Sometimes, a movie’s protagonist isn’t always a viewers’ favorite. Rather, the “so-called” movie villains can end up taking that spot in viewers’ hearts.
Do you find yourself secretly hoping for the bad guy to make it out of a fix in one piece even when facing off against the movie’s hero? We’ve all been there.
After all, Loki never really made our list of most-hated characters despite his numerous mischievous ploy that put many at risk in the superhero flick “The Avengers.”
Nor did we ever stop craving another opportunity to watch the “Black Swan’s” Nina give another menacing ballet performance. Need I mention Harley Quinn, the infamous queen of crime and the underworld, or Cecil Lannister, whose ruthless antics earned her more admiration than hate from “Game Of Thrones” fans. This list is inexhaustible.
What stands out among these villainous movie characters is their ability to snag the spotlight from their protagonist counterparts and win viewers over. This applies even if the said protagonist is a superhero.
Let’s delve into a list of ten movie villains, who we can’t stop rooting for irrespective of their maniacal antics.
1. Sabretooth From “X-Men Origins: Wolverine“
In the superhero comic, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” viewers got to watch the brotherhood between Wolverine and his half-sibling Sabretooth blossom. As kids left with only each other in a world that misunderstood human mutants, both boys strived to fit in, with sabretooth stepping up as the big brother for the most part.
Despite both having mutant healing abilities, their differences surfaced as they grew into adulthood, with Sabretooth embracing his bestial side. These differences eventually led to their separation and each took different paths.
When they reunited years later, Sabretooth had become a more out-of-control version of himself and ultimately, Wolverine’s nemesis. Yet, being the major antagonist in the superhero flick did not stop viewers from hoping sabretooth still had some love for his brother left, and possibly some good in him.
That never happened, but occasional flashes of him as the child that struggled his way through life with his half-brother somehow excuse all his villainous acts. At least we secretly hope so.
2. Mystique From “X-Men”
Another supervillain we can’t help but love is the fictional, shape-shifting azure-skinned mutant, Mystique, from the “X-Men” franchise. While the movie introduced her as one of Magneto’s devoted villains, we learned in later releases that she was in fact, only loyal to herself.
The cunning character grew up as Professor Xavier’s half-sister but went rogue somewhere along the line. However, watching her struggles to fit in as a child born noticeably different, we can’t help but sympathize with her devotion towards the villainous Magneto, the one person who ever truly accepted her for who she truly was— a blue mutant.
Her ability to shape-shift was only matched by her willingness to switch sides without a care for who got hurt whenever it suited her. Though listed as a villain in the franchise, we can’t stop holding on to those moments she played on team X-Men.
3. Catwoman From “Batman”
The place of the Catwoman as a movie villain is highly disputed given how often she’s played on the same team with her on-again-off-again friend-with-benefits, Batman.
Of course, the feline character has stood as Batman’s nemesis for most of the franchise thanks to her criminal tendencies. However, given how many times she has saved the life of her crime-fighting love interest, or even spared it, we would gladly pardon her vices any day.
4. Loki From The “Thor” Movies And “The Avengers”
You can’t help but love Loki and hope his plan pulls through even when you know he’s pretending to be remorseful, again, just to achieve an evil end. After all, who could blame the infamous god of mischief, lying, and trickery, for embracing his nature?
In the superhero movies, “The Avengers,” and the breakout, “Thor” series, Loki is portrayed as the deceptive, slick, and persuasive brother of Thor, the God of War. But his deceptive antics are exactly why we love him.
Notably, he played the good guy in sequels like “Thor: The Dark World,” joining forces with his brother for a common good. However, he finds his dark ways irresistible and always returns to it, knowing his brother would be there to get him out of any trouble.
Granted, he might have gone overboard with killing his dad in his quest for power. But if Thor could let it slide, why shouldn’t we?
5. The Joker From “Batman” Movies, “Joker,” And “Suicide Squad”
The clownish character, the Joker won over the criminal underworld with his mirthless, color-enhanced smile and sarcastic remarks. While he has no superpowers, he manages to harness his schadenfreude as a force for evil that could contend with even the greatest superheroes of his time.
The 2019 solo, “Joker,” gave viewers a glimpse into the origin of the psychopathic character driven by his thirst for chaos. Originally an impoverished party clown struggling to beat the supposed mental condition that made him laugh at sad situations, he embraced his sadistic side wholly when the world cast him out for being a freak.
The 2019 spin-off changed our perception of the joker as a ruthless, sadistic villain into a victim of circumstance and had us rooting for him. Now there’s an excuse to laugh at his cruel jokes without guilt.
6. Harley Quin, “Suicide Squad” and “Birds Of Prey”
We’d all agree that the Joker’s abused girlfriend (or now ex) belongs in the psych ward and not out ruling as the queen of crime or embarking on secret government missions. Yet, viewers secretly hope she doesn’t fix the “voices in her head,” as that’s what makes her Harley Quinn.
Often depicted with her pink-tipped pigtails and crazy outfits, the character garnered an array of loyal fans who would root for her even when she’s on team-evil.
7. Captain Cold On “The Flash”
Leonard Snart, better known as Captain Cold in the superhero movie, “The Flash” remains one of the most favorite villains in the Arrowverse. His bad-ass wittiness and cool demeanor make him a fan-favorite despite his villainous intent.
To be fair, Captain Cold could be considered another villain who was a victim of circumstance. Notably, the movie explained how he embraced a life of crime thanks to his impoverished childhood. Being cast away by The Flash at his lowest point drove him deeper into villaindom.
Yet, underneath all those layers of revenge-driven bitterness lies a heart of gold that could go miles to protect his sister. Fans couldn’t be more glad to see him play a hero in the CW spin-off, “Legends Of Tomorrow.”
8. Cruella de Vil, “Cruella”
The 2021 film, “Cruella” based on the “101 Dalmatians” franchise took the world by storm following its release. With its high-end fashionable pieces, creative styles, and notorious wardrobe collection, the film inspired some of the greatest Halloween costumes in 2021 and beyond.
Notably, Cruella de Ville donned television’s most iconic outfits throughout the movie, capturing hearts in the process. Coupled with the childhood experience of witnessing her mom’s murder, her villainous antics almost seemed justified.
Hence, viewers just could not give her cold shoulders even after she embraced her nefarious nature and went rogue in her quest for revenge.
9. Cecil Lannister, “Game Of Thrones”
There is no better fit for the role of the heart-thumping “Game Of Thrones” character Cecil Lannister than Lena Headey. From the looks to the powerful control of her voice and expressions, the actress assumed the character so well we forgot she wasn’t exactly meant to be our favorite Lannister.
But between the noble Jaime and the smart, comical Tyrion, Cecil’s down-to-earth, action-packed demeanor was a show-stealer. In fact, the only time viewers ever considered her a villain was when she was facing off against the Starks.
Even so, you can’t help but admire the brave, blonde, who went from a scorned royal consort to disgraced queen reagent and finally, the merciless, all-powerful dogmatic ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
10. Poison Ivy, “The Batman,” “Birds Of Prey”
Preserving all plants’ lives seems like a good cause. But when several crimes are committed and lives are lost in the process, the end becomes irreversibly distorted.
That summarizes the story of the villainous character, Poison Ivy, whose hatred for humanity stemmed from their incessant destruction of the earth’s flora with reckless abandon.
Often depicted as Batman’s nemesis in most movies, the venomous character has solidified herself as an unstoppable supervillain. Yet, we can’t help but admire her seductive aura, sarcastic jabs, and her slick manner of gaining control over whatever she wanted.