Stop it, you derivative maniacs. Every time a villain is captured miles away from the third act, another Olympian muse overdoses on Night Train and anti-diarrhea pills. And stop putting them in futuristic Magneto cages! It's lazy hack shit that even stupid peekaboo babies can see right through. It's the exhausting chain wallet and soul patch of expositional tactics, and we're fucking done with it. Go home before I beat you to death with your favorite screenwriting book, which is a Where's Waldo? with all the Waldos pre-circled.
So, yeah, I'm a little upset about this -- because not only is it a shortcut for the characters to just look at the camera and spew exposition, but it's always incorporated in some tangled web of genius where the villain either wants to be caught or uses it to gain the upper hand. Only, half the time there's no clear reason why getting caught will actually benefit the antagonist.
Take Silva's plan in Skyfall, which apparently involves being put in prison so he can get close to and assassinate M at a public conference ... even though he in no way needed to be caught to attend it and seems to already know its location in advance.
"I really hope this is the right public conference!"
He seriously gets caught, brought to MI6, booby-traps his computer to let him escape, leaves MI6, puts on a cop's uniform, and fucking goes to this inquiry in some other part of town -- making his entire masterstroke of being caught a really complicated method for free airfare.
But of course ... Silva's insane, right? He's impulsive and on the edge and thinking about revenge, so it's understandable that he doesn't think everything through. Yeah ... about that ...
Every Villain Is (Conveniently) Insane
Here's a fucking question: What is up with Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman? Why is the iconic, cool-headed businessman transformed into a shaky-voiced lunatic peeing in jars while ranting about the paradoxical nature of man? In the end, his slap-shit babble plan is to make Superman and Batman fight while also releasing an uncontrollable ogre on the city for the fuck of it. That is objectively not the character of Lex Luthor; it's a level of nonsense quite conveniently close to The Joker. So what's the explanation here?
Oh, OK ... according to Jesse Eisenberg, Lex Luthor's insane plan is the result of him becoming "increasingly unhinged" -- because the scariest villains are the ones who progressively become stupider and less in control as the film progresses, right?
Also, just as a side note: If a film requires extra post-release interviews explaining what the characters' motivations are, it's a bad film. As someone way too excited about the Independence Day sequel, I fully understand what it's like to love something regardless of quality -- but Lex Luthor's randomly insane presence is the perfect representation for why Batman V Superman is a fundamentally broken film.
But it's also not the only one with this problem, because The Joker "just chasing cars" caused pretty much every writer to realize that making your villain crazy means that you don't have to think too hard about their motivations. And so everyone from Professor Moriarty to Ultron to a fucking dinosaur has been branded psychotic and unpredictable.
BBC, Marvel Studios, Universal Pictures
These three also makes for a thrilling "fuck-marry-kill."
Don't get me wrong: I love Sherlock, don't hate Age Of Ultron, and have so far done a really good job not slapping Jurassic World fans. This trope fills the full spectrum of quality but nonetheless drags each and every villain down by not challenging the writer to make a fully dimensional character with clear goals and evil aspirations. Instead, it enables them an easy pass from one action setpiece to the next without having to think too hard in between.
The Joker being unbridled and whacked-out is what makes him so uniquely frightening as that specific character. Copying those qualities onto every adversary is like giving the next Bond villain Predator mandibles because it makes him scary. It's inappropriate, unoriginal, requires zero creativity, and the character will ultimately never join the ranks of Vader or Hannibal. Because if you're too busy just doing what the last guy did, how are you gonna ever be the last guy?
By giving the next Bond villain Predator mandibles, obviously.
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