Do villains have to commit "taboo" acts for us to hate them?

Do villains need to rape, torture or mutilate people for us to hate them? Or maybe the reverse is true: Sometimes we can invest more in a villain, if his or her evildoing is creative and leaves more to our imaginations. Sometimes with villains, brutality is the lesser path. Here's our plea for more subtle monsters. » 8/15/13 2:05pm 8/15/13 2:05pm

What's the worst example of a badass who got wimpified?

This happens all the time. A character, or an entire civilization, are built up as being unstoppable and crushingly awesome. And then... the enwimpening. The most unstoppable force in the universe has a really simple weakness. Or the greatest fighter turns out to crumble under pressure. What's your least favorite… » 6/13/13 2:00pm 6/13/13 2:00pm

Why do so many villains get caught on purpose?

The first official promo image for Star Trek Into Darkness shows Benedict Cumberbatch's mysterious villain John Harrison locked in a plexiglass brig. Which means that John Harrison is joining a long and proud tradition: villains who get caught in the middle of the story — often on purpose. From The Dark Knight to The… » 1/02/13 1:00pm 1/02/13 1:00pm

Supervillain Schemes That Ought to Have Worked

One of the great things about supervillains is their lunatic schemes, which usually rely on the phases of the Moon and a squad of cyborg dolphins sailing into the bay at 12:07 precisely. The real reason the good guy always wins is because the bad guy doesn't keep it simple. » 5/03/12 12:44pm 5/03/12 12:44pm

How to Create a Brand New Iconic Hero or Villain

Over a decade into the 21st Century, our imaginations are captivated by creations of the 19th and 20th. Sherlock Holmes rules television and movies. We're eagerly awaiting new movies about James Bond, Captain Kirk, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man. Where are the 21st Century mass-media heroes and villains? Why isn't… » 1/24/12 12:32pm 1/24/12 12:32pm

How Superhero Movies Can Escape the 'Too Many Villains' Problem

There's a dreadful ailment that afflict superhero movies: the villain overload. Movies about costumed crime-fighters seem to attract surplus villains, like barnacles. Is it because the merchandising people want more toys to market? Or because they just want to pad out the cast with a few more names? It's hard to say. » 10/03/11 3:24pm 10/03/11 3:24pm

Heroes and villains of imaginary worlds: A quick primer

Why does science fiction have so many heroes and villains? Why are some heroes so much cooler than others, and why can't villains be ruthless and competent? Here's our introductory guide to the eternal struggle of good versus evil. » 8/27/10 4:06pm 8/27/10 4:06pm

A Villain Who Can't Kill The Hero Is The Worst Kind Of Asshat

Villains: They're crazed, they're flamboyant, and they're the smoggy, sparking engine that keeps many a story chugging along. Except that a villain who can't kill the hero for some contrived reason is worse than having your hero fight global illiteracy. » 3/01/10 5:30pm 3/01/10 5:30pm

Who's The Weakest Recent Villain?

They don't make supervillains like they used to, as we mentioned » 8/22/08 3:34pm 8/22/08 3:34pm the other day. Today's super-villains are more like super-kittens, that you just want to scritch behind the ears. Or else, they're the hero's friend, until the script suddenly needs them to glue on a giant mustache and become evil. But who's the…