I am waiting for some software to install, so I am on a thread writing spree. Sorry.
I have said before and will say again, villains, either from comics, movies, games...etc. The best villains, IE the most dangerous villains are the ones you can seek pity on, or almost relate as to why they are the way they are.
Villains that woke up one day and decided to take over the world, are as two dimensional as the comics from days past. We have no pity or remorse for the characters that are religious zealots, or those who rose to power simply by stepping on the backs of those who support them. We can identify a villain by his/her costume, but the scariest in my personal opinion, are the ones who we can identify personally, because they were once the same as us. A true tragedy either by forces of man or nature is what defines a true villain.
For example, let's take Bram Stoker's Dracula. The film came out in 1992, and it did ok. Some people have mixed opinions on the film. I personally loved the art style, and the story of Dracula actually moved me. In my opinion the movie was ruined with at the time A-list actors, and actresses that simply did not belong in the film. The true star of the movie was Prince Vlad himself played by Gary Oldman. Now here is presented a true tragic villain. He is once a night commissioned by the church during the crusades to slay everything in his reach in the name of God. His methods were violent in nature, but in the name of God, he thought he was doing God's work. The only damn thing he cared about was his wife Elizibeth. During his crusade, rival members sent false news of his death to his young wife. Believing the false news of his death, she killed herself. When Dracula returned, to find a dead bride, he renounced his faith in God, and turned on the church who sent him into battle in the first place. Now you would think, that the church would have protected her better....well they screwed up. Dracula got mad, and thus became a bitter creature of the night. Throughout the movie, he has only one weakness. That love for his dead wife. When he finds someone who resembles her image, he attempts to "love" again, but he winds up killing many people in the process. He even attempts to turn the new girl into a vampire. Once he realizes the pain he has caused, it is the new girl who ultimately sends him into oblivion. I thought it was poetic and well thought out. A man who feasts on blood over several hundred years could easily become so jaded.
Sadly, the movie is only known now as a genre film that shows up in bargain bins across the globe, and Gary Oldman never got an oscar, but wound up playing token villains over the years. Also tragic.
I really got into this film knowing only bits and pieces of X-men history. What really drew me in, was Ian Mclellan as Eric Lehnsherr AKA Magneto. His ability to bend metal developed when he was separated from his Jewish parents during WWII. Anyone seen Shindler's List? That alone would convince me that humanity had failed. His belief is that mutants should take control of everything, or face exile. That translated well into two good films, where he recruited young mutants into his brotherhood. Ian Mclellan is a fantastic character actor, and the fact that he is in reality a gay man, he understood intolerance, he brought that part to the role as well.
James Bond films usually revolve around villains that have unusual wealth and power, but Goldeneye hit the mark perfectly. Sean Bean played a fantastic villain Alec Trevelyan, a former agent that was left behind to die by the same MI6 that Bond operated on. Now scarred and with a wealth of knowledge he was one of the most effective villains of the franchise in my opinion. If you were burned by your government and left for dead. What would you do? Would you use your resources to take revenge? Or get rich? Sean Bean does both.
Remember that in the Bible, Lucifer was once an angel that fell from grace. These are the scariest villains folks...
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