A good villain is memorable, and impressive, and scary as hell. But bring back the same villain over and over, give him lousy dialogue and have him repeatedly defeated by worthless opponents, and that villain becomes nothing more than an ineffectual bully who doesn't know when to give up. He's like that big, hairy guy down the street who scared the crap out of you when you were a kid, but who now has a pot belly, three obnoxious kids, and a Trans Am on blocks in his front yard. It makes it hard to remember why you ever found him frightening in the first place -- you'd feel sorry for him, but you just don't care enough to bother. Like these five:
Remember how cool Dr. Evil was in the first Austin Powers movie? Very few villains have fallen as far or as fast as Mike Myers' homage to Bondian baddies. Sure, he was a little out of touch with the current global economy, and his relationship with his son, Scott, was a tad strained, but he had a super-cool secret lair inside a volcano island, and a spaceship, and a clone sidekick, and lasers. Despite his flaws, Dr. Evil had all the earmarks of a world-class villain.
But by Myers' third, tired outing, Dr. Evil (along with every other joke in Myers' playbook) was used up -- so much so, that Myers brought in yet another villain, Goldmember, and he played that guy, too. It takes a lot of talent to stretch yourself that thin and get away with it -- I mean, sure, Alec Guinness played eight characters in Kind Hearts and Coronets, but he's freakin' Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Force is considerably weaker in Myers, and maybe if he'd been happy playing a few less characters, he'd have been able to come up with a better script ... one that didn't require the once-impressive Dr. Evil to spell his name "D to the rizzo, E to the vizzo, I to the lizzo." Bleh.