Chris: I really hate the idea that Superman only becomes Superman when he has to. Superman shouldnít become Superman because some grand cosmic evil forces him to. He should become Superman because itís the right thing to do with his powers. When that grand evil comes, he should already be there ready to stand up for it, not forced to do so. Thatís not what heís about. Or at least, thatís my take on how he works, but I think itís more of a valid one than Clark Kent standing around waiting for something to happen.
David: He was also kept grounded by Jor-El, forcibly it seemed, which makes no sense. Why does Jor-El have control over Clarkís powers?
Chris: Itís almost literal deus ex machina designed to prevent the show from evolving. Jor-Ex Machina.
"That's the problem with heroes, really. Their only purpose in life is to thwart others. They make no plans, develop no strategies. They react instead of act. Without villains, heroes would stagnate. Without heroes, villains would be running the world. Heroes have morals. Villains have work ethic."
— Narration from The Last Avengers Story
John Doe: You should be thanking me.
Det. Mills: Why is that, John?
John Doe: Because you're going to be remembered after this. Realize, detective, the only reason that I'm here right now is that I wanted to be.
Mills: No, no, we would have got you eventually.
John Doe: Oh, really? So, what were you doing? Biding your time? Toying with me? Allowing five 'innocent' people to die until you felt like springing your trap? Tell me, what was the indisputable evidence you were going to use on me right before I walked up to you and put my hands in the air?!
"Iím sorry if this offends you, but you fellows really need us. Oh, yes. Weíre the only ones who know how to make things work. You see, the only thing the good people are good at is overthrowing the bad people. And youíre good at that, Iíll grant you. But the trouble is that itís the only thing youíre good at. One day itís the ringing of bells and the casting down of the evil tyrant, and the next itís everyone sitting around complaining that ever since the tyrant was overthrown no oneís been taking out the trash. Because the bad people know how to plan. Itís part of the specification, you might say. Every evil tyrant has a plan to rule the world. The good people donít seem to have the knack."
"Gee, it sure is boring around here. I just wonder what Ganon's up to."
— Link from Zelda CD-I: The Faces of Evil
"Damn it! If they would just do something, we could fight back!"
— Raimei from Nabari No Ou
"If the man wishes to become the hero, the serpent must first become the dragon. Lest he lack the proper enemy."
— Friedrich Nietzche
"Villains are much more pro-active than heroes. Heroes, by their nature, are purely reactionary forces. The villain is, in all ways, an agent of change. A catalyst."
"[Spider-Man] emulates the creatures he names himself after in some respects: he is purely reactive. A spider will often not bother to seek prey, preferring to weave a web and wait for the prey to come to it; then it acts. Spider-Man is the same. He cannot anticipate my actions—he cannot ever hope to. He can but react when I make my move."
— Doctor Otto Octavius from the novel Untold Tales of Spider-Man chapter "Arms and the Man"
"I'm not like you scum."
"No, Aramaki, you are. We've been fighting the dark forces of this world with the Puppet Master and with finance. You've been fighting with tanks and guns. That's the only difference between you and me. What make you think you're any better?"
"Because I've been fighting against criminals while you've only been fighting for power. Take him away, boys."
—Chief Aramaki and Director Nakamura weigh in on this trope, Ghost in the Shell.
"Good things come to an end, bad things have to be stopped."
—Charles Beauregard, Anno Dracula
"The police? You're putting your faith in the police!? You guys, seriously... Do you understand what role the police exist to fill? All they're good for is being a foil, playing against a villain or anti-hero or evil organization. The bad guys come along and destroy them, and that shows just how badass they really are. Are you sure you wanna rely on such an unreliable group of losers?"