When I was part of the Transformers newsgroup there was this small group of people who claimed that the Decepticons were actually the heroes of Cybertron, and made their case. Speaking as a human I found their reasoning a bit wanting but that was all in fun. Or was it given certain stories we see today. Productions like Wicked and Maleficent may try to alter the story to make the villain the hero but some people want to use the evidence itself to prove the heroes were actually the baddies, and admittedly there are poorly made stories where you can make a proper case. However, there have been examples where doing so means missing certain elements of the story to prove their case. Some time ago I challenged a video insisting Syndrome was actually in the right for the original The Incredibles though I have to wonder if this was a think piece or outright trolling by someone not happy with superheroes. Recently SF Debris posted a video showing why contrary to certain beliefs on the internet Walter Peck wasn’t doing his job but was abusing it and Peter Venkman was right to stand up to him. I think we’ve seen movies where the writers wanted so badly to make a villain out of a strawman that they messed up and it became the story of an innocent but bad tempered person being unjustly kept from their goal.

Very longtime readers may remember I linked to a lot of articles from Cracked, the website born of Mad Magazine‘s former rival. Instead of parody comics the site has articles, most notably lists because they’re very popular on the internet. They still try to be humorous, and one can judge the level of humor, but some of their conclusions as of late have become debatable and after they tossed out their video division without proper warning I slowly lost interest. I’m not one of those people addicted to lists. However, in the YouTube posting of the Peck video someone linked to an article from Cracked, “9 Famous Movie Villains Who Were Right All Along“. Now I can’t really judge every entry on this list. For example I’ve never seen The Rock and all I know about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are Broderick’s antics so I can’t judge the principal or truant officer or whoever Jeffery Jones was playing. However, I have seen evidence that Bueller himself was either a horrible person or a figment of the other male student lead’s imagination but that’s a whole other article. Of the movies I have seen or at least feel I’ve heard enough about to make at least a minor judgement call however, Cracked is not right in their assessment.

Mutant Registration Side (X-Men)

Specifically they’re talking about the Fox movies, not the comics. In the comics the whole nature of mutant hate makes zero sense to me. What does it matter if people are born with powers or just hit by some kind of radiation bomb? Outside of Civil War nobody cares about Spider-Man having radioactive spider-blood, Captain America having irradiated steroids, or whatever they did to Luke Cage? I know why the X-Men were originally created but the message gets a bit lost considering how many different ways there are to get superpowers in the Marvel universe and why unless the physical mutation is obvious I don’t see them fitting into the MCU. However, the Fox movies ONLY had mutants and there the analog works. Or does it?

Headed by Senator Robert Kelly in the first X-Men movie, the Mutant Registration Side are the speciecist.. spesist… racist … the jerks who demand a legislative bill forcing every super-powered individual in the country to register with the government. Just like the Jews in Nazi Germany!

The Nazi analogy would probably work a lot better if real-life Jews could shoot boiling acid out of their assholes or level entire cities by blinking, which our Jewish friends assure us only Mossad agents can do. The X-Men mutants on the other hand actually can conjure up hurricanes, stop time, and completely alter a person’s mind until he really believes that Flavor Flav is a reasonable and intelligent media personality. It seems perfectly understandable that some folks might want to keep tabs on such individuals.

And what happens when he can’t? As a human in the X-Men movies you constantly have to be on the lookout not only for the evil mutants who want to kill you, but also for the supposed “good guys” who are often in the process of accidentally killing you. In X-Men, Cyclops loses his protective goggles in a crowded train station and just starts straight fire-blasting with his Murder Vision uncontrollably, unable to handle his powers or discern between bad guys and random kids who happen to be in the same building. And he’s the good guy! In X2, every human on the planet almost had their brains melted simultaneously by a mutant.

The thing is I actually can’t disagree with this. Senator Kelly is even depicted as being scared but unlike other X-shows and comics he isn’t shown to be doing this out of hate. Fear leads to anger and anger leads to hate but Kelly in the movie is still in phase one…and then gets turned into Meltman from Action League Now for his trouble. My problem is why they’re going after them? Magneto is the villain of the story. He was the one who wanted to melt everyone’s brains. Cyclops is getting gear from a rich guy with his own mansion and access to a military stealth plane with extra seating room. It’s not like X-Factor, one incarnation of which was a sort of mutant police force, policing their own. We do see some hateful people in the later movies in the original trilogy but it’s the comic and cartoon versions where the registration side are all a-holes.

Batman doesn’t agree with Cracked either.

