As it turns out, not every villain is an ugly, unlikeable monster. Some actually possess a few redeeming qualities, some are just flat-out hot, and some fall under the "tragic villain" trope and are actually kinda sympathetic.
Some of the bad guys on this list would make a great addition to your friend group. Sure, there's a small chance you might get slain by an ice pick or thrown into the void of space (or whatever Loki does) - but doesn't that just add to the excitement of having them around? Come on, you know you love these baddies and would join their entourage in an instant. Just admit it.
- 1318 VOTESPhoto: Thor: The Dark World / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Loki is, by definition, the god of mischief. He's also a war criminal, but that's just his way of dealing with life-long rejection from his father Odin (god of war, wisdom, and a number of other important things). Loki didn't want to live in the shadow of his older brother Thor, so he decided to become a villain. Can you blame him?
Deep down, Loki desperately craves love and attention. And to get all armchair psychologist about it, the whole becoming-a-villain thing is sort of his way of acting out. He just wants to be noticed, which is probably why he has usurped the Asgardian throne on more than one occasion and repeatedly tried to off his own brother. He wants to be the hero. He wants the glory. He's the underdog, and it's hard not to root for him - homicidal streak and all.
(He was even named MTV's Sexiest Avenger... and he isn't even an Avenger.)
- 2183 VOTESPhoto: Fight Club / 20th Century Fox
Tyler Durden is just like you... only better. He's a charming, hunky, natural-born leader who can convince just about anyone to adopt his minimalist-anarchist ideals. In the 1999 cult classic Fight Club, Durden's main goals are to undermine consumerism, destroy the system, and disrupt social order. He even circumvents the system by making soap from human fat (which he collects from the dumpsters behind liposuction clinics) and selling it to fancy department stores for a hefty profit. In a way, this makes him the perfect antihero.
Unfortunately, Durden has other motives that are anything but heroic. The soap contains glycerin, which is perfect for homemade incendiary devices. His "Fight Club" starts out as a weekly group in which men can take out their aggression by way of bare-knuckle fistfights. But it quickly evolves into Project Mayhem, a bomb-assembling cult designed to help Tyler carry out his plans to take out a massive block of downtown buildings, eliminating the debt record and inducing widespread chaos.
Still, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) has the kind of leadership skills and affable charm we could only dream of. He'll let you stay at his place for free, he's good for all kinds of useful factoids about common household items, and by the looks of it, he has certainly freed his Project Mayhem acolytes from all the material and careerist concerns previously weighing their souls down. He had the "throw everything away that doesn't spark joy" mindset long before Marie Kondo came onto the scene.
- 3220 VOTESPhoto: Hannibal / NBC
Hannibal Lecter is the epitome of true evil. He operates by a philosophy that it is his responsibility to eradicate those he deems rude by serving them as his next meal. (Which is not to say he doesn't enjoy hunting his prey.) And what's more, he loves throwing a good dinner party.
Though he is perhaps fiction's most notorious cannibal - Thomas Harris's novels have been adapted into multiple films, including 1991's critically acclaimed The Silence of the Lambs, and the popular NBC series Hannibal - the doctor is also one of the most beloved villains in pop culture. And for good reason. His intelligence and suave elegance make him charming not only to Will Graham and others in his close circle, but also to horror fans in the real world, as well. His philosophy of punishing the arrogantly glib is difficult to argue with - and if we're honest, it would be an honor to attend one of his grand dinner events.
Also? Dude's a great listener.
- 4246 VOTESPhoto: The Dark Knight / Warner Bros.
Sure, all Heath Ledger's Joker wants is to watch the world burn, but he seems to be having such a good time doing it. "I'm a dog chasing cars," he declares in his most meaningful statement of self-interrogation. Is there any scenario in which a dog chasing a car is not both adorable and endearing? No. No there is not. Joker, to be fair, may not be man's best friend... but he could be ours, if we play our cards right.
The pure joy exuded by Joker in the face of his chaos and destruction is just enough to win us over - whether he's tormenting Batman, blowing up a hospital while cosplaying as a nurse, turning Harvey Dent (the virtuous White Knight of Gotham) into a psychopathic villain, or forcing two groups of people to choose between saving themselves or terminating a bunch of innocent strangers. He even knows fun magic tricks. And just look at that smile!
Plus, that scene when he sticks his head out of the window of a hijacked cop car, letting his hair flow ever so gently in the wind? Beautiful. A reminder of those carefree road trips with our pals during the halcyon days of our youth.