How to Train Your Dragon 2

It seems as if half the characters in How to Train Your Dragon 2 are amputees of some sort… enough that alongside the positive portrayals of Gobber, Hiccup, and Toothless, we also get a portrayal of the ol’ Amputee Rage trope, in which the amputee is filled with an all-consuming hatred for the person responsible for the loss of their limb, and self-loathing of their altered body. In this case, Drago Bludvist presumably lost his left arm and his entire family in a dragon attack on his village as a child. When he later came across a lone dragon, he abused it instead of training it properly, and began his campaign to subjugate both dragons and people. His heavy fireproof cloak of dragonskin is strategically placed to hide his prosthetic arm, in stark contrast to the numerous villagers of Berk with missing limbs.

Stoick describes Drago as insane, too; this is said of many supervillains both on-screen and off, with little regard as to whether they have a diagnosable mental illness or not. The tendency to think of violent or evil people as inherently mentally ill because their actions are incomprehensible has had the unfortunate effect of stereotyping all mentally ill people as dangerous. Film and news media focus on occasional lurid incidents, exaggerating the link between mental illness and violence in the minds of the general population. In fact, the mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violent crime at the hands of the sane, and suffer employment and housing discrimination as a result.

Men in Black 3

What is it with Tommy Lee Jones and one armed men? Boris “the Animal”, the villain in Men in Black 3, had his right arm blasted off in 1969 and spent the next forty years in a lunar prison plotting revenge against Agent K in particular, and the wholesale destruction of Earth in general. (Being from a race of aliens whose entire reason for existence is the consumption of other planets, this sort of anti-social behavior is almost to be expected, but the source of his existential rage is portrayed as being the loss of his arm.) Boris goes back in time to attempt to kill K before he loses his arm, and meets up with his younger Hell’s Angel self who can’t stop staring at his residual limb. Boris won’t put up with that, nor can he abide the appellation “the Animal”. We’d agree his treatment was dehumanizing, if he was actually human.

Of perhaps more interest is the character of Griffin, portrayed as a gentle eccentric capable of spouting off almost autistic levels of detail about the events unfolding around him. Griffin has lost his entire planet and civilization to Boris’ kind, but instead of becoming bitter he prepares a defense mechanism for his beloved Terran civilization. His ability to see infinite possibilities results in almost crippling indecision, yet occasionally he’ll react to the prospect of danger with childlike glee. Griffin well embodies the character type of the magical disabled person, better in tune with the mysteries of the universe than even the Men in Black, and is indeed referred to by them as a “unicorn”.