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The Top 10 Masked Characters is a review done by Willcraft Animations, uploaded on August 20th, 2015. It focuses on Will's opinions on various masked characters from various franchises/series.
I like masks. Is anyone shocked?
*The video starts out in Will's room, camera focused on Will and Lawrence, who is sitting on his shoulder.*
Will: For those of you who haven't noticed, I'm wearing a mask. Just throwing that out there.
Will: What? I needed a segueway!
*Lawrence falls off his shoulder, and Will stares at him before moving on*
Will: Top Ten Masked Characters!
For whatever reason, I love masks. Somehow, they can be more expressive than faces, not to mention pretty to look at. Masks have been used in media for a long time for several reasons. The three main ones are to dehumanize, create mystery, and intimidate. And I happen to love the inhumanity, mystery, and horror!
There are less impressive examples, like the Stormtroopers in Star Wars. The mask makes them less human, meaning we are completely okay with seeing our heroes kill them in cold blood. In this case, the masks are only used to justify brutal murder. But we're not here to focus on that, we're here to focus on the Hannibals, the Spawns, the Scarecrows, the one's who's masks are part of the reason why they're so awesome.
Here are the rules for this list: I'll be judging a character by personality, appearance, abilities, all that usual stuff. And of course I'll judge their mask and how well they hide their identity, IF that is, they're trying to do that. Which most are. In order to be qualified, the character can be from any fictional media: A movie, a game, a comic, anything. And finally, the mask must cover enough of their face, at least this much (enough to cover 2-3/4 of the face). So, sorry Sly, I have to put you somewhere else.
10. Miraak (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Will: You all know that I love Minecraft. But you know what game I also love? Skyrim. I won't list the reasons why, since that isn't why I'm here today, and you probably already know them, but one of the reasons are all the wonderful characters you meet. And most likely kill. And then reanimate and kill again. And eat what's left. However, I have noticed that the Elder Scrolls series has trouble making good villains. That's why this guy is all the way down in #10. Still, he's pretty neat. So what makes him neat? Well, this.
Storn Crag-Strider: (As the camera pans up to Miraak absorbing a dragon's soul) "You didn't think that you were the only one? He was the first. (cut to black) Dragonborn"
Will: Go ahead, TELL me that doesn't get you hyped. We both know you're lying! Seeing how Skyrim kept telling us how powerful and important the Dragonborn is, knowing I wasn't the only one got me really pumped up. Finally, someone I couldn't just sneeze away; Someone who could actually be my RIVAL. And after the disappointing battle with Alduin, that was very welcome. And Miraak isn't just (a) Dragonborn, he's the first! Not only that, but he's also the ex-champion of my favorite Daedric, good ol' Hermaeus Mora.
Hermaeus Mora: "My word is as true as fate, as inevitable as destiny."
Will: I want to hear that voice reading me a bedtime story....anyway, what makes Miraak a cool villain is simply the buildup. Throughout the questline of the Dragonborn DLC, we learn just how strong he is. He can control minds, suck out dragon souls with greater ease than you can, and can even tame dragons. He also has a badass look. And a badass voice.
Miraak: "This realm is beyond you. You have no power here."
Will: He also has a kinda-interesting backstory. Of course, you'd have to care enough to actually look it up if you want the full story. Which I do. But what makes Miraak bad? Well, first of all, he has a pretty generic 'villain' personality. As a character, he's pretty interesting, but as a person, nope. Second of all, he's embarrassingly easy to kill. Even on Legendary difficulty. Not to mention boring. He fights just like the enemies you've fought before. A few spells, some melee attacks, a couple of Shouts. The only unique part is when he sucks out the soul of a dragon to regain health, which tends to take up most of the battle when I'm fighting him.
There's just so much potential for this battle, I mean, you ride up to Miraak on a freaking DRAGON, and then you don't even use it in the actual battle. How cool would it be if you and Miraak were BOTH riding dragons throughout the battle? Well, it would be cool if dragon-riding didn't suck, but still. Or why not make Shouting a vital part of the battle, after all, that is one of the most unique Dragonborn traits. How about one of those magic ray battles, but with Shouts? That would have been amazing!! Or just SOME UNIQUE MECHANICS!!! What makes me sad is that you can find unused dialogue for Miraak in the game files that implies that the battle should have been more grand. So, why wasn't it? EXPLAIN YOURSELF, DEVELOPERS. So, to sum up, Miraak is a pretty cool character until you actually meet him. Great buildup, horrible, disappointing payoff.
