When it comes to villains, loving them can become more entertaining than hating them. This is because some villains have proved their point in a very logical way or because their performance has left audiences wanting more of them. Whatever the case may be, some villains failed at being disliked because they were just too good.
From comic book characters who came to life on the screen to TV villains who became fan-favorite characters, there are all sorts of villains to keep fans happy. Whether they turned emperors into llamas or cast a spell on an entire town, they became memorable and loved.
10 Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor first appeared as a comic villain in Action Comics #23, becoming Superman’s arch nemesis and knowing exactly when to use the kryptonite. Since his first appearance, there have been several renditions of the character on TV shows and movies. Jesse Eisenberg, Jon Cryer, Giancarlo Esposito, and James Woods have been some of the actors who brought this fan-favorite villain to life.
Even though he may seem like an overused DC villain, the fans seem to love him. rottinguy on Reddit went as far as to say, “He was really just trying to protect Earth from a super powered alien invader.” Watching his interactions with Superman and his sassy attitude on some renditions is what makes him a lovable villain.
9 Jaime Lannister
Game of Thrones gave the world a few villains that they would either hate, love to hate, or end up loving. According to tahlyn, Jaime Lannister was one of them because “as the story progresses and you get both sides of the story you start to sympathize with them and see the world from their side. It makes it very hard as the series comes to an inevitable end because someone has to lose in the game of thrones.”
Jaime Lannister was played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. As the son of Tywin, he was made commander of the Lannister armies. However, he abandoned this role to help the North as they faced the White Walkers.
8 Jim Moriarty
It is hard to like a villain that was essentially created by an author to kill the hero of the story. Jim Moriarty became Sherlock Holmes’s enemy because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle needed to find a way to end the story and kill Holmes. This character has been brought to life in shows like Elementary, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and Moriarty the Patriot.
However, the rendition that stuck the most with the fans — the one they ended up loving — was that of Andrew Scott in the BBC’s Sherlock. A lot of the praise came from Scott’s acting, but one Reddit user said, “The entire plot involving Moriarty was so well thought out. One of my favorite villains for sure.” Sometimes a villain is loved because of the great writing behind them.
7 The Joker
The Joker, a character that shows up in many of the DC movies streaming on HBO Max, first became a part of the DC Universe on April 25, 1940, as the villain in a Batman comic. Since then, he has been a character in several movies and has been played by some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, and Joaquin Phoenix.
The fans have particularly liked the representation of this character done by Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. His characterization made the audience love this mostly hated villain. “Something about the insanity coupled with his intellect had me in appreciation for such a well thought out character. Also, the acting was superb,” said AWeeBitLamb.
Loki, who has a Season 2 coming up of his show, appeared as part of the Marvel Comics in August 1949 in Venus #6. Since then, the character has been a part of several movies and TV shows, mostly cartoons. But this villain everyone now loves became more popular and started shining when Tom Hiddleston started playing him. He first became Loki in Thor (2011).
Loki’s name has popped up in several Reddit discussions as more and more people fell in love with the character. Dream-Came-Truer said, “Was not expecting to like Loki, of all other Marvel villains, so much. Tom Hiddleston did a wonderful job playing the character.” These types of reactions are the ones that made Loki possible.
Cartoons have always been great at giving the audience villains to be captivated by. One of them was Yzma in The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) voiced by Eartha Kitt. In the movie, Yzma transforms Kuzco into a llama and takes his throne. Although this may have made her dislikable, her personality played in her favor and made her a fan-favorite Disney villain.
When Reddit users discussed Yzma’s part in the story, one user said, “I mean, Kuzco was a terrible emperor… Is it REALLY that bad she tried to murder him? It’s not like she would have been a worse ruler than he was.” It was the possibilities of what her character could be that made the fans love her.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) introduced the world (particularly those who don’t read comics) to Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Although many were against this character and believed he was a villain to hate, there were those who were on the opposite side. Reddit user General_Kony said, “I still think he’s right, and the system just needs a full blown reset. Maybe one day.”
Hardy’s portrayal of Bane was one of the most memorable ones, but he has also been played by Shane West, Henry Silva, and Robert Swenson. Bane was originally introduced in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1.
3 Evil Queen
Everyone knows the Evil Queen from Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. However, there have been many portrayals of this evil witch throughout the history of cinema and television. Different women have voiced or played this character, and for the most part, the audience has always been against this vain woman.
But things changed when Lana Parrilla became the Evil Queen, also known as Regina Mills. BobletOfFire was one of the Reddit users who agreed with this. It was Parrilla’s acting skills, the character’s background story, and the development of the story that made her a lovable character.
Numerous Reddit users mentioned Disney villains as some of the best villains to love, “Most of the Disney villains. Whether it is because of their badass powers, awesome musical numbers, snarky attitudes, interesting character designs, or manipulative yet charming personality, I usually enjoy them.” And just like Yzma, Hades comes to mind for his incredibly funny and sassy personality in Hercules (1997).
James Woods voiced the character and gave it a personality that remains iconic to this day. Working with Megara, Pain, and Panic, he became one of the best villains in Disney history. This mythology character has also been in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Clash of the Titans, and Wrath of the Titans.
1 Severus Snape
Although Snape wasn’t the real villain of the story, many believed he was the bad guy for the larger part of the Harry Potter books and movies. Played by Alan Rickman, he captivated audiences of all ages. His mysterious personality, the secrets he kept, and his ending made him a villain to love.
Several Reddit users mentioned him as one of the most lovable villains. Many of them for being an anti-hero or for being misunderstood. hoodlumskin said, “Severus Snape. He is depicted as a slimy, evil, little shit throughout the majority of the series. When it is revealed that he did everything because of Lily Potter… I still get choked up thinking about it.”