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The 10 Most Likable Movie Villains Who Wanted to Destroy the World

by DannyGallagher   August 19, 2011 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 30,879
By their very nature, the classic movie villain is designed to be a character so hated by the audience that their very presence makes the hero even more likable by default. However, some of the villains from the most classic films were endearing in their own way and worthy of some love of their own.

10. Dr. Evil from the "Austin Powers" series

Source: New Line Cinema

It's hard to know if this evil guy wants to destroy the world because of the lot dealt to him in life or if it's just his need to have enough money to continue threatening the world for years to come. Unlike action movies, the "Austin Powers" films are intentional comedies and don't need full story lines to explain every silly thing the villain does that a real global terrorist wouldn't do even if he were whacked out on Thorazine.

Dr. Evil always seemed to have a softer side to him whether it's trying to warm up to his angry teenage son Scott or doting on Mini-Me who he basically treats as a pet that suffers from an extreme ego complex. His silliness while torturing his young son with his incessant "Zip it's" or "Shhhs" feel playful, like he's trying to communicate with the boy even though he is clearly driving him into a mental breakdown. And if he wanted to kill Austin Powers and blow up the world, he could have just done it instead of asking for the Earth's entire supply of money. So really, he's just a big, fat, gray, pale, almost albino teddy bear with an eye-scar.

9. Alex from "A Clockwork Orange"

Source: Warner Bros.

If you met a psychopath like Alex in the real world, the last kind of relationship would you want to have with him is a friendly one. In fact, you probably wouldn't even want one that involves talking through a localized telephone line through three-inch thick plate glass.

But the way that the gleeful psychopath is presented both in his initial stages of mayhem and the aftermath of his rehabilitation make him a very endearing character. Sure he beats up his friends when they disagree with him and spends just about every waking hour torturing every soul around him, but his lack of heart reminds you of that friend that never treated you right but you still hung out with just to look cool. And even after he is supposedly cured of his sadistic tendencies, it's hard not to pity a guy who is being punished for acting the way God made him, even if God made him out to be a brutish, selfish, egotistical thug who could make you wet your pants.

8. Darth Vader from "Return of the Jedi"

Source: LucasArts

It might be hard to see how one of the most evil and cruel villains in cinema history who literally lives on a "Dark Side" of anything could have another facet of his personality that actually brings an audience to feel something for him other than white hot hatred.

However, the magnificent ending to the original "Star Wars" trilogy where Darth Vader saves his son Luke Skywalker from the clutches of the same evil hands that created him and gets to see his flesh and blood for the first time actually brings the audience closer to the core of the character. Who could have known through the entire run of the first three movies that what Tall, Dark, and Scary really needed was just a big hug?

7. Doc Ock from "Spider-Man 2"

Source: Columbia Pictures

Most great villains are born out of personal tragedy. The "evil" Doctor Octopus from the second film in the "Spider-Man" series (the best, in my opinion) loses his wife at the hands of the very experiment he worked so hard to create and tries to rebuild the technology from scratch once again by turning to a life of uncaring crime (technically, it was the tentacles' idea). Even though his monstrous machines are almost in complete control, he seems to be fighting with them the whole time, as if part of him is still looking out of those steampunk goggles and grasping at threads to regain control of a very tangled marionette.

Anyone who's human can understand the power and psychosis of great loss and the pain of being Doc Ock. Also, every inner boy just naturally roots for the villain in this film because every guy wishes they had a pair of steel tentacles that had the strength to turn their enemies into screaming ragdolls trapped in their own human coin-op claw machine.

6. Tyler Durden from "Fight Club"

Source: 20th Century Fox

I like to think that there's a little Tyler Durden inside every level-headed, corporate drone, just screaming, yelling, and pounding on the inner walls of their repressed psyche to come out and play. I also like to think that a steady diet of martinis and anti-depressants are keeping those inner psychos from having the kind of fun they really wish they could have if they weren't locked in our subconscious.

Still, it is freeing to hear a man such as the one created by the unnamed "narrator" talk about the keys to unlocking the chains that society has placed on the modern male, urging them to let loose and scream for their very existence. Of course, he takes things too far when he gathers an army of mindless minions who may think they want to be free but still desperately need to be controlled. On the other hand, it's also freeing to hear someone, anyone, tell us that "it's only after we've lost everything, that we're free to do anything" who isn't a parole officer, a district court judge, or Mom.