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Author Topic: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?  (Read 534 times)

Offline Shogunn2517

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Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« on: February 08, 2018, 09:37:17 PM »
In case you hadn't heard or seen, they've released the trailer for Sony/Tom Hardy's Venom solo film.  You can find it online if you wish to see it.

But I know how this might come off, but apart from my absolute dearth of interest in even illegally watching this, what's with this trend of Hollywood making not just villain-centric films(that would be something different), but movies all about a super-villain.  I know they're making these villains into a mold of anti-heroes, but it just seems like they're branding individual characters outside of the hero character that rather hardly makes an appearance or completely not apart of the character's arc at all.  It almost seems like they're removing a part of what makes the hero heroic.

Now, it's Venom.  Before it was Catwoman.  And Suicide Squad.  The Rock has been circling Black Adam for a number of years now.  Now the latest news is Joaquin Phoenix negotiating to play the Joker in a standalone film.

Sorry, this is just weird.  And what's worse, these films aren't even being posed as spinoffs, which could have been okay, but they seemingly going out their way to make characters who are known as the other side of the coin for very popular heroes and making them their own coin...  It'd be one thing if it were like "Mega-Mind" if they were telling the villain's vs the hero's story through the villain's eyes, which would be compelling.  But to carry a film all by themselves, without the balance of a hero, but making the villain the hero themselves?  Call me old fashion, but these characters built their popularity as villains and to just flip around and to accept them as heroic is hard for major audiences to swallow.  It's hard to buy them has heroes when you're use to seeing them as villains.  Which is part of the reason why Catwoman and Suicide Squad didn't do so well.

I dunno.  Maybe it's just me.  But seriously, they're laying it on pretty think with these films.

Offline daglob

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 11:32:22 PM »
There have been Moriarty books for maybe 100 years, and if you read the Fu Manchu series, you read them for Fu, and whatever Naylan-Smith or Petrie or one of the other protagonists does is secondary. Lets face it, James Moriarty, if not directly guilty of murders, did order murders from his gang, including Sebastian Moran. And we know Fu is most definitely a murderer many times over. Now, even in the pastiches, Moriarty and Fu Manchu never win, but...

Many years ago I was picking my daughter up from aftercare at her elementary school, and I head two boys (max age 12, I would say) talking about how neat Freddy Kreuger was. How he did this to one person and that to another person, and his friend chimed in with a couple of other grisly deaths, and both agreed that Freddy Kreuger was just the neatest thing of all. It bothered me that, basically, these kids were admiring the villain (a child murderer) instead of being glad the monster was defeated. I have seen similar responses to Jason and other slasher-type movie... protagonists? None of these are anti-heroes, they are killers, often serial killers (although, yes I have enjoyed Dexter). I overheard another kid once talking about how Wolverine was so neat, that if he didn't like you, he'd cut you... if you messed with him he'd cut you... he'd cut you and he'd cut you again... missing the whole point of Wolverine. But Wolverine kind of started the whole thing. I know Namor was an anti-hero, but he wasn't quite the same. And it was Stan's and whoever he was working with that made villains more than just cardboard cut-outs for the hero to knock over. Somehow, they never lost sight of the fact that the villain was a villain; he was the bad guy and no matter what, he was gonna lose... that is not necessarily so these days, and it hasn't been for a long time.

Back when I was working as the receptionist at Community Service, one of the clients had a Red Lantern tattoo. I asked him why, and he responded that the Red Lanterns were the best.  He was there to serve his Community Service, so what did his choice of Lantern say about him (Me, my favorite Lantern was Tomar-Re)?

I saw Vincent Price on a speaking tour once, and he said that villains got to have all the fun, and they get the best lines. Why play a hero when you can play a villain, even if you know you are going to lose?

Vincent, who had played his share of good guys in his life, was being facetious, but I wonder how many younger people feel that the villains get all the good stuff, and the hero only gets to kiss his horse?

I guess that what is happneing is that insteadof anti-heroes we are getting non-heros

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 12:26:42 AM »
This is off subject but Vincet Price did like playing bad guys but they had to be well-rounded ones whose killing/villianous deeds had an underlying meaning/reason/driving force that justified it which set them apart from Freddy or Jason. That's why I love a Price villian, there is always something there you can empathize with.

