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20 Benevolent Characters Who Turn Out To Be The Bad Guy, Ranked By How Quickly You Saw It Coming

September 28, 2020 2.1k votes 273 voters 6.4k views20 items

List RulesVote up the good guys you totally knew were bad guys.

Closely scrutinizing some supposed cinematic “heroes” can sometimes expose them as having been awful people the whole time (Ferris Bueller being a good example). And sometimes movies like to throw you a curveball, making you like someone who later turns out to be a class-A jerk who makes the main character’s life miserable. It seems to be a phenomenon that’s popular in everything from Pixar movies to gritty superhero flicks to films where Al Pacino is a (not-so-secret) Satan.

Here are the characters who took heel turns in movies after making you - and, more importantly, our heroes - think they were one of the good guys. Vote up your favorite villains that were hiding in plain sight the whole time.

  • Making a fluffy, strawberry-scented stuffed animal the main bad guy was a pretty dirty trick Pixar played in Toy Story 3, but Lotso (short for Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear) proved to be a remarkably effective villain. Voiced by Ned Beatty (after Deliverance, the man knows tragedy), Lotso initially comes off as a kindly friend to Tom Hanks’s Woody and his pals, but turns out to be an embittered soul who only cares about himself.

    Earlier in life, he actually was a good toy, until a sad twist of fate twisted him into a bullying tyrant, so it's still a little sad to see him wind up tied to the grill of a semi-truck, trying to avoid bugs from flying into his mouth.

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  • When the audience is first introduced to the entity called Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, finding him likable is an instant and natural inclination. Not just because he’s played by Kurt Russell, but because he turns out to be Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) father. After all, who doesn’t love a heartfelt reunion?

    But Ego, true to his name, is a self-serving megalomaniac (somewhat understandable considering he's a living planet) who's willing to slay the countless women he's seduced and the children he's sired to achieve his nefarious ends. Pratt was the one who suggested to director James Gunn that Russell be considered for the role; the veteran actor reciprocated the gesture when he told Rob Keyes of ScreenRant that Pratt was “my kinda guy. I know where that kind of goof comes from.”

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  • With a title like The Devil’s Advocate, we all should have seen it coming - and probably did. The fact that Al Pacino’s character is named John Milton (as in, the guy who wrote Paradise Lost) is also a pretty major clue. Nonetheless, it comes as a big shock to our idealistic hero Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), when it's revealed that his mysterious boss's Mephistophelian tendencies are not the direct result of his being a lawyer, as one might expect, but because he is in fact the Dark Lord of the Flies and evil incarnate.

    And who better than Pacino to go way over the top to play Satan, tempting and tormenting a wide-eyed Keanu with, according to Variety's Todd McCarthy, a “nearly operatic sense of absurdity and excess."

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  • If you weren’t a fan of 30-year-old comic books before going into a theater to watch Robert Downey Jr. play Tony Stark in Iron Man, you probably didn’t realize that Jeff Bridges was going to be a turncoat. Playing Obadiah Stane, the former business partner of Tony’s dad, Jeff Bridges transforms from a friend of the Starks to a gun-running sociopath to a full-fledged supervillain.

    The role of Stane/Iron Monger conveniently gave Bridges the opportunity to shave his head and grow a beard, something he reportedly had wanted to do for some time and ended up enjoying to a rather odd degree. Don’t bother asking why - it’s the Du... er, Jeff Bridges.

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