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Old 09-05-2017, 01:41 PM   #1
Herofan
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Default A common view that drives me crazy

The idea that having multiple villains ruins a superhero film and that it's always or nearly-always better to just have one villain.

Sure, it's possible for a movie with multiple villains to feel overly-crowded and with some less developed but it's also very possible for a film with just one to feel like an overly-simple story and missed opportunity. Multiple villains can and have worked and the real problem when they don't is usually the tone of the film in general.

It just seems real strange when fans hope for having just one villain in each film when it's likely that a series will only last three or four films so we would end up having really few of the characters and story potential adapted.

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Old 09-05-2017, 01:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

TDK, TWS, GOTG Vol. 2, DOFP, TDKR, Superman 2, Batman Returns, Batman Begins?

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Old 09-05-2017, 02:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

I disagree. It's hard to focus on multiple villains, because ultimately there is really only one main story (or probably shpuld be) to be told in a film, so one villain becomes no more than a subplot, ending up taking a backseat to the main villain. What you need when you have multiple villains is excellent craftsmanship in storytelling. The problems that we have seen in years past when it comes to films with multiple villains, i.e.: Spider-Man 3, are the hackneyed story and the cliched, underdeveloped characters.

It probably works well when you're not trying to give every villain too much agency in the overall story. Each villain essentially needs to be chasing the exact same goal. Like ensemble films. An X-Men film probably is the perfect example of adding multiple villains to the story where it doesn't necessarily hurt the overall story that the filmmaker is trying to tell, because each villain generally has the same goal as the other villains. But if each villain has his own unique goals, his own agency within the story and you only have two hours to put all of this together, it can get to be quite a muddled mess. You end up taking giant leaps in character development and motivation because you don't have enough time to let the plot and individual stories of the hero and each villain unfold.

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Old 09-05-2017, 04:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

I don't think either way of doing things is inherintly better. They both have pros and cons, and it all comes down to execution.

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Old 09-05-2017, 05:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

Technically, you could have thirty villains in a movie, as long as most of them are bit parts at best. It's when you want to give equal attention to multiple villains that it can become a time constraint. Providing separate origins for three different villains in Spider-Man 3 was just excessive.

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Old 09-05-2017, 07:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herofan View Post
The idea that having multiple villains ruins a superhero film and that it's always or nearly-always better to just have one villain.

Sure, it's possible for a movie with multiple villains to feel overly-crowded and with some less developed but it's also very possible for a film with just one to feel like an overly-simple story and missed opportunity. Multiple villains can and have worked and the real problem when they don't is usually the tone of the film in general.

It just seems real strange when fans hope for having just one villain in each film when it's likely that a series will only last three or four films so we would end up having really few of the characters and story potential adapted.
I would have preferred Batman Returns just had Catwoman. Batman 1989 just had Joker and it seemed to be a tighter, more focused movie. And Batman Returns seemed to have started the trend of needing multiple villains.
Look at every supehero movie prior to Batman Returns, Superman 1978 only had Lex Luthor, Superman 2 just Zod and his minions, Superman 3 an ersatz version of Brainiac, and Superman 4 just Nuclear Man.

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Old 09-05-2017, 07:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

Yep. This is a massive pet peeve of mine, too. You have way more examples of it working than of it not, yet whenever a movie is announced with more than one villain, you always get the same tired arguments.

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Old 09-05-2017, 07:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

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Originally Posted by Osiris-Rex View Post
I would have preferred Batman Returns just had Catwoman. Batman 1989 just had Joker and it seemed to be a tighter, more focused movie. And Batman Returns seemed to have started the trend of needing multiple villains.
Look at every supehero movie prior to Batman Returns, Superman 1978 only had Lex Luthor, Superman 2 just Zod and his minions, Superman 3 an ersatz version of Brainiac, and Superman 4 just Nuclear Man.
Superman 2 and Superman 4 both had Lex Luthor as well.

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Old 09-05-2017, 07:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

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I don't think either way of doing things is inherintly better. They both have pros and cons, and it all comes down to execution.
Pretty much. There are great superhero movies with multiple villains, and there are terrible ones. Just like there are great superhero movies with one villain, and there are terrible ones.

The best superhero movie of all-time (The Dark Knight) had multiple villains.

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Old 09-06-2017, 03:32 AM   #10
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

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Originally Posted by Kahran Ramsus View Post
Pretty much. There are great superhero movies with multiple villains, and there are terrible ones. Just like there are great superhero movies with one villain, and there are terrible ones.

