The Rise of the Tech Bro Supervillain

not too long In the past, movie villains were easily identified by the scars on their faces, their evil laughs and weird high collar—but in recent years shorthand has changed dramatically. Turtlenecks and hoodies are hallmarks of today’s wicked supervillains, as tech billionaires increasingly become the villain of choice.

Take Rian Johnsonnominated for an Oscar Glass onion: The mystery of cutleryrevolves around murder gray t-shirt CEO, Miles Bron (Edward Norton). Bron is set to roll out an alternative (and dangerous) hydrogen-based fuel before he doesn’t slowly emerge as an idiot. the audience has compare him for the billionaire boy of the moment, Elon Musk.

But that’s obvious. The more nefarious of these supervillains lurks in plain sight. Take Santa Clausserialized sequel of Santa Claus the series debuted in 1994. Released on Disney+ last November, the film begins with Santa Claus (Tim Allen) retiring and looking for a replacement. He chooses tech developer and Jeff Bezos-wannabe Simon Choksi (Kal Penn). Surprise, surprise, drone delivery isn’t what Christmas is all about, and the hooded Simon turns out to be a lousy disruptor before his daughter gets it right .

A decade after Facebook’s origin story Social networks launched in 2010, wealthy tech CEOs are increasingly becoming the bad guys — or at least the villains. In 2018, Upgrade prominent AI chip inventor Eron Keen (yes, really). In 2021, Don’t Look Up there was a high-end phone developer Peter Isherwell and Free guy features egotistical games CEO Antwan Hovachelik. The trend has even spread to children’s entertainment: Previously Santa Clausanime 2021 Ron went wrong prominent tech executive Andrew Morris, a villain intent on “collecting data” (he actually says those words on screen).

The mad scientist has evolved into the mad disruptor, but why is this happening, and why now? To some extent, the villains in films always reflect the anxieties of society — the mad scientist first appeared, says James Taylor, a fellow filmmaker at the University of Warwick, because of the concerns surrounding the atomic bomb. But Taylor also notes that villains don’t just reflect our fears, “they feed on these anxieties, helping to shape and spread them.”

Superman villain Lex Luthor is the perfect example of this burgeoning villain. “The character was originally a mad scientist, then in the 1980s became CEO, and in his recent on-screen incarnation, Jesse Eisenberg has taken on the qualities of a tech guy,” Taylor said. . “We can easily relate this to changing cultural concerns.” After all, we no longer associate scientists with “new technologies to destroy humanity”. Instead, “in the current climate crisis, scientists are often seen as noble figures who are fighting in vain to get callous CEOs and politicians to recognize and reverse the harm that is happening.” caused to the planet.”

Meanwhile, you only need to open a newspaper to see the tech reputation go bad. Elon Musk’s car is collideFormer Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes face 11 years in prison to scam investors, while WeWork founder Adam Neumann accused pregnancy discrimination. It is not surprising that these realities are increasingly embodied in fiction.


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