18 TV And Movie Villains Who Actually Weren't Evil And MAYBE Made Good Points When You Think About It

    Am I a bad person for understanding where some villains are coming from?

    There's no denying it, TV and movie villains have consistently delivered when it comes to enhancing a film's plot.

    But, how many times have TV and movie villains left us with some pretty good points?!

    Careful: There are various film and TV spoilers ahead.

    1. Ava, Ex Machina (2014)

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    Ava is a highly intelligent android, and her entire existence was thanks to the work of an eccentric CEO, Nathan Bateman.

    The first half of Ex Machina demonstrates how Ava thinks and communicates with her programmer, Caleb Smith, and you start to wonder just how conscious she really is. A few twists and turns later, Ava is a brutal killing machine, but it's her final and surprising actions against Caleb that makes her top the villainous scale just a little bit. 

    The thing is, Ava's entire life has revolved around being experimented on, and it looked like her fate was destined for her to be shut down, and re-built entirely. Whilst she could have made a few better decisions toward her end-goal, it makes complete sense that all she would want to be is free. Plus, Nathan was a bit of a tool, let's be honest!

    2. Gorr the God Butcher, Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

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    Naturally, when a character's sole desire is to erase all gods, and that includes killing off Chris Hemsworth's Thor, that character instantly becomes an evil villain. Hands off our Thor, right?!

    The thing is, Gorr's backstory showed how much of a devout and kindhearted fellow he was, but after he watched his daughter die, he developed a pretty fair hatred for the gods who just laughed at his suffering. This is one of those occasions where you can understand why he would want to wipe out the gods who clearly don't mind wiping out us pesky humans.

    3. Kaecilius, Doctor Strange (2016)

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    Kaecilius is a powerful sorcerer and master of the mystic arts. He's basically a cult leader, thanks to his devoted followers, and his life goal is to break down the barriers between the different dimensions. This, at one point, puts him at the top of Doctor Strange's list of villains to stop, because Strange believes the damage of Kaecilius's actions will be catastrophic.

    Again, I think Kaecilius's actions don't seem to come from a deep evil within him. In the film, we see that he truly believes the Ancient One was not being truthful in the way that she teaches magic, and he thought his actions would lead to immortality for people — a pretty decent benefit, right?! What's more interesting here is that the comics go a little deeper into his backstory, showing how he lost his wife and son, and began training under the Ancient One because he thought he'd reunite with his family in another world, so imagine the pain he felt when he realized he'd never be able to get there.

    However, the way he went about achieving his objectives and the fact he didn't mind risking the world for his ideals means he's still on the naughty list, but he does get a few brownie (and sympathetic) points from me for the logic and tragedy-led thinking.

    4. Gaston, Beauty and the Beast (1991)

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    Don't get me wrong, who can stand Gaston's conceited and outright annoying chauvinistic self?! This Disney character is a whole lot of fun to watch and resembles all the things we wouldn't want in a Disney prince, but the guy had a really good point...

    In his eyes, there's a literal beast living in his town who's keeping one of the residents locked away from everyone. No normal person would actually feel safe in this situation, so I kind of understand where he was coming from, even if I am, of course, rooting for the Beast for the entirety of the film!

    5. Skyler White, Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

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    When it comes to Breaking Bad, Walter White's wife, Skyler, had a lot of fans hating on her at one point. She was seen as the villainous obstacle who was always going against Walter, and a lot of the time, her actions gave the impression that she didn't trust him or lacked loyalty as a wife. Things also got really bad when she kept helping Ted, and there were even times where she seemed to be rather seduced with the amount of money at stake. 

    As fans, we were all conditioned to empathize with Walt and cheer him on, but in reality, Skyler's husband went from being a teacher to a drug dealer, and all he did was lie, manipulate, and put their family in danger. Skyler wasn't evil and gunning for Walt for the sake of it; all she wanted to do was have a normal life and protect her family.

    6. Dexter Morgan, Dexter (2006-2013)

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    Okay, I love Dexter as much as the next person! He has such a charismatic and entertaining character.

    Sure, he has these psychopathic tendencies, feels the need to kill, and does actually act on his urges...but he channels this energy into only targeting and killing murderers who have acted without regret (and usually, evaded justice). 

    It's this modus operandi that keeps him off the evil villain list, and onto the 'I can totally get where you're coming from' list. Not forgetting that he was incredibly traumatized as a child so it makes you wonder that if that didn't happen, would he even have a dark side?

    7. Eric Killmonger, Black Panther (2018)

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    In the comics, Eric Killmonger is one of the ultimate supervillains.

