There are three types of people in this world who absolutely infuriate me. The people who pronounce my home state of Nevada wrong, the people who don’t keep extra toilet paper and a plunger readily available in their bathrooms and the people who revere Darth Vader as one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time.
I’m sorry to be the person to break this to you, but Darth Vader is not a great bad guy. He’s an overrated puppet who spends the entire original trilogy spending too much time polishing his shiny robot suit and remembering how to breathe properly instead of doing anything particularly villainous.
Sure, he looks the part and has a sweet orchestra following him around to make badass music whenever he walks somewhere, but that shouldn’t be enough to cement him into the villain hall of fame.
I already hear what you’re yelling at me through your computer screens:
But Jacoby! You only don’t like him because the prequel trilogy turned him into a whiny, angsty brat played with all the charisma of a sand slug by Hayden Christensen. You need to just look at the original trilogy to bask in all of Darth Vader’s evil glory!
Fair point, the prequels did no favors to the Anakin Skywalker character. But here’s the thing, I, like many sane individuals, have chosen to just forget about Episodes 1-3.
I’m only referring to the original trilogy and I still assert the fact that Darth Vader is lame. If you look at the evidence, you’ll see that I am right.
It all boils down to one question: What exactly does Darth Vader do?
Some of my drinking buddies that I pose this question to have answered that he blows up Alderaan to get Princess Leia to talk. Oh ok, good point that is an entirely despicable act and-WAIT!
Vader actually does not blow up the planet. Grand Moff Tarkin is the one who gives the order while Vader just kind of stands there in the background probably day dreaming about the time he was a pod racing champion.
Well he kills people doesn’t he? Yes that is true, he is a murderer but who exactly does he turn his wrath to? A few no-name rebels and pilots, a few of his own men, and the Emperor.
A lot of people would say that he killed Obi-Wan Kenobi, but really, Obi-Wan let himself be killed because I guess he figured being a ghost would be fun. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a transparent, blue ghost for the rest of eternity?
In Episode 5, Vader became famous for admitting his paternity to his angsty son. It was a line that caused everyone’s brains to turn to mush, but it was so effective that everyone kind of forgets what he says next.
Go back and watch that famous scene and you’ll find that after Vader admits he is Luke’s father, he asks Luke to join him and hints at overthrowing the Emperor together. Being unhappy with your boss because he basically owns you doesn’t make you a great villain, and really he should be praised for trying to spend some quality bonding time with his son.
In the final movie of the original trilogy, it becomes clear how much he is controlled by the evil Emperor. When Luke faces off against Palpatine, the Emperor tells him to kill Darth Vader and take his spot, while Darth Vader is standing right there!
It’s only when Vader sees his son being electrified by horribly CGI’d lightening that he decides to pick up the Emperor and throw him down into the depths of the second Death Star. That’s right, Vader kills the actual evilest man in the galaxy and he’s rewarded by being called one of the best villains of all time.
That’s my biggest beef with everyone loving Darth Vader.
The actual villain of all six of the old movies is Emperor Palpatine, but he never gets any recognition.
This is a man who worked his way up from nothing to become a senator in the republic, worked both behind the scenes and in public to manufacture and manipulate a clone army that allowed him take control of the Senate, dismantled the entire governmental structure and instilled his own dictatorship, turned one of the most powerful young Jedi warriors over to the Dark Side, while mercilessly wiping out the entire Jedi Order. Then over the course of 20 years, he completely eradicated any memory of the Jedi and built not one, but two planet killing machines.
Darth Vader just kind of stands there, breathes weird and turns good at the end.
I understand that Darth Vader looks iconic, but he doesn’t belong on lists that also include great villains like Hannibal Lector, The Joker, Hans Gruber and Nurse Ratched. Those villains actually did something, and stayed committed to what makes them evil.
Hannibal Lector will never stop eating people. The Joker won’t suddenly decide to become his own vigilante and save Gotham City. So why do we call Darth Vader one of the best villains of all time when he turns good at the end after basically doing nothing evil for three movies?
Great villains need to actually prove themselves, which is something Darth Vader completely fails at. Presence and Personality do not make a great character. Just ask Jar Jar Binks.