When it comes to villains, I tend to get a bit philosophical.
Sorry, not talking about the rabbit hole reference or metaphysics.
When does the bad guy become the villain? When does a villain become a hero? Or an anti-hero? Does he ever? How do we decide who the villain is? And, one of my all-time favorite questions: When does a victim become a villain?
Aside from movies with characters like Darth Vader and Voldemort, Freddy Kruger and Norman Bates, how do we know who the “real” villain is?
We watch. We get pulled into the film. We feel.
I could argue President Snow isn’t the real villain in The Hunger Games but I’d get moldy plum tomatoes thrown at me so I’ll say he’s not the only one in those movies.
In The Matrix, the big bad is Agent Smith. (So says everyone.)
I beg to differ.
He just wants a life, poor bloke, and humans are kinda…gross. Can you blame him for wanting to rid the world of us? I jest.
However, we did create his kind. Isn’t it ultimately our responsibility he exists in the first place? It’s a stretch to blame us completely (and where’s the fun in that?) but he is a program, a machine, AI. And one, I might add, that’s just doing its job.
Agent Smith, a villain? Sure. But I think there’s a big bad baddie badder than him.
Cypher’s human, with a soul, and, presumably, a conscience yet chooses to murder all the humans who know and trust him.
He’s a bit too happy pulling the plug on his friends, to be honest. He’s creepily cheerful. Or cheerfully creepy. Whatever. *shudders* He makes a deal to do them in, without hesitation, in exchange for being plugged back into the Matrix to live out his life in ignorance (with a virtual steak and some serious cash). Bad? Definitely. Evil? Yes. Villain? Not sure. I think so but others might not agree.
Smith is obvious. Very clear in his intentions. He’s out to get these rebels who are trying to free mankind from enslavement.
Cypher is insidious. He hangs with the group. He lives, eats, sleeps, and, seemingly, works with them. Until we learn that he doesn’t. He’s planning to kill them and turn Morpheus over to the enemy. Basically, he’s a despicable, double-crossing, treacherous traitor.
Dante saves a special place in hell for traitors—the ninth circle (where the most wicked of the sinners reside).
I wouldn’t enjoy Smith popping up all over the place trying to kill me but, frankly, I’d rather see the knife coming, you know? Et tu, Brute?
What makes a villain? Their degree of evil or the conflict they create? Is a villain simply someone who stands in the way of the hero? If so, both Agent Smith and Cypher qualify. Not to mention all the minions (“Sentinels” in The Matrix). Which brings me to another point…
Sentinels? Stormtroopers? Death Eaters? Peacekeepers? Orcs? Are they villains? Must a character have intelligence or hold some sort of power (or all the power) in order to be considered a villain? So many questions, so little space.
I’ll leave you to ponder. Or perhaps just drop a rude comment below. No, please don’t do that. I’ll send my villainous minions after you. I have hundreds and they know where you blog.
This post is part of The Great Villain Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy, Silver Screenings, and Shadows and Satin. #Villains2016
Don’t miss my next installment of *cue music* VILLAINS2016! (I’ll link to it here after I post because I am but a feeble, non-techie human and do not have power yet over the Matrix.)
- Special thanks to Silver Screenings for allowing me to get all philosophical with my entries. Seriously, thank you for letting me play. (Also, she made all the beautiful banners you’ll see around. *holds up ‘applause’ sign*)