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15 Movie Villains Who Got Off Too Easy

November 30, 2020 1.6k votes 304 voters 11.9k views15 items

List RulesVote up the movie villains who didn't really pay for their crimes.

There's nothing worse than getting to the end of a movie and watching as a villain who's racked up millions of dollars in property damage, committed multiple homicides, and kicked a dog, is rewarded for his poor conduct with a slap on the wrist. Villains who got off easy are all over the spectrum of film, and it's just as frustrating to see it happen to a supervillain as it is when a cartoon cat doesn't have to face the music for its attempted mass-mice murder.

These aren't villains who got away to get their crime on another day, but baddies who were stopped and let off too easily following a series of horrific events. Some of these evildoers didn't just get an easy out - they were actually rewarded for their bad behavior. 

None of these villains suffered as much as they should have, but it's up to you to decide which of their easy outs is the most frustrating. 

  • Prince Humperdinck is exactly what's wrong with nepotism. He thinks that just because he's the head of the royal family of Florin that he should be allowed to marry any woman he wants, start a war with another country, and imprison the Dread Pirate Roberts in his underground torture chamber.

    After Westley foils his plans, Humperdinck isn't jailed or hooked up to the machine, he's just left with the knowledge that he's a loser. That may be a moral victory for Westley and Buttercup, but it's not really all that satisfying.

    The Princess Bride is one of the all-time great feel-good movies, and we wouldn't want to change one frame of it, but if we could just get a new post-credits sequence where a brick falls on Humperdinck's head, that would be great.

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  • It's telling that on a list full of supervillains and despicable monsters, Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life is the most despicable of them all. He does everything he can to weaken the Bedford Falls Building & Loan before trying to ruin George Bailey's life and sort-of, kind-of insist that he take his own life. He's not a good guy.

    Thanks to Clarence the angel, the audience learns that, left to his own devices, Mr. Potter would have turned Bedford Falls into an amoral town full of saloons and pawn shops. Thankfully, that never comes to pass, and for some reason, George Bailey doesn't wreck shop on Potter when he comes back from his proposed bridge jump.

    At the very least, George should have called the feds on Potter for trying to bankrupt the town.

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  • After inadvertently crippling his father, kidnapping a bunch of foster kids, endangering the inhabitants of a winter carnival, and causing millions of dollars' worth of property damage, you'd think that Sivana would get more than jail time for his crimes. But no, he's just in regular old jail by the end of Shazam!

    Maybe it's for the best that Billy Batson doesn't totally wreck shop on Sivana or turn him into a slice of pavement pie. Shazam isn't known for doling out violent punishment or anything, but he should at least make sure that the other magic guy who hates him is locked away far from other magic guys - specifically caterpillars named Mister Mind. But whatever, Shazam, you do you.

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  • 8

    Cat R. Waul - 'Fievel Goes West'

    As the leader of the Cactus Cat Gang, Cat R. Waul has gained an enormous amount of wealth for a cat, but he's also one of the more evil felines in America. He convinces the mice of New York City that Green River is a place where mice and cats can live in harmony, all so he can commit full-on mouse genocide and turn them into "mouse burgers."

    Waul's plan is as ridiculous as they come (it involves a giant mousetrap and a saloon), but even so, it's foiled fairly quickly by the young Fievel and his Western buddies. For the crime of luring mice to his town so he can eat all of them, Waul receives extra adulation from his owner. Really, that's it.

    It's certainly embarrassing that he has to wear a bonnet and deal with an obscene amount of affection, but that's hardly a punishment.

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