Super Villains, they're the foils of our heroes and are nearly always up to no good. But what if they were the protagonists of the film? Would you want to see a film starring villains?
Last night I had the most vivid dream, so vivid in fact that I basically watched a 90 minute animated film in my head. It was about the Secret Society led by Lex Luthor, capturing a girl with powers basically of those of Ace from the DCAU. Lex's plan is to use her to control the world but over the course of the film, a group consisting of Trickster, Livewire, Star Sapphire, Solomon Grundy and the Ultra-Humanite grow attached to her and try to protect her. They ultimately save her and foil Lex's plan, but the child dies when the Justice League comes. To no surprise, I woke up to realize I cried during my sleep.
Needless to say, it got me thinking of whether or not films about villains could work. Obviously, we have films like Despicable Me that have been successful and in the comics we've had great series about villains like Secret Six and Doom 2099. Also, lets not forget that both Sony and Warner Bros are attempting films with super villain teams such as Secret Six and Suicide Squad.
However, I don't think some super villains have what it takes to be leads in their own films. Characters like the Joker for example would be too dark and sadistic to be enjoyable and characters like Captain Cold just don't have enough to make them interesting as a lead though admittedly that's incredibly subjective.
For me, villains like Lady Shiva, Dr. Doom, Mr. Freeze, Deathstroke, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn would work as great protagonists for solo films and groups like the Suicide Squad would work well as a group film. At least in my opinion.
Also, if we were to have a solo film with a villain as the star, could we watch a movie with him/her in it as the antagonist? Especially if that movie made the character sympathetic and relatable? Or would it just unwittingly make the hero look bad in the eyes of the audience?