The best superhero movie of all-time (The Dark Knight) had multiple villains.
Agreed. It all comes down to how inherently good the film is. Interestingly, Civil War manages to make the villain's evil plan a sub-plot that feeds into the main conflict which is between the "heroes" (unless you consider Tony the bad guy ).

To be honest, if you get the protagonists right then villains don't matter quite as much - having said that, a really memorable villain can elevate a film to real greatness (e.g. TDK and Die Hard have some of the best movie villains of all time).

Hmmmmmm what's our ratio of multiple villains working to not working.

If we look only at Batman films....


Batman 1989 - 1 villain, really worked

Batman Returns - 2 villains (+ Christopher Walken), other than Catwoman, who was awesome, the other bad guys didn't work for me.

Batman Forever - I loved Jim Carrey's Riddler, but hated TLJ's Two-Face.

Batman and Robin - the villains were only one of many things that didn't wor.

Batman Begins - Scarecrow and Ra's al ghul, really worked

TDK - Joker, Two-Face and the mafia, still really awesome.

TDKR - Bane and his posse of *******s......yeah didn't really work for me.

Anyway, that doesn't prove anything, so the original point stands - it all depends on the execution.

Cheers.

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Old 09-06-2017, 09:37 AM   #11
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

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Originally Posted by Kahran Ramsus View Post
Pretty much. There are great superhero movies with multiple villains, and there are terrible ones. Just like there are great superhero movies with one villain, and there are terrible ones.

The best superhero movie of all-time (The Dark Knight) had multiple villains.
Two-Face was an awful last minute villain though so that argument doesn't really hold.

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Old 09-06-2017, 10:57 AM   #12
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Two-Face was an awful last minute villain though so that argument doesn't really hold.
Two-Face was fantastic. I'm not sure what movie you watched. Harvey was one of the main focuses of the film and got a ton of screen-time (more than the Joker got).

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Old 09-06-2017, 11:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

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Two-Face was fantastic. I'm not sure what movie you watched. Harvey was one of the main focuses of the film and got a ton of screen-time (more than the Joker got).
Did Harvey really get more screentime than Joker? I honestly couldn't tell you. Even if that were true it wouldn't change the fact Joker's scenes leave more of an impact.

I thought Harvey's super-villain transformation was too abrupt.

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Old 09-06-2017, 01:21 PM   #14
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

What I find with CBMs with more than 1 villain is that one always and inevitably gets the shaft. For a recent example in Homecoming The Vulture was great, but it's safe to say Shocker (who I was actually looking forward to a lot, prefer him to the Vulture before HC) was a poor show. It does depend on execution but getting it right isn't easy, as plenty of film makers have shown.

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Old 09-06-2017, 01:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

How was it a poor show? It's clear he was a tease for future films and would have taken away from the main narrative between the Vulture and Spider-Man. They didn't even hint at any background beyond being a part of Toomes crew. The deveil is in the details. You could argue there could be more but also less, which is the point in which he was used, unless you are being influenced by your fandom of the character, which has nothing to do with the structural narrative.

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Old 09-06-2017, 01:50 PM   #16
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How was it a poor show? It's clear he was a tease for future films and would have taken away from the main narrative between the Vulture and Spider-Man. They didn't even hint at any background beyond being a part of Toomes crew. The deveil is in the details. You could argue there could be more but also less, which is the point in which he was used, unless you are being influenced by your fandom of the character, which has nothing to do with the structural narrative.
I didn't see him as a tease for future fils personally. He seemed pretty One and done to me. I just wanted them to do more with the character. Ned having a big hand in taking him down didn't help either.

I agree he would have taken away from the main narrative, which is why I wish they hadn't used him at all.

I will say also I didn't like HC as much as many on here so our opinions may differ.

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Old 09-06-2017, 01:59 PM   #17
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I didn't see him as a tease for future fils personally. He seemed pretty One and done to me. I just wanted them to do more with the character. Ned having a big hand in taking him down didn't help either.

I agree he would have taken away from the main narrative, which is why I wish they hadn't used him at all.

I will say also I didn't like HC as much as many on here so our opinions may differ.
I understand your perspective.

I suspect he won't be one and done. May never be the main villian per se, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't pop up in some capacity down the line. Costume would be nice.

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Old 09-06-2017, 03:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

I think Burton is the only one who handled multiple villains really well.
Nolan did well with the Joker and the mob but ultimately squandered all the potential his Two-Face had.

The first Blade did the multiple villain thing well too.
I think Sin City would be the best example of multiple villains working great but its also kind of cheat aswell being that each story was self contained despite being intertwined.

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Old 09-06-2017, 05:44 PM   #19
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I understand your perspective.

