Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Villain

The "Iron Man 2" series continues as we edge closer to the kick off of the Summer movie season. In the first article, we looked as some of the sequel formulas and how they might translate into this film. Having the formula is one thing, but you MUST get this part right or you're going to fail as a second act.

The Villain is what can make/or break the second step of any franchise. The first movie is all about establishing our hero, now the second one must turn it up a notch by introducing us to a sinister man who dreams of crushing our beloved hero. Villains don't necessarily have to be more sinister than the first film, but their presence must have a bigger part of the plot and story development. You can't have a good movie without a great protagonist and antagonist. Let's take a look at some of the ways to judge the perfect sequel villain.

First, the new bad guy must have a different character/story arc than the first one. Sequels tend to go darker sometimes, and the only way they can achieve that darkness is by throwing in a crazy guy/girl who's got nothing to lose. Even if you don't go darker, just throw us a curve ball to mix it up. With "Iron Man 2," we're on the right track. I was so excited to see Mickey Rourke cast as Tony Stark's opposite in the new chapter. Ivan Vanko or Whiplash is a man that's seen his family and friends torn about by the Stark Industries' weapons. He has a chip on his shoulder and is willing to do whatever it takes to show that Tony Stark can bleed.

Another great element with a new arch enemy is the back story. We know that Whiplash's family has been dealt a tragic blow, but any good sequel should spark our curiosity about his traits/gifts/abilities. I want to know why he is a talented engineer that's able to construct this new weapon and why Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) wants him to be the brains behind this new wave of soldiers.....did I give away too much??? I hope not, but I will stop right there....

Any good villain must have that "IT" moment. You're not going to believe he's the toughest guy in the Old West unless he does something to turn the storyline on its head. That something doesn't have to be a crazy fight scene or stunt, it can even be something as small as a couple lines of dialogue. Speaking of that "IT" moment, it should tie in somehow with his fighting abilities. Everyone in the theatre knows that this guy is the bad guy, but in order to take that character to another level you're going to have to prove it on the battlefront. You don't have use the biggest budget to create the greatest fight scene, but you have to SHOW the audience that this guy has tools and he knows how to punish people.

Finally, the villain MUST have a grand exit! I love finding out new casting notes about who is going to play the new bad guy and see how they translate that into a 2 hour show. I get more nervous at the end of the movie for the villain's exit than I do for anything else. We know that the hero is going to live, but we have no clue about his enemy. If he's going to die it has to be something great and not just a cheap end scene. The baddest guy on film should not die thanks to a cheap bullet, he needs to go out with a BANG! Now, I say die, but he doesn't always have to die. Yes, you can still send someone away to jail/hibernation/isolation with a fantastic finish.

Follow these foot notes and I guarantee you will find a great sequel villain waiting at the end every time. I haven't seen "Iron Man 2" so I don't know the ending, but Whiplash seems to be well on his way as being one of the great Tony Stark villains of all-time. Now, he MAY not be the only villain in the film, but he is the only villain that we KNOW about.....THERE'S YOUR TEASE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

Enjoy the show!

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