The New Villains – Why Are We Fascinated by Them

For as long as we’ve had stories, we’ve had villains. These characters are often the driving force behind a narrative, providing conflict and challenge for our heroes to overcome. But in recent years, we’ve seen a rise of new types of villains in movies that are not only fascinating but also eerily relatable.

Gone are the days of the moustache-twirling, one-dimensional villains. Instead, we’re presented with villains who are complex, multi-layered, and even sympathetic in some cases. These new villains are intriguing, leaving us wanting to know more about their motivations and backstory.

One such villain is Killmonger from the 2018 film “Black Panther.” Killmonger is the cousin of T’Challa, the titular Black Panther, and seeks to take over the kingdom of Wakanda. However, his motivations are not just for power, but to use Wakanda’s resources to help black people around the world fight against oppression. While his methods are extreme, his goals are not entirely unfounded, making him a villain that audiences can understand and even sympathize with.

Another example of a complex villain is Thanos from the 2019 film “Avengers: Endgame.” Thanos is a powerful and menacing villain, seeking to wipe out half the universe’s population to restore balance. While his actions are horrific, the film takes the time to explore his backstory and motivations, making him more than just a one-dimensional bad guy.

These new villains are not just compelling characters; they also reflect the complexities and nuances of our world today. Many of these villains are motivated by ideologies and beliefs that are relatable to real-life situations. In “Joker” (2019), the titular character is a victim of societal neglect and a system that has failed him, leading to his descent into madness. While we can condemn his violent actions, we can also understand how his circumstances led him to that point.

The popularity of these new types of villains reflects a shift in how we view storytelling. Audiences are no longer satisfied with black-and-white morality tales. Instead, we want stories that challenge us to think and explore complex themes and ideas.

As we delve deeper into the world of modern storytelling, we begin to realize that there are six new types of villains that embody the shifting cultural and societal norms of our time. These captivating characters not only reflect the complex issues of our society, but also offer an opportunity for writers to create thrilling and thought-provoking stories that keep audiences on the edge of their seats. 

Here Are 6 Types of New Villains That Would Get the Audience Hooked.

#1 – Sympathetic Villains.
These multifaceted characters elicit sympathy and understanding from audiences, making them some of the most compelling and complex antagonists in recent years. These villains have a rich and intricate backstory that often includes significant trauma or suffering, which has led them to their current path.

Despite being in opposition to the protagonist, their motivations and actions are understandable, and their causes may be noble, even if they involve harming others.

One such example is Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a character whose troubled past and complicated relationship with his brother Thor make him an endlessly fascinating character to watch. The audience can’t help but feel for his struggles, even as he battles against the heroes.

In essence, sympathetic villains offer a fresh and captivating take on the traditional antagonist, giving audiences a chance to engage with complex and multidimensional characters. They provide a glimpse into the motivations and experiences that drive people to make questionable choices, and force us to question our own moral compass. So be ready to root for the “bad guy” and feel their pain, because with these villains, it’s never just black and white.

#2 – Antiheroes.
Are you ready to meet the most intriguing and captivating heroes in modern storytelling – the antiheroes? These complex characters may be the protagonists, but they do not possess the traditional heroic qualities that we often associate with heroes. Unlike traditional heroes, antiheroes are not always selfless, moral, or altruistic. Instead, they often possess morally ambiguous, flawed, or even outright villainous qualities that make them all the more fascinating.

What sets antiheroes apart is their unpredictability and the unconventional ways they operate. They may have their own personal codes of conduct and engage in actions that are violent, illegal, or morally questionable to achieve their goals.

One of my favourite examples of such a character is Thomas Shelby from “Peaky Blinders”. Despite being the leader of a criminal gang, Thomas’ code of honor and willingness to fight against injustice make him a captivating and multidimensional character.

Overall, antiheroes are characters who challenge our expectations of what it means to be a hero. They may not be conventional heroes, but their complexity and ambiguity make them all the more captivating and compelling. So buckle up and get ready to see the world through the eyes of the antihero, because it’s a wild and fascinating ride.

#3 – Chaotic Villains.
What makes chaotic villains so fascinating is their unpredictability and their disregard for societal norms and rules. They often operate outside of conventional moral boundaries and may have their own personal codes of conduct that prioritize chaos and destruction over anything else. This makes them challenging and dangerous opponents for the protagonist, who may struggle to understand or anticipate their actions.

