Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Top 10 favorite Bad Guys Turned Good

In movies and TV shows, character development isn’t limited to just the heroes. Villain’s in particular have a tendency to steal the show, but personally my favorite kind of villain is one who goes through a reformation story. One that starts off as evil as can be, then has a change of heart, proving redemption is possible and completes a personal story arch. It’s one of the best feelings that a movie or TV show can convey when we see sworn enemies become close friends, and here are my personal top 10 favorite bad guys turned good.

#10. John Silver from Disney’s “Treasure Planet” 

John Silver from the classic Novel Treasure Island has always been a staple in the line of complex villains, and it this portal from Disney’s adaption that always stuck with me the most. At first he’s just a greedy pirate that’s only concerned with getting treasure, but then he meets our lead hero named Jim Hawkins, and things begin to change. John Silver begins to take the place of a father that was never there for Jim, and even teaches him some good moral values. Then we see John Silver struggling between his obsession of getting his hands on the gold and honestly wanting to help Jim with his personal problems. He see’s in Jim the young man he used to be and genuinely wants to help Jim make a good future for himself instead of wasting it on greed like he has. This makes John Silver a more dimensional character than most of Disney’s classic villain’s and his reformation at the end is about as touching as they get.  

#9 The Grinch from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” 

He was as cuddly as a cactus, as charming as an eel, and the biggest monster that would stop at nothing to ruin everyone’s favorite holiday, just for the sake of being nasty. Of course he reaches an epiphany in the end and realizes just how wrong he was in judging the holiday and those who celebrate it. Seeing this miserable creature open up to the light of Christmas is simply one of the warmest feel good moments I’ve ever seen any character go through, and it makes him a more then welcome addition for my countdown.  

#8 Doctor Octopus from “Spider-Man 2” 

The Spider-Man series has had several touching tails of hero’s turned good including Harry Osborn’s reformation in “Spider-man 3” and even Venoms reformation in the animated Spider-Man series from the 90’s. But the most touching and memorable in my opinion is that of Doctor Octopus from “Spider-Man 2”. He did all the evil things you’d associate with an super villain, but somewhere deep down is a good scientist with a continence, and one willing to give his own life to save the city from the very dooms day weapon he created. It’s really the subtlety of this villain’s transformation that really gets to me. Before making his big sacrifice play, he and Spider-Man exchange a look which just sums up every “I’m sorry for what I’ve done” and “Thank you for saving me” all at once, and I personally think it’s one of the most powerful moments of the series.    

#7 Megamind from DreamWorks “Megamind” 

He was once a super villain that did every sinister thing a super villain could do, and worse, right down to killing the superhero who protects the city from evil. Once the city belongs to him, he realizes that he losses a part of himself, and when he unintentionally creates a new super villain who's even worse, Megamind has more than a change of heart, he has a serious change of character as he takes the place of a superhero. It’s a change of heart story that’s every bit as touching as it is clever and funny.   

#6 Apollo Creed from the “Rocky series” 

In the beginning Apollo was just an ego driven celebrity that just wanted fame, attention and the chance to humiliate his boxing rival Rocky Balboa. However, over the course of the series, Apollo has more than a change of attitude, he actually begins to respect Rocky so much that he becomes the boxer’s new instructor, personal continence and lifelong friend. It’s one of the most touching and downright cheerful tails of enemy turned ally, and more then fitting for this countdown. 


#5 Scrooge from “A Christmas Carol” 

No matter which version you go by, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the most enduring and downright heartwarming redemption tails of all time. This grumpy old miser just couldn’t get into the spirit of the holiday and made sure that everyone was just as miserable as her was. Through some serious soul searching from his past, present and future he was finally able to let the warmth of the holiday touch his soul, and everyone turned out better for it. It’s such a timeless tail, with a rich message and one of the most famous literary characters of all time.

#4 Magneto from the “X-Men Franchise” 

Villains don’t get any better than Magneto, he’s a formidable opponent with an awesome power but beyond all of that, this is a very special kind of villain that honestly believes he’s doing the right thing and that these are the actions that all his fellow mutants should be doing. It doesn’t justify what he does but it makes you except the fact that there are no limits to the things he can do, get away with and why he doses them. However, he’s also one of the phew villains who doesn’t hate his adversaries, in fact it tares him up inside to go to war against some of his closest friends. So when he finally abides by the rules of “if you can’t beat them join them”, it makes for a very special reunion between long lost friends. The resent movie “X-Men: Days of future Past” is the perfect example of how whiling he was to follow the X-Men and their cause just to be there at the side of his closest friend Professor X. In both the animated TV series and many of the comics, Magneto has been depicted as taking over leadership of the X-Men after the fall of Professor X, just to ensure the his friends legacy and goals didn’t die with him. 

#3 The T-800 Terminator from the “Terminator Franchise” 

One of cinemas most legendary villains turned hero comes in the form of a robotic assassin with a strong sense of humanity. In the original, the T-800 had one mission in life, and that was to mercilessly kill anyone that was a threat to his future in which robots dominated the world. But then in the sequel, this violent cyborg discovered the value of human life, become a father figure to the young boy he was supposed to kill, and in the tradition of any hero, he valiantly gives up his life for the good of all man kind ... now that’s what you call a bad guy turned good.   

#2 Darth Vader from the “Star Wars” franchise 

Like I even need to go into much detail about Darth Vader. For three movies strait, he was the galaxy’s greatest threat, then turned a new leaf and ultimately saved the whole universe at large while sacrificing his own life in the process. His transformation from good to evil is still one of the greatest story arc’s in film history, and one that still touches audiences on a deep and meaningful level. I really don’t think I need to say any more, I mean come on ... it’s Darth Vader.  

Before I reveal my Number 1 pick, here are my Honorable mentions ... 

Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch from "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
Diago from "Ice Age"
Terra from "Teen Titans
Snape from "The Harry Potter series
Fletcher Reed from "Liar Liar"

Now I could have easily put either Darth Vader, Magneto or the Terminator in the #1 spot, as their all disserving of it, but that would have also been really predictable, so I’m giving the honorable #1 spot to a lesser known character who deserves the honor just as much as any of the previous characters, and here he is ...  

#1 Prince Zuko from “Avatar the Last Air Bender” 

 Taking the top spot on my list is one of my favorite animated characters of all time, from one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Prince Zuko is the main antagonist of the first season of “Avatar: The Last Air Bender”, and was a bad as they got as he pursued the shows hero’s in an effort to hunt down and kill “The Chosen One”. His soul reasoning is to restore his honor after a mistake that forced him to be exiled from his family. While I’ve seen tragic villains before, there’s so much more substance and intrigue that goes into this character. He dose bad things but with honorable intentions instead of greed, and throughout the show we see him go through some huge changes. In season two he becomes an anti hero who just needs to find his place in the world while also battling his personal demons that corrupt his soul. Then in season 3 he becomes a hero who gradually gains friendship among our hero’s. Watching this banished prince go from menacing villain, to anti hero, to champion has been an awesome experience, and I just loved watching him slowly gain acceptance and friendship among the shows team of protagonists. It’s one of the shows biggest highlights, and one of the most captivating stories of evil turned good I’ve ever seen.


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