Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Favorite Pop Culture Villains

Popular culture is full of goodies and baddies that do battle in hopes of securing... well, whatever it is they hope to secure! You could read the AFI's Top 100 Villains or, instead, you can take a look at MY favorite villains!

Michael Myers

Let's pretend for a moment that John Carpenter's Halloween is the only Halloween that exists. Please, indulge me. What is more frightening than a psycho with a knife, a fancy for death, and absolutely no clear motive? Oh, I know! One who can't die! Michael's emotionless mask and enigmatic ways have earned him the nickname "The Shape" as well as a spot on my list of all time baddies.

Doctor Octavius (aka: Doctor Octopus, aka: Doc Oc)

Sam Raimi's take on the troubled mad scientist is somewhat sympathetic. Raimi does a nice job setting up Octavius as a kind-hearted, loving husband and friend dedicated to using his big brain to make the world a better place (after all, with great power comes great responsibility) and then yanking the plugs and destroying the very foundation that was Octavius' identity by killing off everything he ever loved. To make things worse, his very creation meant to do good has now poisoned his conscience and turned him into a global threat. Up to the tender moment of his demise, Octavius' character development (his dip into madness and then redemption) is a roller coaster of emotion that make you feel sorry for his fate (which was ultimately ending up on my list).   


Probably not the first person to jump into your mind when you're thinking about villains and Rorschach himself definitely does not think of himself as a villain; however, when you examine the characteristics of heroes and villains and the difference between what is right and what is wrong, there are a lot of grey areas and those are where Rorschach resides. Yes he is dedicated to helping mankind reach its full potential and cleansing the world of scum, but he also isn't afraid to take a life if you cross the line between good and bad- a line that he draws. For this reason, Rorschach is as much a threat to a serial killer as to a petty thief who steals in order to feed his family and this is exactly why Rorschach makes my list of favorite villains.

The Joker

If you're a New Millennial like I am, then the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the words: "The Joker" is Heath Ledger's lip licking, makeup sporting madman from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (and if you're my parents' generation, then it's a Steve Miller song). Ledger's interpretation is without a doubt a fascinating one; however, I am thinking more along the lines of the original, more flamboyant, comic book-y Joker (with Mark Hamill's voice of course!). No known history and no clear motive to his evil doings other than "Because I can." The Joker represents extreme commitment to being one's self and challenging society's norms. There's something very chilling about this philosophy and it scares me so much that I feel that if I do not include The Joker in on this list, he will come find me. He just better hope that Rorschach doesn't get his hand on him.

Walter White

Heisenberg has definitely come a long way from cooking meth in his whitey tighties. Some may argue that Walter is just doing the wrong thing for the right reason; nevertheless, his descent into the Id over the course of the show is undeniable. However, the scariest part of his fall from grace is how realistic it is; Walt represents everyone's potential to do bad and that is why he is my favorite villain of popular culture.

Added 10/5/12

Owen Davian

Sure I saw this movie in theaters when I was just a youngling, but still to this day Seymour Hoffman's performance in Mission Impossible III still gives me the creeps.