, as illustrated in The Batman cartoon when this one-hundred-pound Trivial Pursuit spokesman easily takes down a guy that trained in martial arts for decades, just because he had a metal pole and Batman didn't.
So the true tragedy of the Riddler isn't that he's the most intelligent villain ever, but is undermined by his own psyche. It's that, when his quirks came home to roost, they stayed in the "Must leave riddles" part of his brain, and not in whatever part drives someone to just build super canes for a living.
The Green Goblin's Skeleton Bomb Shows ... Wait, What?
In the 2002 Spider-Man movie, Norman Osborn, mad genius and loving father, turns into the Green Goblin and then has his company pulled away from him. It's a generally shitty week at the Osborn house, so Goblin decides to vent by attacking a large fair. He's doing a pretty good job of blowing off steam by tossing bombs at everything in sight until he spots a few of his old board members. He then grabs a bomb that looks exactly like one of his other bombs and tosses it at them. They are turned into skeletons.
Okay, hold on. I have a few questions. The first is a very general "Why?" Your mission to explode everything within range of your pitching arm seems to be going pretty well. Sure, it's just "exploding things," but that's an A-plus plan if implemented correctly and you are knocking it out of the park, sir. But is this, like, a fire bomb in the streets, a skeleton bomb in the sheets-type deal?
Do you save those just for people that you really, really hate, while pummeling humanity, which you just vaguely hate, with your standard run-of-the-mill, orange grenades? I'm asking that because the skeleton bomb is never used nor mentioned again for the rest of the movie. Did he just throw it once to see what it would do, or see if it was as cool as he imagined it in his head?
A lot of stuff looked cooler in this dude's head.
Far be it from me to criticize the motives of a man who shouts "WE'LL MEET AGAIIIIN, SPIDER-MAAAAAAAN" at the end of a fight, but was it really worth it? My knowledge of explosives goes no further than "Watch a Pringles can burst while 12-year-old you and your friends giggle from a distance," but creating a bomb that turns people into skeletons has to be harder than creating one that simply blasts the hell out of whatever it's near. Sure, Osborn knows chemistry, but one requires the ability to make a bomb, and the other requires the ability to make a bomb that disintegrates flesh but leaves the bones intact. Better yet, it leaves the bones just standing there, as if the people they once formed are caught thinking "Oh shit. I'M BONES," for a second before crumbling, which is exactly how I want to go out.
The skeleton bomb is way more multi-purpose than Joker's hand gimmick, but it does reveal some severely misplaced priorities. Revenge can seem great. At one point, a hot dog salesman killed someone, probably, and so I avenge their death by making sure that I'm good and hammered every time I approach a late-night hot dog cart. Still, make a spreadsheet or something. Organize a basic daily itinerary. And then figure out if your time is best spent exploding everything that you desire to see exploded, or if it's beneficial to take all of the extra hours necessary to invent a little ball that removes skin, but keeps the skeletons looking theatrically horrified.
Trust me, villain in a movie from 2002. After seven Red Bull and vodkas, no matter how many hot dogs I eat, I still feel empty inside. And when you momentarily see some measly bones after putting days of work into your very personal weapon, so will you.
Skeleton bombs can get you a lot of things. But self-fulfillment is not one of them.
The UV Bomb In Blade 2 Shows That Vampires Are Idiots
In the middle chapter of one of the greatest trilogies that mankind has ever produced, Blade II, vampire hunter Blade is introduced to the Bloodpack, a group of mercenaries that has been trained to kill Blade. However, he is tasked by vampire overlords to work with these mercenaries in order to wipe out a new breed of super vampire. These super vampires can't be killed by any normal means, but they're hurt by most lights, which is a trait that's shared by all vampires except Blade. Remember that, as it's remarkably important.
So, the Bloodpack and Blade go to a club (because vampires crave techno more than blood in this universe) where they are utterly overwhelmed. Their guns are useless and so is the sledgehammer that one of them brought because years of vampire research and myth had led him to believe that, apparently, the key to beating them was clubbing them to death. And at the end of the scene, it's revealed that UV light repels them, which is less of a huge reveal and more of the movie finally running up to its own logic and saying "What the fuck? You started running without me."
But as with all three of these movies, logic can eat Wesley Snipe's ass giblets.
And that's my whole point. They're a group of vampires that was organized by vampires. The UV light bomb (that Blade's gadget team helps invent, meaning that the greatest weapons that the villains have was invented by the hero of the movie and given to them willingly) should've been way higher on their list of potential avenues for vampire freak elimination to begin with.
What this teaches us is that Blade doesn't survive by being better, faster, stronger, and more willful than his enemies. He survives because, as the sudden, surprising creation of the UV light bomb shows us, the vampires can't even get it together for long enough to recall what their greatest weakness was. Instead, they all sit around and pat themselves on the back because Lighthammer remembered to bring his giant, smash-y thing to the raid, and they're pretty sure that if you hit a vampire in the head with something, you win the movie.
You did it, Lighthammer. The problem is solved. The series will be named after you now.
Slipknot's Grappling Hooks Show Him To Be An Overconfident Turd
For those of you immune to trailers with catchy pop songs in them, the plot of Suicide Squad went like this: A bunch of super criminals are taken from prison and put together as a team. That team is meant to handle high-risk missions that no sane person would tackle. Along with Joker's ride-or-die chick Harley Quinn, you have guys like Deadshot, whose name is as subtle as Will Smith's acting, and Killer Croc who is, well, that.
Along for the ride, you also have Slipknot, who can climb anything. That's not a bad power, especially when you consider that his travel buddy is a dude who throws boomerangs. And sure, it's a skill that Batman has, but The Flash is a quarter of Superman and they let him pal around on the Justice League. What I'm saying is that he's not unprepared to be a supervillain if all he's got is the ability to leap tall buildings in a single complex system of ropes and grappling hooks.
Oooh, you made a critical mistake already, buddy: You went outside.
It's just that, when he pulls out his clunky grappling gun and aims at the side of a building in an attempt to get away, you realize that it's not his skills, but his arsenal that needs a redo. The dude zips to one side, and slowly tries to zip over to the other side. And while he gets his head exploded due to the device implanted in his neck, the fact that he went that slow while trying to escape means that he was not cut out to be on a team of people that are trying to kill an evil sorceress. At best, he should've been on the bench, only to go in if Harley Quinn sprained her ankle.
So, I applaud him for his confidence. It takes a lot of guts to live in a world that Superman also exists in and say "My special power is that I can get up buildings slightly faster than the average man!" Personally, unless I could literally eat the sun, I'd just keep my mouth shut, let Wonder Woman handle the big stuff, and work on my novel.
I'd really like to help out, but NaNoWriMo starts today.
Honestly, it's probably the fault of Amanda Waller, who organized the Suicide Squad. At some point during the vetting process for the team, or when they were all getting their outfits together, she should've come by and made sure that, if Slipknot's superpower is superclimbing, he deserves to be outfitted with a little more than two medium-strength grappling guns. You have to be a leader, and when one of your team says "We're taking on a magic goddess? These store-brand line shooters should do the trick," you have to shut. That. Shit. Down.
Daniel has a blog.
For more check out 6 Supervillain Devices You Can Make At Home and 5 Deadly Sci-Fi Gadgets You Can Build At Home.
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