Great Villains: Shredder

Proof that you can be really intimidating even if your suit is based on an office utensil.

Let’s face it: Ninja Turtles they haven’t had the best of luck on the big screen. Most of his film adaptations range from the harmless, as is the case with Ninja Turtles II and The ninja turtles (2007), even boring and stupid, words that characterize films like Ninja Turtles III and The ninja turtles (2014). Of course, excluding the latest film based on the famous franchise, there is only one that has truly captured its essence: The ninja turtles (1990). Even 26 years after its premiere, this adaptation continues to have the best plot, as well as having the greatest number of similarities to the original comic. However, that did not prevent the film from having its moments based on the eighties series.

While that comic part of the cartoon was symbolized by the humor of the turtles and Casey Jones, the serious and raw part of the comic was represented through the fighting scenes, the Foot Clan and its leader, Oroku Saki, better known like Shredder.

“Money cannot buy the honor you have earned tonight.”

Imposing, calculating and lethal, the evil ninja paid homage to the comic book character, but was also complemented by new elements such as the “benevolent” character he displayed while speaking to members of the Foot Clan, made up mainly of troublesome teenagers. . Of course, to attract kids with criminal potential, kindness is not enough; That’s why Shredder turned to material pleasures — cigarettes, alcohol, video games, comics, junk food, and so on. – and, more importantly, to the corruption of the bushido to earn the loyalty of his followers.

In that case, why is this antagonist so different from the cartoon from the eighties and other versions? What allows him to be so dynamic without losing the essence that makes him the de facto villain of the turtles? The truth is, it is something quite simple and that every good interpretation of the character has: the absence of control over negative emotions. Whether out of revenge, envy, greed, or a sociopathic condition, all of the above have at some point acted as a catalyst to give rise to the legend of Shredder.

For example, the version of the cartoon from the eighties was motivated mainly by envy. Despite the childish nature of the show, it was established from the very first episode that Oroku Saki, jealous of his former master in the Foot Clan in Japan, took it upon himself to have him exiled and, not content with that, tried to kill him with the agent. mutagenic. Fortunately, Shredder’s actions caused Hamato Yoshi, his former teacher, to end up becoming Splinter. On the other hand, the Oroku Saki from the original comic published by Mirage Comics and the one from the 2012 series were driven by a vendetta Personal: While the former murdered Hamato Yoshi and his wife to avenge his brother, the latter attempted to do so after being humiliated in front of Tang Shen, who would later marry the man who would end up becoming Splinter.

This characteristic is the one that identifies Shredder, but the interesting thing is when they add a new factor to the equation to make him a more interesting and complex character. Either granting him a sense of honor, a resource used in the comic published by Archie Comics; snatching it from him, as could be seen in the first film; turning him into a mythological being, a figure that was built in the 2003 series; or showing part of his humanity, as could be seen through his relationship with Karai in the 2012 series, these small adjustments are what have allowed the character of Oroku Saki to adapt to different generations.

Now, after briefly analyzing the different versions of Shredder, we are going to solve why the villain of the last two films is not a good adaptation. It should be clarified that initially The ninja turtles (2014) was going to have Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) as Shredder, but fans of the franchise aggressively disapproved of the decision and demanded that it be altered, which is why Tohoru Masamune ended up playing the evil ninja-decepticon in the first film. The fact is that this villain – it is not known if he is Oroku Saki since his name is never revealed in the two films – has no relationship with Hamato Yoshi, who does not exist in the latest films, or Splinter. In most adaptations of the franchise, Hamato is the direct victim of the negative emotions that control Oroku Saki and lead him to develop a hatred against him. When Splinter has no reason to hate Shredder and / or vice versa, the former simply becomes a fluke resulting from Oroku Saki’s ambition, which has no logical source and thus ends up causing viewers to be unable to relate. and project into the villain.

As cartoonish as the Shredder can be in some of his versions, he is still essentially human. After all, what is more human than emotions? In fact, if we apply Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis to the matter, we are all potential criminals. To sum it up, the It, our impulsive part, is controlled by the Superego, which is made up of all the social conditions that tell us how to act in community. The confrontation of these two instances is mediated by a third, the Me, whose objective is to achieve the greatest possible pleasure within the frameworks of society. At least that would be the disposition of the psyche of a “sane” individual according to Freud.

Therefore, according to Freud’s theory, Shredder is a sociopath, an individual who does not give importance to the rules of society in order to fulfill his wishes. However, deep down we would not like to be able to do that? Wouldn’t you like to be able to do what your cravings dictate without fear of the consequences? If your answer to those questions is “yes”, you have more similarities to Oroku Saki than you think and that is normal. That’s why Shredder is such a timeless and important villain within pop culture. After all, Ninja Turtles It is about the confrontation of the worst of the human race (Oroku Saki) against an idealization of what we should be despite the different emotions, both negative and positive, that lie within us, each represented by one of the turtles.

And you sure thought that Ninja Turtles they were just nostalgia, weren’t they?

Since we are talking about reptiles and office supplies, if you are interested in reading our review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows, you can read it here.

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Great Villains: Shredder