Yesterday, I was discussing with my wife and our friend Michelle how I had to do “N,” and I was a little tapped for ideas. In unison, they said “Narcissistic.” Time for some soul-searching, methinks.
But enough about me (See! They don't know what they're talking about). One of the most important things to get right in fiction is the nemesis. If the hero isn't sufficiently challenged, they aren't very heroic, are they.
Let's take the Joker. I've heard his motives described as chaos for chaos' sake – pretty two-dimensional, but he's such an eccentric and unpredictable character that we like to see him succeed from time to time.
One of my favorite's was Magnito from the X-Men. He was friendly with a protagonist, Xavier, and his motives were understandable. (having seen his parents hauled-off by Nazis, he was deeply suspicious of the government's treatment of Mutants, and fostered an uprising. The villains weren't bad for the sake of being bad, they were scared and defensive, and who can't relate to that?)
Of course, if I didn't mention Darth Vader, you may think that this was plagiarized or guest-hosted. In the first movie, he pretty-much got by with being a big, dark, raspy robot/monster. His motives of “retrieving those plans” served the episode, but not the character, but he mirrors the hero in his access to magic (there aren't many Force-users in their world) and magical weapons (there seems to be three people in existence with Light Sabers; two by the end of the movie).
Who are your favorite Nemesis', and why?