'Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics' explores the thin line between right and wrong, the nature of evil and how super-villains can reflect society's dark side as well as our own personal fears. It also attempts to uncover the reasons why comic book fans are so fascinated by the very characters they hope to see defeated. The film focuses on DC Comics' most terrifying villains, including The Joker, Lex Luthor, Bane, Black Adam, Black Manta, Catwoman, Darkseid, Deathstroke, Doomsday, General Zod, Sinestro, the Suicide Squad, and others.
Also included are interviews from over forty subjects, including DC comic book writers, artists, executives, filmmakers, comic experts, critics, historians and celebrities. 'Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics' contains footage from DC Entertainment's animated series, TV shows, video games and live action films, as well as spotlighting hundreds of covers, pages and panels created by DC Comic's legendary artists.
Christopher Lee, who has played the villain more times than almost any other actor, will provide his unique voice as narrator. The villains' infamous tales will be told by directors Richard Donner (Superman: The Movie), Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) and Zack Snyder (Man of Steel), as well as Geoff Johns (best-selling author and DCE's Chief Creative Officer) and other storytellers, creators and those who have crafted the personalities and profiles of the most nefarious baddies in DC Comics history.
"I am delighted to be participating in this documentary which really gets to the heart of what villains are," notes Lee. "Even though I've played the hero more times than the bad guy (few know this!), people remember me for the latter, perhaps because villains are more interesting and more complex. But they're still people. Tony Hopkins was right when he said, 'I don't play villains, I play people.' Each of these characters has a different personality and their reasons for being or becoming evil are not the same."
"The villain is not always born that way; it's society and events in that person (or creature's) life that influences their mind. Sometimes good or bad can be a state of mind and depends on what side you're on. And you can be very cruel or charming, amusing or dangerous. But one of the most important things to get over to the audience is that some of these people are doing things they can't really help."
Christopher Lee's roles in more than 200 films include star turns in several Hammer Horror Classics as Frankenstein's monster in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Count Dracula in Dracula (1958) and the Mummy in The Mummy (1959). Most recently known as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and upcoming film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013).
"The Joker! Black Adam! Lex Luthor! Sinestro! DC Comics has the best Super-Villains in the world — and in 'Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics,' creators in film, television, animation, video games and comic books talk about why and how they've helped build them into worldwide favorites," stated DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.
What would Batman do without The Joker or Bane? What would Superman do with his time without the likes of Lex Luthor? I'm sure we've all thought about this at some point or another. There is a reason why we love to read about these villains and see them in movies. Even though these bad guys do diabolical things like kill innocent people, blow up buildings, and try to destroy the world for their own selfish means, we still find them (dare I say it) cool. Is it their demeanor, their swagger, or just how they make being a villain feel so right and keeps us coming back for more? These are some of the questions that are answered in this 99-minute documentary about the big bad villains of the DC Comic universe.
Especially nowadays, villains are more popular than ever. In comics, television, and film, the bad guys receive a lot of attention. Hell, you can go so far as to say that more people are dressing up as The Joker these days than Batman. There is just something about these villains that draws us to them. In comics, we are starting to see whole comic-series based on villains rather than the heroes. And in television and film, we see more often than not these villains played by the sexiest actors around, and have mustered up a bigger fan base than their heroes.
Now I'm a huge fan of comic books. I even owned a comic book store. So it is nice to see a decent documentary on the villains of some of my favorite stories rather than the rehashed information on the hero side of things. That being said, 99 minutes is way to short a time to try and hit up every villain in the DC universe. And this serves as more as an introductory course to the newcomer in the comic world rather than an avid comic-book reader, as we would know most of the information that is delivered here.
The main villains get the most screen-time here. With The Joker, Lex Luthor, Darkseid, Sinestro, Doomsday, Paralax, Zod, and most all of the big Batman villains, we see each of these characters unraveled in a way that captures their internal struggles as well as their diabolical schemes. There is even a section on the female villains in this documentary, which should please fans. The documentary discusses the motivations behind these villain's actions and how their sadistic and sinister ways serve as a pedestal for the good heroes to showcase their justice and to save the world. But each villain only receives a little bit of screen-time. And with the lesser known villains only receiving a few seconds of discussion if that.
Some of the cooler things from this documentary is that it is narrated by legendary actor Christopher Lee and features a treasure trove of talking head interviews. The big notable ones are Guillermo Del Toro, Richard Donner, and Zack Snyder. Guillermo has not made a DC Comic film like the other two have, but he seems to have the best discussions and answers to some of the questions, as he is truly a fan of these characters, unlike the other two directors. Unfortunately, Christopher Nolan is nowhere to be seen on this disc. In addition to the film side of things, we get some good interviews with creators on the comic side of things. We have Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, and much more talking about the villains they illustrate, write, and edit for. We even get a few tidbits from some of DC's voice talent from their animated tv series on here.
'Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics' is an interesting enough documentary on the big bad guys of the DC universe. But it can only go so far as there isn't enough time nor content to really dive into each character with a decent amount of depth. Instead, we get flashes of each big character that would only satisfy someone who didn't really know anything about these comics or characters.
'Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics' comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. There are tons of images of great comic book pages in rich full color throughout the documentary. In addition to that, there are clips from some of the feature films, tv shows, and animated series.
The detail is very sharp, especially during the comic panels, which provide great color and shading, and the interview segments showcase some vivid detail with the talent. You can make out individual hairs on their heads see the fine stitching in their clothing. The skin tones are natural here as well. There are some moments of minor aliasing, but other than that, there are no image issues. This has a solid video presentation for what it is.
Although the cover says DTS-HD 2.0, it doesn't have that particular audio mix. Instead, it has a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix. There is not a lot to this audio presentation. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand with Christopher Lee's narration bringing the better aspect to the audio.
There is some light music in the background, but it's almost always unnoticeable. The dynamic range isn't that wide here and there aren't a whole lot of sound effects. That being said, for what this documentary is, it does the job. Just don't expect anything to robust. There were no pops, cracks, or hissing here.
There are no extras.
'Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics' is a decent enough documentary into the lives of DC's villains. But with its quick edits and not enough time being spent on each character, this will only grab the interest of somebody new coming into the comic world, which let's face it, is narrowing quickly. The video looks good and the audio won't win any awards. There aren't any extras on this disc either. If there was more meat to this documentary or a few good extras, I would say purchase, but this is best as a rental.