Narrated by Christopher Lee who has possibly the most evil voice ever, maybe the arch nemesis of Morgan Freeman’s holy voice, Necessary Evil: Super-villains of DC Comics showcases the dastardly villains of the DC Universe. While I’m no longer reading any of the main DCU books, this film gives me a new appreciation for DC baddies.
The documentary, composed of talking heads and clips from various media like comics, movies, and video games, explores different aspects of DC’s dark side from the psychology of villains to the different classifications of villains. It’s such a treat to actually hear creators talk about the reasoning for creating villains and why those characters do what they do.
It’s one thing to read their interviews on CBR or Newsarama, but there’s something special about actually hearing Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, James Robinson, and other DC creators discuss the most diabolical stories they have ever created like Hal Jordan’s fall from grace and that one time Black Adam lost his shit and killed an entire country. Even celebrities and voice actors weigh in on some of the most interesting bad guys of the DCU. CM Punk talking about The Joker is magical.
Len Wein: Legendary co-creator of Swamp Thing and Wolverine, wearer of Watchmen shirts.
For a non-DC reader, I really enjoyed all of these creators, celebrities, and even a clinical psychologist deconstructing DC super-villains and showing the world what makes them tick — up until they brought up The New 52 which Jim Lee refers to as a “soft reset” where they got rid of things that didn’t really work and ushered in a darker world to reflect the current times. I was a happy DC reader before The New 52 so these people telling me that they tore down an entire universe of stories to make way for a grittier, more depressing ’90s-like world just rubs me the wrong way.
If you’re a fan of DC and you’re already familiar with its main players, both hero and villain, then there’s little that Necessary Evil can offer aside from a few cool insights on villain psychology and a general overview of DCU history. If you’re a new fan or if you’re someone who’s interested in diving into the DCU, this documentary is a great introduction. It is one hell of a marketing tool. In fact, once they start talking about The New 52, the film starts to feel like a really fancy commercial specifically designed to sell the Forever Evil event. It’s a really smooth move, I must say. If I were a sucker, I’d go right back to reading New 52 stuff. But I’m not, so I won’t. The only DC title I’m reading right now is Injustice: Gods Among Us and I’m pretty happy with that.
Necessary Evil: Super-villains of DC Comics is a nice thing to watch if you need your comic book characters explained to you by writers, artists, editors, clinical psychologists, and professional wrestlers. But is it a must-watch? Is it necessary? I would have to say “maybe, I don’t know, whatever”.
I’m kidding. Go watch it. It’s not necessary for DC fans, but it is valuable for potential new fans.
On a final note, I would just like to point out the one thing that almost made me punch a hole in space and time: Dan DiDio’s pathetic attempt at explaining why Wonder Woman doesn’t have a significant rogues gallery. He says Diana is “too iconic” and she has no weaknesses that villains could exploit, hence not a lot of interesting villains were created for her. This fellow might have forgotten that DC also has a character called “Superman” who is quite iconic and has only a couple of weaknesses that villains could exploit. This “Superman” character has a fairly extensive collection of villains that range from the silly to the horrific, which means DiDio’s explanation for Wonder Woman’s lack of villains is not just flawed, it is absolute bull.