Real Name: Buddy Pine
Premiered in: The Incredibles (2004)
Voiced By: Jason Lee
Skipping over the film Finding Nemo as there was no one who was villainous in the sense of doing evil intentionally or with a guiding purpose (feeding frenzy aside, I feel for ol’ Bruce), let’s move on to one of my favorite Pixar films and one of the best villains they’ve ever created, Syndrome. Born Buddy Pine, the boy who was, quite easily, the number one fan of renowned hero Mr. Incredible would grow up to be one of the worst super villain the likes of which make even characters like the Green Goblin or the Joker seem tame by comparison. For you see, despite having no true superpowers of his own be it flight, incredible strength, or some manner of elemental affinity, Buddy did indeed possess a rare gift. Even at a young age, he was a mechanical genius and was able to create a pair of flight boots and his genius only continued to grow until such a time as he could enact his revenge against the hero who turned him away. The hero called him a nuisance when all that he wanted, all that he ever dreamed, was to be at his hero’s side fighting the good fight.
Utilizing his genius, the boy formerly known as Buddy Pines renamed himself Syndrome and created a vast array of gadgets and weaponry that he sold the world over and amassed enough wealth through the black market to not only afford his own private island, but an army of goons to run it. Yet it was not the wealth or even the power that drove Syndrome. It was vengeance and envy that inspired him to become a better superhero than even the likes of Mr. Incredible and to do this, he created a learning machine capable of both fighting and killing supers. How did he do this? By luring supers who, much like Mr. Incredible had either grown tired of the mediocrity that was the mundane life or had perhaps had met bitter ends in their pursuits to careers.
Either way, Syndrome lured them to his island with a promise of vast payment should they succeed in putting down a “rogue” machine. To be fair, if the supers did indeed succeed, Syndrome would keep his end of the bargain and invite them again to his island for a celebratory conference only for them to combat a newer, and much stronger, model. Syndrome repeated this method enough times until he felt that he had created a machine powerful enough to beat the likes of even the world’s greatest hero, Mr. Incredible.
Though the exact numbers are never outright stated, I counted how many different superheroes appeared on the computer monitor.
Fifteen men and women who had put their lives on the line for the greater good of humanity against all the evils the world could create.
Fifteen men and women who had friends and families, and whom were all brutally killed so that a psychopath could pretend to be a better hero than they.
Though it is never explained how supers gain their powers from birth, rather like the mutants of Marvel comics renown I wager, there is no denying that Syndrome’s overall goal was genocide and his accomplice in all this was the femme fatale known simply as Mirage.
Mirage, as her name might imply, is the “face” of Syndrome’s organization, and was the one primarily in charge of locating and luring superheroes to Nomanisan Island. I found it odd though that she would eventually reform and turn to the side of good when she realized just how far Syndrome was willing to go when he ordered her to launch missiles on a plane that was carrying women and children aboard it. Syndrome sociopathic nature was further pressed upon her when he was willing to let Mr. Incredible try and kill her even though she was the one who saved his life from Mr. Incredible’s wrath. I find it rather odd that in all of her stakeouts that she never took notice of the friends and families connected to the superheroes, ones who would, thanks to her and Syndrome, never know the truth of their fates until the Incredibles put an end to Syndrome’s utterly stupid master plan.
Oh yeah, the “master plan” of Syndrome was to create a robot capable of beating and outsmarting Mr. Incredible and then have it attack a city where he would then swoop in and save the day, paving the road for a world where everyone could be as super as him. At the right price of course. Ironically, true to Mr. Incredible’s earlier prediction, the Omnidroid realized the method that Syndrome’s remote control was inhibiting it from enacting its primary function and it promptly swatted it, and him, like a fly.
Say what you will of artificial intelligences built for benign reasons, never integrate one with the intent of war and hope that it never stops and asks the dreaded question of “Why?”
Seriously, it never ends well.
In the end, Mr. Incredible ends up killing Syndrome when the man attempted to try and kidnap the man’s son, Jack-Jack, to raise as his own personal sidekick. Mr. Incredible accomplished this by way of throwing a car at Syndrome’s jet and in the resulting jostle, Syndrome’s cape got caught in the turbines and…
There are only two superheroes in all of fiction that wear them with pride and Syndrome definitely isn’t in the same league as they.