Monday, February 2, 2009

Bat, Snake and Naruto

I am going to start with one of my favorite types of cool that we saw in the movie The Public Enemy. Tom Powers was one of those wonderful villains that you just can’t help but love. His swagger, his confidence, and last but most certainly not least, his insanity.

I would like to touch on just a few of my favorite bad souls of film, books and manga. Let me begin with Batman, not The Dark Knight, but Batman. In this 80’s-rific version of Batman, Jack Nicholson plays The Joker. Now I am not saying Heath Leger did a bad job; the two different portrayals of The Joker were both amazing in their own respects. He had the laugh, the smile (of course), and the confidence to make him cool.

In literature I think I will choose Professor Snape from Harry Potter. He was so freaking cool. He jumped sides in the book series about a gazillion times, but in the end he was good. So much so that Harry named his kid after him. Even his back story was awesome! He was a master of potions and probably the second smartest character in the series. If it wasn’t for him, then I am willing to bet that not so many readers would have liked the series so much. So let me recap with Snape: he had the evil grin and he had to be insane to go be a secret agent amongst Lord Voldomort’s ranks.

Not many people know the last character, but I am going to ramble about him. His name is Sasuke from the Manga Naruto. He is a character shrouded in darkness. His entire family was murdered by the older brother that he loved. He is confident and swift and still believes that his only purpose is to get revenge on those that caused the death of his family and clan. He is looked up to by all because of his success, looks, and ability, but he has hatred in him that darkens his heart. I believe that he will eventually destroy himself just as Tom did. The similarities between Tom and Sasuke are a little uncanny. If you would like to read the Manga Naruto then click here.


  1. I think that Professor Snape and Batman are cool because they use their dark side to fight against the true villians. Tom Powers is lacking a good side in The Public Enemy.Is there a difference between these types of cool? Can pure evil still be considered cool?

  2. I was commenting more on the qualities of cool in villains that I find to be cool. I believe that their are essential aspects to a villain that make them cool and intern lean our favor in their direction.

    I believe that pure evil can be cool. I do empathize with the idea of Yen and Yang. That their is a "Dark Side!" as Darth Vader would say. I think that it lies in all of us and threw movies we can gain insight on to what that evil is like. But what can make a truely evil person cool is the basic two types of cool that F John talked about in class. Evil can be dissident cool because it is going against the main stream. They can be even more cool if they are transcendent because if a villain recognizes his actions as something more than evil IE human nature then they become a transcendent cool. The best example would be in The Dark Knight and the role of the Joker. He believed that he was an agent of chaos. The joker was trying to bring out what he thought was in every person and that is a dark side which trumps the good. He believed that self preservation and rational self interest would kick in and they would show their true colors. The joker transcended the morally ambiguous self and became Evil!

  3. An interesting choice of Snape. In so many ways he's the antithesis of what's traditionally thought "cool:" an unhappy, poverty-stricken child; unattractive with his sallow skin and greasy hair; the target of bullies throughout school; pretty much everyone's least favorite teacher (except for Umbridge in OOTP.) Even though many readers strongly suspected he would turn out to be the good guy, who wasn't rooting for McGonagall when she and the other teachers drove him out of Hogwarts before the final battle? It is remarkable how the last-minute confirmation of his true loyalties makes up for 6.90 books of utter un-cool-ness, to the point where Harry honors him along with James, Sirius and Dumbledore by naming his son for him. Does it bring us comfort in our own insecurities that such a despied character can, in then end, turn out to be cooler than the ones we knew were heroes all along?

  4. I would like to address you last question first.I think what is cool is moral ambiguity because it transends out traditional thoughts of what is right and what is wrong. It shatters our view of the completely black and white world. It gives me hope to see moral ambiguity because it is a source of change in our society.

  5. So are Snape and the Joker really comparable to Tom Powers? I can see how Snape might fit, if you think Tom played both good and bad man, like Snape did. But is that really a fair analogy, or is that giving the character of Tom Powers too much credit? And unlike the joker, it's pretty obvious that Tom enjoys order because order is what gives him power. This doesn't mean that Tom's not cool, but he's certainly different from the characters you listed.

    Your posts are starting to sound less rigid, but you still need to find a balance between rigid formality and blog tone. Make it enjoyable for both you and the reader. :)

  6. There are loads of Snape fangirls out there. I say that Alan Rickman is supercool always (Truly Madly Deeply, anyone?).