13 Likable Movie Villains Who Made Everyone Root For Them More Than The Protagonist
For centuries, we have been told tales where goodness prevails. Princess is rescued by Prince Charming, the brave hero thwarts his evil nemesis, good wins out against bad. I've had enough. One can only take so many happy endings before one starts to get bored. Though the good person that lives in all (or most) of us has a hard time rooting for a villain, there are just moments where we like the bad guy more than the good guy. Even if you didn't realize it at the time, these 14 likable movie villains probably had you rooting for them, whether it be out of respect for the genius scheming, their goofy nature, or just plain old boredom.
I think the era of the villains is officially upon us. Predictable is boring and there is no better way to mix things up than by giving the audience a malevolent villain that, for some reason that you can't quite put your finger on, you kind of can't help but like the villain.
You sit there in the theater thinking, "Well... it makes sense that he'd be bitter and out for revenge, he had a terrible childhood." Or perhaps, "Well, Batman keeps beating the crap out of him, I'd be pissed too." A good villain is a person who scares you. A great villain is one who you relate to and then fear the empathy you feel for him or her. Case in point: these 14 movie villains who proved that the good guy doesn't always win the hearts of the audience.
The Joker, The Dark Knight
This one needs little explanation. Heath Ledger's Joker was unforgettable. Simultaneously tragic and maniacal, The Joker pushed you away you with his abhorrent cruelty and then lured you back in with his twisted humor and dark charisma.
Yzma and Kronk, Emperor's New Groove
"Pull the lever, Kronk!"
Othello, Othello (1995)
There is nothing better in literature than a well-written, mastermind of a villain whose sheer genius and 'evil for evil's sake' attitude are so impressive that you almost like him/her more than the protagonist. I am a huge Shakespeare nerd and Othello has always been my favorite Shakespeare play because Iago is just such a badass villain. His manipulation of Othello is flawless and I just respect him for being so good at being bad. Kenneth's Branagh's cinematic adaptation of Othello is, therefore, a similar case. Kenneth Branagh himself plays Iago and you just can't help but love his brilliant evil scheming.
Hans Gruber, Die Hard
He's the title character. In the end, he Died Hard.
Professor Snape, Harry Potter
We spent so long hating Snape only to realize that he was one of the most benevolent characters in Harry's life. So many feels. Always.
Dr. Evil, Austin Powers
Dr. Evil is this classic incompetent and yet powerful villain. He's ridiculous and never fails to keep the comedy coming.
Plankton, SpongeBob SquarePants
Plankton is so terrible at being a villain and that, coupled with his tiny size, makes him hard to hate.
Marv & Harry, Home Alone
If nothing else, Marv and Harry continue to be likable because they possess the great villain trait of being doggedly persistent to accomplish their evil antics even when faced with bodily injury. The dynamic between the Wet/Sticky bandits will leave you giggling. They're likable because they're just so bad at what they do.
Because you can never hate Will Ferrell, especially when Will Ferrell plays a villain as ridiculous as Mugatu.
Loki , The Avengers
Loki is hot. Loki is sassy. Loki is intelligent. Loki's been through some tough times. And, most of all, Loki is Tom Hiddleston. You can't help but root for him.
The Jew Killer, Inglourious Basterds
Christoph Waltz's villain, known only as 'The Jew Killer' is ruthless and bloodthirsty for no reason and you still can't help but like him a little bit. His sense of humor and sarcasm make him quite likable.
Myron, Jingle All The Way
Why is Arnold the good guy in this movie? Arnold is a pretty crappy dad, tbh. Myron is just a hard working dude trying to make his son happy. On the other hand, Arnold is a terrible dad who doesn't give a rat's ass about his son most of the time and is suddenly obsessed with making up for his behavior with material things.
Ralph, Wreck-It Ralph
Ralph wants to be good so badly. It's not his fault he was programmed to be a villain.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (13)