Before we start–What is a Villain?
A character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot.
I would think it’d be that simple. You know, the concept of it but there’s more into depth of what makes a Villian. Their backstory, what led to it, their motivation, etc. What does that have to do with a title? Well, in this day and age, I have seen the way others been making them in stories, movies, TV shows, and…they’re not good. Yeah, some have been pretty okay but the main issue is with the tropes.
First Part - Redeeming
A overused trope is giving a villian a redemption arc. I don’t usually have a problem with that. However, I do have a problem when it’s being done for villains that do not deserve it and being given to them frivolously. I’ll name an example:
The Diamonds from Steven Universe
Yeah, I’m going there first. I really don’t care who attacks me, I’m saying it here: They didn’t deserve a redemption. The Diamonds, even including Rose Quartz/Pink Diamond, are awful people. The Three Diamonds (Yellow, Blue, and White) are fascist dictators that have enslaved, killed, harmed, and bubbled many gems. They even put humans into a ZOO! The cluster is probably millions of gems forced together into a bubble to become a hideous monster. It’s awful and sickening. But they get redeemed because they are sad??? And they’re Steven’s Family??? ¿◇¿ I know Pink Diamond hasn’t done those things but she started a war just because she wanted to have fun, without thinking of the risk of what happen to her Gem folk. I know Rebecca said that the Diamonds resemble abusive family members but abusive family members don’t kill or torture millions of their race. And we shouldn’t forgive our abusers for being family. That’s stupid. Making them sad doesn’t excuse what they did. That’s an awful way to give a villain redemption. Especially when they did something so toxic.
I could name another but I doubt anyone here has watch My Little Pony. But that show is a good example of where villians who do the most destructive things are getting redemption. Also, I think people are also forgetting to make good motivations and reasons for why their villains are doing what they’re doing or the way they are. The show Phineas and Ferb even made a joke about this. In the movie, the Second Dimension, Dr. Doofenshmirtz counterpart in the other dimension became a villian because he lost his toy train. A TOY TRAIN! To me, it felt that it’s jabbing at the fact people make a small situation that happened to a villian and make that the reason for why. Basically overreacting a small situation. That isn’t a real motivation.
Second Part - Confusion
Let’s not forget people mistaking antiheroes for a villian. They’re not the same. An antihero IS neither bad or good. Villians will always be bad, unless you give them a redemption arc than that doesn’t make them a villian anymore if you do it right. And an antagonist isn’t always a villian. Anyone can be an antagonist by situation and conflict, not only a villain.
Third Part - Forgetfulness
What makes your villain–A VILLAIN! Surprisingly, a lot of people tend to forget this. And you can tell as well, with their writing for them. It’s like they just randomly choose a character to be one and thought that’s a smart idea. Pick a person that’d have a justified reason or arc for what they want to do that is evil. It has to make sense. Speaking of making sense–
Fourth Part - Plot Twist
Now Disney is at fault for this one. They did this a lot more with their movies. The only one I could say that was good was the one in Moana. It was brilliantly done in my opinion, even though I don’t like the movie so much. However, I can’t say for the other movies. Zootopia with the Sheep, Hans from Frozen, the Professor from Big Hero Six–AND I LOVE BIG HERO SIX! It just doesn’t work for them. Sure, they had a reasonings for when it became revealed but what about before that? What indication did we get other than the reveal? And when I look into it, their reasons for it seems like a stretch. They’re doing something so detrimental for something so small? Overreacting isn’t a good thing to give villains.
I’m too tired so I’ll add more later to this post. Comment down what you think failed with villains in TV shows and movies and books nowadays.