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How The Villains Of Today’s Superhero Genre Are More Three Dimensional

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Three dimensional villains are essential when it comes to comic book multimedia projects.

We’ve been treated to a lot of superhero projects in recent months. It has given us something else to think about instead of the pandemic that has been reaping destruction upon the world. Our heroes often need a massive challenge and that’s why three Three dimensional villains are essential to the plot of any story.

In this post, we’re going to go over how some of the villains from recent superhero projects have given us new insight into who they are. Our first stop is Loki, the adoptive little brother of Marvel’s Thor.

Loki

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[Credit: Twitter]

One of the most three dimensional characters in the MCU is Loki, the adoptive brother of the God of Thunder and Avenger, Thor. During the first film entitled simply as Thor, we see the relationship between the two Asgardian princes deteriorate rapidly.

Loki always felt inferior to his older brother who was always destined for much more. Over the course of the film, the younger prince discovers something that was hidden from him. He was adopted after Odin killed his biological father who was the leader of the Frost Giants.

It becomes clear very quickly why Loki becomes a villain. He felt rejected by Odin. Yes, Frigga, his and Thor’s mother loved both her sons the same, in her youngest’s eyes, all he wanted was his father’s approval.

Over the course of his appearances in the MCU, Loki is an anti-hero. Not evil but not good either. He’s a Frost Giant with his own agenda. However, he and Thor return to having a brotherly relationship with all the humourous moments. Moreover, they grieved the murder of their mother together which allowed them to work together in stopping Malekith.

Loki’s desire to have a better relationship with Odin comes at the price of father’s death during Thor: Ragnarok. Before his death, the former monarch of Asgard forgives his adoptive son and tells both his boys that he loves them.

Killmonger

[Credit: Elite Daily]

People started to take notice of three dimensional villains when Black Panther introduced Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, the secret cousin of T’Challa and Shuri. The son of N’Jobi, N’Jadaka was a skilled warrior who wasn’t really evil. He just wanted change in the world as his father wanted him to live in a safer wold.

While this is understandable, the methods in which he goes about it, is not right. He wants to expose people and make them suffer. He also flaunted his narcissistic side and cared little about the traditions that were engrained in the minds of the nation he stole from his cousin, the rightful king.

Killmonger ordered a number of traditions such as the heart shaped herb be destroyed so no one could become Black Panther. If anything, he wanted to shape Wakanda into a world of his own design. As we stated earlier, his father wanted him to live in a better universe, but not where there was a tyrant in charge.

N’Jobu cared deeply about fighting drug crime and corruption but his son took it too far. Killmonger’s intentions were well intended but jumping the gun into extremism is not the way get what you set out to achieve. N’Jadaka should’ve realised this.

Maxwell Lord And Barbara Minerva

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[Credit: Comicbook]

We’ve talked about Max Lord and Cheetah before so we’ll just keep it short. These two antagonists from Wonder Woman 1984 aren’t really villains if you think it about. They only wanted better lives but went down the extreme path to achieve it.

Max allowed himself to get swept up in wanting to give his son, Alistair a better life that he forgot what was important. The love of his son. Barbara allowed her jealousy of Diana fuel her desire to have the same power as her friend.

They wanted to show people that they weren’t failures but allowed their egos fuel their agendas; that take what they thought they deserved. It shouldn’t have been them wanting something. They needed to earn their goals and not expect it to just happen.

Thanos

[Credit: Nerd Reactor]

Of all the Marvel villains on this list, Thanos is one of the most three dimensional antagonists in the MCU. He wanted a new world order where there was enough supplies for everyone. However, it required one tiny thing; half the world has to be wiped out of existence for this to be achieved.

As he explained to his adoptive daughter, Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War, he wiped a large portion of her homeworld away because people were ‘struggling’. Yes, there there was poverty but they were happy. That’s more important than a plentiful food source in the eyes of Gamora’s people.

While Thanos was thinking outside the box, so to speak, he didn’t consider the people that would be missed by their loved ones of all those he snapped out of existence. For example, Queen Mother Ramonda of Wakanda lost both of her children in the Snap.

Another example of this comes from a classmate of Peter Parker’s in Spider-Man: Far From Home. During a news broadcast, Jason mentions that he got blipped away but his younger brother didn’t. When he was returned five years later, his sibling was suddenly older than him.

Thanos might not seem appear to be three dimensional in the way he thinks, but he’s not trying to impress Lady Death like he did in the comics. All of his terrible deeds there were to get on her good side and snapping away half the world’s population seemed ideal in his mind.

However, the MCU version of Thanos has a ‘sympathetic’ way of thinking. He wants the universe to have resources that can feed populations without running out. What he also forgets is that not all individuals will be happy to give up loved ones just to have a better life.

Icicle

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[Credit: TVLine]

Stargirl Season 1’s villain was an interesting pick as Geoff Johns, the showrunner and creator of the titular character decided Icicle would be the ideal antagonist alongside the Injustice Society of America.

Jordan Mahkent is a widowed father who has been marked with the tragic death of his wife, Christine from cancer when their son, Cameron was just a child. Almost ten years on, he still has not recovered and seeks revenge for those responsible for her demise.

Outside of his civilian persona, Jordan is Icicle, a villain with no moral code other than revenge. According to the personality section on the character page on the Stargirl Fandom, before the birth of his son, he was nothing but a one dimensional character with only a single goal.

Throughout his appearance, his main goal becomes more apparent. He wants a better world for his son and the rest of the children of the ISA. However, with his group of followers often fighting amongst themselves, Jordan is forced to clean up their messes.

Loyalty is a big thing when it comes to Jordan’s end goal for Project New America. He often sends his ‘attack dogs’ Larry Crock (Sportsmaster) and Paula Brooks (Tigress) to do his bidding. When they fail, he sends Anaya Bowin, much to her chagrin.

As the season comes to a close, the Justice Society learns that part of Project New America is to eradicate the world’s imperfections which leads them – mostly Rick Tyler – to question whether they’re on the right side. However, Beth and Barbara discover that in order for the ISA’s plan to work, 25 million people would have to die.

Jordan’s three dimensional character and his arc end up becoming his downfall in the end as he strays from his own mission.

Conclusion

It is often frustrating when villains in any superhero project doesn’t have a realistic goal. For most, it’s either power or money and the cycle just continues. Look at all the versions of Lex Luthor. His end goal every single time is to destroy Superman… for what reason? Because he’s jealous of him and won’t be his friend?

When you have a compelling story and a hero to match, the conflict has to be memorable. That’s where the villain comes into play. Without someone or something to block them at every move, the adventure becomes stale, uninspiring.

Villains have been written as one dimensional since the beginning of comic books. Giving them a more detailed story is how people connect with them. It makes us want to cheer them on rather than the heroes.

About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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