President Snow (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
When Katniss and Peeta return from the Hunger Games, tensions are high in the Districts and the Capitol fears others could rally behind Katniss and start a revolution. President Snow’s solution to this is to...make Katniss and Peeta kiss on camera? That’s right. The man who orchestrates an annual child gladiator match can see no other way to squash potential rebellion than filming Katniss and Peeta’s romcom in the hopes the Districts chill out. President Snow then proceeds to blackmail her into holding hands with Peeta by threatening to expose the tape of her kissing Gale. But really, who does President Snow think he’s fooling? The people in the Districts are not stupid enough to believe true love’s kiss will make Katniss forget all about the gross political and social inequalities in their society. And the people in the Capitol already think kids fighting to the death in an arena is fun for the whole family. President Snow refuses to kill her quietly or stage an accident because he thinks the Districts will make her a martyr. Instead, he throws her into another Hunger Games, hoping the Districts don’t remember who is in charge of those. I can only conclude President Snow ships Team Peeta, because this plan isn’t getting him anywhere.
In current media, Loki is everyone’s favorite bad boy with a bruised ego and a big brother complex. But we can’t ignore the fact that his master plan has more than a few flaws. He promises the Chitauri the Tesseract in exchange for an army to conquer Earth, brainwashing several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Clint Barton in the process. He allows himself to be kidnapped and for the most elite super heros on Earth to assemble...in the hopes that their bickering causes them to lose sight of the fact they are superheroes and should fight bad guys, not each other. Sadly, this plan almost works but it really is a long shot. There has to be a better plan. Why doesn’t Loki kill them one at a time? Why doesn’t he brainwash all of them? He probably could have conquered Earth all by himself using the Tesseract if he wanted to. His promised army shows up in New York City and is held at bay by The Avengers and a handful of NYPD. And what does Loki want out of all of this? Earth, solely because Thor likes it. Earth would be much safer if otherworldly beings stopped taking such a liking to it.
Given that this is a threequel struggling to reclaim the magic of the unexpectedly good Ironman, it wasn’t a terrible movie. But considering the magnitude of The Avengers, Tony Stark’s latest foe seems, well, small potatoes. Years ago, Aldrich Killian asks Tony Stark on a business date, only to be stood up and humiliated, and he vows revenge. Fast forward to today where Killian has organized a string of terrorist bombings under the guise of the Mandarin, created a team of super soldiers, schemed to steal Ironman’s armor, and kidnapped the President of the United States. All of this actually works, and yet, to what end? Does Killian want to rule the United States of America? Ruin Tony Stark? Run a monopoly on regenerative super soldiers? I don’t think even he knows. Here is yet another example where someone’s inability to handle five minutes of embarrassment costs the nation millions of dollars and countless lives. In addition, his entire plan utterly depends on The Avengers not showing up. Lucky for him, they don’t. Apparently Captain America doesn’t think the POTUS getting kidnapped is worth breaking a sweat.
It’s not that Emperor Palpatine’s plan is ineffective. He does manage to not only play a universe sized game of chess against himself, but also eliminate most of the jedis spread across the galaxy. However, his master plan is so convoluted that he is either a genius or incredibly lucky. He starts by organizing a trade blockade on Naboo in the hopes that the idealistic naivete of Queen Amidala is enough to inspire the otherwise corrupt and apathetic Galactic Senate to intervene. It isn’t, until she moves for a vote of no-confidence which the Senate supports, electing Senator Palpatine to the chair. The rest of his road to space dictator is paved with a clone army, multiple red herring sith apprentices, emergency veto powers, monster smackdowns, child murder, and Jar Jar Binks. It works, in that he ends up as the Emperor, but it becomes increasingly difficult to understand the intricacies of Star Wars bureaucratic red tape and political procedure. He must feel the same way, because in the next chronological trilogy, he is content with Darth Vader and a planet-sized death ray.
General Zod starts out as a far more sympathetic villain than most. While a rebel, he has the best interests of the people of Krypton at heart as he struggles to remove an inefficient government. The only way to save his people is to acquire the genetic codex of his people, which is conveniently bonded to Superman. After tracking a distress call to Earth, he holds the planet hostage until Superman agrees to surrender to him. However, instead of taking the codex and returning to one of the many planets Krypton had already colonized, he decides that after a mass genocide, Earth would make the perfect Krypton. Thus begins an unnecessary waste of time, resources, and lives as Zod fights Superman for a planet he doesn’t even need. Despite stating that Jor-El’s death haunts him daily, he loses sight of the bigger picture as he pettily attempts to murder innocent civilians, forcing Superman to kill him. Next time, General Zod, ask for help before resorting to unneeded villainy.
Bane’s goal is simple, fulfill Ra's al Ghul's mission to destroy Gotham. In the past, the League of Shadows used various subtle means to destroy cities including economic depressions, arson, etc. Several well placed bombs could have done the trick here, especially with Batman out of commission. However, Bane chooses to waste time attacking the Gotham Stock Exchange, robbing banks, trapping police officers underground, and releasing all the prisoners of Blackgate Penitentiary. He then uses the threat of a nuclear bomb to isolate Gotham...instead of immediately destroying Gotham like he is supposed to. In a city so corrupted by crime that it must be destroyed, I don’t see how appointing known psychopath Scarecrow as a judge decreases crime. The plan is evil enough, it just lacks focus. Bane, get off your high horse and just admit you want to watch Gotham burn like the rest of the Arkham Asylum loonies.