Social Question

whiteliondreams's avatar

Why does it seem that people prefer certain villains over certain heroes?

Asked by whiteliondreams (1703 points ) August 24th, 2012

I was on my iPad on the IMDB (internet movie database) application and realized that the man who plays Bane (Tom Hardy) in The Dark Knight Rises has been on the top list of actors viewed since the movie came out. This was also true about the Dark Knight (2008) with Heath Ledger.

Is there something about villains that appeal to the masses that heroes do not fulfill?

I understand the rebel-clown without a cause ordeal (Joker) and exercising strength, power, and speed (Bane), but is that merely all it is?

If you liked either of these characters, why? Is there another character besides these you recognize as villain and very popular?

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20 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I think when a villain is popular there is a thread of something added to make that person likable or for people to identify with. It would run through the character and be obvious from time to time. Or else it wouldn’t work.

whiteliondreams's avatar

That is scary then Shippy, can you imagine the amount of people who identify with that are yearning for control? That is a great answer and one I didn’t even consider.

ragingloli's avatar

They have incredible self confidence, skill, and they do whatever the hell they want. Rules do not matter to them, and societal norms are ignored. They have true freedom. And people admire that, because they desire that freedom, they desire the skill and power, and they see in the villain what they themselves long to be.

ucme's avatar

Maybe it’s the actor himself, Hardy was fantastic in this role.

zenvelo's avatar

It may also be because Christian Bale is not a terribly friendly person in real life.

fremen_warrior's avatar

Maybe because every day we are bombarded with images of famous scoundrels flaunting their fortunes?

Show me a rich “good guy” – Batman’s a creep, and actually neutral rather than good imo.

Thammuz's avatar

Everyone already knows who plays Batman, though.

Also, Batman as a character is not that interesting, unlike many of his enemies.

Trillian's avatar

Well, Tom Hardy really does have some very pretty lips. ‘Course, I noticed that years ago when I saw him in The Virgin Queen.
Hooo Ahhhhh!

whiteliondreams's avatar

@ucme Dude, I never seen that movie or the trailer before and I am SO gonna watch it! haha, I can’t believe that it him! He’s creepy and maniacal!

ucme's avatar

@whiteliondreams One of the best acting performances i’ve seen in a long while, hope you enjoy fella.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think it may be the power and mystery they show. Darth Vader was my favorite example. (Not my favorite character, the was Han Solo.)

Symbeline's avatar

I think when it comes to villains where the line between good and evil is blurred by subjectivity, people can relate much easier, especially when in contrast to a protagonist who’s almost always entirely good, and therefore not all that realistic.
Not sure if that applies for this particular Batman movie, nor does it really reflect my own like of villains; I mean I love Michael Myers so…but it’s a suggestion.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @Shippy and I also think they appeal to the repressed and civilized side of our natures. Villains, especially Heroic villains, give us a thrill, it allows us to vicariously experience the forbidden shadow side of our psyches that we would never, if we are relatively healthy, ever allow to let rip. haha

Ayesha's avatar

Very good question! For me personally, The Joker was so much sexier than Batman himself. Everything about him was a turn on for me.
And Tom Hardy, who doesn’t like that hot piece of ass! :)
Christian Bale is very hot, but I have a thing for bad boys.

Coloma's avatar

@Ayesha Typical young woman thing, trust me, in the end, the bad boys are never worth it. Better a little boring than psycho. lol
Aaah, the life lessons of women. haha

Ayesha's avatar

@Coloma Haha very true! My mother tells me the same thing. It is just a phase I suppose :) But I can’t help it right now, I’m so attracted to them!

Adagio's avatar

I think it’s partly fascination with the dark side, our own dark side ultimately, we all have one.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think we often root for the anti hero

I guess some people identify with the “villain” because the trope of good vs. evil has a lot of gray area. The lines really tend to blur. At least for a good story.

Han Solo—Anti Hero
Spike—Anti Hero

Everyone likes a rebel. I certainly do.

Seiryuu's avatar

They have certain traits that override the heroes’: charisma, sympathy, or even fun.

For example, I love watching BBC’s Sherlock, but I find Moriarty enjoyable to watch. He’s a psychopath that wouldn’t give a second thought of killing people, but his childish behaviour and constant switching accents are captivating. I love Andrew Scott.

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