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13 Villains Who Went Evil Because Of A Wounded Ego

August 30, 2021 220 votes 29 voters13 items

List RulesVote up the movie villains who were just way too sensitive.

Entertainment has become fascinated with the supervillain origin story. How did the Wicked Witch of the West get to be so wicked? How did the Joker become the Joker? Usually the answer is some kind of immeasurable trauma - a dip into a vat of acid, perhaps, or seeing a loved one perish or being pushed out by a cruel and uncaring society. We feel for these characters and begin to wonder, "If pushed to the extreme, would we, too, become the villain?"

And then there are the villains who turn to crime for the absolute dumbest reasons - the ones who make us spit out our Diet Dr. Pibb and ask, "Wait, you killed that guy for what?" There's no major trauma fueling their vengeance - only a bruised ego and a hurt butt.

Vote up the villains who just took things way too personally.

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  • Photo: The Incredibles / Buena Vista Pictures

    There's probably no real justifiable reason to ever turn evil, but Syndrome's explanation sits squarely on the opposite side of the nobler causes - like "overexposed to war" or "mother slain by Dalmatians," - on the how-did-you-turn-evil spectrum. He turned villain simply because he couldn't turn super. Basically, he was mad that he wasn't born a superhero - you know, like the other 99.9999999999% of the human population. Oh, the tragedy. 

    More specifically, he's angry that his hero, Mr. Incredible, didn't accept his crime-fighting assistance immediately on the spot in the middle of a battle. It's silly because Syndrome pretty much gave up the cause after just one try, when in real life there are internships for marketing jobs that require you to jump through more hoops. Like, hey dude, maybe show a little tenacity or just seek a new mentor. Either is worth trying out before resorting to a life of evil.

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    Needed thicker skin?
  • Photo: 2001: A Space Odyssey / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    You never would think it, but it turns out robots can get butt hurt, too. Case in point: HAL 9000. HAL essentially cannot accept that he could have made a mistake - he's programmed to be flawless, after all - or that the problematic errors and miscalculations on board the ship are his fault. When the astronauts on board realize he's malfunctioning, he straight-up starts killing them all.

    If only HAL were programmed to relax for a second, then maybe 2001: A Space Odyssey would just be another genial voyage among the stars. Alas, this AI had the emotional stability of a high school teenager and it ruined everything.

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    Needed thicker skin?
  • Photo: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 / Columbia Pictures

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is by many accounts a sloppily made film, but perhaps there is no stranger plot point than the fact that Max Dillon (Electro) goes full villain simply because Spider-Man forgot his name. Seriously, that's not even much of a simplification. Here's the flowchart of events: Max Dillon is saved by Spider-Man. Max Dillon then idolizes Spider-Man. Max Dillon becomes Electro. Electro still idolizes Spider-Man. Spider-Man forgets his name. Electro wants to kill Spider-Man.

    It's weird, too, because so many people are much meaner to Electro than Spider-Man. B.J. Novak's character forces Max to work overtime on his birthday, which also results in Max becoming a static-y, blue, alien-looking monster. You'd think Electro's vendetta would be against him, not Spidey.

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    Needed thicker skin?
  • Photo: The Lion King / Buena Vista Pictures

    Scar always had a chip on his shoulder. He was never as brave as Mufasa, nor as strong, and certainly lacked that deep, sexy bass to his voice. Then you throw in the whole second in line to succession thing and of course, Scar is going to do some bad-guy stuff whenever he can get the chance.

    But it feels a little petty that he'd be so envious of Simba. Yes, Simba also succeeded him in the line of succession, but there's clearly jealousy there, and it seems to go far beyond just the laws of lineage. It's the reason Scar sent the hyenas to do away with Simba. He didn't just want the little cub to perish - he wanted him to be viciously ripped to shreds.

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    Needed thicker skin?