Complex Villains: Apathy For The Devil

Unlike two-dimensional villains who can become UNINTENTIONALLY beloved, these guys are a DELIBERATE bet.

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I’ve talked about empires and gods as villains. And I’ve talked about villains that you love to hate or love despite the fact that you should hate them.

But what about when loving them is EXACTLY what the writer is asking you to do?

What happens when they are given something that is OBVIOUSLY, UNAMBIGUOUSLY, meant to be ADMIRED? A story that is meant to be PITIED? Where sometimes you DON’T want them to pay?

That’s where sympathetic villains come in.

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Setbacks: In The Interests Of Conflict

“Things are going well. How are they going to slip up?”

So here you are surfing the internet, thinking you can get on with your day of watching cat videos and streaming Fortnite. WHEN SUDDENLY, A WILD POST APPEARS TO DISTRACT YOU!

…What? No! Get back here! It’s an interruption I am powerless to enforce! Go on, make the mistake of reading it!

…Well, I suppose my plans have hit quite the setback, then.

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Honest Stories and The Emperor’s New Groove

So like a complete sellout, I am adapting my post titles with this mainstream concept called “comprehension.”

Disclaimer: Stuff belongs to Disney. Duh.

So like a complete sellout, I am adapting my post titles with this mainstream concept called “comprehension.”

Today, I’ll be looking at something which doesn’t quite have a term, though I suppose the best I can think of is the difference between genuine and disingenuous storytelling. Basically when a story feels like it can stand on its own, or if it’s just obvious pandering to a particular trend or idea.

We may have subjective tastes and values, but I think there’s something we can agree on: We can tell if a film is speaking to us, or at us. We can tell if a film is comfortable in its own skin, or trying too hard to be something it’s not.

And to do that, I think I’ll illustrate it with one of my favourite Disney films. It initially started as a conventional adventure, and was DRASTICALLY reinvented from the ground up as something else entirely. That decision was the greatest thing to ever happen in its existence, making it a beloved film to many for just being absolutely awesome.

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The Bionic Raccoon and Space Mall Cop

Those are the moments that are foreshadowed, that form the emotional climax, the payoff and culmination of all that character development and conflict. And THESE…are not those moments.

Disclaimer: All mentioned films belong to their owners, spoilers inbound!

In any movie with some emotional component (yes, even Michael Bay films), there’s always ‘the talk’ where there’s a major revelation, a major resolution. Basically the thing where they either say “This is the problem I am raising at the worst moment!” or “This is the explicit moral of the story I just learned.” Those are the moments that are foreshadowed, that form the emotional climax, the payoff and culmination of all that character development and conflict.

And THESE…are not those moments.

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I, Main Support

This is what happens if you make the world revolve not just around a Main Character, but ONLY when the Main Character is around.

Disclaimer: All mentioned films are the property of Disney and any original owners of the source material. There might be SPOILERS when I describe works.

Made you look at Li Shang’s abs. Or are you reading this straight from the blog? Oh, then in that case, there’s a shirtless Li Shang somewhere in here.

So I was able to watch Moana the other day. Long story short, I didn’t care much for it, thought it wasted a lot of its potential coddling the main character, but it got me thinking about a blog topic. So today, I’m gonna be focusing on a vital component of any story’s development and world-building: The Supporting Cast.

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