It’s Debate Day here on Trope and Dagger! Today we’re picking sides on the best villainous plan in ever in film. To read up on Andy’s silly little pick, go here: Hans Gruber’s Plan: The Best Villainous Plan in Movies. Now, let me explain why my pick is waaaaaay better!
Who doesn’t love a good villain? In their ranks we’ve got amazing characters like Hans Gruber, The Joker, Hans Landa, Zorg, Judge Doom, and many others. And while some may be great villains for how they torment the hero or how they threaten the world, there is one area where some villains stand out from the others: the villainous plan. Some villains may be agents of chaos, some may be muscular brutes, but the ones who can hatch a good plan, those are the ones that are truly worthy of respect. And so I submit to you, that Magneto’s plan, in the film X-Men, is the best villainous plan ever filmed.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, you should go see the movie. It’s fifteen years old, some of the effects are dated and some are extremely dated, but it is still an excellent film that deserves a watch. Just ignore that whole Storm…joke? You’ll know what I mean when you get to it. But go check it out and come back!
While it is brilliant, Magneto’s plan in this film is actually pretty simple. In essence, it is to turn the leaders of the world, who are gathering in a summit, into mutants in order to further mutant rights. It’s pretty straightforward, right? He sees the world shifting against mutants and wants to make sure that the world leaders do not give in to malicious public opinion on mutants. It’s actually not a bad cause to be behind, making sure that a population has a voice in leadership so that they aren’t oppressed. Advancing civil rights for a minority? I’ll drink to that.
The problem comes, of course, by his means of advancing those civil rights. Forcing mutation upon unwilling people is not exactly the best way to foster good will. Then there’s the fact that the unnatural mutation kills the person mutating, and because of these reasons this plan is firmly in the “evil” category.
Of course, Magneto goes into a bit of denial upon learning that his method of causing mutation kills the person. He asks “Are you sure you saw what you saw?” indicating that he either doesn’t give a fuck that Kelly dies or he believes that Kelly turned into something even more powerful than what he appeared to be. Either way, he’s willing to press on with his plan.
The machine he’s using to turn humans to mutants relies upon his own magnetic powers, but as it is extremely draining upon him, he decides to use Rogue in the machine, instead. He is going to give her his powers and put her in the machine against her will, then use her to power it. As Wolverine points out, this undermines Magneto’s image of himself as a hero. “You’re so full of shit. If you were really so righteous, it’d be you in that thing,” he says. To which Magneto glares at him, then leaves to force his powers upon Rogue and most likely kill her.
Now, why is this the greatest villainous plan in cinema? Well, first of all, there’s no goal of global dominion, no desire to simply destroy the hero, and no greed involved. Magneto is not power-hungry, he’s not intentionally murderous, he’s not blindly angry. He sees the world around him as it is and decides to take action. He has seen rhetoric like the “anti-mutant” movement before, back in World War II, and he has seen where it led the world. He knew that if the world leaders were all in the same boat, that they wouldn’t allow things to go down that path again. So he enacted a plan, a plan rather beautiful in its simplicity, to get them all on the side of the persecuted.
There’s a saying about how everyone, even villains, see themselves as the heroes of their own stories. In this case, I can absolutely say that this is the case. Heck, he could almost be called the hero of the whole story! Magneto sees himself as a champion of his people, and enacts this plan in order to try and save them. He knows exactly what it is like to be tormented by those in power simply for being born the way you are, and he wasn’t willing to let it happen again. He knows he will have an opportunity to do something, and this plan is the result of it.
And here’s the thing: It’s a damn good plan. If he were successful, it’s entirely possible that his vision for a Utopian world where mutants have equal rights and aren’t stigmatized could come to fruition. He may also think that humans no longer matter, but there’s no indication that he wanted them all dead or anything like that. He just believes that mutants are the future, and wants to ensure that they aren’t all rounded up because of their genes.
And his machine, against all odds, does stimulate mutation (Nevermind how he built it, that’s not important). It activates those genes in humans that cause X-gene mutations! And from what Magneto had seen, it didn’t kill the people it mutated, so there really was no reason to think his plan wouldn’t work. Only at one point, when the X-Men tell him that Senator Kelly died, does he have any thought that it wouldn’t work, but he had gone too by then, and this was the one chance to affect the entire world’s leaders. Is the plan evil? Yes. Was it still very good? Yes, it absolutely was. It could change the world and protect his people. No thoughts of world domination, massive amounts of wealth, nor revenge. Just a great evil plan designed to help his fellow mutants.
That is why Magento’s plan in X-Men is the very best villainous plan in film.
So what do you think? Am I the future, or is Andy? Be sure to sound off in our poll below!