Heroes in Culture: The Villain Who Isn’t One, Mr. Freeze

Bryan Rodriguez-Velazco, Staff Writer

A villain is described as “a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot.” Yet, what if their motives weren’t evil based on selfishness and greed? Rather, based on the hope of true happiness and love? Out of all of Batman’s rogue galleries, one stands out the most because of his backstory. Mr. Freeze is one of the most underrated villains that fights against the caped crusader. His main ability being he can freeze victims with the freezing gun he keeps at hand. Nevertheless, he doesn’t do this for himself in fact he never asked for this life. His real name was Dr. Victor Fries, and he was a scientist studying cryogenics. So how did he end up becoming a villain after all?

It all began because of one person in Victor’s life, his wife Nora Fries. Ever since Nora developed an incurable disease, Victor vowed to save her life from it. He put her in suspended animation to prevent her from dying due to her illness. Using his own laboratory from the company, he worked to conduct every possible theory to find a cure. However, his company cut his funding for the experiments because of cost. This then led to an accident causing Victor to need to be at sub-zero temperatures in order to survive. Blaming his company for this, he put on a suit to support his condition and sought out revenge. He wanted payback for what they did to him and his wife Nora.

Yet he truly didn’t choose vengeance rather choosing love instead. His wife is still stuck with an incurable disease. All the horrible things he does are in order to save his wife. He doesn’t do it for his own selfishness and desire for evil. No, he does it so that she can live a great life because the illness didn’t let her. An action he makes is for her and only her. For example, in the animated movie, Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, he finds a way to cure her. He finds that she’d need an organ transplant to remove the disease entirely, but would need a donor. So, he searches for the perfect donor in Gotham and finds out it’s Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl and Jim Gordon’s daughter). He finds and kidnaps her for the transplant, but is ultimately foiled by Batman.

In spite of that, Nora does receive the transplant from someone else. When he finds out he does nothing but smile with tears coming out of his eyes. It shows he doesn’t do it for himself, but all he wants to do is see his wife live again. It shows his love and devotion for her even if it’s not the right way to do it. He’ll endlessly do anything to bring her back if it means leaving the world in an icy nightmare. Even if he’s a villain he exemplifies selflessness when he commits such heinous crimes. He shows that not all villains are pure evil, but can be human rather than seen as a monster. 

In the end, is it so wrong if it’s all for his wife? Is it wrong if someone risks it all for the sake of someone’s well-being at the cost of others? It’s like the trolley problem when you have an out-of-control trolley with two tracks at the end. One track has one person while the other contains five. Mr. Freeze isn’t really a villain, but a broken man trying to save the one person he truly loves. People can’t just judge someone based on actions they don’t know the purpose of. Although his actions are wrong, he shouldn’t be just seen as a villain. He should also be seen as a man trying to save his wife, but finding the wrong path to it. Not all villains do it just for the sake of villainy. Just like the saying goes, “a hero would sacrifice you for the world, but a villain would sacrifice the world for you.”