18 Supervillain Tropes That Drive Us Nuts

We're sorry to inform you that your evil empire needs a functional economic model.
18 Supervillain Tropes That Drive Us Nuts

We all love a good superhero story. Watching someone who is seemingly normal rise up and use their powers to do good in the world is inspiring. But what about when those tropes are done wrong?

We asked Cracked readers on Facebook, “What's a villain trope that drives you nuts?” The most popular one is when a villain gives away his evil plan to our hero for no reason other than for the audience's benefit. Surprisingly, no one said the maniacal laugh. Supervillains. What would comics, TV, and movies be without them? While audiences love to see the good guy triumph in the end, it's the bad guys who make for great entertainment. With their nefarious plots and over-the-top actions, supervillains never fail to amuse and engage us. 

In this article, we're going to take a look at some of the most common superhero tropes that can sometimes drive us nuts. Whether it's an overuse of certain clichés or plot points that just don't make sense, these are the moments that can take us out of the story. So without further ado, let's get started!

Having a sympathetic backstory

... TELL US NOW. SYMPATHETIC BACKSTORY John S. says, This is more of a modern trend, but we don't need complicated, sympathetic backstories for every villain now. I don't always want to feel bad for the bad guy because he had a bad childhood. It's ok for a villain to simply be evil sometimes. CRACKED.COM

Hearing out the hero instead of just killing them

... TELL US NOW. WAIT, HEAR ME OUT Murilo V. is sick of When the villain is about to shoot the hero in the face and the hero says 'wait' and the villain proceeds to wait and listen to everything the hero has to say. CRACKED.COM

Being ugly because evil

... TELL US NOW. UGLY = EVIL Khoi C. wants media to retire the association between evil and physical unattractiveness. CRACKED.COM

Being queer-coded

... TELL US NOW. QUEER-CODING Matthew V. says, Villains are often 'queer-coded', which sends the message to children that anything that deviates from the standard cis straight cookie cutter romance is bad. This isn't an original idea. It's talked about a decent amount in queer studies literature. CRACKED.COM

Not just shooting the hero

... TELL US NOW. NO SHOTS FIRED Joe C. says, Villain puts unconscious hero in an elaborate death trap instead of shooting them in the head right away. CRACKED.COM

Being revealed and changing to a flat voice

... TELL US NOW. GOING MONOTONE D.C.V. is sick of watching When the female love interest is revealed as a secret villain, they suddenly start speaking in a flat monotone voice. CRACKED.COM

Monologuing before leaving the hero to save themself

... TELL US NOW. MONOLOGUING THEN LEAVING Don C. says, Leaving the hero in a death trap and leaving after their monologue without even seeing if he's dead. CRACKED.COM

Matching the hero's exact abilities

... TELL US NOW. MEETING YOUR MATCH Brad J. says, In superhero media, when the villain has the exact same powers as the hero. It's BORING. CRACKED.COM

Not having justification for their actions

... TELL US NOW. NOT HAVING SELF JUSTIFICATION Lee F. says, Being evil for the sake of evil, real-life villains never believe themselves to be evil. They rationalize a justification for what they're doing and see themselves as heroes. CRACKED.COM

Having a giant yet secret lair

... TELL US NOW. THE BIG SECRET LAIR Jake S. is annoyed when there's a ridiculous, elaborate hideout that no one seems to be able to locate, which would be easy to notice in the real world simply due to the amount of people milling around, among other things. CRACKED.COM

Having a sensible goal and outrageous actions

... TELL US NOW. THE END DOESN'T JUSTIFY THE MEANS Payton C. says, Hi. I'm the villain that has a really sensible goal to achieve. Something that the average viewer might actually agree with. I'm going to drown a school-bus full of orphans now. CRACKED.COM

Blaming the hero for their own actions

... TELL US NOW. BLAMING THE HERO Chris T. hates when the villain says Everything after this point is your fault, Mr. Hero, you didn't stop me.' No villain person, you are still doing the bad guy thing, only now trying to guilt the hero into freezing and letting you do more damage. It's still your own fault. CRACKED.COM

Having an endless supply of henchman

... TELL US NOW. ENDLESS HENCHMEN Francisco M. says, The amount of henchmen willing to die for them. Some in matching uniforms and masks. CRACKED.COM

Having a close connection to the hero

... TELL US NOW. KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY Tan H. says, The villain has to somehow be related or having an unknown connection to the hero at first. CRACKED.COM

Saying, "We're not so different, you and I."

... TELL US NOW. WE'RE NOT SO DIFFERENT Kevin L. says, 'We are not so different you and I.' it was clever the few first times it was used but d**n was it played out to death in recent years... CRACKED.COM

Using a countdown clock

... TELL US NOW. COUNTDOWN CLOCK James D. doesn't care for the mandatory countdown clock - must be accurate and it never occurs to the villain to set the clock fast to mess with the hero. Like why not set it to go off at 3:33 instead of zero? CRACKED.COM

Planning everything all along

... TELL US NOW. PLANNING ALL ALONG Darren P. says, The villain deliberately getting captured as part of their master plan. It relies on too many coincidences for the plan to come off. The worst offender being Skyfall. CRACKED.COM

Having an unnecessary accent

... TELL US NOW. UNNECESSARY ACCENT Joshua K. says, Bad guys being foreign/having a unique accent from the rest of the cast. Outside of certain historical contexts, this teaches modern xenophobia that all foreigners are to be distrusted. CRACKED.COM
Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?