Lawrence: You mean like the Hobbit movies? The third one, ugh...
Miraak: "And when the world remembers, that world will cease to be."
9. Yokai (Big Hero 6)
Will: Ah, Big Hero 6. What a beautiful union of Disney and Marvel. I had my doubts in you, but you turned out pretty well. So I'm putting your villain on my list. You're welcome.
Now, this character is really hit-or-miss for me. On one hand, he's awesome. On the other hand...you know what, let's start with the really good stuff. Yokai starts off as a complete badass. He's got an evil trenchcoat, an evil mask, and an evil army of tiny robots to aid his cause. His lack of dialogue and unknown motivations made him even more intriguing and intimidating. But then he took a turn for the worse when his mask came off. If you haven't seen the movie yet, please skip this part since I'll be spoiling a lot of stuff. That is, if you give a flying fuck.
First off, his identity was so obvious that when his mask came off, I was less surprised than the last time I looked up at the sky and realized it was still there. But there is a bigger problem. Villains like King Candy (Wreck-It-Ralph) CAN have an obvious secret identity and still do well simply by becoming an even more intimidating monster when it is revealed. Yokai, or should I say Callaghan, becomes a complete sissy once the mask is removed. And that's a shame, because I see how they could have made him so much better without actually changing his character. They could have made him blinded by rage because of the loss of his daughter and making him turn into a reckless monster. Instead, we got someone who acts like a desperate crybaby. Don't make him run away in the most pussy way possible from a squishy death machine; Don't make him sound like he's about to cry while shouting in anger, make him so consumed with hatred that he has completely abandoned common sense.
I know that's obviously not what the movie was aiming for, seeing how the heart of the movie is the loss of a loved one, so they just wanted to show a different side of the subject without dehumanizing the character too much. So, I can understand why they made Callaghan this way, and I know making him my way wouldn't be good for the movie. BUT, it would have been good for this list. So therefore, I'm giving him plus points for everything before his mask comes off, and everything after gives him minus points.
8. Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
Will: Now, I'm talking (about) the Dark Knight version, not comic Bane. The reason why is because I haven't read any comics with him. Maybe the comic version is better, or the same, I don't know.
Feel free to leave any complaints in the comments section. I PROMISE not to read them.
What I like about Bane is that he is the thinker and the brute combined. I've seen a lot of boring characters that are all force and no brains, or the other way around, but Bane is both. And such a delightful mix. First off, let's take a look at, well, his look. He's one of those masked characters who don't wear a mask for fun, but because he has to. That's good, it's always a plus if the mask can give us some explanation to who the character is and what has happened to them in the past. He also wears a trenchcoat, and if I didn't mention it when I was talking about Yokai, I think that's the perfect piece of clothing for evil badasses. Then we have his abilities. As stated, he's both the brain and the brute. He plays both roles well, and instead of sometimes acting smart and sometimes just being big and violent, he mixes the two together, doing stuff like explaining the next step of his master plan while crushing someone's skull. It also helps that they gave him such a pleasant voice.
Bane: "And we give it back to you! The people. Gotham is yours!"
Will: It's so oddly soothing when he calmly talks with that voice while beating the crap out of Batman...however, he is of course not flawless. My biggest problem with him is that he's just the pawn of another villain. And his motivation isn't that interesting either. But aside from that, he's an enjoyable villain.
Daggett: "I'm in charge!"
Bane: "Do you feel in charge?"
7. Darth Vader (Star Wars)
Will: How could I possibly ignore one of the most iconic villains, or heck, MOVIE CHARACTERS ever? In fact, do I even need to SAY anything about him? We already know him and why he's so good. His deep voice, the robotic breathing, everyone recognizes that he can kill with a thought, the awesome outfit, just an overall awesome villain. He has great villain moments, as well as good emotional moments. We know how much he is suffering every day, both physically and psychologically. We know what he has to go through just to stay alive another day. We feel the immense determination that must be keeping him going. So if he's so great, why is he so far down? Well, one word should be enough to explain that: Prequels.
