Thoughts on storytelling and the world of animation. Caution! SPOILERS!

More Confused Villains

After writing my post on movie monsters, I realized I had missed a whole section of movies for the topic on my netflix list.  This time I’ll be writing about Megamind, Wreck-It Ralph, and Despicable Me.  These movies fit in with the other post, but the main characters are not necessarily classic monsters, just typical bad guys.  You HAVE to have a bad guy for the good good to fight, or what’s the point of the story?  Well, here they are.

Megamind is a classic example of my point that society makes the monsters.  He and another Superman-like alien arrive on Earth at the same time, but one ends up in a plush home, the other manages to land in a prison.  Literally.  Megamind TRIES to compete with MetroMan in terms of being an awesome good guy, but things always go bad for him, so he finally decides to just go all out and all bad.  But when competition shows up, MegaMind finally gets the opportunity to be the good guy.

I loved this film.  I counted at least 4 plot twists, and each one was amazingly unexpected.  The heroine was snarky and clever, and reminded me a lot of  Celia West in Carrie Vaughn’s book, After the Golden Age.  This is a movie you have to pay attention to or you’ll have trouble figuring out the plot, so pick a quiet evening to watch.

Wreck-It Ralph has a similar theme.  Video game characters in an arcade live a private life after the doors close, interacting with other game characters.  However, what happens if you’re tired of being the bad guy in a game day after day for 30 years?  Ralph is tired of getting all the pain of losing, and being treated as an outcast by everyone else in his game, for no other reason than he’s the bad guy.  He’s NOT when the game isn’t being played!  He sets out on a quest to win a medal to prove he can be  good guy, and ends up causing (and solving) havoc  in several other games as he apparently ‘goes Turbo.’

Despicable Me is much more subtle.  Gru, the bad guy main character, gets outdone by Vector, another bad guy, and not to be outdone, sets out to outdo HIM.  Along the way he adopts three orphaned girls as part of his plot to get into Vector’s house,  and his villainry is slowly toppled by the chaos of his new ‘family.’  Gru doesn’t even realize it’s happening, and really, his villainous ways aren’t all that affected.  In the end he’s got the family and ‘happily ever after,’ and even the title of hero.  You don’t even feel that he’s going to STOP being a villain.  He’s just got his girls to dote on now, too.

So here we have three antiheroes who have been unexpectedly moved into the hero role.  They seem to do a pretty decent job of it.  Maybe because they understand the mind of a villain so much better?


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