The Top Seven Bad Guys Who Were Ultimately Good
3. Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park
Source: Universal Pictures
Some cynical moviegoers might attribute the heroes getting saved at the end of Jurassic Park to the literary device deus ex machina, but it’s really much more than that. The Tyrannosaurus rex spends most of the movie tormenting (and eating) people (and lawyers), so it’s a pretty big surprise when it crashes through the wall at the end of the movie and eats the nasty velociraptors that are about to kill doctors Grant and Sattler and the little brats.
“But it’s just a big, stupid animal,” I hear the critics dissenting. And that’s where they’re wrong. This is a legitimate change of heart in the T-rex, a genuine turning over of a new leaf. Three hundred dollars says that T-rex never touched another human for the rest of its reptilian life (I know, I know, they’re not cold-blooded). The T-rex is, hands down, one of the largest onscreen bad guys to ever change sides at the end. After all, what was keeping it from eating the rest of the crew once it finished with the raptors? I’ll tell you what: an abiding love for scientists and annoying, spoiled children everywhere.
2. Roy Batty in Blade Runner
Source: Warner Bros.
Of the replicants, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) is by far the most frightening. He encompasses in one replicant more intelligence, cunning, and ferocity than all his buddies combined. I mean, the man crushes a dude’s skull with his bare hands, so he’s not super sentimental.
So then what happens on top of the apartment building with Deckard? Why save his life?
My contention is that, in those last fleeting moments of life, Roy has an epiphany. He spends so much of his time killing and maiming his way through people in the search of the elixir of life that he doesn’t enjoy any of the life he’s got left. And it’s not until he’s at the very end of his own life that he realizes killing Deckard is in direct opposition to his life’s ambition.
This deathbed conversion is not half-hearted, but rather a necessary outlet for his final enlightenment. And from this enlightenment comes one of the best lines in all of science fiction: “I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
1. Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi
At this point, we already know Darth was Luke’s poppa, and we already knew that Darth was pink and soft on the inside. But we didn’t know that once he witnessed the ultimate defiance of good over evil this would make the atomic heart in his vinyl chest beat in the name of righteousness again. This role-reversal is so satisfying because no one ever suspected there was a drop of good left in his mechanical body, and then he goes and dumps the Emperor like he was a bag of trash.
Here’s food for thought: what if Vader had lived after that scene? Could he have been the next great leader of the alliance? Would the rebels have needed him at that point if they didn’t need to fight him? Would Vader have gotten sick and tired of sleeping in barracks and eating with the rest of the runts? At what point would he have gotten cabin fever and started making plans for the Death Star III?
Alas, we will never know the answers to these questions, so we must take his conversion away from the dark side at face value. It does make you wonder, though, if Darth can go bad, what happens when Luke hits his midlife crisis?