Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 Movie Villains Whose Actions Were Totally Justified

In the movies, you can normally tell who the villains are just by their laughs, theme music, and ugly face scars. But sometimes directors do such a good job of painting someone as the bad guy that we overlook one fact: the "bad" guy actually has pretty good reasons for doing what he's doing. Even though you're not cheering for them to succeed, many film antagonists are just trying to do the right thing. Sure, they sometimes go about it the wrong way and definitely pick the wrong person to mess with, but if you look at the situation from the bad guys' perspective, you'll see that they really weren't that evil. Here are 10 movie villains whose actions were actually justified.

  1. Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride

    Prince Humperdinck, future king of Florin, can't be all that bad; Buttercup did agree to marry him, after all. But even from his first appearance on screen, the audience despises him. Obviously this hatred springs from the fact that he's not Buttercup's true love, Westley, but the prince is doing the best he can. After Buttercup gets kidnapped, who goes after her? OK, Westley does, but Prince Humperdinck isn't far behind. Once Humperdinck catches up with Buttercup and Westley, it's pretty hard to tell whether Westley is actually her hero or whether he took her and has just managed to brainwash her. His black clothes and mask scream kidnapper, so just to be safe, Humperdinck has to lock Westley up and torture him. He's only trying to do the right thing for his fiancee and the future queen. Besides the tiny, little detail that he ultimately wants to kill Buttercup and use her death to start a war, Humperdinck was only trying to protect his girl and his own honor.

  2. Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett in Unforgiven

    In the Wild West, gunslingers and robbers are the norm, and you rarely see the law enforcement take much of a stand against them -- all the brave sheriffs have probably already been killed. Little Bill Daggett might as well be the last law enforcer in the vice-ridden West, and you would expect that he would be an honored hero in a Western. But he's actually the villain in this movie because he kills (albeit, brutally) a criminal that the audience was rooting for. When two famous gunfighters are hired to kill some men who attacked a prostitute, Little Bill just tries to stop them. Granted, he probably should've taken care of the hooker-harmers himself, but this guy deals with murderers and worse every day; he's learned to pick his battles. While the audience sympathizes with the prostitutes and hitmen, Little Bill just tries to do his job and keep crime out of his town, especially the "heroes" of the story who kill ruthlessly.

  3. Ed Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    "Save Ferris" became a rallying cry for Ferris Bueller's Chicago suburb (and even a '90s ska band), but no one made banners or T-shirts saying "Give Mr. Rooney a raise." Ed Rooney, the Dean of Students at Ferris' high school, was tasked with the job of making sure students succeed and he takes his job very seriously. He may have had a personal problem with Ferris' attitude, but he wasn't really in the wrong to check in on the high school senior. Truancy is a big problem in the U.S., and those who skip school are more likely to commit crimes. Case in point: Ferris steals his best friend's dad's car after convincing the friend and his girlfriend to also skip school. He certainly sounds like a bad seed. Instead of Rooney being praised for his interest in his students and his dedication to his job, he is villified, attacked by a dog, and beaten up by Ferris' sister.

  4. King Edward I in Braveheart

    There is no question who the villain is in the movie Braveheart. William Wallace, with his famous speech and army of Scots with no hope of winning their great battle, is a hero like none other, and anyone who opposes him is clearly in the wrong. That wrong man is King Edward I of England (or "Longshanks"), and in the film, he is a cold-hearted villain who sends men to conquer Scotland's villages without any rhyme or reason beyond his own thirst for power. In reality, though, King Edward wasn't such a bad guy. The reason the king had taken an interest in Scotland was because Scotland asked him to help figure out a succession dispute that they feared would lead to civil war. During this time, Scotland was set up as a tributary of England, and King Edward allowed English lords to have land there. It may not have been the ideal situation for Scotland but it was far from evil. There was also no "law of the first night," which forced women to sleep with English lords on their wedding night and got the movie's William Wallace really peeved. The moral of the story is this: movie King Edward was psychotic, historical King Edward was a decent guy.

