Rooting for the main character in a movie always feels exhilarating. Watching them beat the odds, become stronger, get “the girl,” and all that good stuff is what gets us excited. Villains, on the other hand, are despicable! We hate seeing them get their way, but there are rare instances when the bad guys actually help the good guys in one way or another. Those instances can be very confusing for the viewer, but usually, it results in a satisfying redemption arc for the villain.
The Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss’ famous furry monster, who absolutely despises Christmas for some reason, is a perfect example of a villain going soft in the end. First, the Grinch takes away the presents, food, and shiny decorations from the Whos. But, upon meeting a little girl, who made his heart grows three sizes, the Grinch finally understood what Christmas was all about.
Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok
Skurge in the comics is quite different from the MCU Skurge, but they’re both villains. In Thor: Ragnarok, he doesn’t stop Hela, nor does he oppose her in any way when she tells him to hunt down the Asgardians. At some point, his conscience wakes up, and he helps the refugees board the ship right before the Asgard goes kaboom. In that final battle, he double-wields two assault riffles — Dess and Troy — to fight off the undead warriors, and dies off-screen like a hero.
Darth Vader in Star Wars
Perhaps one of the wildest twists in the movie history was Darth Vader’s confession to Luke, which then lead to one of the biggest betrayals — the fight between the two greatest villains of all time, Palpatine and Vader. Nobody saw that coming, and everyone loved it. The power of fatherly love brought Anakin back to the Light Side of the Force.
T-Rex in Jurassic Park
Normally when someone says “villain”, they mean a person or a group whose vile intentions move the plot forward. But in the case of Jurassic Park, humans aren’t the only baddies around. The kitchen scene with hungry raptors opening the door is one of the most iconic parts of the movie. They break in, start looking for fresh human meat when suddenly the T-Rex pops up, chomps on one of the dinos, and gives us the unforgettable screech of victory. An enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all.
Loki in Thor: The Dark World
Ah, Loki, everyone’s favorite Marvel bad guy. You probably don’t remember this because people have the second Thor movie for some reason, but in one of the scenes where Loki and Thor are fighting the Dark Elves and Kurse, the God of Mischief sacrifices himself to protect his brother and save the world. Too bad it was just a trick, but at least it worked… for a while.
Severus Snape in Harry Potter
Snape has always been such a prick to Harry and his friends that we all thought he was going to be the man behind it all. By “we,” I mean people who didn’t read books. Seven whole movies in, we finally find out who Severus was working with Voldemort and that he’s actually a good guy. He did kill Dumbledore (spoilers?) but eventually helped Harry and the rest.
Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2
Doc Ock is one of Spider-Man’s most fearsome enemies, not so much due to the robotic tentacles attached to his back, but mostly for the sheer size of his genius brain. In the Spider-Man 2 movie, Otto Octavius became obsessed with the thingamajig, and the robotic implants drove him to insanity. In a short period of time, he went from being a college teacher to kidnapping aunt May in a reckless attempt to fulfill his goal. In the end, when the proverbial crap hit the fan, and New York was about to be sucked into a black hole, Doc Ock sacrificed himself to help Spidey stop the machine.
Gollum in Lord of the Rings
If you consider Gollum to be one of the villains In Lord of the Rings (and you should), it’s easy to see his demise coming. First, he kills his friends to get the Ring, then he tries to kill Bilbo, and years later, when Frodo and Sam happen upon the wretched beast, he tries to off them as well! And that’s after Frodo spared Gollum’s life. So, in the end, when the hobbits reach Mt. Doom and try to drop the Ring, Frodo is seemingly unable to resist its beckoning, and he puts the thingy on, disclosing their location to Sauron. But Gollum jumps the little hobbit, biting off Frodo’s ring finger off, and flies straight into the volcano, all cheerful and happy.