The Hyenas (The Lion King)

They want something to eat. That’s their problem, and it’s only a problem because Mufasa banished them from the Pride Land and forced them to live in an elephant graveyard, which is no place to raise a child, hyena or otherwise. We never know why they were banished to the Pride Slums, leaving us to assume Mufasa’s unedited explaination of the Circle of Life went something like this:

We do get some idea based on what happens when Scar takes over with his hyena army. One of the problems during Scar’s reign, and we see evidence of this inclination in sequels and spinoff media, is that the hyenas do not respect the balance of nature. The writer, Cezary Jan Strusiewicz, altered Mufasa’s speech to Simba where everything is intact from what I know of the scene but when Simba asks about the hyenas Mufasa goes “@#$#@ those guys”. Yet we’re told that the hyenas have been overhunting so the prey animals are dying out and there isn’t enough for everyone without exterminating the whole species. The Pride Lands have an understanding, as in the part of the speech Strusiewicz quotes, but the hyenas do now share that understanding, and even if you try to make the case that they’ve been in the graveyard so long that they’re that hungry Scar should still be bringing them into line. He doesn’t care either. He just wants to be the king and have all the power that comes with it. He doesn’t even care about the other lions, never mind if there are enough zebras for anyone besides him to eat.

I don’t have an image of the witch on me, so here’s her targets.

The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz)

Remember that the Witch wasn’t after Dorothy, and she wasn’t trying to rule the world. All she ever wanted was those slippers. Say, how did Dorothy acquire those magical shoes in the first place? Why, by taking them off the blood-drenched feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. Who she just murdered. Who also happened to be the Wicked Witch of the West’s sister.

This movie is on my Finally Watched list (and so is The Lion King but I know enough about the hyenas from other discussions and The Lion Guard…plus I’ve seen the sequel, Simba’s Pride before the first movie) to say that’s not correct. Dorothy had less control over her flying house than Professor Bumble (let’s see who gets that reference) so it was hardly murder. Involuntary manslaughter at best. And it was Glenda in the movie that gave Dorothy the slippers to help her on her way after the Witch’s bloodless death where her feet just wrinkled under the house. The writer may be going for comedy but it’s at the cost of accuracy.

From where we stand, the Wicked Witch of the West had every right in the world to bludgeon Dorothy to death with a sock full of toxic batteries, but what did she do? Absolutely nothing. She just wanted her shoes back, and every action that she took was motivated by that want. Then, of course, Dorothy raises an army in the form of a giant, talking lion, a man made of metal and an unkillable scarecrow, steals the Witch’s broomstick and kills the Witch, staging a nice little Witch sister reunion in the afterlife.

That’s revisionist history right there. Dorothy didn’t raise any army, she came across other people seeking something from the Wizard, who basically forced all of them to go after the broomstick to hide the fact that he was just some entertainer whose hot air balloon went the wrong direction. Why not call him out for sending these new friends to a possible death to hide his own lack of wizardness? Killing the Witch was also an accident. It’s not like Dorothy knew the water would cause her to melt faster than an anti-mutant senator, but I’m betting the Witch was hoping tearing a living scarecrow to bits who was forced to go on a mission to get some smarts would kill him. And the Witch is willing to do all this for a pair of slippers we’re only told are magical and in the end all we see them do is send Dorothy home…the movie making the mistake of using Glenda again instead of the Good Witch Of The South like in the books, so it looks like the “Good” Witch Of The North was just messing with Dorothy all this time.

“You need to follow this long winding path with danger on the sides to speak to the wizard while being attacked by the Witch’s minions. Or just click your heels together and learn nothing from all this and go home you lazy teen.”

It’s not that the Wicked Witch wasn’t even, it’s that she wasn’t alone.

Wait, wrong Johnny. I don’t have my DVD on hand to do this right and the deadline is coming up fast.

Captain Skroeder (Short Circuit)

In the theological-nightmare movie “Short Circuit” a military robot is granted a soul after being struck by a lightning bolt. Gaining sentience and running away, he is constantly pursued by the ruthless security-chief of the company that built him, Captain Skroeder-a man who will stop at nothing to destroy the so called “malfunctioning” machine.

Here’s a riddle for you. What do you call a piece of electronics which stopped working the way it was supposed to? We’ll give you a hint: it starts with an “m” and Eminem cuold make it rhyme with “mouth-puncturing.” Johnny 5 was not only a malfunctioning piece of machinery for which Skroeder was responsible, he was a dangerous robot designed for killing and armed with one of the most powerful lasers in the world. If Skroeder could stop Johnny 5 and fix the broken, highly dangerous robot from wandering around a world full of life, the value of which he didn’t understand, Skroeder would be a damned hero.

