Not long ago @torstenvblog and I were talking about nerd stuff as we always do and we got to talking about the bad guys in comics and movies, and when maybe they aren’t really the bad guys. Some of them are quite cut and dry, like Jason Vorhees or Freddie Krueger. One wears a hockey mask and kills horny teens and the other was basically a child molester that later killed people in their dreams. No sane person will ever make a real argument for them and say hey he was just misunderstood or those campers deserved it. There are however villains that, maybe aren’t quite villains, at least not in the traditional sense of they are bad guys, just bad from the perspective of who the hero of the story is.
A good example of this, however, is Magneto from Xmen. He isn’t really a bad guy, he simply disagrees with Professor X on how best to protect mutants. Sure he does some questionable things, but if someone was trying to hurt you and everyone you cared about and your people wouldn’t you be willing to do some less than honest and moral things to protect them?
Another solid example is Ocean Master in the Aquaman movie. All he really wanted to do was stop the humans from destroying the ocean his people live in, and sure while he did steal a submarine and kill a ton of people to start a war under a false pretense but his heart was in the right place. He wasn’t doing it because he wanted to hurt people or he hated anyone, he thought he was doing what was best for Atlantis.
So really, at what point are people no longer villains? Is it when they can reasonably and appropriately justify what they are doing to a reasonable person? Or is it when they give up their quest and die for the greater good like Loki? I’m not sure there is an easy answer, and everyone will have a different one but for me, a big part of it comes down to intent. Look at Thanos from the MCU. Nobody would argue what he was doing was truly good, but he wasn’t really wrong. It would have saved his world, and it did help other worlds he had conquered. Most importantly his intent is good, he wants to make sure what happened to his world doesn’t happen to others. While he is quite misguided it isn’t really fair to say he is evil or a villain, he is just a bad guy from the perspective of the heroes. A future blog we will discuss what makes a hero, and why Captain America wasn’t truly a good guy recently. Until then tell me what you think, and may the gaming gods bring you glory.