You know the villain as the Big Bad, the truly horrible no-good person who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But as many great writers have said, "every villain is a hero," given a different context. It's high time we take a look at some villains we've written off as simply evil, and show you how, with just a slightly different perspective (okay, in some cases, a vastly different perspective), these people aren't quite as villainous as expected. No, sometimes these are villains just doing their jobs, giving solid advice, or dealing with impossible situations where no reasonable person would think they had any good choices to make. Some of these people are just hard up for answers, and even the hero's solution makes things demonstrably worse.
But this list doesn't just limit itself to villains who were good. We also look at villains who had a point, even if what they did was absolutely unforgivable. But really, if you think about it, plenty of our heroes have done awful things (Indiana Jones was just stealing artifacts and trashing monuments he had no business being around in the first place, y'know), and it's all just a matter of perspective. Obi-Wan Kenobi was always rambling on about how things are different from a "certain point of view." (Easy for him to say, Darth Vader's pretty cut-and-dried as a villain.) But put on your thinking specs and see how we argue for some of the bad guys (and gals!).
- Photo: Gone Baby Gone / Warner Bros.
With the entire city of Boston looking for one Amanda McCready in this Gone Baby Gone adaptation, turns out it's Morgan Freeman's Captain Doyle who has her.
Why We Hated Him : He kidnapped a child, made it look like a drug dealer's doing, had the entire city and the child's family gripped with fear, and ultimately was responsible for the deaths of multiple people.
Why He Was Probably Right: Amanda had the worst parents in the world. A mother who couldn't even remember the name of her favorite doll, and who just recently stole money from a Haitian drug lord, because, yeah, that always works out. When Patrick (Casey Affleck) found him with Amanda, she was smiling and happy, well taken care of by Doyle and his wife.When she's returned to her home, her mother banished her aunt (the one member of the family who actually cared for her) from ever seeing Amanda, and then left her completely alone with Patrick to go on a date. Jack saw what we all saw, but unlike many of us, he decided to do something about it.6,567682Was this villain misunderstood?
- Photo: Inside Man / Universal Pictures
Clive Owen's devious thief in Inside Man ends up carrying out the "perfect robbery," outsmarting just about everyone, including one Denzel Washington.
Why We Hated Him: Taking over a bank, taking hostages, scaring people half to death, demeaning them (they had to strip and change clothes), and altogether causing massive problems for the city.
Why He Was Probably Right: Russell was stealing one thing, and one thing only: a safety deposit box with evidence incriminating the bank's founder of working with the Nazis. He was offered a great deal of money to destroy it and escape any lengthy prison sentence, so he'd be rich and free, and yet still refused.
After making his escape, he leaves behind enough evidence for Denzel Washington's Frazier to investigate and bring down the Nazi sympathizer. None of this would have been possible had Russell not staged this heist, and a Nazi would have gone on living in luxury off of the misery of an entire race.5,238640Was this villain misunderstood?
- Photo: Blade Runner / Warner Bros.
Leader of escaped cyborgs, this primary Blade Runner villain caused all sorts of havoc for humanity, going up against Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and coming out the loser, though his body shut down at a pretty convenient time.
Why We Hated Him: He was a trained killer, a combat Replicant. There's no possible way that him being on Earth was going to be a good thing.Why He Was Probably Right: His goals were completely understandable -- he just wanted to live longer, and he was forced into four years's life by design, a blink of an eye even by human standards (heck, dogs live way longer). While humanity on Earth wanted his immediate destruction, there was no indication that Batty was planning on any kind of damage to us. Everything he did was directed at people who were directly involved in Replicants -- or engaging in self-defense against Deckard.3,607799Was this villain misunderstood?
- Photo: X-Men: Apocalypse / 20th Century Fox
Both Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence portray the film version of this Marvel character across numerous X-Men films.
Why We Hated Her: Because she threw in with Magneto, rejecting Professor X's attempts to co-exist peacefully with humanity. And we all see what Magneto's plans for us non-mutants are.Why She Was Probably Right: Really, she'd been abused her entire life. She literally had to use her power to hide her actual self, because her true appearance would disgust and distress people on the streets. She was hunted and hounded by all manner of law enforcement, politicians, and vigilantes. It really isn't all that hard to wonder why she didn't have much sympathy for them.6,3721,746Was this villain misunderstood?