Top 10 Most Likeable Movie Villains (Video Edition)
With THOR: THE DARK WORLD hitting theaters today in North America, the massive fanbase for Loki can finally enjoy seeing Tom Hiddleston inhabiting the villain everyone loves to hate. Loki is not the first bad guy who has gained an enormous fan base, so here is a ranking of the Top 10 bad guys who more people love to love rather than hate. If your favorite villain didn't make the cut, feel free to add them to the Talk Back below.
Clearly inspired by The Captain from the classic film COOL HAND LOOK, Ned Beatty's plush bad guy is simultaneously one of the cutest Pixar creations and the most frightening. Forget the creepy toys from the first film or The Prospector from the sequel. TOY STORY 3's Lotso is a force to be reckoned with who is capable of destroying anyone in his path. But, he still smells of strawberries!
When Gollum makes his full debut in THE TWO TOWERS, his horrid appearance immediately lets you know he is a selfish monster who only wants The One Ring and the power it possesses. But, as the trilogy progresses, you begin to warm up to Smeagol. Sure, you know he is going to try and kill Frodo and Samwise, but the pull of The Ring is just too much. Since THE LORD OF THE RINGS and now THE HOBBIT films have been released, people imitating Andy Serkis' iconic voice has become commonplace. We all secretly hoped Gollum would have a happy ending despite knowing it would never happen.
In the first AUSTIN POWERS, we all laughed at Dr. Evil as a spoof of Bond villains like Dr. No, Blofeld, and Goldfinger. By the second and third movies, Dr. Evil had become less a bad guy rather than a funny character that fans looked forward to spewing quotable one-liners. He is clearly the nemesis of Austin Powers, but will likely go down as the most memorable character in the AUSTIN POWERS franchise.
Barbossa first appeared as the primary antagonist in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL before becoming a tenuous ally in the sequels. Like Loki, Barbossa is just evil enough to be a threat, but intriguing enough that we like seeing him team up with the heroes. You never quite know which side he is working for, but that makes him the type of bad guy you can root for.
One of the shortest on screen appearances from any villain on this list, Wallace Shawn plays Vizzini, a man who thinks he is so much smarter than he actually is. Shawn is hilariously perfect as the smug, short little man who matches the Dread Pirate Roberts in a game of wits that is one of the most quoted monologues from the entire movie. While Vizzini is not the main villain in the end, his limited screen time and Shawn's unique voice and appearance make him a movie classic.
Freddy Krueger was the personification of nightmares in the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET before becoming a pop culture icon thanks to his awful one liners and unique methods for dispatching teenagers in a half dozen sequels. Over time, Freddy ceased to be scary and was instead the one we rooted for to kill his prey in the most outlandish ways possible. Sure, we still wanted to see Freddy get beat in the end, but only after ninety minutes of enjoying him murder, maim, and dismember.
How can you not root for a kid who survived the Holocaust and seeks vengeance on those who hurt him? Well, if he turns out to be a pro-mutant hater of humanity like Magneto, I am sure you are torn between loving and hating him. Ian McKellen gave the most villainous turn as the Marvel bad guy but it was Michael Fassbender's performance in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS that truly made you wonder whether you want him to succeed or fail. In either case, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST will put that ambivalent heroism to the test as we see which side Magneto really falls on.
While Gruber is undoubtedly a villain with no positive qualities, he has become the epitome of what a good bad guy should be. He is a smug megalomaniac who wants what he wants with no care as to who dies on his way to getting it. John McClane is merely a nuisance that must be snuffed out, but we all know how that turns out. Gruber to this day is the template for the type of nemesis we want out of our action movies and one we rarely get to see on screen.
When one first sees FIGHT CLUB, it is hard to think that Brad Pitt's character is a villain. But, as the film progresses, we learn that he is bringing Edward Norton's character further and further into an abyss of nihilism. Everything Tyler Durden says or does makes "sense" but there is an anarchistic message to it that should raise all sorts of alarm bells. As we know, the hero and the villain are one in FIGHT CLUB, but it is Jack's Split Personality that takes the cake as the most enigmatic and likeable baddie on this list.
Darth Vader, like Hans Gruber, is the template for numerous villains since 1977. The black clad Sith lord represents an unseen monster who gradually begins to gain humanity as the trilogy progresses. With the prequels, we now have Anakin Skywalker's full rise and fall in the STAR WARS saga. But, focusing just on his appearance in the original trilogy, he has become less frightening that he was originally envisioned and has instead become a symbol for good being corrupted before finding the path back to being a hero again.
The Joker, more than any comic book bad guy, is an evil f*ck. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about him as a person and he is the true face of a monster. But, in his various film incarnations, he has been imbued with a likeability that surpasses his evil. We never want him to win, but we want to see how crazy he will get before Batman stops him. Jack Nicholson played him as a crazy clown while Heath Ledger's Oscar winning performance in THE DARK KNIGHT gave us the closest representation of the comic character. The Joker is far and away the most evil character that everyone wants to be for Halloween, play in video games, and love to hate.