Villains Who Steal the Show
I know you’re supposed to cheer for the hero, but personally, I’m a villains kind of girl. I LOVE the bad guys and gals. When done right, the villain can be even more complex and empathy-inspiring than the hero. They also tend to be more thrilling, getting away with twisted things that the hero can’t justify because of those things called “morals.” Evildoers come in all shapes and sizes, with any number of nefarious schemes and motivations, but only the best are real show stoppers. Here are a few iconic villains and archetypes that outshine the heroes.
Darkly Romantic Villain:
Jareth the Goblin King, from the classic Jim Henson movie, Labyrinth, is the kind of villain you almost want to be whisked away by. He has a rich, smooth voice, composed demeanor, charming eloquence, and strangely handsome features. However, he has a dark side. Under the guise of trying to please our heroine, Sarah, what Jareth actually craves is control. Not to mention he wants to turn her baby brother into a goblin. Jareth’s infatuation with teenage Sarah is undeniably creepy, and at the end of the day he’s pretty evil, but you can’t help falling a little bit in love with him and his awesomely cheesy 80s jams.
Villain Turned Antihero:
Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike, AKA William the Bloody, was the real deal Big Bad, but then he fell in love with Buffy and everything changed. He set off on a quest for redemption, even getting nearly killed to restore his soul. He’s deliciously sarcastic, possesses questionable morals, and – it must be said – is ridiculously sexy. It can’t be easy giving up one’s evil ways, which is what makes the villain-turned-antihero that much more loveable.
Cold, Unfeeling Robot:
The Terminator doesn’t have a motivation, it has a mission, and it will carry out this mission with brutal efficiency and relentless effort until the job is done or it is destroyed. Not that it has a choice in the matter – that’s just the way it was programmed. The robot villain is terrifying in its seemingly unstoppable march (or horrifying drag-crawling thing) forward, but there is also something reassuring about its black and white vision of the world. Its perception is simple: there are people who are targets, and everyone else. You can beg and plead for its mercy, but guess what? Robot gives no f#!*s.
Bellatrix Lestrange is most definitely crazy, but her primary motivation is hatred, bigotry, and an obsessive loyalty to Lord Voldemort. As a fervent believer, she knows her way is the right way, and everyone else can go to hell. Especially those who get in her way. Since she is fueled by loathing, she feels no remorse over killing non-believers in cold blood. For this reason, the fervent believer is an especially dangerous villain.
Villain Who is ACTUALLY the Hero:
Surprise! The Dread Pirate Roberts isn’t a murderous pirate at all, but our heroine’s beloved Westley! Heroes, from time to time, pretend to be villains. Mostly they’re unconvincing, but their thinly veiled disguise may fool more dimwitted characters – seriously, Buttercup, all it takes is a bandana and eyemask for you to not recognize your supposed soul mate? Really?! Still, masquerading as the bad guy can help our hero gain valuable insight, which ultimately helps him save the day.
Hades doesn’t want to be evil for the sake of being evil. He just wants to rule. Everyone. Unfortunately, he rules through fear. His minions aren’t loyal because they love him. They’re loyal because they know he will rip their tiny heads off and hurl their lifeless bodies into the River Styx if they warrant his wrath. The hot-headed villain is easily disappointed, volatile, moody, and quickly driven to violence, making him an imposing adversary for our hero.
Vain, self-centered, and cruel, the Evil Queen is motivated primarily by envy. She has more than one trick up her sleeve and the lady-balls to chop heads, hearts, and limbs to get what she wants. When our heroine finds herself hunted by the Evil Queen, you can’t help but feel sorry for her – it’s not her fault she’s so pretty! At the same time, the Evil Queen can’t help being so evilly clever, and that makes her an awesome villain.
Corrupted by a Tragic Past:
Anakin Skywalker wasn’t born evil. He was transformed into Darth Vader through a series of unfortunate events and corrupted by the true evil force, the emperor. There’s no doubt Darth Vader is evil – the guy was responsible for destroying a whole freaking planet, after all – but when it matters most, he finds the strength to come back from the dark side and save the day.
The Joker doesn’t have much of an agenda. He’s just pants-on-head crazy and wants to see the world burn. He’s a formidable opponent for Batman because he’s unpredictable and always seems to stay ahead of the hero with his creative schemes. The Joker gives the impression that he doesn’t even care if his plots succeed – he’s more concerned with pushing Batman to his brink and causing chaos, and that makes him a fun villain.
An Actual Monster
The Alien Queen is a straight-up, actual monster. When you think about it, it’s hard to even call her a villain – she’s just a predatory animal doing what animals do best: eating other animals. You come into her territory, she’s going to mess your day up. That’s all there is to it.