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled discussion...
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Offline daglob

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 02:28:13 AM »
Actually, it's a good point. Most of Vincent's villains had more than one facet, and you kind of rooted for Dr. Phibes, and Edward Lionheart (Theater of Blood), and you enjoyed seeing Paul Toombs (aka Dr. Death from Madhouse... need to do him for FF one day) get his revenge. As DJ says, many of his other villainous characters are vengeance seekers who were nice guys until... Many of them would make great pulp characters...

I got to thinking, and it occurred to me that Marvel's Dracula comic was about a villain (and despite my fondness for Barnabas Collins, vampires are NASTY). Morbius, Ghost Rider, and Werewolf by Night were not villains, although they were monsters, and all Marvel's monsters, including Frankenstein and Man-Thing, hurt and may have killed people. Why does this seem different?

One of my funniest memories about my daughter will always be when she was about 13, and I had a copy of The Pit and the Pendulum we were watching. Someplace in the middle she turned to me and said in an exasperated voice "They're trying to drive him insane...", and then rolled her eyes in that special way she usually reserved for me and her mother.

Online detourne_me

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 08:55:58 AM »
In Pro-wrestling, being a heel (villain) is usually a surefire way to become more popular. Think of the nWo, or D-Generation X, or even the recent group Bullet Club.  They started as heels and became insanely popular.
One difference between wrestling and superhero movies though, is that wrestling is a serial program,  the bad guys may win, but eventually they'll get their comeuppance. This translates really well into comic books too, with events like Villains United, or Suicide Squad.
The problem with movies is that they are usually one and done.  it's really hard to tell a consistent story across multiple movies to give a villain an appropriate arc.
...unless Hollywood wants to start hearkening back to the tales of morality movies like Scarface. But then that ties back into Shogunn's original post, what's the point in telling a villain's story when most of their character arcs are centred around being the foil for a hero?

Offline GhostMachine

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 05:01:25 PM »
What I hate that takes away from everything is that in the comics they've even gone so far to explain certain popular villains to make them more....understandable. Why did Magneto's problem with humanity come from him being in a concentration camp as a child? Why do some of the Joker's various origins (especially the version from The Killing Joke) make him a bit more sympathetic?

Until the 1970's, the Joker wasn't crazy, but just plain evil. Why can't we have bad guys who are just plain bad without having to let us know why and try to make them more understandable? With some characters (Mister Freeze), for example it makes the character more entertaining. But with a lot of them, it just plain isn't necessary.


Offline Shogunn2517

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 07:36:08 PM »
Yeah, but this isn't simply about being a anti-hero or being popular.  I get all that.  It's more about the medium and how they're doing it.  Fu Manchu had his own series of movies from the start.  He didn't have an established history of being an opposed villain of some other hero.  It was all him wasn't it?  Moreover, I know these characters are different in comics.  Venom's carried his own run and that.  Other comics have featured other villains, like Doctor Doom, Dracula, Apocalypse, etc.  And that make sense because in a large part these books aren't about making them heroic or even removing the hero from the book completely.  DM's right.  Just a movie itself, by it's nature, supposed to be more succinct than a comic or even a television  series(or even wrestling(which I really, really get the comparisons).

Here's that's what they're doing.  Catwoman WITHOUT Batman?  Venom WITHOUT Spider-Man?  Black Adam WITHOUT Captain Marvel?  Joker WITHOUT Batman?

This don't even sound a little weird?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 07:39:17 PM by Shogunn2517 »

Offline daglob

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 08:01:41 PM »
I dunno, but Flash villains often got a page or two to explain their motivations and reasoning. Of course, this was in the Silver Age, and afterward ALL villains got more and more evil and malicious. Or, as you point out in The Joker's case, crazy. Now most of Batman's villains belong in Arkham Asylum. Until the Bronze Age or a little after, Batman's villains were serial criminals that had a specific signature, which meant they were only a little crazy. Remember The Riddler trying to find ways to commit crimes without giving Batman a clue? Then there was the TAS episode where The Riddler forlornly explained to his gang that it was inevitable that he give Batman clues... But then, too, by the Silver Age almost all the superheroes, as well as the villains had a code against killing.

Originally, Dr. Doom had a code of conduct. He was Reed Richards' dark reflection, and often when The FF (or the world) was in danger and Reed was unavailable, who did they turn to?

