Marvel's villains have been one place where the studio has received criticism for an otherwise solid film franchise. One of the reasons for this is that the villains often turn out to be little more than evil versions of the hero. However, the head of Marvel Studios says that there's a reason for that. Since so often these movies have to create a new world and a new set of characters, it makes sense for the villains to be part of that same story, as creating something totally separate would simply be too much for one movie.
Our own Sean O'Connell was on the set of the upcoming Doctor Strange film when Kevin Feige explained why it is so common for a Marvel heroes' first adversary to be a mirror image-like character. When introducing a new hero there's a lot of world building that needs to be done. It gets so involved that it's a much easier from a storytelling standpoint that the villain come out of that same world building, otherwise, they'd have to tell a whole other story over the course of the film.
From that standpoint, the idea certainly makes sense. If you're making Ant-Man, you have to explain where the suit and the powers and the science all come from. This makes it easy to introduce Yellowjacket, a villain with the same abilities that come from the same science. Had they wanted to introduce an entirely different villain the movie would have had to explain where that character came from too. This would have required additional ground work and potentially an entirely different plot thread. It's not that such a thing can't work, but it's a lot more work to do it, and to make it feel seamless.
For better or worse, Doctor Strange looks to be another film that will follow this formula. Mads Mikkelsen will play Kaecillius, another sorcerer with powers along the same lines as Benedict Cumberbatch's character. But according to Kevin Feige, nothing else would have really worked.
Marvel has said in the past that part of the reason that their villains may not be the most memorable characters, is that most of the time their movie needs to focus on introducing the hero. On the one hand, this method of creating villains certainly helps do that, although, at the same time, it also means that by not giving them their own development the villain really has no ability to do or be more.
What do you think of the mirror-image villain situation? Is it the right way to go, or should Marvel try to do more in their films in order to create unique bad guys? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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