I suspect he won't be one and done. May never be the main villian per se, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't pop up in some capacity down the line. Costume would be nice.
Cool

I hope you are right about him coming back, and I agree seeing the costume would be nice. I would never expect him to be the main villain but teaming up with another villain would be good to see if he returns.

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Old 09-07-2017, 10:39 AM   #20
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

Multiple villains is only a sin insofar as they are just thrown together without a good idea of how everyone fits together into a single story. Winter Soldier had upward of six villains, depending on how you count, and it worked just fine. . . because every character has a clear place and purpose in the, singular, story. Nobody was extraneous, and nobody was following their own irrelevant plotline. Conversely, the villains in Spider-man 3 don't work, despite only(?) being three of them, because they all had effectively their own stories that barely had anything to do with each other, and certainly didn't come together into any coherent whole.

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Old 09-07-2017, 11:53 AM   #21
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I disagree. It's hard to focus on multiple villains, because ultimately there is really only one main story (or probably shpuld be) to be told in a film, so one villain becomes no more than a subplot, ending up taking a backseat to the main villain.
It's true that having multiple villains can lead to there being too much story and/or it being too choppy. But there are some villains that have interesting visuals and even also characters and yet probably aren't interesting or compelling enough to be the sole villain focus of a film (like Catwoman, Sandman and probably also Scarecrow). Having multiple villains also allows one of them to be less of a physical threat.

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Technically, you could have thirty villains in a movie, as long as most of them are bit parts at best. It's when you want to give equal attention to multiple villains that it can become a time constraint. Providing separate origins for three different villains in Spider-Man 3 was just excessive.
Yeah there was a bit of a complaint that the Burton/Schumacher sequels all started out with one villain already active and one having an onscreen origin but that's probably a better approach than having too many origins, it especially works if one villain is pretty unsympathetic and one more sympathetic.

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Old 09-07-2017, 11:58 AM   #22
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Two-Face was an awful last minute villain though so that argument doesn't really hold.
I thought he worked really well, especially the transition from good guy to bad guy, it was disappointing that he died in the end, there could have been a lot more in later movies, but Nolan was more interested in the film feeling pretty complete than in potential sequels.

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I think Burton is the only one who handled multiple villains really well.
Though it contributed to the choppiness of the story, I thought it was interesting and entertaining that the villains only worked together pretty briefly, they betrayed each other on bad terms pretty quickly and then fought against each other. Then Batman Forever was interesting in having the villains' partnership work pretty well.
In Batman Begins, at least in retrospect, it was pretty obvious that Scarecrow was working for someone else and that someone else probably was the League and yet he was still very impressive rather than wasted.


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Old 09-07-2017, 12:40 PM   #23
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Nolan pretty much nailed Scarecrow, even with him being the "back-up" villain. I always forget that Scarecrow rides a ****ing fire breathing horse at the end.

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Old 09-07-2017, 02:25 PM   #24
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Though it contributed to the choppiness of the story, I thought it was interesting and entertaining that the villains only worked together pretty briefly, they betrayed each other on bad terms pretty quickly and then fought against each other. Then Batman Forever was interesting in having the villains' partnership work pretty well.
In Batman Begins, at least in retrospect, it was pretty obvious that Scarecrow was working for someone else and that someone else probably was the League and yet he was still very impressive rather than wasted.

I don't agree, In my eyes Batman Returns is a minor masterpiece. Penguin worked with Shreck cuz he needed his influence, Shreck pretty much made CatWoman very much like how Batman made the Joker, Penguin wanted to sex Catwoman and she turned him down in a disrespectful way and Shreck wanted to stay alive and needed a guy to support his Power Plant. They're villains, Bad people. They used each other for their own gains until they didn't. Its not like they were real friends.

The partnership for Batman Forever felt forced. It was entertaining but it wasn't done nearly as well in my opinion.

I liked how Scarecrow functioned in the film but I didn't like how he was made into a henchman nor the way he was defeated. If his role grew bigger in the sequels, I probably would've got over it but the opposite happened. You're right that he was impressive but I still think he was wasted just like Nolan's 2-Face was. They were just squandered potential.

I think Burton utilized his villains much better in nearly every way. I still wish to see what he would've done with Scarecrow.


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Old 09-07-2017, 03:24 PM   #25
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Default Re: A common view that drives me crazy

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Nolan pretty much nailed Scarecrow, even with him being the "back-up" villain. I always forget that Scarecrow rides a ****ing fire breathing horse at the end.
The problem with that scene is that it amounts to nothing other than Rachel making him ride away screaming like a girl. As much as I liked how Scarecrow was set up I have a hard time imagining his end any worse than that when he finally got into his true element.

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