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Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics (Blu-ray Review)

24 Oct, 2013 By: John Latchem

Street 10/25/13
$14.98 DVD, $19.98
Blu-ray, $24.98 BD combo
Not rated.
Narrated by Christopher Lee.

It probably shouldn’t be surprising that the discs for this cursory documentary about comic book villains don’t come with any extras. In many ways, the film itself seems like it could have been a bonus feature for another movie — one of those direct-to-video animated flicks based on a major comic book storyline, perhaps.

There’s nothing altogether wrong with Necessary Evil, which devotes 99 minutes to the thesis that comic book superheroes and supervillains are locked into a symbiotic relationship and couldn’t exist without each other. There’s even an interview with a psychologist discussing the mindset of what makes some of these baddies tick.

Mostly, though, the documentary presents a laundry list of comic book writers and artists discussing the origins of several major DC Comics bad guys, all while loosely connected to the main theme by narration by Christopher Lee, a distinguished voice if ever there was one but who is starting to sound every bit of his 91 years.

The end result plays more like a commercial not just for DC’s line of comic books (which, perhaps not coincidentally, recently celebrated “Villains Month” on its pages), but also several video games based on the characters. Less prominent is any footage from the live-action movies based on the DC characters (how you discuss The Joker in the modern age without devoting significant screen time to Heath Ledger’s portrayal is beyond me).

Necessary Evil is aimed primarily at a niche audience of fanboys whose excitement level will grow simply from the mention of each villain, and with that group it should succeed with its objective. The production values are solid, and the nostalgia factor shouldn’t be overlooked. Casual fans, however, may be left thinking the villain they wanted to see got short shrift.

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