If the proverbial hero has a point in fighting what he calls “evil”, a proverbial villain, too, has a point behind what the society calls “deplorable actions”. You will find references of it spread across the dimensions of movies and mythologies. Here are some examples where the villain, who we see as evil, has a reason behind his deeds.
1. VIKI in ‘I, Robot’.
She was not exactly a villain, but more like a nanny. An over possessive nanny with misunderstood morals. She stuck to her rules, just that she understood the world a bit too well.
2. Tom in ‘Tom & Jerry’.
Tom is just trying to be a good cat and protect the house from rodents. But the movie made him look like a villain.
3. Magneto in the X-men series.
He wanted to save his kind. That’s natural order no one wants to be extinct. He never started killing his rivals (humans).
4. Jigsaw in ‘Saw’.
The villain in the SAW series is the best when it comes to a solid message. He puts it like this:
You see, the knowledge of death changes everything. If I were to tell you the exact date and time of your death, it would shatter your world completely. I know. Can you imagine what it feels like to have someone sit you down and tell you that you’re dying? The gravity of that? That the clock’s ticking for you. In a split second, your world is cracked open. You look at things differently, smell things differently. You savor everything, be it a glass of water or a walk in the park. But most people have the luxury of not knowing when that clock’s going to go off. And the irony of it is that that keeps them from really living their life. It keeps them sleepwalking. It keeps them drinking that glass of water, but never really tasting it.
5. Terence Fletcher in ‘Whiplash’.
Although J.K. Simmons (Terence Fletcher) played a real “villain” in whiplash, a teacher who physically and mentally tortures his students and uses tossing chairs and playing cruel psychological mind games as a way of motivation, but he actually had a point as he thought only in this way he can make his students realize their potential.
Finally his methods are justified as the movie ends.
6. Light Yagami in ‘Death Note’.
Light Yagami was going on the right path until L put obstacles in front of him. You might say there was no Hero or Villain in Death Note. But based on general trend, Light is considered the villain.
There are always a few casualties in war. Some good men have to die for the greater good. He knew that. He wouldn’t have killed innocent men if L hadn’t interrupted.
7. Col. Nathan R. Jessup in ‘A Few Good Men’.
On being cross-questioned by Kaffee (Tom cruise) during the court proceedings he had this to say to him:
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to”.
8. Gollum in ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
It’s all about looking at things from their perspective within the context of their situation.
Perspective: Somebody stole something that HE found!
Context: He was corrupted by the power of the ring.
9. Terry Benedict in ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘Ocean’s Twelve’.
Ocean’s Eleven: Terry was running the three successful casinos in Vegas which the cool guys (led by Daniel Ocean) decided to rob. And this somehow made him the bad guy.
Ocean’s Twelve: Now, when he decided to take his money back, he was once again declared the main antagonist of the movie.
10. Ra’s al Ghul in ‘Batman Begins’.
Ra’s al Ghul believed that Bruce must do what is necessary to fight evil. Ra’s had thus trained Bruce, so that the latter could lead the League on a mission to destroy Gotham City, which he believed had become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. However, when Bruce rebelled against him, Ra’s took it upon himself to set his plans into actions. Hence to Ra’s, Bruce came off as weak as he refused to fight evil with evil.
Ra’s al Ghul was a highly motivated individual ready to do whatever it takes to set things right. He just had a very frightening way of enforcing what he thought was right. He also valued the importance of sacrifice for the greater good. He valued the importance of perseverance and the ability to devote one’s self to one’s cause.
11. Megamind in ‘Megamind’.
Megamind is a perfect example of an anti-hero. The irony of life is well presented in the movie.
The character portrays that villains are not born but made by the people around them. Also, looks do matter and even as a villain, your actions can still be something to aspire to.
12. Thomas Gabriel in ‘Die Hard 4’.
Gabriel was a genius US government agent who pointed out flaws in the security systems of the country. Nobody paid him attention and ridiculed him to the extent that he was unceremoniously fired. That drove him to teach the country that betrayed him a lesson.
13. Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’.
Heath Ledger as the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ had made a lot of valid points like, “i
He also says, “To them you’re just a freak, like me. They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out—like a leper. See, their morals, their ‘code’. It’s a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. When the chips are down, these—ah—’civilized people’? They’ll eat each other”.
14. Agent Smith in ‘The Matrix’ Trilogy.
Smith has an open hatred of humans and their weakness of the flesh. He compares humanity to a virus, a disease organism that would replicate uncontrollably and eventually destroy their environment were it not for the machine intelligences keeping them in check. Ironically, Smith eventually becomes a computer virus, multiplying until he has overrun the entire Matrix.
In the first part it is notable that when he is interrogating Morpheus, he sends the other agents from the room, then removes his earpiece, releasing himself from the link to the machines before expressing his opinion of humanity. Early in the second film, Smith’s earpiece is sent to Neo in an envelope as a message from Smith, representing Smith’s new found freedom. During his final showdown with Neo, Smith angrily dismisses causes such as freedom, truth, peace, and love as simply human attempts to justify a meaningless and purposeless existence, and is completely unable to comprehend why Neo continues to fight him despite the knowledge that he cannot win.
15. Karna in Mahabharata.
When life is brutal to us we turn to our dark side because it’s easy but Karna never give in to the darkness inside him but died for the love of his mother he never got.
He was abandoned by his mother only to be supported by Duryodhana for whom he had to fight and die. Karna was so generous that he wouldn’t say no to any poor who asked him anything to the point that he gave away his magical armors when asked for.
He never tried to kill any of the Pandava brothers as a promise made to his mother and, in return, he asked his mother not to let Pandavas know that he was their brother because then they won’t fight him in battle.
16. Duryodhana in Mahabharata.
The epic Mahabharata tells us all the exploits and traits that Duryodhana supported – he was a good person but was spoilt by the poisonous thought-feeding done by his uncle Shakuni.
17. Shakuni in Mahabharata.
Now the question rises was Shakuni the villain in Mahabharata. Then he has his own reason for what he did.
Shakuni was not happy to see his sister Gandhari marrying a blind man and so his immediate enemy was Bhishma who brought the proposal of a blind man for his sister. In addition, there is another legendary story which highlights the fact that the ancestors of Hastinapur destroyed the entire clan of Gandhara. This is one of the reasons why Shakuni vowed that he would end the entire Kuru line.
18. Ravana in Ramanaya.
Let’s defend Ravana by this small conversation between a mother and daughter.
A pregnant mother asked her daughter, “What do u want- A brother or a sister?
Daughter: Why not Mom? He left all his Royal ship & Kingdom, all because his sister was disrespected. Even after picking up his enemy’s wife, he didn’t even touch her. Why wouldn’t I want to have a brother like him? What would I do with a brother like Ram who left his pregnant wife after listening to a Dhobi though his wife always stood by his side like a shadow? After giving Agni Pareeksha and suffering 14 years of exile. Mom, you being a wife and sister to someone, until when will you keep on asking for a ‘Ram’ as your son?
All characters and the arguments in favour of them have been discussed in this Quora thread.