There are some who say that 2007’s Iron Man was the beginning of the modern comic book movie. Others argue the start of the grittier, more grounded, versions of the genre came with Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins. I disagree. It started years earlier with a story about evolved humans, the prejudices they faced, and how they chose to deal with them…It started with 2000’s X-Men.
The latest season of House of Cards had a cold open in which Frank Underwood briefly explained the concept of flipism: the belief that all decisions can, and should, be made with the simple flip of a coin. Frank discussed the birth of the ideology and suggested it be used to clear up the chaos he created in the latest presidential election. He’s not the first villain to speak in favor of flipping a coin, of using chance, as a way to make a final decision…in fact there’s a history of antagonists both promoting and using such tactics throughout pop culture.
Psychopaths are not easy to spot; in no small part because they are masters of disguise, skilled at fitting in even when they stand out. With the ability to read a room and the expectations of those within it they can follow social norms to fly under the radar or openly defy them to whatever advantages there might be. Whichever they choose though rarely are psychopaths spotted for what they are. It’s only if you look closely, dissect with a rational mind, that you can see beyond the surface behaviors to the true person beneath. It holds in real life and it holds in the fictional world…there are a number of characters in TV, film, and comics that hide themselves behind either subdued or over-the-top behavior so that you don’t notice who, what, they really are.