We live in a golden age of superhero movies, and a horror time of human-created climate change – and yet, so many of the supervillain plots of the last several decades involved solutions to our climate nightmare.
So maybe… maybe we’ve been getting our hero films all wrong.
This magnificent premise was set up by Rob Bricken at One Zero, who pointed out that loads of supervillains have developed surprisingly helpful tech.
Sound doubtful? Then check these bad (mostly) boys out.
Doc Ock was this close to nailing nuclear fusion
Nuclear energy has a bunch of stumbling blocks, ranging from cost to disposal of the waste to the whole Chernobyl thing, but For Otto Octavius was so close to creating the dream of physicists everywhere: a room-temperature fusion reactor in… um, a loft apartment, by the looks of it?
And this isn’t completely impossible, as best as we can work out, but Spider-Man ruined the whole experiment just because it had a power spike, exploded and killed some people, and also fused Octavius’s mechanical arms to his back and drove him mad with vengeance. Thanks a lot, Pete.
Batman & Robin involved thwarting two great climate change solutions
In the rightly abhorred fourth Batman movie before Christopher Nolan decided to go the gritty reboot route, Poison Ivy proposed a reforestation strategy which, admittedly, would have killed millions. But given what’s happening with the Amazon right now, that feels like a decent tradeoff.
Similarly, if Mr Freeze could turn Gotham to ice then he would appear to have a solution to the question of how cities can survive the extreme temperatures predicted by the end of the century.
So very, very many villains have had weather machines
Destro had the “Weather Dominator” in GI Joe, Sir August De Wynter had his “Prospero Project” in the Avengers movie that no-one remembers because of rather more successful subsequent franchises, Professor Menace had one in Static Shock, there was one in one of the goddawful Get Smart movies and in an Underdog episode… god, it got used a lot.
However the best one was in the Man With The Golden Gun, which was the “Sole Agitator”, essentially a solar focussing device. Which, again, has obviously applications for clean energy. Oh, Scaramanga, you could have been Elon Musk.
When all else fails…
There’s the break-in-case-of-ecological-devastation option, aka the Genesis Device in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
That basically wiped a barren planet clean and then created a new and verdant utopia in its place, assuming that it all went to plan. Which – spoiler! – it did not.
You know, climate change does seem like a tricky issue, and supervillains are maybe not that trustworthy. perhaps we’re better off just taking better care of the place?