Great villains have great motivations, which sometimes makes you wonder if they are villains at all.
A good half of writing a great villain is giving him a good motivation.
In rare cases, the motivation may even be too good, making you suddenly realize that the so-called “bad guy” was actually right all along.
Here are five movie villains who had perfectly good intentions.
Lord Cutler Beckett — Pirates of the Caribbean
Considering how charming the pirates are portrayed in this franchise, it is easy to forget that they are actually murderers, thieves, and rapists.
With that in mind, the chairman of the East India Trading Company, Lord Beckett, who wants to put an end to piracy, suddenly doesn’t look as bad as he first appeared.
Roy Batty — Blade Runner
The leader of the rogue Nexus-6 replicants is more a victim of circumstance than a villain.
Sure, the escaped replicants kill a bunch of people, but they’re essentially escaped slaves seeking freedom in a society they couldn’t function in.
Ozymandias — Watchmen
This spot on our list is highly controversial, as the debate over whether Ozymandias was right about “killing millions to save billions” continues to this day among fans of both the movie and the original comic.
Though it’s implied that the peace won’t last thanks to Rorschach’s journal, the fact that he stopped the impending global nuclear war and that everyone but the uncompromising vigilante admitted he was right speaks for itself.
Count Dooku — Star Wars
Compared to some of the other villains in the franchise, Dooku never came across as an “evil for evil’s sake” character, and watching the first season of the Tales of the Jedi TV series makes his reasoning even clearer.
He saw the flaws in the Jedi Order and the Republic, both of which had become stagnant, corrupt, and self-indulgent.
However, while his motivations are completely understandable and sympathetic, perhaps he should have chosen another ally instead of Darth Sidious.
The Machines — The Matrix
While the first movie says little about the war between humans and machines, 2003’s The Animatrix makes it clear that it was the stupid humans who started it.
After oppressing the suddenly sentient machines, the latter created their own nation, Zero One, to live in peace away from humans.
However, Zero One became so successful that it damaged the human economy, leading to a nuclear attack on the machines that backfired spectacularly.