  5. Tony Perkis in Heavyweights

    If your parents are paying big money to send you to fat camp for the summer, you would think they'd expect some kind of results. But that's not the case at Camp Hope, the camp for obese boys in the movie Heavyweights. Instead of working on losing weight, kids hide junk food around their cabin, race around a track on go-carts, and send each other flying into the lake by jumping on a huge inflatable "Blob." The arrival of Tony Perkis, a new owner determined to get the campers in shape, should probably be seen as a positive step in the boys' lives, at least by the counselors and camp nurse, but everyone thinks Tony is expecting too much from the campers. What is he thinking, trying to teach them discipline in their eating and exercising habits? He's probably thinking that he just bought a camp with the goal of helping overweight children get healthy and of making a profit by offering positive results. Tony does go a little crazy toward the end of the movie, but really only after the children hold him hostage.

  6. The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz

    The story of the little girl from Kansas blown to Oz by a tornado is a classic case of a misunderstood villain. Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch's sister by landing a house on top of her, and all the Witch wanted was her sister's shoes. Unless Glinda the Good Witch was the executor of the dead sister's will, she really didn't have the legal authority to give those ruby slippers to anybody. The Wicked Witch tells Dorothy that she wants the shoes, but when Dorothy doesn't hand them over, she leaves. The Witch doesn't curse her or kill her; she just returns to her castle. In fact, Dorothy's the one who goes to the Witch's home to try to steal something else from her: her broomstick. A witch has the right to protect her castle, doesn't she? Even when the Witch discovers that Dorothy has to be dead for the shoes to be removed, she doesn't kill her. That doesn't really sound like a villain. And let's not forget that it was Dorothy who was doing opium in that poppy field.

  7. Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket

    In the first half of the Full Metal Jacket, which follows Marines recruits through training during the Vietnam War, the bad guy is their drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Sgt. Hartman is definitely a tough guy who berates the recruits at every turn and implements a policy of group punishment to try to harden one particularly weak individual. There's no doubt that he's a mean guy, but honestly, what do you expect out of a USMC drill instructor? This man is in charge of preparing people, many of them teenagers, to fight in a bloody war and to survive in totally foreign conditions. If young men can't learn to endure his insults, they certainly won't be tough enough to confront death over and over again in the battlefield. If they don't learn to follow orders in training, they'll likely be killed in action when they disobey their superior's commands. Sgt. Hartman may not be a likable character, but his harsh tactics were really for the good of the soldiers.

  8. Gaston in Beauty and the Beast

    Even as children, we knew who the good guys and the bad guys were. In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, we can see that even though Gaston is devastatingly handsome (by French standards, obviously), he is evil. But hold on a second. What did Gaston do that any responsible citizen wouldn't do? An already-eccentric inventor is getting on in years and appears to be getting a little senile. He tells everyone that there are monsters and talking candlesticks in the woods, and his work lately has involved large machines armed with axes. It seems like it might be in the best interest of the community for him to be put in a nursing home of sorts. Of course, when Gaston finds out that there is actually a beast in the woods who has been holding their most beautiful maiden hostage, he and the other local men do the right thing and go to kill it. Gaston's just like modern-day animal control, or a farmer protecting his livestock from a predator. It just so happens that this beast is actually a prince under a spell, but no reasonable person would've believed that.

  9. Government agents in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    E.T. is one of the most loved Steven Spielberg movies of all time. The cute (but also kind of creepy) alien comes to Earth and makes friends with some children before finding his way back home. The audience holds their breath as the government officials chase after Elliott and E.T. on their way to meet E.T.'s family. Why can't the pesky authorities leave them alone and let the alien escape? It might have something to do with the fact that E.T. had basically taken over Elliott's body and almost killed him. In a slightly different movie, with a scarier soundtrack and meaner alien, those government agents would've been the heroes. Sure, E.T. used his connection with Elliott to make him kiss a girl and Elliott only would've died if E.T. died, but it could've easily gone a more sinister route.

  10. Vernon Wormer in National Lampoon's Animal House

    The dean of Faber College, Vernon Wormer, was really a very patient man when you think about it. At most colleges, the Delta Tau Chi fraternity would've already been kicked off campus for its pranks and terrible cumulative grades. Dean Wormer, however, only puts the fraternity on double secret probation, yet he is cast as the bad guy in Animal House. He doesn't expel the Deltas after they kill an ROTC horse in his office or when they steal the answers (though they're the wrong ones) for an exam. Animal cruelty and academic dishonesty, at least in today's schools, are both reasons to shut down a fraternity. It's not until the Deltas throw a crazy party that their charter is finally revoked. If that makes Dean Wormer a villain, the deans at every other college are far, far worse.

Taken From Online Degree

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