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Someone once said, “Without sinners, there would be no saints”. Likewise, without villains there would be no heroes.
I grew up watching and learning from films. Hence, I was always towards the anti-hero more than the hero him/herself. Whether it was Lex Luthor from Superman, Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs, Jaffar from Aladdin or Pablo Escobar in Narcos, I found myself rooting for the bad guy and feeling very upset when they were eventually defeated or taken down by the good guy.
When I decided to read into this further, I discovered that there were a lot of people like me who also preferred the dark side. People would choose a drink with The Joker over dining with Batman. So what is it about villains? When did evil become so interesting? The answer is, when good began to look boring.
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Looking at it from a psychological perspective, Sigmund Freud observed human nature to be very antisocial, naturally driven by our id’s pleasure principle to get what we want when we want it. Even with a fully developed ego (sense of self control) and super-ego (conscience), the id still lurks underneath, and wants for many selfish things – it wants to be supervillainous.
From the story’s point of view, a villain is so much more interesting to write. When creating a hero, there are s lot of limitations to his/her character. They are supposed to have good morals, a sad past, and a sole purpose to keep the city safe from whichever bad guy decides to strike the city next. Most of the times, heroes have similar characteristics. For example, almost every superhero is an orphan, their parents either dead or killed.
Batman and Spiderman are both without parents. The Flash’s mother is dead, his father in jail for her murder. Villains on the other hand are more fun to create. They have so much depth to their characters, their pasts filled with layers of psychological trauma, breaking them to a point where they have no option but to go bad.
Another factor is the villains unpredictability. We always seem to know what the heroes next move will be, but can the same be said about a villain? A bad guy has no morals, we never know how far he can go. What weapon would Patrick Bateman use next in American Psycho? Would Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds) find out who Shoshanna really was? It’s the excitement of not knowing what to expect from them that makes them look so alluring to us, and their psychotic charm that makes us fall in love with them. so what you think on evil over good ?
Villains have in fact become so popular that they are now becoming the protagonists in films. For example, take Disney’s Maleficent and Frozen. They have completely turned the stories around. Maleficent, adapted from Sleeping beauty, shows the evil witch, portrayed beautifully by Angelina Jolie, in a whole new light.
In this film, the antagonist becomes the protagonist. Frozen,also adapted from The Snow Queen, twists the story in favour of the villains, making it safe to say that the villains are finally getting a piece of the limelight they deserve.