Friday, 22 July 2011
Your Friday Five: Five Faces of Megatron
You'll note the title isn't The Five Faces of Megatron, because the fucker has dozens of them. And that's without including Galvatron. Why has he so many faces? To sell toys. That's why.
It's said that the best villains are the ones that have believable motives, and exist in stories that obey the rules that every character is the hero of their own story, and that none believe themselves to be evil.
Megatron ignores these rules. He's the uncompromising representation of grim, relentless villainy, evil because that's just how he rolls. Oh, sometimes you see his past as a Cybertronian gladiator stapled on as motive, but is that really why he does what he does? Of course not.
Megatron is notable in every incarnation as a cold, calculating, ruthless tyrant with a line in completely arse-backwards plans that can't possibly work. And not just in the 80s Generation One cartoon. Right up to date, in the latest round of spectacular cinematic Bayhem, he spends unbelievable eons of time on several plans, all riddled with faults. And then flushes it right down the pan after a thirty second conversation with a woman whose only distinction is in making Megan Fox's acting seem positively Olivier-esque by comparison.
But he comes across as such a competent guy. He rules the Decepticons with an iron fist and a glowing morning star. He maintains his leadership of bloodthirsty beings who transform into fighter jets, tanks, implausible dinosaurs and giant robots made out of lots of other giant robots despite his own alternate mode being an antique Nazi firearm upgraded in an absurd 60s spy show. He's obviously an old school political brawler of the most sadistic kind. Perhaps he has knowledge of compromising pictures that Shockwave tweeted of his single-eyed purple head.
And yet, and yet, despite his status as an unstoppable force of mechanised domination, the kind of plans he could really get behind include, but are not limited to:
-Building numerous Doomsday Weapons before abandoning them after a single Autobot-related setback and never trying to rebuild them, regardless of the initial success of the scheme;
-Finding numerous new sources of energy before abandoning attempts to harness them after a single Autobot-related setback and never trying to harness them again, regardless of the initial success of the scheme;
-Thinking the best way of protecting himself from Optimus Prime was to climb aboard the Space Bridge and blow it up;
-Despite having won the war for Cybertron, having driven the last Autobots off-world, he throws it all away in an ill-advised all-out attack on Autobot City that leaves his troops decimated and himself most of the way dead, the temporary demise of his oldest enemy small consolation to him as he's dumped out of Astrotrain like a flushed log freshly minted by a cosmic commuter;
-Not shooting known coward and usurper Starscream. Repeatedly. In the face;
-Resurrecting known coward and usurper Starscream. More than once.
One wonders what the rest of the Decepticons make of this. It must be like being employed in senior management to a brutal, efficient media mogul, who's spent decades building a ruthless corporate empire only to decide that the key to future growth in the face of rising internet usage is to include samples of his own widdle in a bag with every newspaper as a free gift.
Then again, look at the alternatives. Ratbat's masterplan was to hypnotise humans in order to siphon petrol from their cars. He's the alien death-bot equivalent of a smackhead with some tubing and a bucket. Thunderwing aimed high by attempting to (and succeeding in!) stealing the Autobot Creation Matrix, but was, unfortunately, a complete fruit loop even by this faction's undemanding standards. And Galvatron's just Megatron rebooted with the voice of the artist behind the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.
In the end, the unthinkable truth must be that however inept a commander Megatron is, his continued existence is a damning indictment of the Optimus Prime administration.
(Pictures up top ganked from the informative and hilarious TFWiki. Except for the toy picture. That one's mine.)