I'd just like to say that I don't actually HATE the Star Wars prequels as much as everyone else. Sure, there's a lot of bad stuff, but people rarely give it credit for the GOOD stuff. It has some good action scenes, some epic music, and even good characters. For instance, I like the performance of Obi-Wan. I really saw a younger version of the same character, not someone trying to imitate a character. And the Emperor went from being one of the least interesting characters to one of the highlights. That being said, Darth Vader took a hit from these movies. One thing that the classic trilogy left out was Darth Vader's past. How did he become the way he is, what are his motivations, tons of questions that needed answers. If only it would have been left unanswered. Now, those of you who haven't SEEN the prequels must be wondering what backstory they give one of the most iconic villains of all time.
Well, it was all because of love. You may now slam your head into your desk. I will wait.
Lawrence: Can you help me a little? Inanimate toy, you know.
Will: Sure, buddy. *slams Lawrence into an offscreen desk, while Lawrence screams, "OW! You fucking bitch!"*
Lawrence: You broke my fucking leg off, you psychopath!
Will: *apologetic* Oh my goth, I'm so sorry, that was a lot harder than I intended to....look, I'll fix you up later, but now let's just finish the video. I'll hold you like this, is this good?
Lawrence: Nothing is good! I got a missing leg, and everything hurts! *curses again*
Will: Just stick with it for now, I'll fix you later.
Will: I mean, could they have chosen something more cliche? What's worse is that they don't even execute it well! I never cared about the relationship between Anakin and his wife (Padme)! And the dialogue is as forced as it is cheesy.
Anakin: "You're so...beautiful."
Padme: "It's only because I'm so in love."
Will: *gags noisily* Yeah, the prequels successfully dragged down Darth Vader on this list. However, it wasn't all bad. I actually think that Hayden Christensen made a pretty decent performance as Anakin.
*Repeats clip of Anakin speaking vomit-inducing love line*
Will: Yeah, yeah, but YOU try putting effort into your acting when saying lines like that. But I think he does well when shutting up. Just look how evil he can glare at you....that look alone earns him some plus points. It looks like he's about to kill a bunch of children.
*plays clip of Anakin activating his lightsaber, about to massacre the padawans*
Will: Oh, right. Well, I'll give him some plus points for that (too). Partly because of how evil it is, and partly because I find satisfaction in death of little children.
6. The Pyro (Team Fortress 2)
Will: Yes, he's finally being mentioned in one of my videos. The guy who people keep comparing me with. Why are you guys doing that, we only have the same mask! Still, I guess I'm flattered, since it's a wonderful character.
Lawrence: Hey, how can you put him on the list? He's just a playable character in a game with no story!
Will: You do know that there's a lot to the characters outside the game, right?
While I do love a good game of Team Fortress 2, something I also love is the lore. The animated shorts, the comics, all that good stuff. If they make a Team Fortress 2 movie, I will squeal in a way so fanboyish that not even a hamster high on helium could replicate it. But let's focus on Pyro. There isn't much depth to him, but there isn't supposed to be. The heart of this character is that we know very little about him. So, needless to say, that gives him plus points for hiding his identity.
We don't even know what gender he is. I'm just referring to him as male because that's what he sounds like.
Pyro: "I'M A TOASTER!!"
Will: What we DO know about him is that he is, ironically, the friendliest of the mercs. His mind is twisted around to the point that he thinks fire is good and that burning people alive makes them happy. He has this childlike innocence to him that really doesn't fit what he does, but it makes him so lovable. Talking anymore about him would spoil fun gags in the comics, so if you haven't read them and you like TF2, I suggest you do.
5. V (V is for Vendetta)
Will: V (is) for Vendetta didn't make much sense to me. Maybe it's because I didn't read the comics, but it felt like it made a ton of strange decisions. For instance, why did they make the 'big bad government', something people complain about daily, so unrelatable by creating this nonexistent evil organization in a nonexistent world? I don't get it, what message is the movie trying to send? If it creates an evil government, doesn't it technically say that the government we already have isn't evil? I feel like the movie is a bit anti-government, so why would they do this? What I do get, though, is that V is awesome. When I first watched the movie, this is the scene that made me realize I would love him.
V: "'Who' is but the form following the function of 'what', and 'what' I am is a man in a mask."
Evey: "I can see that."
V: "Of course you can, I'm not questioning your powers of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is."
V: *laughs* "Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that's it's my very good honor to meet you, and you may call me 'V'."
Evey: "Are you like, a crazy person?"
