antagonist RSS

Antagonist, BRAVEHEART, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, Darth Vader, DIE HARD, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE, THE EXORCIST -

The industry has a term for broad, uncomplicated antagonists: “mustache-twirling.” Mustache-twirling comes up, for example, if the script isn’t working to provide the antagonist with humanity or depth, if their motivations are just to be eeeeeeevil. The more likely it seems an antagonist might go “NYAH-HA-HA! NOW I’VE GOT YOU!” the closer we are to having a mustache-twirling antagonist. The best way to avoid mustache-twirling is to treat the antagonist with the same craft and attention with see with the protagonist. We should get a sense of personality, internal life, a background that has led the antagonist to these choices...

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antagonist, DEATH WISH, JOHN WICK, protagonist, sympathy, TAKEN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, THE CROW, THE PUNISHER -

Here are some other common tools that are used to generate reader/audience sympathy for characters, especially protagonists and antagonists. They care for somebody. The character is taking care of someone, perhaps an elderly parent, a sick spouse, a child. Even a pet will do the trick. This shows us the character is capable of emotions we can get behind: selflessness, empathy, love. This is why we will often see the tired trope of the character doing X in order to get money for an operation for their sick child/parent/etc. We’re willing to excuse almost any X behavior because we understand...

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A-story, action, antagonist, efficient storytelling, MAD MAX, narrative construction, protagonist, THE ROAD WARRIOR -

I recently had the pleasure of seeing The Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2) on the big screen for the first time. This film is wonderful for a variety of reason, not least of which is it’s a set-up that’s so high concept it established its own sub-genre. The other thing that stands out is the ruthless efficiency of its storytelling. We open with a voiceover telling us about the world. This is essentially a car chase movie, so we cut to a car chase in media res; we’re immediately delivering the goods. At the end of the chase, Max...

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