We know how it goes. The villain did everything right, catching our heroes by surprise, and it looks for certain like evil is going to win. The protagonists are trapped, trapped by the villain with no escape. The only possible way our heroes could possibly win is if there was some unforeseen issues in the villain’s plan, if there was some major setback.
And then it happens. The villain makes the worst mistake he possibly could: he sits down to explain everything. He gives them the why, who, when, where and how. In other words, the villain’s monologue.
This seems to happen all the time, so you’d think that supposed masterminds would be intelligent enough to realize they should avoid that at all costs. As great as the temptation may be, keep your mouth shut — one hundred percent of the times a villain decides to explain everything, he loses. Now you might say, “But Kay! Correlation and causation and blah de blah stuff!” and I say sure. But 100% is still a dangerous percentage to mess with.
Readers go after writers for this all the time as a poor story-telling mechanic, movie critics go after films for the same thing, and it goes on and on. It’s a standard thing for villains, and widely seen as a bad idea.
But let’s face it. Getting so close to taking over the world is no small accomplishment. Many villains have been waiting for years to pull off their grand scheme, or they’ve consistently been the underdog and finally have a chance to be the winner. Villains have sob stories about terrible childhoods and all sorts of things. Getting to finally vanquish your enemies is no small feat, especially when everyone loves your enemies and hates you.
Villains just want a little recognition! And I think it’s fair. They made a master plan and carried it out flawlessly for years until they were in a position to be the very best. When I was a kid I just wanted my macaroni pictures put on the fridge. And sometimes I was denied. If I had taken over the world I’d at least want my death and doom certificate framed. There was also no way on earth I could wait for years and years. An hour at most. Maybe. On a good day.
Sure villains are bad. But you can’t deny that it takes a lot of intelligence (or constant dumb luck) to pull off what they do. At the end of the day it’s fair for these poor guys to want to share their success. (Besides, haven’t you seen Megamind? Once you’re in control, life gets boring.) Being a dictator with no opposition gets really tedious. Sure they probably had to kill thousands to get to where they were, and sure, maybe society now suffers endlessly to support and worship them, but hey, life is still tough.
Have you ever seen a good villain monologue? Who is your favorite villain of all time, whether they won or not?