V: "I'm quite sure they will say so."
Will: Let's start off with his mask, and who doesn't recognize it these days? I don't know if he was the first to wear it, and I'm too lazy to look it up, but it's still a pretty cool mask.
*Editor's comment: That is the Guy Fawkes mask, named after the man who attempted and failed the Gunpowder Plot.*
Will: It looks so friendly in the way that it makes you KNOW it just wants your soul. V also hides his identity really well. In the movie, only a handful of people know who he is, and he successfully murders them all. When the end credits roll, nobody knows who he really is, not even the audience. All we know is what we see, and there's a lot to enjoy there. He's one of those really sophisticated but also really psychotic characters. He speaks in rhymes, words starting with 'v' quotes, rather than talking like a normal person. He's practically flawless in what he does, and is upbeat while doing it. We also learn his backstory in a really creative way. Some may say cruel, but I like it.
Lawrence: But then again, you like cruelty, so you might be the wrong person to ask, leg-breaking freak.
Will: People are watching this Top Ten, so I'm the only person they CAN ask right now. Remember kids, scarring people for life is perfectly okay and fun!
I don't think I really have any complaints about this character. There are some things that could have been done even better, otherwise he would have been number one, but he's still a kickass antihero.
Lawrence: Antiheroes are the best heroes.
Will: You and I get along so well. *pets Lawrence slightly*
Lawrence: DON'T TOUCH ME, LEGBREAKER!!
Will: I'm not sure if this character should really be on the list, since it really isn't a masked character. Just a mask.
4. Majora's Mask (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask)
I'm still playing through the Zelda games, and I must say, 'The Ocarina of Time' disappointed me. People say that it was the best of the bunch, maybe even the best game ever made, but it was really underwhelming to me, maybe because it was built up so much.
Lawrence: Nostalgia-drunk pasthuggers, that's what they all are.
Will: Are you just making up your own words?
Lawrence: It's not my fault the English language sucks.
Will: Guess not, it doesn't even have 'lagom' (just the right amount), or 'skadeglädje' (schadenfreude). How can you not have a word like skadeglädje?
So, I wasn't exactly convinced when people praised Majora's Mask for how amazing, dark, and twisted it was. But unlike Ocarina of Time, it kept what the community promised. I might have a chance to talk about the game as a whole later, but for now let's just focus on the main antagonist.
What makes Majora such a brilliant villain is that it lacks traits most other villains should have. It has no motivation, no emotion, and no real personality. These are usually flaws, but if Majora had these things, it wouldn't be as good. The reason it's such a threatening and intimidating villain is that when you get down to it, it's just a mask. It has no emotion because it's a mask. It has no motivations because it's a mask. This makes it feel less like a character and more like a force of nature. A force that you cannot stop. I mean, it tries to bring down the most scary-looking moon that ever exist and tried to destroy the world. How are we supposed to fight the moon?
All it knows it destruction. There is no purpose to it, it just wants to watch the world burn. Most Zelda villains don't watch to destroy the world, only rule it, and that requires more complex schemes. In Majora's case, on the other hand, it's as simple as, 'crush big thing with other big thing', and this makes it harder to stop.
The Mask's design is also really nice. The spikes, the color pattern, and of course, the evil eyes. It's as if they stare right through your soul.
Finally, the boss battle. It's a little weird to me that a villain like this should even have a boss battle, but do you know what's even weirder? The boss battle! I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but it's just so bizarre. The music, Majora's behavior, it's almost surreal.
It's a terrifying and mysterious villain that fits the overall feeling of the game perfectly.
Majora/Skull Child: *Giggles*
3. Rorschach (The Watchmen)
Will: Do you know what I like even more than flawless anti-heroes? Flawed antiheroes! There's no doubt that Rorshach is a bad-ass. Unlike characters like V, he can make mistakes. I was not expecting to see a character like him find himself in a situation where he actually panics, not knowing what to do.
Rorshach: (who is currently in a building with a corpse and being called to by policemen outside, asking to send the person with him out unharmed. He begins searching the complex) "NO, NO NO NO!!! I got dragged into it!! Stupid, stupid, STUPID!!!"
Will: And while V doesn't seem very emotionally affected by his past, Rorshach is a wreck. Broken, traumatized, everything about him tells you that something very bad has happened that has twisted his views, and his views are indeed really twisted. He has an incredibly black-and-white view of good and evil, and he believes evil must be destroyed at all costs.
