Analysis of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Summary Dr. Horrible, a aspiring supervillain, discusses his plans to join the Evil League of Evil and receives a letter from their leader, Bad Horse. He meets Penny, a kind-hearted woman volunteering for a homeless shelter, and is torn between his desire to become a successful supervillain and his growing feelings for her. Captain Hammer, a superhero, keeps getting in the way of Dr. Horrible's plans and saves Penny from danger, which only fuels Dr. Horrible's frustration. As he contemplates assassination to gain entry into the Evil League of Evil, he also has to contend with Captain Hammer's plans to build a new homeless shelter. In a tragic climax, Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer confront each other, leading to a devastating outcome.

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Dr. Horrible

Dr. Horrible is a quirky and intelligent villain who is determined to join the Evil League of Evil. He has a crush on Penny and is always inventing new gadgets to help him in his evil plans. Over the course of the movie, he becomes more conflicted as he struggles with his feelings for Penny, his desire for power, and his growing disillusionment with the current system.

Captain Hammer

Captain Hammer is a narcissistic and self-centered superhero with a love for flashy heroics and a disregard for collateral damage. He is arrogant, aggressive, and vain, always thinking highly of himself and promoting his image to the public. He sees himself as a hero and is highly concerned about maintaining his public image. He is dating Penny and sees Dr. Horrible as a nuisance and inferior, often butting heads with him.


Penny is an idealistic and kind-hearted young woman who cares deeply for the less fortunate and volunteers regularly at a homeless shelter. She is naive and see's the good in everyone, even those with sinister intentions. She has a crush on both Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer but is torn between them.

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Dr. Horrible Dr. Horrible starts off as an antihero driven solely by his desire to join the Evil League of Evil and overthrow the current system. He dismisses important causes like helping the homeless. As he becomes more conflicted about his feelings for Penny and his ultimate goals, he grows increasingly cynical and intelligent. He ultimately realizes that his actions have tragic consequences and is forced to confront the consequences of his ambition and misguided actions. The character arc is well-written and engaging, but it could benefit from more focus on Dr. Horrible's internal struggle and growth. The movie rushes through many important plot points and leaves some of the character development feeling underdeveloped.
To improve the character arc, the movie could benefit from more scenes that explore Dr. Horrible's internal struggle and growth. This would give the character more depth and make his transformation more satisfying. Additionally, more attention could be given to building up the relationship between Dr. Horrible and Penny, which would make the ending more impactful.
Captain Hammer Captain Hammer starts off as a confident and arrogant superhero who is focused on maintaining his public image rather than helping those in need. He serves as a foil to Dr. Horrible and contributes to his downfall. However, as the story progresses, Captain Hammer begins to realize that his motivations were not entirely pure and that he was only interested in maintaining his public image. He begins to have doubts about his actions and starts questioning his values. Eventually, he has a change of heart and decides to do what is right, even if it means sacrificing his public image. The character arc for Captain Hammer is interesting in that it shows him growing and changing throughout the course of the story. However, it could be more compelling if it was given more focus. At times, Captain Hammer's arc seems to be overshadowed by Dr. Horrible's story, and he comes across as a less developed character. Additionally, some of Captain Hammer's actions seem to come out of nowhere and are not entirely justified, which makes it hard to fully invest in his story.
To improve Captain Hammer's character arc, it would be beneficial to give him more focus and screen time. This would allow the audience to see his transformation more clearly and invest in his story. Additionally, some of Captain Hammer's actions could be more justified by showing his motivation and thought process. This would make his story more believable and engaging. Finally, it might be helpful to add more depth to Captain Hammer's relationship with Penny. This would add complexity to his character and make his journey more emotional.
Penny As the story progresses, Penny sees Dr. Horrible's descent into villainy and realizes her mistake in not seeing the warning signs earlier. When Dr. Horrible's actions cause harm to those she cares about, Penny finally understands the gravity of his intentions and ultimately sacrifices herself to save others. The character arc for Penny is relatively straightforward and lacks complexity. Her role is mainly to serve as a moral compass for Dr. Horrible and does not have much agency on her own. Her ultimate sacrifice feels forced and lacks emotional impact.
To improve Penny's character arc, give her more agency and flesh out her motivations. Instead of being torn between two men, make her own desires and goals more clear. Have her actively work towards making a difference in her community and showing why she is so passionate about it. Make her ultimate sacrifice more meaningful by connecting it to her personal goals and desires.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
AmbitionDr. Horrible's desire to join the Evil League of Evil and his plans to disrupt the current system.The theme of ambition runs throughout the screenplay as Dr. Horrible works towards achieving his goals and gaining recognition for his actions.
Contrasting ViewsThe contrasting views on the state of the world held by Dr. Horrible, Penny and Captain Hammer.The theme of contrasting views is highlighted throughout the screenplay as characters discuss their differing opinions on how the world should be run and what actions should be taken.
HeroismThe theme of heroism is reflected through Captain Hammer's self-promotion as a hero and Dr. Horrible's ambitions to be recognized as a villainous hero.The theme of heroism is a central theme in the screenplay, explored through the different ways in which characters express their desire to be seen as heroic or villainous.
Love and LossDr. Horrible's crush on Penny and the consequences of his actions leading to her death.The theme of love and loss is explored in the screenplay through Dr. Horrible's romantic feelings towards Penny and the tragedy that results from his actions.
Societal PressureDr. Horrible's realization of the sheep-like behavior of society and his desire to disrupt it.The theme of societal pressure is explored in the screenplay through Dr. Horrible's realization of society's conformity and his desire to challenge it.

