Talking movies and video games in the same sentence is pretty obvious these days, but something that goes back even further is us nerds using video game terms all over the place. When I say “big boss battle,” you know what I’m talking about. Coming to the end of a stage, the gamer is often faced with one last challenge, one big bad boss battle before he gets to move on to the next area. Finally, at the end of the game, you’re faced with the biggest, baddest bad guy the developer can throw at you. They want you to earn it. It’s satisfying. Each step is harder to take, but more rewarding to accomplish. Movies, and since this is October we’ll be talking monster/horror movies mostly, try to follow this scheme – but they get it wrong.
What first put it in my head to talk about this was script news about the down-the-road Predator sequel, apparently going to be called Predators. Sketchy casting aside, the movie sounds awesome – a group of badasses (led by Adrien Brody??) are abducted and put into the Predator homeworld, where the huntsman aliens go about killing them with varied means. In the description, there is talk of a “Black Super Predator,” or as it was described “a Predator on steroids.” Sounds awesome, right? Definitely. However, therein lies the problem. The Black Super Predator is a Big Boss. We’ve seen what just one Predator can do. In the original film, just one is enough to slaughter dozens of bad guys before eviscerating a half-dozen of the hardest American Special Ops mothers on the planet. In the sequel, a lone Predator tears his way through a gang war, leaving dozens dead. In Alien vs Predator we see, again, basically one Predator tear his way through men and alien alike, even laying down a pretty good case of whip-ass onto a Queen alien. In the sequel to that film, one Predator, still just your average huntsman, kill about 75 aliens, a dozen people, and go hand to hand with a Super Alien Predator hybrid and fight it to a standstill. So basically, a Predator is a badass. Now image a SUPER BLACK PREDATOR. He must be exponentially tougher. Yet, the Super Black Predator is going to lose. Because this is a movie.
Not only that, but he’s going to lose to Adrien Brody or Topher Grace. What the hell, man? Our heroes keep getting less and less impressive. We started with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and Carl Weathers. Now we get Brody and Grace fighting a trio of SUPER Predators?
We’ve seen this before. The Big Bad guy soon becomes just another guy. Remember Power Rangers? When the Z-Putties (Putties from Lord Zed, as opposed to those from Rita Repulsa) first showed up, they were kicking the hell out of the Rangers. The Ultimate Putties. Three episodes later, they were just regular putties again, basically. Same thing with Ivan Ooze and his birdmen. They were insanely tough, then standard fare. Toss it into comic books – Doomsday killed Superman. Straight up fought him and killed him in a fair fight. Now, Superman can fight about fifty Doomsday monsters at once. A single Sentinel used to spell big trouble for the X-Men, but at various times they could fight and destroy a half-dozen of them.
Look, the good guy has to win, I get that. But there are ways to make it better. First off, if you’re going to introduce a super bad guy, let him kick some ass. Let him toss everyone around and kill some people. Give him time to earn that reputation. Nothing is worse than the biggest baddest guy ever showing up, only to be defeated in 5 minutes because the film is running a bit long. Like in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Devastator and The Fallen both look bad-ass, but Devastator is taken down in one shot and The Fallen is killed, awesomely, in about 30 seconds. What? Aren’t these supposed to be super transformers? Second, don’t replace your average foot soldier with the super soldier. If we see a sequel to Predators it can’t just be all Super Predators taking the place of regular Predators and then dying. Because then how are they super? If you’re going to make the biggest, baddest, meanest killer ever, treat him like such.
You want a movie that does it right? Terminator. That franchise, with the exception of the last installment, did a good job. We meet T-800. He is a badass, hard to kill. Then we get T-1000. Even harder to kill, it takes the entire run time to beat him, and just barely. Same goes in the third with the T-X. If the normal Hollywood mantra prevailed, in T-2 we’d have Arnold fight the T-1000 for 2 hours and 15 minutes and then the T-SUPERKILLER would show up and Arnold would kill it in 10 minutes, even though its the Super Killer. BAH. Every time I see this awesome super-bad guy (Darth Maul!) introduced and then immediately killed (despite how much we’re supposed to fear it), I explode past my boiling point.
What movies/comics have pulled this BS on you?