Murderer: "JUST TAKE ME IN!!!"
Rorschach: *brings a cleaver down on the man's head* "MEN GET ARRESTED. DOGS GET PUT DOWN."
Will: While I may not agree with this, I respect him for just how tightly he sticks to his ideals. He doesn't betray his philosophy even when his life depends on it. Also, I really like how he thinks of himself as Rorschach, and not his real identity, talking about his mask being his face. Speaking of his mask, let's talk about his outfit! What can I saw, awesome coat, awesome hat, and a really awesome mask. I love how it changes all the time.
The only real downside I can think of about his character is that his identity is revealed at one point, giving minus points for that, and I'm also not a huge fan of his Batman voice. Otherwise, he's just an overall bad-ass character.
Will: This next character has many names. The Chief Warlock of the Brothers of Darkness, Lord of the Thirteen Hells, Master of the Bones, Emperor of the Black, Lord of the Undead, Lord of the DANCE!!!
2. Richard (Looking For Group)
Will: I don't read a lot of webcomics. In fact, Looking For Group is the only one I can think of at the moment, but it's still amazing. However, it wouldn't be much without the fan favorite, Richard the Warlock. Have you ever played an RPG and gotten so powerful that you just run around burning down villages and killing people in the funniest way possible? That's the best way to describe Richard. In fact, he could very well be the villain of the comics, but instead he's just the comic relief, and he's a good one. His odd sense of humor always gets me.
Let's start off with his outfit. Well, it's just like an evil warlock should. I especially like his pointy shoulder guards. Oh, and I guess I should mention his mask. It's a piece of cloth covering the lower half of his face, nothing impressive. In fact, maybe it's a stretch to even put him on this list, but I'm doing it anyway, because it's MY list, and I make the rules as well as the loopholes!
Somehow, Richard has all his magic without it being really overpowered. Mostly because he doesn't want to use his powers when it would be convenient for the story, he only wants to use it for selfish reasons. This leads to some fun scenarios where the heroes have to compromise with him in order to get him to help them. Sometimes, they are even in situations where he is facing powers stronger than his own, reminding us that he can't fix everything.
Despite how evil he may be and how many babies he may have eaten, he's still very likable. He has an aura of innocence similar to Pyro, something a character like him shouldn't have since he knows what he does hurts people. I think the reason his character works is that he doesn't really show cruelty or sadism when he does his evil deeds, despite purely being a sadist, instead showing childlike joy. Killing is just friendly fun to him, he just can't take it as seriously as others.
He's also highly creative in what he does, and it's always fun to see him pillage and murder. He's really unpredictable and acts mostly out of impulse, in fact, that's even why he's in the comics. Otherwise, he should just kill the other heroes and walk away, but he instead follows them around for no other reason than because he thinks it's funny. And despite all that, he does have a soft side. Very rarely, he does act out of pure kindness, but only making sure no-one is there to see it, and it can be really cute at times. Also, he's not just a comic relief and a deus ex machina to save the heroes through his amazing powers, he also has some depth to him. There's a side plot about how he is trying to figure out who he really was before becoming an undead warlock, and it's pretty interesting.
Well, what else is there to say, but...
Lawrence: Don't ever do that again.
Lawrence: So, who's number one, Legbreaker?
Will: Remember that Valentine's Day card I made?
Lawrence: The one where you said you'd drown someone in a pool because you're too ugly to date?
Will: Yeah, that one. Tell me, what are you if you drown?
Lawrence: Uh... dead?
Will: That's right. So, if you drown in a pool, then what are you?
Lawrence: Dead in a pool?
Will: Correct. Now remove two words.
Lawrence: Dead in?
NUMBER 1: DEADPOOL:
Will: I'm usually not a fan of superheroes, both DC or Marvel. I'm more into the villains. But if there's one hero I absolutely adore, it's Deadpool. Maybe because he doesn't really count as a hero, or even an antihero. He switches sides a little too often, sometimes not fighting on either side. Who he fights for and who he fights with, if anyone, depends on what it will be of him. Which will be more fun, get him more money, bring him closer to his personal goals. He's a real selfish character, but not to the point that you can't like him. In fact, I love how he's so selfish. It makes him unpredictable and also somewhat relatable.