Their actions might not be honourable, but it’s the tragedy of their fall which makes them so compelling. I’m talking about sympathetic villains, characters who are trying to balance out their personal injustices in the worst possible ways. We’re drawn to them because they’re flawed and because we can understand why they have chosen their path, even if we don’t agree with their methods.
It’s all about the tragic fall as I look at some of my favourite sympathetic villains.
Another iconic cinematic villain, Dracula’s motivations are rather straightforward. After being robbed of his wife death, he is driven to madness because her soul is condemned. This sets off his renunciation of the church and falls into darkness. He ultimately condemns himself for one more desperate attempt to be with his wife, Elisabeth once more.
4. Roy Batty
Roy, although an android, profoundly comments on our own mortally and our desperation to live just a bit longer. His preprogrammed death triggers his futile chase to extend his own life in a desperate attempt to become more human.
Killmonger is arguably one of the MCU’s most sympathetic villains. His father murdered by T’Chaka, Killmonger was raised in a world where he would be systematically oppressed. He’s seething hatred for the Black Panther would drive him to claim the crown of Wakanda and try to bring justice to oppressed people across the world, even it caused unnecessary bloodshed. His profound impact, would change T’Challa’s outlook on the world and lead Wakanda to open it’s borders.
2. Darth Vader
Dark Lord of the Sith and the one meant to bring balance to the force. Vader is one of the most iconic villains in cinema. Despite being one of the most powerful sith lords, he couldn’t save those he loved the most. It was this which drove him to the dark side, but it was this love which helped him save Luke and destroy the Empire.
Poor Erik Lehnsher just cannot get a break. From his mother’s murder in the Nazi Concentration camps, to his family’s murder in the forest in Poland, Magneto’s powers have always been the source of his suffering. It’s no surprise that he has a disdain for us regular folk, believing that mutant kind have to strike the first blow before they are wiped out.
Who are your favourite sympathetic villains? Let us know in the comments.
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