There is no better example of such a villain than Moriarty from “Sherlock”. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind who is motivated by a desire to upset the status quo and challenge Sherlock’s sense of order. He operates outside of conventional moral boundaries and is completely unpredictable in his actions.

Overall, chaotic villains are characters who are motivated by a desire for chaos and destruction. They often operate outside of conventional moral boundaries and may be completely unpredictable in their actions. While they may be dangerous opponents for the protagonist, they are also fascinating and compelling characters due to their unpredictability and disregard for societal norms and rules.

#4 – Ideological Villains.
Ideological villains are the type of villains who are driven by a belief in a particular ideology or belief system. They are often motivated by a desire to impose their beliefs on others, or to eliminate those who do not share their beliefs.

What makes ideological villains so compelling is their conviction and their willingness to commit atrocities in the name of their ideology. They are often completely convinced that they are in the right, and may see themselves as martyrs or heroes fighting for a greater cause. This conviction can make them dangerous opponents for the protagonist, who may struggle to convince them to see reason.

One such villain is Magneto from the “X-Men franchise”. Magneto is motivated by a belief in mutant supremacy and the need to protect mutants from persecution. While his methods are often violent and extreme, his motivations are understandable, making him a compelling and nuanced character. Knowing his backstory as a young Jewish boy who witnessed his mother shot in front of his eyes and turned into a scientific experiment makes him also a sympathetic villain. 

Overall, ideological villains are characters who are driven by a belief in a particular ideology or belief system. They are often completely convinced that they are in the right, and are willing to commit atrocities to achieve their goals. While they may be dangerous opponents for the protagonist, they are also fascinating and compelling characters due to their conviction and their willingness to commit extreme acts in the name of their ideology.

#5 – Corporate Villains.
In today’s world, it seems like big corporations and governments are often seen as corrupt and evil. And it’s no wonder why – corporate villains are the perfect example of greed and power gone wrong. These villains are motivated by profit and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, even if it means engaging in illegal and unethical practices that harm others.

But what makes corporate villains truly captivating is their ability to manipulate the system and bend the rules to their will. With their vast wealth and resources, they can pull strings and make things happen that most people wouldn’t even dream of.

Take Jordan Belfort from “The Wolf of Wall Street” for example. He’s a master manipulator who uses illegal means to become one of the richest men in America. His greed and disregard for others make him a villain you love to hate.

While they may be dangerous opponents for the hero, corporate villains are intriguing characters that captivate us with their cunning and deceitful ways. They remind us that not everything is as it seems and that the pursuit of power and money can lead to some dark places.

#6 – Technological Villains.
These are a type of new villains that have emerged in recent years, particularly in science fiction movies and TV shows. These villains are typically driven by a desire to control or manipulate technology in some way, often with disastrous consequences. They might be robots, androids, or other AI, or they might be human characters who are experts in technology.

What makes technological villains so fascinating is their ability to manipulate and control the world around them using technology. They might use advanced hacking techniques to infiltrate computer systems, or they might use robots to carry out their bidding. They might be motivated by a desire for power or control, or they might simply be acting on their own programming.

One of the key themes of technological villains is the question of what it means to be human. Many of these villains are AI that are capable of learning and evolving, and they often struggle with questions of morality and ethics. This makes them complex and fascinating characters, as audiences are forced to grapple with the idea of what it means to be human in a world where machines are becoming more and more advanced.

Overall, technological villains represent a new type of villain that is uniquely suited to the modern era of technology and science fiction. With the increasing integration of technology into our daily lives, these villains are likely to become even more relevant and compelling in the years to come.

A good example is Ava from “Ex Machina”. Ava is a highly advanced AI created by a reclusive billionaire, and she’s capable of manipulating those around her in order to escape her confinement. Her intelligence and her lack of morality make her a fascinating and dangerous villain.

In conclusion – the new wave of villains in movies and TV shows reflects the changing cultural and societal norms of our time. The rise of technology, the changing attitudes towards morality and justice, and the increasing awareness of social and political issues have all contributed to the emergence of new types of villains. 

From the sympathetic to the ideological, from the corporate to the chaotic, these villains offer a rich and complex array of characters for audiences to engage with. While they may be dangerous and terrifying, they also provide a window into our own fears, desires, and motivations. By exploring the new villains of our time, we can gain a better understanding of ourselves and our society, and perhaps even find new ways to confront the challenges of the world around us.

Now it’s YOUR turn – Who is your favourite villain from any book or movie and why?

Would love to get your input in the comment box below.

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