Kind of like Fu Manchu; in President Fu Manchu he abandons his nefarious plan to help a child he had previous kidnapped (if I'm remembering correctly). He had promised to return the child unharmed if his wishes were complied with. After the child's return, the kid came down with something (around Fu's hideouts it could have been literally anything; Fu liked creating bizarre disease organism), so Fu showed up to help the child recover, because the child was going to die, and Fu gave his word that the child would be "unharmed". Without Fu's attention, his plan went off the rails and his puppet was not elected president (although, considering he was born in Italy, he couldn't have been anyway).

There are several "Gentlemen Thieves" in literature, such as Raffles and The Grey Seal. There are several "Robin Hood" types also, like The Saint. A lot of hard-boiled detective were little different from the people they chased, and then look at James Bond: basically a government-approved assassin. I mentioned Dexter earlier: a serial killer whose quarry was other serial killers, and Max Allen Collins has a series about Quarry, an Anti-Hitman who used to be a paid assassin (and I won't go into Nolan, who was a crook). This is not the same as The Green Hornet and The Spider (and to some extent almost all pulp-era vigilantes) who were thought to be crooks by the police, but were on the side of the angels all the time. We also have The Executioner (the basis for The Punisher, no matter what anyone says), who kills crooks. And kills crooks. And kills crooks. Pendleton was able to wedge a chapter or a few paragraphs into a book giving you background information on the crooks, usually without disturbing the flow of the story too much.

None of that is what is really going on here.

It's like a panel I saw that I believe was from the Mystery Men comic: two guys in a souped up supercar pull up alongside two girls, and one of the girls says something like "Ooooh; superheroes. Cool". One of the guys says "No, we're super villains" to which the girl replies "Even cooler!"

Y'all remember when what is now termed "attitude" was preceded by the words "disrespectful", "rude", "obnoxious", or "bad"? I worry about the world my granddaughter will live in sometimes.

I probably go on about this too much. The reformation of a villain into a hero doesn't bother me, it's the "hero-ization" of the villains that bothers me, or the making of violence "cool", and it has since my daughter was in elementary school (see above).

« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 08:29:57 PM by daglob »

Offline UnkoMan

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2018, 02:28:49 AM »
Suicide Squad was already a super great comic, that I grew up on. Granted, the movie was an awful mess, but the idea behind it was good to me. I was excited when I first heard about it, but then the more and more I heard... Then when I actually watched it, ugh.

Venom's been on and off hero since at least mid '90s hasn't he? Saved people, ate brains. It is weird to see Venom devoid of Spider-Man, BUT that said I think he's one of the villains who could pull it off. There's enough there that you could pull together a decent story. It might end up being more like a movie version of that Prototype, but whatever. It could still be a decent movie. I think being a decent movie is more important than adhering to this or that. Why not just make a movie of Protoype? Why not just create a character like this from scratch? Well, movies have always taken brand recognition, from day one, AND changed whatever they felt like. We're talking 1910's Frankenstein. We're talking 1902, Trip to the Moon. Maybe even earlier, I'd have to look it up. There was a Sherlock Holmes movie in 1900, but I've never seen it.

I was going to say more, but it wasn't actually relevant to the original post. Point being, I am more interested in a movie being a good movie and telling a good story than adhering to whatever it is adapting. Catwoman was a bad film. Suicide Squad was a bad film.

I do agree that a Joker movie without Batman doesn't make sense. Especially with him as the dark half who only exists because Batman exists, which is what his character is in most popular outings.
But the Venom trailer looked cool and could be good, so I hold out hope. To be honest, I don't even like seeing Venom with my Spider-Man. I never thought he meshed too well, and never saw him as the dark side of the coin.
Just my opinion.

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 02:57:43 AM »
Another off topic thing and just a bit of useless trivia: the first actual movie of "fiction" (real acting and such) was a 15 min version of Frankenstien filmed by Edison. Unhappily the only thing left alluding to it are two or three enlarged stills that were used to "hype" it - the film itself is pretty much gone (no one has found a copy of it though they keep trying).

Back to the discussion...
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Offline UnkoMan

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 03:31:22 AM »
Jester, are you talking about something other than this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-fM9meqfQ4
Because this was the one I meant that he did produce. Did he make another one prior to this?

