A great story more often than not needs a great villain for our hero to fight and to vanquish. Villains often define our heroes and exist only to torment and create anarchy. No one likes a mass murderer, a master criminal, or a violent thug – but sometimes these villains aren’t pure evil. Long gone in movieland are the days of characters such as Snidely Whiplash, curling his moustache and sporting a sinister top hat that spells mayhem wherever he goes. And who knows what his true intent really was, other than providing a damsel with distress and a hero with a day to save. The fairy tale-inspired villain whose evil is undeniable has left the building, nowadays replaced by the individual who was pushed by a series of dire circumstances to take matters in his own hands and do the unthinkable. “It’s not my fault,” Jessica Rabbit herself explains, “I was drawn that way”.
Morality and nobility are not always simplistic and black and white. Good and effective art examines these cracks in society and illuminates the grey that “heroes and villains” occupy. Sometimes their actions are justified and even right.
Every antagonist in Hollywood today has a reason for doing bad things, yet some of them really aren’t as nefarious as their bad guy status would convey. Some of them are even good at the core, if you really look at them with a bit of objectivity. Here’s a few of the more memorable movie villains that shouldn’t be judged so quickly nor harshly. The villains below are not moral or noble characters – but they are examples of these shades of grey. More often than not these villains are products of their environment and have been affected by the world around them. These are some of the villains that we have always sympathised or at least understood.
They are the villains who weren’t really bad. And in no particular order, here they are…
*Warning potential spoilers below*
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