Screenwriting Resources on Themes


Site Description
Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
Coverfly Improving your Screenplay's theme
John August Writing from Theme

YouTube Videos

Title Description
Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics Screenwriting basics - beginner video
What is theme Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.
Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts
Goals and Philosophical Conflict
internal Goals Dr. Horrible's internal goals evolved from wanting power and respect as a villain to desiring companionship, purpose, recognition, validation, and control. He also struggled with his beliefs and values as a villain as he navigated the philosophical conflicts he faced.
External Goals Dr. Horrible's external goals evolved from stealing Wonderflonium, stopping harm to Penny, joining the Evil League of Evil, creating chaos, and defeating Captain Hammer. These goals reflect his immediate circumstances as a villain in this society.
Philosophical Conflict The overarching philosophical conflict revolves around the challenge of balancing personal desires with moral values and societal obligations. Dr. Horrible and Penny have contrasting views on how to address societal problems, while Dr. Horrible struggles with the ethics of villainy. There is also a conflict between heroism and societal problems in this society.

Character Development Contribution: The goals and philosophical conflicts lead to Dr. Horrible's character development as he experiences internal struggles and reflects on his beliefs and values. He matures as a character through his interactions with Penny and Captain Hammer and ultimately learns the consequences of his actions.

Narrative Structure Contribution: The goals and philosophical conflicts contribute to the narrative structure by creating tension and conflict in each scene. The plot builds towards a climactic confrontation that results in a tragic ending.

Thematic Depth Contribution: The goals and philosophical conflicts contribute to the thematic depth by exploring the complexities of morality and the consequences of actions. The screenplay also emphasizes the importance of individual agency and the potential for individuals to create positive change in their society.

Screenwriting Resources on Goals and Philosophical Conflict


Site Description
Creative Screenwriting How Important Is A Character’s Goal?
Studio Binder What is Conflict in a Story? A Quick Reminder of the Purpose of Conflict

YouTube Videos

Title Description
How I Build a Story's Philosophical Conflict How do you build philosophical conflict into your story? Where do you start? And how do you develop it into your characters and their external actions. Today I’m going to break this all down and make it fully clear in this episode.
Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great By Michael Arndt: I put this lecture together in 2006, when I started work at Pixar on Toy Story 3. It looks at how to write an "insanely great" ending, using Star Wars, The Graduate, and Little Miss Sunshine as examples. 90 minutes
Tips for Writing Effective Character Goals By Jessica Brody (Save the Cat!): Writing character goals is one of the most important jobs of any novelist. But are your character's goals...mushy?