The State of the Supervillain Movie

Clockwise from left: David Dastmalchian, John Cena, Idris Elba, Daniela Melchior in The Suicide Squad (Photo: Jessica Miglio/DC Comics), Jared Leto in Morbius (Photo: Sony), Tom Hardy as Venom (Photo: Sony), Joaquin Phoenix as Joker (Screenshot: Warner Bros.)

Clockwise from left: David Dastmalchian, John Cena, Idris Elba, Daniela Melchior in the suicide squad (Photo: Jessica Miglio/DC Comics) Jared Leto in Morbius (Photo: Sony) Tom Hardy in Venom (Picture: Sony), Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (Screenshot: Warner Bros.)
Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

A hero’s work is never done. And given how quickly supervillain movies are rushing to theaters, we’re starting to see why. Since the release of 2018 Venomstudios like Sony and Warner Bros. contended for the supremacy of the wicked, throwing Joker, The Suicide Squadand Venom: let there be carnage back to back.

With Jared Leto directed MorbiusSony finally puts its big plan in motion for an MCU-style franchise made up exclusively of Spider Man bad guys. Building on the success of Venomits sequel and a pair of DC-branded villain features, Sony passes the same test Marvel takes at least once a year: can they turn a character no one recognizes into the face of a movie?

If Marvel can do Shang Chi and Eternals household names, Sony can surely do the same for “the living vampire” Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto). It took Marvel the better part of a decade to deliver a satisfying villain; ohonly need Google”The Marvel Villains Problemto remember all the lackluster antagonists that populated Phase One. We’re looking at you Whiplash, The Chitauri and Abomination.

Kevin Feige finally understood, give the MCU’s most popular villain Loki a TV showand an entire movie to Thanos with Avengers: Infinity War. But while the wicked have has improved, Sony has moved forward with this subgenre as they only own the rights to Spider Man characters.

Before Venomsupervillain movies have come in two ways: parodies of meta-superheroes, like Megamind and Despicable Me, and anti-hero stories, usually where a bad guy meets a worse guy. For example, the years 2004 catwoman works the same as any other superhero origin story from that era, like the one from 2002 Spider Man. In the film, Patience Phillips (Halle Berry), a sweet graphic designer, spends her nights tracking down the head of cosmetics who turned her into Catwoman. Director Pitof and his army of six acclaimed writers have reimagined Batman’s canonical cat-burglar as a superhero in his own right.

In the first wave of superhero movies, villains often outplayed heroes. by Tim Burton Batman was the best examplesome going so far as to call the movie “Joker.” As Roger Ebert put it succinctly in his 1989 review: “Nicholson’s Joker is really the most important character in the film—in impact and screen time. Filmmakers and studios get it t-valuehe super villain even then.

catwoman might have bombed at the box office, but the failure hasn’t soured the studios on villain movies. So after striking a deal for a Wolverine origin series in 2004, Fox aimed go deep on Magnetowhich will eventually become X-Men: First Class. At Sony, Spider Man producer Avi Arad, winner of Sam Raimi’s ‌trilogy after pushing Venom into Spiderman 3wanted to give the squirrel version of Topher Grace from the symbiont one turndisabled. And that’s before he and Marc Webb teased the Six Claims movie in The Amazing Spider-Man (2014).

More than a decade later, studios have a better idea of ​​how to approach these two types of stories, finding that the most significant difference between hero and villain movies is thematic. Superhero movies are about overcoming the limitations of the human body and influencing change. Tony Stark went through these kinds of transformations as a main character in the MCU’s first decade, from building the Mark 1 to setting up the Infinity Gauntlet for The Snap.

On the other hand, supervillain movies are all about restraining and controlling the worst impulses of the main characters, for comedic or dramatic effect.

Control systems exist throughout these films. In Venom, Venom host Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) must prevent the symbiote from eating civilians. The Suicide Squad are held hostage by the US government, which is trying to control a geopolitical situation created. An/a Joker features a turn of failing regulators supposed to keep Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) from getting pounded by Joker.

Venom plays this off as a Jekyll and Hyde relationship – or, more accurately, a relationship between Bruce Banner and Incredible Hulk. Just like the voltage of The Incredible Hulk lies in Bruce Banner’s ability to control the Hulk, Eddie Brock must keep Venom at bay. In one of the film’s most infamous scenes, Brock must balance his desire to bring the company responsible for Venom to justice with Venom’s desire for extremely fresh meat. So he jumps into the lobster tank.

Eddie develops a system of rules for Venom to respect the ending of the film. “There are good people in this world, lots of them,” Brock told Venom. “And there are mean people. You have to tell the difference. The deal is that you will never be allowed to touch, hurt, hurt, maybe, most likely, eat very, very bad people, but never, ever, ever good people. Agreed?” And yet he’s still bad enough to eat a mobster clinging to a convenience store. Even Eddie, the proponent of capital punishment, doesn’t seem fazed by that one.

The movie basically defangs Venom before he can do anything terrible, introducing two worst colored Venoms (Riot in Venom and Carnage in the sequel, Venom: let there be carnage). Either way, Venom becomes a default hero.

To this same end, The Suicide Squad is about how the US government controls and weaponizes our ugliest instincts. This turns to the wicked when he at for to be the villains. If it’s subjects disagree or escape, the government will blow their heads off. Gunn’s storyline allows the Suicide Squad to go from wicked to a little less wicked as if their crimes weren’t so underhanded when confronted with the history of imperialism.

The end of The Suicide Squad literalizes this point through Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), who must imagine his great repressive force (his mother – played by Lynne Ashe) to kill. He uses this skill to help bring out the literal B of the movieig Bad Starro, a monstrous mind-controlling starfish who uses minions to take over a host body, Venom-style. To finish the job, Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), whose superpower is, yes, to control the minds of rats, sends in her minions and devours the starfish.

But all the previous villain movies pale in comparison to Jokera completely depressing piece of pop-nihilism that aims to be the most unpleasant wicked movie possible. For as uplifting as Spider Man Where Superman maybe, Joker it’s the other way around, an origin film for the villain which forces the genre into more dramatic territory. We all know he’s just one bad day away from becoming the Joker, but the film is brimming with bad luck for Fleck.

Arthur Fleck physically transforms into the Joker through the defeat and degradation he attributes to failing protectors. The litany of indignities, including being sent back from the clown factory to TV humiliation only to find out his mother has been sexually abused, turns him into the Joker. He “only thinks negative thoughts” because every minute is the worst minute of his life.

By the end of the film, the control over the narrative is completely unstable. Director Todd Phillips play coyly with the finale, with Joker sitting in a mental ward, muttering to himself a joke that we “wouldn’t get”, implying that maybe the whole movie was in his head. The next shot flips things the other way, indicating that he may have been arrested and is now spending his days kicking out doctors and guards at Arkham Asylum. Controlling the Joker is a job requiring a Batman.

Audiences love to indulge in his bad sides. Having won a billion dollars and winning two Oscars (with 11 nominations in total), Joker proves that people are willing to follow these characters In the darkness. And though it looked like a failure at the time, James Gunn The Suicide Squad has already produced popular television spin off Peacemaker, with more follow-ups, apparently, on the way. As Morbius heads to the halls, it seems clear: The era of the supervillain movie has only just begun.

About Victoria Rothstein

Check Also

“Pictures of a Nordic Drama” Review – The Hollywood Reporter

The stories of foreign artists are usually shrouded in a certain romantic glow: the lonely …