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            A shiny wooden nickel to anyone that can guess where that title comes from.  Yes, you can shine up wood if it’s been lacquered or varnished.  So, nyah!  I ask you, what makes a good hero?  To paraphrase Brody Bruce: “Keen detective skills?  The ability to banter well with others?”  No.  A true hero, a good hero, is only as good as their strongest adversary.  I’m trying to lean away from the word villain.  Your adversary is what makes your hero strong.  It’s like asking what makes steel so strong?  Its strength comes from being tested to its breaking point.  Seeing just how much it can endure before it gives.  So, to that end I ask: What makes a good adversary?  Charisma.  You have to like the bad guy just as much, if not more than the hero.  You have to secretly want them to win, all the while knowing why they can’t.  Tell me you didn’t have a little smirked when Darth Vader killed Obi Wan.  It was horrible, and you liked Obi Wan, but when Vader struck him down you were like: He’s a bad ass.  Example #2.  The most current and obvious, Heath Ledger’s Joker.  He’s straight evil and diabolical, but from his first appearance on the screen you want more of him.  You have to see what he’s going to do next, and in the back of your mind you say: If I went completely koo koo for Cocoa Puffs, I’d want to be just like that.  What else?  Here’s the shocker, they sometimes have to be right.  More to the point, they need conviction.  A true driving force that directs their actions.  They have to believe that the outcome is worth it.  And, they have to have a plan.  Example: Hans Gruber from Die Hard.  He was smooth, charming, witty, intelligent, but most of all he was determined.  Now, his overall goal wasn’t lofty, but he believed that what he was doing was worth it.  It wasn’t just a robbery.  It was a grand, full blown, balls out, heist with a perfect getaway plan.  Here’s another example, Magneto.  Now, he could be easily dismissed as being maniacal and power mad, but he represents the other half of the coin.  He is who the majority of us would be if we had the ability to do so.  He has conviction and believes that he is right, with history and human nature to back him up.  But, his plan goes to the extreme.  He is right, to a degree, and because of that you can relate to him.  You know where he’s coming from, and you can’t completely disagree.  Now, I could go on with this, and I will when I do the villains (yes I will refer to them as villains in that blog.), but for now you get the idea.  So, where do the heroes fit into all this?  They are the opposite of what the adversaries represent.  They have restraint and a moral code to uphold.  This applies even to anti-heroes like the Punisher and Leon from The Professional.  Most importantly they stand up to the villain and push back each and every time, and always with the belief that there’s a better way.  Now, your hero has to be the underdog.  They need to fight, and scrape, and claw to win.  The adversary is stronger, and this makes the hero look better.  Why is Superman boring?  Cause he’s too powerful.  His opponent has to be even stronger than him, and that breaks your suspension of disbelief.  Going back to Die Hard.  John McClane is always outmanned, outgunned, and pushed to the breaking point, but he continues on.  We respect him for it.  We may love the villain (I know, I’ve said it like 4 times now) but the hero is who we came to see and can’t get enough of.  The relationship is symbiotic, and the hero is the parasite.  They feed off their adversary, and become bigger and better because of it. 

 

Jerale C

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

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1 Comment »

  1. You evil bastard now I’ve got that stuck in my head.

    Comment by Jadielady — April 29, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

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