What Makes A Good Villain?

What Makes A Good Villain?

They may be bad guys, but they can still be well-written.
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It’s a bit of a cliche that villains are more fun than their stuffier, rigidly heroic counterparts. Not only do audiences obsess over iconic villains like Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter, countless actors have described how much fun it is to play the villain. But if you mostly stick to Hollywood blockbusters, you’d hardly know it.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is arguably the dominant force at the box office today, yet despite its popularity, it’s often criticized for its lackluster villains, with the notable exception of Loki. While this problem may be especially obvious in the MCU, it’s a pretty widespread issue in today’s films. The recently released "Suicide Squad," which cast a team of super-villains as its protagonists, showed that villains can be fun, multi-layered characters, but the actual antagonists proved to be underwhelming in comparison. Today's cinematic landscape may be packed wall-to-wall with larger-than-life heroes, but there are hardly enough decent villains to go around.

To see what the film industry is doing wrong, let’s take a look at how villains are being done right on television. "Game of Thrones," for instance, has probably produced more well-written villains than every superhero movie combined since its debut in 2010 (spoilers ahead). While most of the characters are morally ambiguous, some are evil enough to be considered villains, even by the show’s standards.The show has far too many great villains to discuss thoroughly, so I’ll focus on my favorite, Tywin Lannister (although scoundrels like his daughter Cersei, Roose Bolton, and Littlefinger deserve at least honorable mentions).

Tywin shows absolutely no remorse for his crimes, which range from organizing the wholesale slaughter at the Red Wedding, to ordering the murders of the Mad King’s children simply to prove his loyalty. To top it all off, he’s endlessly abusive to his son Tyrion, simply for being a dwarf. Unquestionably evil he may be, but there’s a surprising amount of depth to him. In his mind, simply allowing Tyrion to live was a great mercy, after Tywin’s wife died giving birth to him. He’s far from a kind father, but he genuinely believes that everything he does is for the good of his family. Considering that his death leaves them in a self-destructive tailspin, it seems the Lannisters can barely keep it together without his help. He was easily one of the smartest characters the show ever had, and his wit produced some of the show’s best dialogue. Tywin’s flaws are inexcusable, but they’re countered by his admirable qualities, his logical motivations, and the entertainment factor he brings to the table (end spoilers).

Television may be doing well with villains, but there are some standout villains at the movies, few and far between though they are. The "Star Wars" series had a pretty solid track record for villains until the prequels starting throwing around underdeveloped antagonists and killing them in rapid succession. Last year’s "The Force Awakens" marked a return to form with Kylo Ren, easily one of best parts of the movie. Yes, he murdered my favorite character, and therefore I hate him. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s a great villain. From the moment he throws a lightsaber tantrum on a computer, we know he’s a totally different character from Darth Vader. From his deep-seated insecurities to his conflicted conscience, he receives a level of development typically reserved for heroes. None of that does anything to lessen his villainy: this is a character that actively tries to be evil and fears the vestiges of decency that still reside in his corrupted soul.

While heroes are usually given some semblance of backstory, motivation, or personality, too many villains exist solely to serve the narrative rather than developing as a compelling character in their own right. Tywin Lannister and Kylo Ren couldn’t be more different, but I think they’re both perfect examples of the qualities that villains should have. They need to be evil enough that we want to see them lose, but sympathetic or likable enough that we wish it didn’t have to be that way. Their plans have to be genuinely threatening and consistent with their motivations and personality. If the audience isn’t clear on what the villain stands for or what they want, it makes it much harder to care about their conflict with the hero.

Ultimately, the greatest villains have an element of tragedy about them (this happens to be why Magneto is my favorite supervillain). They’re not soulless monsters, they’re simply fallible human beings who have allowed life to warp them into something terrible. Even if their actions are repulsive, there’s something logical about their motives. Pure evil may be boring, but that doesn’t mean villains have to be.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros.

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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