    When watching the Black Panther film, though, I actually think he had a pretty good point and reason to be so miffed. After all, he was the son of a banished and executed Wakandan prince, and he grew up in a poor and oppressive USA. Such circumstances led him to believe that Wakanda should reveal itself because of all of its technological advancements and wealth.

    At the end of the day, he just wanted to provide Black people with an even playing field and fight against poverty and social injustice. Of course, being a murderous dictator may not be the way forward to help such beliefs, but I don't think he was evil for evil's sake!

    8. Magneto, X-Men Film Series (2000-2020)

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    The X-Men film series did a pretty good job of showcasing Magneto as the evil antagonist who must be defeated before the world is destroyed. Whilst this is kind of true (he's not averse to a "violence at any cost" way of thinking), his primary goal is to keep mutants safe from abuse and genocide, so he does have a really fair moral standpoint when it comes to protecting his people.

    Especially because we can argue that Magneto may not have so much hatred toward humans if he did not grow up during the rise of Nazi Germany, and had to endure seeing his entire family executed for being Jewish. At the end of the day, he's pretty much an extreme activist for mutants!

    9. Ursula, The Little Mermaid (1989)

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    Okay, hear me out, Ursula from The Little Mermaid is definitely not the nicest character we've ever met, but she is ultimately just a trickster who uses her deals to her advantage. 

    Ursula was a banished soul, and her main fight was really the power struggle between her and King Triton. The isolated sea creature just decided to make deals with broken characters as a way of getting by, and getting what she wants.

    After all, it was Ariel who made a deal to give up her voice in exchange for a pair of legs so she could get the guy, and Ariel accepted the risks of such a bargain if she wasn't able to make Eric fall in love with her. Maybe we didn't anticipate Ursula upping the ante by trying to sabotage Ariel's efforts and their agreement, so that was pretty bad, but I still think most of the fault lies with Ariel for making such a stupid bargain. Plus, Ursula does really kick ass. Sorry!

    10. Jack Doyle, Gone Baby Gone (2007)

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    Gone Baby Gone's Jack Doyle is such a tricky character, but I think he has enough grounds to make it on the list.

    If you remember the film, the entire city of Boston is looking for a little girl, Amanda McCready, after she has gone missing. It seems a pretty scary situation for the kid and the family who are looking for her, and the film really ramps up that fear and gripping tension. Initially in charge of the search was Boston Police Captain, Jack Doyle, but as events unfold, we find out that he had the child the entire time, and was doing everything to make it look like it was a drug dealer's doing.

    What Doyle did was so morally wrong for a number of reasons, and this ultimately made him the bad guy, but you can really sympathize and understand why he took it upon himself to do such a thing after realizing that Amanda had the worst parents in the world (drug addicts and drug mules, for a start). In his eyes, he wanted to give the kid a better life, and this is proven in the final moments when we see Amanda back at home, being left alone by her mother (with no babysitter) so she could go on a date. You just can't help but wish that Amanda was able to stay with Doyle instead.

    11. Ra's al Ghul, Batman Begins (2005)

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    Initially appearing as Bruce Wayne's mentor in Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul later reveals himself as the head of the League of Shadows. He definitely has his villainous moments, but I don't think he elicits meaningless violence which comes from a deep, dark hole inside of him. 

    Instead, he believed Gotham was irredeemable from the corruption and chaos, which was pretty spot on when you think of just how many times Batman has had to be called in to help the decaying city and the people in it. Essentially, Ghul seemed to desire meaningful change and wanted to create a utopia.

    12. Starro, The Suicide Squad (2021)

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    Starro the Conquerer is one of the main antagonists in The Suicide Squad as the team try to bring the creature down from its massive rampage through the city. His antics meant that hundreds died, and if it wasn't stopped, the whole of Corto Maltese could have been wiped out.

    From a human perspective, Starro is a little bit villainous for killing the innocent, but he was previously happy drifting in space until he was captured and tortured at the Nazi base for 30 years. So, you can kind of understand why he was so angry when he was inadvertently freed. 

    13. Chuck McGill, Better Call Saul (2015-2022)

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    Better Call Saul's Chuck McGill was truly an annoying character, and there were times when I couldn't wait for the series to hurry up and get on with his demise. I may be a bad person for this, though...

    His character is a highly successful attorney, and he is often condescending toward his brother, Jimmy (Saul), who became hellbent on bringing him down. The thing is, when you strip Saul's likability away from him, you realize that he is and has done much more borderline evil stuff than Chuck ever had.

