I recently watched Suicide Squad, which I found to be a fun superhero movie, despite some criticisms of the editing. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Harly Quinn, the Joker’s little puppet and love interest, and I think Margot did an exceptional job at portraying the completely crazy villainess. Jared Leto was also fantastic as the Joker.
A really good villain is one that you can’t help loving, even if they’re really, really bad. Maybe it’s because you have some understanding about why they became the way they are, or maybe their personality is just so infectious that you can’t help liking them. Or maybe they have awesome powers and they’re just plain cool. (We all loved Darth Vader long before we knew anything about his past. In fact, learning his past diminished some of his coolness, I think.)
Maybe it’s that allure of power that draws us towards certain villains. Maybe it’s the cool clothing. Villains tend not to care what anyone thinks of them. They’re supreme in their self-confidence. That can be attractive.
Or maybe they do things we only wish we could. The Joker loves to wreak mayhem, particularly on stuffy rich folk. Hannibal Lector eats whatever–and whomever–he wants. Voldemort is practically worshiped by his followers. And Lucifer gives you everything you desire . . . then takes your soul.
So anyways, I enjoyed Suicide Squad because it brought together a lot of evil, selfish villains, gave each of them a weakness, and put them in a situation where they had to decide between being selfish or doing something good for once. I liked it, and I wanted to take Harly Quinn home even though she’d most likely kill me.
And that brings me to the writing of my latest book, Fraud Twice Felt (Book 2 of the Oddities). I’m writing the climax, which has a lot of characters moving around and a lot of action. I have a villain that appeared in the first book that I’ve come to adore, but I need to somehow resolve his story arc in order for my heroes to move forward to the next book. This villain is charming, suave, but also vicious, like a snake. I’m thinking of making him even cooler to really up the stakes in the climax. (Can’t say how–it would be a major spoiler.)
And then? I probably should kill him, because otherwise everyone knows he’ll continue to be a threat out there, unresolved. But I’m finding I don’t want to kill him!
-Sigh.- And that’s the dilemma of loving your villain.