(NOTE: Not trying to disrespect, just super curious. I would love to see pics!)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 03:33:19 AM by UnkoMan »

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 04:09:32 AM »
He made one prior though it shares a lot of the same things (costume and folks as that one if memory serves me right). It might've been a really early test to prep for that one but I'm unsure. I saw the enlarged stills in a museum some years back.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 04:11:03 AM by Deaths Jester »
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Offline daglob

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2018, 04:40:53 AM »
I know I've seen something on, I believe , the special collected Frankenstein movies DVD. Altogether, they show at most a minute of the movie, and don't show the monster in his completed form. Wasn't it Charles Ogle that played the monster? I've seen a picture of him in Famous Monsters.

I can think of a few ways to go with a villain movie without their main adversary: one, create a new opponent for the villain, which seems to be kind of stupid to me. Another is have them be the protagonist against a more evil or dangerous villain. In the case of Venom, someone like Doctor Doom, Apocalypse, Thanos, Kang, or maybe the entire Skrull military. Another, similar way would be to have a "bigger" villain use them for something and about halfway through the "lesser" villain finds out he is being duped or something and spend the rest of he movie fighting the big bad. Of course, if your movie stars Doom, Thanos, Apocaypse, or a villain of their stripe, getting a "bigger" bad would be a problem. Or, the two villains work together and someplace along the way it's like the first Spiderman/Superman team-up where Luthor and Doc Ock teamed up too. It was something like at the point Luthor figured he was about to lose he said "Well, if I'm to fail, I'll destroy the Earth out of spite". to which Doc Ock says "Are you out of your MIND?"

About the best part of the team-up.

Offline UnkoMan

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2018, 04:50:54 AM »
Well... more evil Venom is Carnage.
IE: Maximum Carnage.

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2018, 04:53:40 AM »
The first version of ways to do the movie also explains why certain "hero" movies like Punisher failed. The movie treat Punny like a hero when in fact he is the villian in his book. After writing Punny and wondering why it got so little reads but if Punny showed up in another book sales soared, Chuck Dixon attested to that. And to add to that he realized that there was no one to contrast with in the book. Everyone was an amoral, gun-crazed, homicidal maniacs - including Punny. The movies made the same mistake, so there is always that razors edge with "villian" movies.
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Offline UnkoMan

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2018, 11:36:35 PM »
Punisher Netflix series seems to have mixed reviews. Personally... I liked it. I heard a lot of complaints that he is still The Revenger, instead of full Punisher, but I take a lot of these things at face value, like I said. I thought it was pretty good overall, and liked the times when they were like, "Yo this dude is a psycho, just so you know."
Like, spoiler warning,
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

That being said, I also love Kriminal. (And Satanik, and Diabolik.) But they are supervillains without heroes which, like Shogun said, is a different thing.

Punisher shouldn't be treated like an out and out hero, he's more like Rambo. Rambo is completely insane. First Blood is actually kinda touching. The fourth one... like holy smokes. I watched it and was thinking, this is suppose to be the hero? Okay, the bad guys literally threw children into bonfires, granted, but this guy has a look of pure murderous insanity in his eyes.
Oh wow, I don't know what side I'm on in this discussion, ha ha ha. I'm still for the Venom movie though! I still think it looks sort of dope! It could be good!

Offline catwhowalksbyhimself

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2018, 11:39:43 PM »
Venom has been an anti-hero for some years now.  It still seems like an odd choice to helm a movie, especially before he's even been the villain of a Spider-Man movie in this universe.
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Offline GhostMachine

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2018, 07:16:43 AM »
The Rambo movies post-First Blood shouldn't even exist, because in the original book, Rambo dies at the end. (The test audiences for the movie hated that ending, so they changed it.)

The Punisher is NOT a hero, or even an anti-hero, really. He's a bad guy.


Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Can we have a talk about these solo Super Villain movies?
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2018, 10:08:22 AM »
IMO,its still a bit early to call it a trend.Suicide Squad is a supervillain take on Dirty Dozen,so that's not really a new thing.Catwoman had nothing in common with the comic,but the comic version was a member of JLA and JSA at various points,so shes not really a villain.Venom has also been Lethal protector for the past 25 years or so.I cant say anything about Joker,thou.
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