A hero is only really as good as the villain he or she is going up against. Sure, it’s great to see death-defying antics involving guns, cars, explosions, and our protagonist saving countless lives, but if our hero is doing that up against a flatulent squid, then it doesn’t really have the same effect on you as a viewer.
Despite the fact that this summer has produced some scintillating slices of blockbuster cinema, no villain really stood out. In fact, too many of them were forgettable. This wasn’t always because of the actors. In fact, most of the time, it was because their characters had been woefully under-written or were undone by absurd script choices and an abundance of CGI.
For whatever reasons, the worrying trend of forgettable villains has been an ever-present trend this year, and here are 5 particular foes from 2015 films that were just plain disappointing. Tell us who we might have missed in the comments section below:
Mission: Impossible – Rogue NationMission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was one of the strongest action films of the summer. Not only did it include an array of fantastically shot and thrilling set-pieces that repeatedly became more and more impressive, but it confirmed that even at the tender age of 53, Tom Cruise is still the best action star out there.
Unfortunately, its villain Solomon Lane, played by Sean Harris, who possesses an omnipotent quality that means he is constantly one step ahead of Tom Cruise and his gang, is merely competent in his role. Rather than being a brute who would beat you to death with his bare hands, he’s the sort of villain that would cunningly emerge from the shadows to stab you in the back. He’s reminiscent of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s villain in MI:3, just lacking the magnetism, dominance, and charisma. And because of that, he failed to really add to the film at all.
Avengers: Age Of UltronPoor Joss Whedon. By the looks of things, working on Avengers: Age Of Ultron basically destroyed the amicable writer and director. And what was the result of all the pain and strife that Whedon went through? An enjoyable enough blockbuster that we can all now admit pretty much pales in comparison to its predecessor in every single way. Especially when it comes to Ultron, the titular villain who you’re kind of impressed by, but who is such a mishmash of CGI and clichéd robotic threat that he ends up being instantly forgettable.
It’s not really James Spader’s fault – even though his surprising casting was more bemusing than galvanizing. Instead, the problem with Ultron is that he basically replicates everything that Loki did in The Avengers. A huge swarming army that The Avengers have to destroy one by one? Check. A giant threat, this time a falling city instead of a wormhole, that will wipe out humanity? Check. It all depressingly smacked of deja vu, and meant that Avengers: Age Of Ultron ultimately disappointed.
SPECTREJust a quick warning to those of you who've yet to see SPECTRE – There are SPOILERS ahead. So proceed cautiously.
It baffles me why everyone involved in SPECTRE thought it was necessary to keep the revelation that Christoph Waltz is Blofeld a secret! In fact, forget baffling, it’s downright infuriating. Not only did the eventual revelation that he was Blofeld immediately feel cheapened and underwhelming because of the countless denials that came in the film's promotion, but it also immediately takes you out of the film.
Waltz actually excels as Franz Oberhauser/Ernst Stavro Blofeld though – eating up the screen in a gorgeously cretinous way. But, it’s just a shame that the film actually plateaus with his arrival. As I said, it’s not Waltz’s fault – it’s just that his character doesn’t appear nearly enough in the film, and his devilish plot to try and kill Swann at the end is laughably orchestrated. Hopefully, Waltz will return as Blofeld at a later date – because if this is his one and only appearance as the character, then it was an utter waste.
PanPan was a flop. Produced for $150 million and going on to gross just $114 million worldwide, Warner Bros.’ attempt to provide a new origin story for the beloved character failed in almost every way. Even the always watchable Hugh Jackman failed to boost Pan critically or at the box office, with his antagonist coming across as laughably uneven and tepid.
When he was originally cast, there was a hope that Jackman would bring an over-the-top, theatrical, old-school villainy to Blackbeard. But instead, thanks to the peculiar use of contemporary pop songs, his pantomime aesthetic, and dull and hollow characterization, Jackman was left to loudly lumber around on screen, garishly trying to make Blackbeard even slightly threatening. In the end, it was embarrassing to watch.
Fantastic FourAlongside Pan, Fantastic Four has, so far, been 2015’s biggest cinematic flop. But while Pan’s failure came and went in a heartbeat, Fantastic Four’s lingered around for an age – with Josh Trank’s critical tweet, Miles Teller’s disastrous interview, wave after wave of poor reviews, and then the final embarrassment of its woeful box office return all adding further shame to its release.
Like Pan and Hugh Jackman, blaming Fantastic Four’s failings on Toby Kebbell’s Doom would be perfunctory. Like kicking a dying dog in the belly. But Doom was still very, very poor and lifeless. Unfortunately for Kebbell, his attempt to try and make Doom even the slightest bit threatening or impressive was whitewashed by a spectacularly dull plot and script, as well as horrid special effects. Which is a shame, because he is a fine actor, who just unfortunately got mixed up in the perfect storm of cinematic ineptitude. Fingers crossed that, like the rest of the talented cast involved in Fantastic Four, its failure doesn’t ruin Kebbell’s career.