A good villain or anti-hero can make a fandom. Often flawed and fearless, they speak to our inner struggles and successes in a way that heroes alone might not be able to tap into, and as a result, they spark many modern-day fandom experiences. We want to be them, smooch them, fight them — and sometimes all three at once, depending on how attractive and/or infuriating they are.
On Loki, Anti-Heroes, and Who Gets to Be a Lovable Villain
To this day, I’ll never quite understand how “hating villains” became a part of my fandom mythology until it’s something “everyone” knows about me. That I hate villains
Me. Noted Thrawn-thirster. Me. Trieze Kushrenada mega-fan. Me. Dormant Hannigram shipper. Me. Eternal Jason Todd apologist. (He literally didn’t do anything wrong even when… he technically did do some bad shit after his resurrection.)
I mean… I get that it’s because it’s easier to make stuff up about me than to like… try to learn anything about me that wasn’t spoonfed to them by one of my rabid anti-fans. But it’s weird because my beef has really never been with villains or anti-heroes themselves, but with how their loudest fans are not… always great and choose to minimize the things that make their faves good (but bad) in the quest to claim and maintain the moral high ground. (Except for the Joker. I do hate him and dislike his fandom. But that’s partially connected to the Jason Todd thing.)
I love villains and antiheroes. Their aggressive fandoms who think these characters can’t do anything wrong and haven’t been bad once- especially the ones who insist on crawling up my butt to make their beef personal when mine isn’t? Those can launch themselves into the nearest lake and swim until they chill out. But villains and anti-heroes are cool to me for all the best possible reasons. I love the menace they bring to the table, the way that many are allowed to be more complex than the heroes are, and how much fun they get to have.
Like I wound up watching Castlevania for Hector and Isaac, those two messy necromancers. I own… so many Thrawn things because he’s hot and horrible. I actually liked Kylo Ren before his fandom and The Last Jedi ruined him for me. I am also a Harley Quinn apologist and while she has done MANY things wrong, I’m just glad she’s having fun and getting to kiss Poison Ivy sometimes.
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2 thoughts on “Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On Loki, Anti-Heroes, and Who Gets to Be a Lovable Villain”
[…] Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On Loki, Anti-Heroes, and Who Gets to Be a Lovable Villain […]
Let’s set Jason Todd aside for a moment, since I actually think Jason has to be discussed differently for a number of reasons, and agree that we both know you and I sit on opposite sides of this room: I just don’t care about villains/actively dislike them.
I watched Loki for reasons that are still unclear to me, I think mostly because my platonic lifemate was “group” watching it and I was like “meh, okay.”. And like. I think to understand my frustration with the show, it goes to your point about who’s motivations/actions are allowed to be redeemed, but also, and I think this is a big thing: WHAT we think is actually redeemable.
In Avengers, Loki kills thousands upon thousands of people for his own personal gain. In Thor 2, he is shown to be clearly, forth rightly unrepentant about that. Now, I realize that about right years later, Marvel used fandom’s retcon to argue that he’d been being controlled by Thanos, but there is ZERO canonical suggestion of that. And my thing is, at a certain point, I don’t give a crap HOW good your motivations were (and his weren’t) or how sorry you are (he isn’t), there are certain things that actually are not forgiveable, or, don’t take serious, say, reparations to forgive. So you have this show that positions it’s main protagonist as someone to root for because… Daddy didn’t love him enough? Meanwhile, the two main villains (Kang and Renslayer) are POCs, which, wtfeven, and the people who end up being the truest “heroes” of the show are both white, male-presenting, and I just. I’m tired. I’m fucking tired.
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