    Plus, Chuck's actions were driven mostly by jealousy. This isn't okay, but you can understand his feelings a little bit when he has been brought up to watch his parents prefer his brother, especially when Chuck always stayed the good child and Jimmy was always getting in trouble. One thing that always unsettled Chuck, too, was Jimmy's approach to being a lawyer; he wanted to take shortcuts all the time, and Chuck believed him to be ethically challenged, and he was worried he would end up ruining lives and hurting people. Well, all we have to do is look at how Jimmy's life turned out to realize that his brother had a damn good point.

    14. Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty (1959)

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    Given that the malevolent fairy, Maleficent, is described as the incarnation of evil, I realize that I may be in the minority here when I say that she's not all that bad.

    In the animated film, she takes revenge on King Stefan's kingdom because she wasn't invited to Princess Aurora's christening. It's a little bit embarrassing to be the only one not invited to be honest, so out of spite, she puts a curse on the baby (okay, this is probably a step too far). But the pain could have easily been avoided if she was shown a gesture of goodwill and received an invite.

    We also later learn in Maleficent (2014) that she was originally a good fairy who was betrayed, resulting in her pure heart turning to stone and setting her on a path of evil. So, you know, her life path's options seemed a little bit limited on this one.

    15. O-Ren Ishii, Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

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    In my opinion, O-Ren Ishii is an iconic villain, and an absolute masterpiece of a character. In Kill Bill Vol. 1, she is one of the main enemies of the Bride. She's a highly skilled ninja samurai, a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DeVAS), and the leader of the Yakuza. You really wouldn't want to mess with her.

    Understandably, the Bride wants to kill her former colleague, O-Ren Ishii, as she was part of the group responsible for virtually leaving her dead on her wedding day.

    Whilst the DeVAS massacre was truly awful and the Bride lost someone she loved because of Bill's vengefulness, O-Ren Ishii was purely following orders — something that the Bride would have done in her time, too.

    O-Ren Ishii's character is also much more layered because she is who she is for a reason. After watching her parents die at the hands of the assassins who worked for Yakuza crime boss, Matsumoto, O-Ren made it her life's mission to avenge her parents' death and become the ultimate leader of the Tokyo underworld.

    She may be a heartless and fierce character, but I think the complexity of her backstory demonstrates that she's not just an evil figure, but had good reason to end up where she did.

    16. Screenslaver, The Incredibles 2 (2018)

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    The main antagonist of The Incredibles 2 was Screenslaver, aka Evelyn Deavor, a figure who operated through the shadows and hypnotized others to act for her. Her mission was to get rid of Supers completely.

    Whilst she does some questionable things, including framing a pizza delivery guy, her actions were born out of her traumatic childhood in which her father was murdered by criminals. Evelyn believed that her father relied too much on Supers and this led to his untimely death, because when their home was broken into by burglars, her father waited on Supers to turn up and save the day, instead of just hiding in the safe room. 

    Ultimately, Evelyn saw Supers as a risk to normal society due to her own experience, and you can kind of understand where she's coming from, even if she takes this trauma to a new level and goes about it the wrong way.

    17. Terence Fletcher, Whiplash (2014)

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    Terence Fletcher is truly a godawful teacher to Andrew Neiman, an aspiring jazz drummer. For starters, he psychologically abuses and bullies the young student, and when their relationship gets really bad, the teacher goes as far as to set him up whilst performing onstage. All of this is 100% not something for humans to aspire to at all, and this is obvious as viewers emotionally sympathize with Andrew and are really rooting for him to do well against his teacher.

    But he is not a villain for villain's sake. Fletcher's methods were not appropriate, but every step he took was to push for the best out of his students, because he had experienced a level of mediocrity throughout his teaching years, and knows firsthand how hard it is for the kids to make their dreams happen.

    18. Carrie White, Carrie (1976)

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    The horror in Carrie is seen when the young girl uses her telekinetic abilities to seal the exits of the school dance and set it on fire. She also controls a fire hose that injures several students, and causes Miss Collins to get crushed by a falling basketball backboard, whilst the principal is electrocuted.

    Carrie also overturns Chris and Billy's car, killing them, and she later crucifies her mother with a range of flying sharp objects. 

    This is all definitely bad stuff. However, if you look at Carrie's upbringing, she was bullied and humiliated by her school peers on a daily basis, and her mother's extreme religious beliefs and unstable ways meant that she found no comfort in or out of the home. Instead of being a hardcore villain, it seemed she snapped under all of the pressure and pain she was put through.

    What do you think? Are there any other movie or TV villains who made a pretty good point? Name drop in the comments!