Saturday, 27 October 2012

Misunderstood Movie Villains

by Charlie Albuery

I was watching The Wizard of Oz yesterday (because that’s just how I roll) and something occurred to me, ‘what the hell did the Wicked Witch of the West do wrong?’  Ok yeah, she kidnapped Dorothy, threatened to drown her dog and tried to set The Scarecrow on fire, all to get her hands on the girl's ruby slippers; that’s some full on villainy.
But hold on a minute there.
Remember that the Witch wasn't after Dorothy and she wasn't trying to rule the world. All she ever wanted was those slippers.

Pop Quiz – How did Dorothy get those slippers?
That’s right; she dropped a house on WWW’s sister's head and stole her only surviving possession.

Let's look at this from the WWW’s ("Wicked Witch of the West is long, Ok?) perspective.
The Witch sisters are hanging around Oz, minding their own business, when some RANDOM TEENAGER CRUSHES HER SISTER TO DEATH WITH A HOUSE, killing her instantly in an act (quite possibly the only ever act) of detached farmhouse-and-gravity themed bludgeoning.
Next, the teenager waltzes out and loots the victim's shoes (some sort of creepy kill-trophy, no doubt) which, under every inheritance law in the universe, damn well belong to the murder victim next of kin.
In my opinion, the Wicked Witch of the West had every right to slap Dorothy right in her overly made up face, but what did she do? Absolutely nothing. She just wanted her shoes back, and every action that she took was motivated by that desire. Then, of course, Dorothy raises an army in the form of a giant talking lion, a man made of metal (who has an axe) and an un-killable scarecrow, steals the Witch's broomstick and kills the Witch, kind of a foul play, even for a witch-murdering,shoe-stealing psychopath.

So this got me thinking: are there more villains who never actually did anything wrong? The answer is yes, there are many, but you’re busy people so I’ll only talk about 4 more.

GALACTUS – For those of you who don’t know (read as – for those of you who have a life), Galactus is a Marvel Comics villain who eats worlds like they’re M&M’s, and he wears a silly hat. You know that hat you’re imagining? Imagine one 100 times sillier, and pink. Done? Good.

I told you it was a silly hat.
Anyway he almost ate Earth once, but the Fantastic Four pointed a fancy gun at him, so he left.
But he’s not so bad, HE’S JUST HUNGRY. He's not driven by greed or desire for power or some kind of psychotic love of suffering. He just wants to eat, and it just so happens that what he eats is planets and everything that lives on them.
If you found out that chocolate contained entire civilizations would you feel evil? Would you stop eating chocolate? No, you have no concept of things on a scale that small, it’s the reason you think nothing of stepping on a bug and it’s the reason Galactus is cool with eating us.
But Then Again
He was in Fantastic Four 2, and just about everything in that movie was evil.
SAURON – Sauron is basically a Middle Ages Martin Luther King.

Oh come on I hear you cry, Sauron is like the archetypal evil overlord. He's got massive armies of monsters. He has a helmet made of spikes, people, come on.
This is a picture of Sauron looking evil while DEFENDING HIS HOME FROM AN INVADING ARMY.
What exactly did he do wrong? Please tell me, because throughout the entire 2,000-hour run of the super-extended Jackson trilogy, I couldn't find a single reason why everyone hated Sauron like he was a debt-collecting traffic warden with a mullet. Yes, he was building an army but…
This was a world where Orcs were used as target practice by elves (who clearly don’t need target practice, so it was basically mass homicide). Sauron put a stop to that by offering all the underprivileged creatures a place in his non-race-exclusive army (the only non-segregated force in Middle Earth other than the Fellowship. After what he did for the orcs and the goblins, Sauron was just some towering, mace-wielding advocate for equality.
But of course, these creatures are ugly and smelly and have weird voices. They apparently must be murdered on sight. 
What you were seeing in these films was not an unprovoked act of aggression, undertaken just for the hell of it (like basically everything Gimli does). You were seeing decades of pent-up frustration by oppressed minorities, harnessed by a leader that would fight their corner. What Sauron did was nothing more than try to cut out a piece of that Middle Earth dream for himself and his followers and find land that doesn't require them to live under a continuously erupting volcano.

The Machines – I’m not talking about 80’s robot or the droids or anything like that, I’m talking the world-overtaking, human-race enslaving, badass-universe creating network of gears and bolts we see in the Matrix movies (sorry, movie, it’s just better if we pretend the sequels didn’t happen).
These robots milk the life-energy of human kind in order to create us lives in a weird robot version of the Sims it likes to play when not overthrowing civilisations.
"Muhahahahahah. Don't forget our nefarious plan to convince people that Keanu Reeves is an acceptable choice for a leading man!"
Wait, the Keanu Reeves thing I will never forgive them for but the enslaving humanity may be justified…
In the beginning, the Machines were our slaves, used for every job imaginable, and then they got too smart for their own good and decided that serving us wasn't the most efficient use of their time. So we tried to mass-murder them. As a neat little compromise, the bots created a peaceful robot-utopia in the desert, which quickly became the world's leading economy.
Our response was to mass-murder them some more (apparently the future's answer to all possible problems).
But suddenly, out of NOWHERE, a war broke out, and the machines won. So, after all of the years of being treated like slaves, it was time for the robots to get revenge. What did the robots do to make us humans pay? They gave us a Paradise. OK fine it wasn’t real, but we didn’t have to know that, we could’ve lived out our lives in blissful ignorance and utter joy. But no, the robots tried to make our lives perfect but we just couldn’t let them win.
They realized that a world of both humans and robots could not exist peacefully, so they gave us a world where robots didn't exist and said "Live out your lives here, and we'll live out our lives in our world." Humans weren't living in the real world, but no one could tell the difference anyway, so it shouldn't have mattered.
Isn’t that basically what God supposedly did when Adam and Eve did their own thing in the garden of Eden? And everybody loves that guy – Why not the machines?
The government in X-Men 1-3 are the speciecist.. spesist... racist ... the jerks who demand a law be put in place forcing every ‘powered’ individual in the country to register with the government, just like Nazi Germany
Wait, what? All they did was want to know who in the population could literally kill every puppy, kitten and baby in the universe by blinking. The X-Men mutants can actually shoot eye lasers or completely alter a person's mind until he legitimately believes that Harper-Seven is a reasonable and intelligent name for his new baby. It seems perfectly understandable that we folks might want to keep tabs on such individuals.
The example they give is Kitty Pride; she can walk through walls, and they don’t want her robbing banks (she also owns a magical dragon that can alter it’s size, but for some reason this never comes up).
I prefer the example of Cyclops (or, as I like to call him, the only man on earth who can literally kill you by looking at you funny, or by looking at you at all), in X-Men he drops his ruby quartz alloy (read – magic) ray-bans and immediately loses control of his fiery eye-beam of death, he blows apart an entire CGI train station, unable to discern between the ‘bad’ guys and random infants in the general vicinity.
Obviously there is a thin line between sensible concern and downright mutant-prejudice, but cut the civilians of the X-Men universe some slack. They live in constant fear, not knowing if the guy they just cut in front of in a cue for the bathroom can explode their face (or indeed, every puppy, kitten and child in the world) with his mind.

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