IN ADVANCED WARFARE
In 1994, The Mask movie became a pop sensation and propelled Jim Carrey into super-stardom. Really, it perhaps defined the decade in movies and showed Hollywood at its best.
With a cocktail of gags, fun, romance and PG-13 violence the movie wowed movie-lovers worldwide. Indeed, worldwide, we all dreamed of donning the fateful Mask and gaining super powers and the instant cool factor!
Though the movie was certainly successful it clearly presented the comic villain as a hero or anti-hero. In fact, it even led to the successful The Mask animated series.
However, it is clear that the Mask is an artifact that amplifies its wearer’s own penchant for violence and destruction. In our third series article, we ask: Is The Mask a #villain?
#HERO OR #VILLAIN?
Across media, the Mask’s portrayals vary from anti-hero to villain. Popularly, the Mask movie portrayed the character in a more familiar light, as an anti-hero.
In the film, Stanley Ipkiss is the first Mask: a disgruntled employee, bullied and romantic, Stanley stumbles upon an ancient mask, wears it and becomes the Mask.
For the most part, he wants lots of money, have fun and win the heart of his impossible love, the girlfriend of Coco Bongo gangster named Tina.
However, the comics presented the character as a villain who despite having a girlfriend, is bullied by mobsters.
When he finds the mask, he puts it on and becomes the Mask: bloodlusted, he causes mayhem, deaths and destruction.
So our series should help our film buffs answer: Is the Mask a #villain or a #hero? Let’s look at comics.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
So far, the Twitter audience has not given any votes.
Let’s look at three characters who wore The Mask and how the artifact may actually make them #villains.
IS THE MASK A #VILLAIN?
#VILLAIN: STANLEY IPKISS
In the comics, Stanley Ipkiss is a weak person who wants revenge in Edge City from the people who bullied him. When he finds the Mask at a store, he gains supernatural powers. However, his powers come with added violence and aggression. In the famous words of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters (1984), this comic is “toast.”
When he demonstrates his humour noir, the Mask kills people who abused him in a series of supposed jokes. On a rampage in Edge City, the Mask kills passersby, a biker gang and various other individuals. Soon, the police knows him as “Big Head.”
#VILLAIN: LT. KELLAWAY
After Stanley’s death at the hands of his girlfriend Kathy, she hands the Mask to Lt. Kellaway warning him of its dark side (My bad for the Star Wars reference). In fact, she tells him that the Mask created “Big Head.” As a practical joke, Kellaway puts it on ignoring her warnings.
When Kellaway becomes the Mask, he vows to end crime and stop all criminal in Edge City. First, he starts a feud with Mafia gang Don Mozzo. However, the vigilante quickly becomes executioner when he attempts to bomb his partner’s mouth with dynamite. Quickly, he buries the mask in his basement.
Later, other wearers become the Mask. For the most part, they all succumb to their dark side and behave in violent and criminal ways when they become the Mask. After, the mask falls into the hands of a gang of criminals. One of them wears it and uses it to get revenge on other criminals.
Later, the mask falls into the hands of four students: Rich, Ben, Hugo and Archie. More or less, they resist the Mask’s blood lust. More importantly, Archie wears the Mask and uses it to become a superhero. To this end, he stops criminals from stealing a lion’s golden tooth at the Edge City zoo though he sets some animals loose. After scuffles with Walter, he escapes the police.
THE MASK IS A #MAGICIAN
Across media, the Mask is certainly #possessed. In fact, his superhuman strength and his reliance on the artifact indicate a form of shamanic possession.
At the same time, his use of magic reveal he is also a magician. Definitely, the power of summoning objects is arcane or sorcery. Moreover, the question remains about whether the Mask possesses Stanley.
In Behind ‘The Mask,’ Kyle McGovern looks at the origins behind the pop movie. Originally, the Mask was a metaphor for human impulses and how it amplifies its aggression.
“You see a guy who’s downtrodden, he’s got issues, he feels like the world has kicked him a bunch,” says comic book artist Doug Mahnke, who worked on Mayhem and several other miniseries featuring the Mask. “All of a sudden he has this chance to get away with a bunch of —-.”
Definitely, we are closer to the answer that the fact he may actually be a #villain, and not an #anti-hero.