Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bring On The Bad Guys! [and see them change]

Ever notice that when we want to create a villain in the comic book [or film] genre, we often end up with a bad guy being a bald guy?

Lex Luthor, Silvana, Brainiac, Mongul, Darkseid, the Red Skull, Egghead, Obadiah Stane, Hugo Strange, Nosferatu...

But lest any think I am aiming at them, the goateed guys are often villainous too: Count Nefaria, Ra's al Ghul, Vandal Savage [JLU], Mr. Spock from Star Trek's Mirror Universe... you get the idea.

So when you begin watching Megamind, it is ABSOLUTELY clear WHO the villain is. He's both [OK - almost] - and on top of everything, he is also BLUE - a color no normal human has.

And in mere minutes, you find a great deal of sympathy for the kid who just couldn't fit in - so he decided he'd BE Bad - and the baddest of the bad - since he was already good at being bad! [For a great review of this movie in full: http://amaliehoward.com/tag/megamind-minion/ ]

Better than any Johnny Depp sympathy-for-the-poor-damned-soul characterization though, is when the villain decides that there is SOMETHING worth fighting FOR - and it is love he never thought he'd have.

Love wins the day, even as the 'official hero' checks out of his job.

I don't want to give it all away, but let's just say heroism and sacrifice come from loving something or someone greater than yourself. Adulation and approval for doing good just don't cut the mustard. It has to be real and real deep or resentment starts in. You quit.

It is also a form of grace that enters, for the person who loves others unconditionally must have received that same kind of love AND perceived it.

All this came to mind as I am also reading Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages and C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves. One is teaching me WHAT people can hear when you try to love on them [their preferred 'love language'] and the other is teaching me what KIND of loves I need to be human and humane [some ouchy eye-openers, there.]

Back to Megamind - to the villain, his conflict with the city's hero is a long-standing game, to prove he's as good as [or better than] Megaman, hero of Metrocity. Lots of showmanship is involved, but no lasting harm is done. When Megaman is suddenly removed from play, the villain, like a dog chasing cars, does not know what to do with his unexpected victory.

Can you imagine how many conflicts would evaporate if you merely said "You win. Bye now?"

Here's some great dialogue from Amalie Howard's site:
MegaMind: In case you’ve noticed, you’ve fallen right into my trap!
MetroMan: You can’t trap justice! It’s an idea, a belief!
MegaMind: Even the most heartfelt belief can get corroded with crime!
MetroMan: Justice is a non-corrosive metal!
MegaMind: But metals can be melted, by the heat of revanche!
MetroMan: It’s REVENGE, and it’s best served cold!
MegaMind: But it can be easily reheated, in the microwave of evil!
MetroMan: Well, I think your warranty’s about to expire!
MegaMind: Maybe I got an extended warranty!
MetroMan: Warranties are invalid, if used beyond their intended purpose!
Roxanne Ritchi: Girls, girls, you’re both pretty! Can I go home now?

During his pyrrhic victory stage, he meets and falls in love with the supposed girlfriend of the hero. He doesn't mean to; 'fate' thrusts him into her arms - or vice-versa - and since he wants to please her, he begins reforming [on the sly of course; she must NEVER know that HE is Megamind]!

I'll stop there, because, frankly, a lot of us guys live there. We love the women in our lives, but we know too much about our own villainy.

We hide our true selves, lest anyone find us and reveal our evil.

But what makes us change? Love. It is not our wisdom or education, but the matters of the heart that ultimately make us what we are.

One of my favorite lines from The Big Bang Theory is when worldly Penny and nerdy Sheldon begin a 'war' with each other. Leonard tries hard to intervene and tells Penny, "Please - you don't want to get into it with Sheldon! That guy's only one lab accident away from becoming a supervillain!" [See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLr_cnPJ7VQ&feature=player_detailpage#t=82s ]

I laughed so hard I had to back up my DVD to catch the next lines.

[edit - added for clarity]
What gets Sheldon to make peace with Penny? A command from the only woman he loves - his MOTHER! [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkIsscEb77k&feature=related ]

Love changes us. Love tames us. But if we smell a fight - a threat to our ego - and yes, I am looking in the mirror here, watch out...

...we DO have 'an enemy within.'

Ask God to love on you and tame that beast before you set fire to the whole city or force your friends to play 'panty pinata.' ;)


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