Monday Musings: Villains!
The genesis of this entry is first over Memorial Day weekend my sisters were in town so we went out to dinner at Red Lobster. The younger of my two sisters–they’re both younger than me, so there–and I got talking about the third Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, to be released in 2012. We both don’t like that there seems to be about thirty villains in the damned thing at the moment.
This then got me thinking later about the reboot story I was planning to make this story more of a standalone story. I was thinking that maybe I need a new villain. But what kind of villain?
Then I got thinking about Batman villains (because really Batman has the coolest rogue’s gallery of any major superhero) and it seems that essentially villains fall into two categories: Brains and Brawn.
The Brains may not be Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking but they use all their cunning to create havoc and mayhem. The Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin are examples of villains who aren’t very strong–especially compared to Batman–but they create evil by using their cunning. Most every Bond villain falls into this category as well because you know Goldfinger or Blofeld or most of those others couldn’t beat Bond in a straight-up fistfight. But they were smart and ruthless enough to build a whole evil organization so they can outsource the muscle to hired goons.
The Brawns are those who are physically strong but not necessarily the brightest. Villains like Killer Croc and Clayface are stronger than Batman but he can beat them by using his cunning.
An interesting case was when they introduced Bane. Thanks to a steroid solution called Venom he was super strong. But he also wasn’t a dunce. In the comics he masterminded a scheme to break all the other villains out of Arkham to wear down Batman and managed to break the Dark Knight’s back. Maybe that’s why I really enjoyed that storyline to the point I actually bought the compilations of the comics.
We could go on for days about which comic/movie villains fall into which categories. But another question interested me. Is it better to match strength with strength or have a mismatch? By that I mean if your hero is smart is it better to match him up with someone else who’s smart or mismatch him against someone physically superior?
You can make an argument for either way I suppose. Superman vs. Lex Luthor is a clear mismatch but they’ve been foes for 70 years now. As I mentioned earlier, Batman vs. the Joker is a mismatch in terms of strength, but again they’ve been duking it out since 1940.
Maybe I should do something unprecedented and turn it over to you guys to decide. Sure. Go ahead and settle this for me!
Wednesday: What I want most out of writing right now…