Monday, October 18, 2010
Megamind and other laughable villians,take one
On the heels of the summer sleeper hit Despicable Me comes another animated feature with an offbeat villain as the center of the plot attention,Megamind. Will Ferrell voices this evil space alien menace whose constant battles with superhero nemesis Metro Man(Brad Pitt)come to an unexpected end,leaving him confused as to what he should do next.
Megamind decides to create a new good guy to fight but the chosen one(Jonah Hill)turns to a life of crime and becomes even more dangerous than Megamind ever was. By teaming up with Lois Lane-esque reporter Roxanne Ritchi(Tina Fey),Megamind sets out to be something he never thought was possible-the hero of the story:
The main difference between both similarly themed films is that Megamind is more of a goofy evil doer who only switches sides out of pure necessity,unlike the villain with a hidden heart of gold in Despicable Me. Granted,I have not seen either movie yet but this is the strong impression that each one gives off.
Fantasy heroes and villains are often vulnerable to being showcased as over the top costumed bumblers at times,almost as damaging as kryptonite is to the Man of Steel. However,they can also be a lot of fun to watch and surprisingly effective as formidable foes. For your amusement,I bring you a frightfully funny batch of the best laughable villains the pop culture world has ever seen:
While the 1999 indie comic book adaptation of Mystery Men was a hit or miss affair,a major highlight of the film was Geoffrey Rush as arch villain Casanova Frankenstein,granted an early release from his asylum prison by a desperate for good PR corporate good guy Captain Amazing.
Casanova may have been crazy but he was clearly smarter than his enemy,who was easily captured and put out of the way which lead to the need for the third string set of heroes to have to save the day. With a variety of evil sidekicks such as the Disco Boys and a truly lethal gadget to unleash upon the world,Casanova was a considerable threat but like many bad guys,his overconfidence was his downfall.
This character not only inspired Geoffrey Rush to stretch out his theatrical hammery skills but a musical group as well. Pretty slick trick for a guy prone to flashy jewelry and cheesy wardrobe choices there:
Speaking of musical,it was hard to really root against this holder of a "PH.D in horribleness" with his blog musings about how difficult it was to avoid run-ins with less worthy heroes such as Johnny Snow and being taken seriously by the Evil League of Evil,especially his idol Bad Horse,the "thoroughbred of sin".
All the poor guy truly desired in life was to take over the world with his beloved laundry love Penny at his side. Being a hench wench is usually not a great relationship option but in this case,the sweetly sinister serenades of Dr. Horrible would be good enough reason to turn to the dark side of love:
Another nitwit wonder from the realm of Whedon,this hapless villainess first cut her teeth as a high school mean girl only to become a vampire by the end of graduation. She started off her new unlife as a rebound girl for Spike but after being rudely rejected via a stake in the heart that didn't take,Harmony tried to go solo as the head of her own crew of bloodsucking fiends.
That didn't work out so well,since most of them were slightly smarter than her. Harmony ultimately wound up fleeing to L.A. and taking a secretary job with Angel and his band of followers at Wolfram and Hart,proving that you can't keep a bad girl down for long,even if she fails at being bad:
Even the snarky satirical story lines on South Park can't resist a dip into the lake of super villain splendor. Meek and mild Butters,after numerous rejections from Kyle,Cartman and Stan,vents his fussy frustrations at the world by developing an evil alter ego known as Professor Chaos.
With an ally in General Disarray and hamster minions,many of Professor Chaos' plots to overthrow the natural state of things have made little impact. Some of his ideas weren't too bad but his execution was amateur hour for the most part.
Switching soup servings at local restaurants and trying to flood the world with a garden hose are kind of naughty attempts at evil but even Chaos can't match the authentic ruthlessness of Cartman as he attempts to steal the superhero spotlight from hometown avenger,Mysterion. The best that Professor Chaos could do in that spot between a rock and a hard place was to hold his own in a slap fight:
This ridiculous member of Batman's Rogues Gallery was originally created for the Adam West helmed live action series and eventually given a comic book line of his own.
As first imagined, Tut was the delusional side of Egyptology professor William Mackelroy brought out by a blow to the head. Seeing himself as the rightful ruler of Gotham City(which he believed to be Thebes),Tut set out to conquer his kingdom with the usual gang of theme attired thugs but Batman and company always knocked him off of his royal pedestal.
Tut is one of the few villains not revived for the now classic Batman:The Animated Series yet he has been given a couple of cameos in Batman:The Brave and the Bold. You really can't blame them for leaving him out,since the worst that Tut ever did was drive the Caped Crusader into doing the Batusi there:
Megamind is set to open on November 5(in the insistent horror that this gimmick is becoming,3D)and looks like it will be a hit in more ways than one. Not only as welcome relief for young and older audiences alike,this extra silly take on the superhero genre should be a nice shot in the arm for fans looking for fresh ground to cover.
After all,a hero is only as good as the villain he or she faces and if your greatest foe's best weapon is foolishness,that doesn't say much for your heroics. Then again,laughter is a powerful force for either side to wield like a light saber so don't count out the kooky just yet,folks:
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