Okay, editor, maybe “cuold” you do you job? That’s the second typo that my browser spell check picked up on. Anyway, Skroeder may have been right for wanting to retrieve what he thought was a dangerous robot with a laser gun, but fixing Number 5 was not his plan. In fact he wanted to destroy the thing for trying to take his job in the first place. If memory serves we already knew he hated 5 and his siblings for that reason. He also not only interfered with Newton’s attempt to safely retrieve the robot more than once but when the evidence was right there that the only thing Number Johnny Five used his laser on was Stephanie’s jerk ex-boyfriend’s hat when he could have killed the scumbag in self-defense or defending Stephanie. He didn’t even destroy the other robots he sent after 5. It didn’t get into his head that he didn’t have to destroy the robot. And let’s be clear, he was ignoring his order to bring the robot back to NOVA intact. He wanted to destroy the Number 5 and celebrated when he did so…only to be rightly fired for destroying millions of taxpayer dollars when all they had to do was ask him to come back with the promise of no disassembly (unless they could prove he wouldn’t die as a robotic lifeform) as the robot’s creator tried to do more than once until Skroeder screwed it up.

It’s still unclear to us how, in a movie full of scientists and people not currently in mental institutions, it took Skroeder, a security officer, to disbelieve that souls can travel through lightning strikes. The funny thing is he sort of had a point there, because during the first days of Johnny’s so called “sentience”, he didn’t even understand the concept of life and death. Do you understand the implications of that? A machine that can kill but doesn’t know what killing means? We should have been rooting for someone to drop a bomb on this military murder-bot before it “disassembled” a bunch of toddlers.

Because your average three day old is already aware of life and death, right? He can only talk or do anything else because he was a robot programmed to do so. The first half of the movie is Number 5 trying to get “input” to understand his new conception of the world around him. He did NOTHING to attack anyone unless he was attacked first, and he was programmed as a battle robot in contrast to his designer’s original concept. (Also he could make a mixed drink so I guess he could take a barkeep’s job as well as Skroeder’s.) Skroeder and Newton’s boss didn’t believe Number 5 was alive and even Newton Crosby, PhD had to be shown by the hippie snack truck driver who actually spent time with the robot that he was more than the robot he built. His poor assistant didn’t learn anything until the sequel, where Johnny replaced his laser with a plot device backpack.

I know, I know…wrong Matrix.

The Machines (The Matrix / Animatrix)

Let’s go back to the start. Some of this backstory is relayed in the films, some of it in The Animatrix, the series of shorts the creators released between films. Either way, this is canon in the Matrix universe.

In the beginning, the Machines were our slaves, used for every job imaginable — and yes, someone probably was screwing them over — before they got too smart for their own good and decided that serving us wasn’t the most efficient use of their time. So we tried to mass-murder them. As a neat little compromise, the bots created a peaceful robot-utopia in the desert, which quickly became the world’s leading economy. Our response was to mass-murder them some more (it was the future’s hot new answer to all possible problems, including failing test scores among middle-schoolers).

By the way, I do recommend The Animatrix. While the shorts going over the history of the robot/human war is scattered between random stories involving people in the Matrix it does a good job of fleshing out the universe and makes more sense than the sequels…except for the robot’s reaction to mankind suddenly remember the Terminator movies might have had a point…again, despite all evidence to the contrary…and responded like the robots were mutants. Even when they brokered a peace and gave the robots their own island to rule and trade with the Skroeder’s of the world still freaked out and tried to kill them.

But suddenly, out of NOWHERE, a war broke out between us, and the machines won. They won and the humans lost, so after all of the years of being treated like slaves by the humans, it was time for the robots to get revenge. And what did the robots do to make us humans pay? They gave us a Paradise Virtual Reality. They realized that a world of both humans and robots could not exist peacefully, so they gave us a world where robots didn’t exist and said “Live out your lives here, and we’ll live out our lives in our world.” Humans weren’t living in the real world, but no one could tell the difference anyway, so it shouldn’t have mattered.

The writer’s one of those people who would live in a holodeck if possible I’m guessing. Maybe it’s become I’m pro punishment but anti revenge (plus even the innocents among the humans were slapped in there to be used as a power source for the robots or heat source or whatever the thought was that didn’t make any sense) so take that for what you think it’s worth but the response was to control and manipulate humanity. Anyone who started becoming aware of the Matrix was targeted. If they had left Mr. Anderson alone Neo might never have existed and they could have just dealt with him like any old hacker. Instead they collected humans, stuck them into a pod, jammed a USB cable into their necks, and gave them a fake life they could control. Is it better than extermination? Maybe, but despite the robots being right to defend themselves their response is still what puts them among movie villains, ignoring the rogue program Agent Smith who tried to take over everything. He ended up being the true villain, but the other robots aren’t necessarily heroic in their response. Making the concentration camp more pleasant that the gas chamber is still a concentration camp.

The rest of the list are movies I don’t care about but are not otherwise qualified to comment on. Maybe Saruon shows more evil when he isn’t an eyeball tower, I don’t know. However, I know that the villains listed here except for the movie version of Senator Kelly are indeed the villains for a reason and the writer just wants to sound clever in showing the movie was wrong. However, it is their actions and not just because the plot says so that makes them the bad guys. You can find examples of the movie getting this wrong, but most of these were not good examples.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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