I very recently got myself a t-shirt from Hot Topic with The Lion King’s Scar on it. A comment from my mom made me think to write this. To sum it up what she said briefly, it was along the lines of, “I like how you like the villains; you don’t like them for the evil things they do but you like them for who they are as characters.” This is so true for me and reminded me of a pet peeve of mine that I want to discuss now.
From some of my past circles of social life, something that always annoyed me was when people would discuss movie/book characters, and while they’d discuss what they did and didn’t like about the good guy/hero/heroine as a full character, they’d then turn around on the villain with statements of, “They’re the bad guys, you’re not suppose to like them!”
The villain would fall to the bottom of discussion, brushed away as a two dimensional, flat, black and white stand up, who got what they deserved. I would be left feeling awkward, because, I’m sorry, I didn’t realizing liking Darth Vader was a crime against the story, the hero, or being a decent person!
Those social circles have been long gone and I’ve grown more comfortable in speaking up about what I think and like. And I still see that thinking from time to time. Some people do not understand why one would like a villain, while others fall all over certain ones simply because they’re good looking, *cough-most-Loki-fangirls-cough*.
I certainly would never applaud the villain’s evil deeds nor do I like or appreciate every single villain that I encounter. However, I see villains as more than just a black and white cutout that can be summarized by the one word: “bad”. They can be much more than just “bad” and that’s why I like them.
They are characters too. They can and should be as complex and compelling as the heroes they’re opposing.
Take Loki. Adopted. Mischevious. Jealous. Emotionally wounded. Clever. Bitter. Sassy. He’s a well-rounded, brilliantly evil, smart, yet understandable villain. Or how about one of my other personal favorites, The Joker. Disfigured. Crazy. Heartless. Clever. Has wicked sense of humor. Mysterious. He’s bad for bad’s sake, to ruffle Batman’s feathers and see if anyone is up to the challenge of stopping his evil deeds.
And Darth Vader is just iconic-ly awesome from voice to costume to back story. I wouldn’t know what to say if you didn’t like Darth Vader at least a little bit. And there are many more!
While not all fictional villains are as dimensional as they should be (shame on you, writers! Shame! Shame!) the ones that are do deserve to be acknowledged for who they’ve been created to be. Stop labeling them as just ‘bad’ and look at them as deeply as you look into your favorite heroes. See what you can learn from their mistakes and appreciate what they add to the story. That is part of the art of appreciating the fictional stories around us.
Okay. Pet peeve rant over! 🙂