People tend to see Gaston as a victim who deserved to marry Belle, overlooking the fact that he's a rude, murderous, misogynistic Yandere.
Similarly there are people who think Facilier and Lawrence were just poor, misguided folks who never would have tried to swindle an innocent girl of money and murder her father and let a pack of demons loose to prey on New Orleans if they had only gotten Mama Odie's message. Oh, and opening Naveen's jar a little so he could breathe apparently redeems Lawrence.
From The Jungle Book, Kaa's DILP fanbase could be justified because in the original book he wasn't a villain. The true reasons, however, lie elsewhere. Cartoon Kaa is an Affably Evil being, an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, and a Chew Toy. Even when he is doing something that by all rights should be horrendous — namely, constricting Mowgli in preparation to eat him during "Trust in Me" — the potential for horror is underplayed. Disneymade its snake a villain, wanted him for comic relief and so minimized the sense of villainy, but did manage to show Kaa had some charisma, lots of skill at hypnotism, and moments of competence.
Shere Khan is almost a canonical entry into this. While a bloodthirsty predator intent on killing a small child solely out of hatred for mankind, he has a highly affable and whimsical charm akin to Kaa (only twice as fearsome). This was downplayed in the sequel, that made him more ruthless and void of comical traits, The Disney Afternoon series TaleSpin on the other hand, anthropomorphized Khan into a highly suave and calculating businessman with a strict moral code, even assisting the good guys on occasion. This depiction came to be even more popular than the original Jungle Book interpretation.
And his sequel counterpart Zira from The Lion King II has had her share as well.
Scar The Unsung Hero has to be the most obvious piece of fan fiction that invokes this trope. You can tell it's going to use the trope just by the title!
Mother Gothel from Tangled is starting to get this treatment. Fans have debated back and forth on whether or not she truly loved Rapunzel, but by the way some put it, it makes it seem like the kingdom using the flower (that she found, not grew, and selfishly hoarded and kept to herself for centuries, and that they probably didn't even know "belonged" to her) to heal the dying pregnant queen was some horrible sin against her, and that her kidnapping, scare tactics, and stabbing Flynn were just because she loved Rapunzel so much. Not to mention that it's pretty clear that her style of mothering was, at the very least, rather emotionally manipulative, if not actually abusive.
In Frozen, it's the seemingly sweet and dorky Hans who turns out to be the main villain of the movie, revealing that he only romanced Anna because he wanted to take over her kingdom. But since he's hot and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy for the first half of the movie, he has a bunch of fans making up excuses for him and even wanting him to end up with one of the sisters. The writers confirming that his family never loved him only makes this worse.
Steele from Balto and his sequel counterpart Niju from Balto II have received this treatment in the Furry Fandom, similar to Scar and Zira above.
Dagda from Epic, who has barely been seen in clips and trailers, already has a small female following on Tumblr.
Soto from the first Ice Age film. He can appear Unintentionally Sympathetic due to his family/pack being wiped out by the human hunters with some fans ignoring that he caused the death of Roshan's mother for the sake of revenge against Roshan's father and wanted to kill the baby Roshan, not stopping at anything to get his vengeance.
Kung Fu Panda is on its way to setting a record with both of its genuinely complex big bads sporting leather pants:
First is Tai Lung with the vast majority of Fan Fics based on redeeming him. Fans apparently ignore that he's an entitled, self-centered brat who was willing to take his frustration out on a valley of innocent people just because he didn't get his way. Fans try to pin blame on Shifu for making Tai Lung want the Dragon Scroll, despite the fact that Shifu never said Tai Lung was destined to be the Dragon Warrior. All Shifu said was that he was destined for greatness. Fans also overlook his repulsive mannerisms (his Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy attitude, his taking pleasure in scaring an innocent bird, his mock-friendly small talk with his enemies when they all know he's planning to either hurt people or steal things, etc.).
In the director's commentary it was pointed out that, in trying to make sure Tai Lung would not be a flat, one-note villain, they went too far in humanizing him and making him sympathetic, to the point that many viewers felt so sorry for him they forgot he was the villain. End result: the flashback sequence of his rampage was added in expressly to remind people why he was in prison in the first place. Yet the fact the backstory (complete with cute cuddly baby Tai Lung) was still included, as well as the emotional confrontation between him and Shifu, suggests the makers aren't completely averse to a Sympathy for the Devil tendency in fans.
Director's commentary on DVD literally stated that they didn't want to make Tai Lung completely sympathetic. Him being sympathetic to an extent was wholly intentional.
Conversely, while there's no problem feeling for him - they succeeded quite well in making Tai Lung a much more three-dimensional character than most villains - the problem sets in when people gloss over the fact that Tai Lung has long since stopped being the "Well Done, Son" Guy who won't take "no" for an answer and is now entirely willing to, at the very least, beat up the rest of China, including his foster parent, if they stand between him and his goal. Worse, some people vilify Oogway or Shifu because of the Dragon Scroll incident, despite the fact that Tai Lung's reaction to it indicates that Oogway's belief there was darkness in his heart was completely right.
The fact that during his final confrontation with Shifu Tai Lung stated everything he did he did to make Shifu proud of him suggests that no, he was still the "Well Done, Son" Guy. The difference being that he had become so obsessed with being the greatest and most powerful so as to earn that love and pride that he was willing to do anything to achieve it, even the very things that would cause Shifu to turn on him more. Also, it needs to be kept in mind that the thing so many bring up in pointing out why Tai Lung's fans are misaimed, the rampage, was added in later. And added expressly to prevent people from being too sympathetic. Because without the Moral Event Horizon of the rampage, it becomes a lot easier to sympathize and forgive, since in that incarnation he wasn't, in fact, willing to kill innocent people or terrorize all of China.
It should also be noted that not everyone who seeks to redeem Tai Lung a) ignores, forgets, or gives a Hand Wave to his Moral Event Horizon or b) vilifies Oogway and Shifu. There are plenty of fans who acknowledge just what Tai Lung did and would have to atone for should he try to redeem himself, who agree that neither side really had their hands clean, and who show sympathy to both Shifu and Oogway and rationalize why they acted as they did even as they also show them admitting their errors and trying to undo them. Sadly, the fans like this may be drowned out by the Vocal Minority.
Lastly, putting Tai Lung's tragic backstory aside, the main reason why many people feel sorry for him is very much a case of Disproportionate Retribution: the poor bastard tries to steal all of one scroll (that was blank to begin with), goes on one rampage (that didn't even happen in the original script, and as far as the audience knows doesn't actually kill anyone)...and his punishment for this is spending years inside what's essentially a steel casket, barely able to move and (if he were any weaker) would've easily succumbed to sensory deprivation at worst and severe insanity/depression at best. Not to mention the fact that the rhinos at the prison, for what little we see of them, are complete jerkasses to him. Next to all this, one apology given only after being defeated doesn't seem to hold up.
Lord Shen, Big Bad of the sequel, seems to be well on the way to his pair of leather pants as well, even though he, albeit not a flat villain, is a genocidal murderer, with a fraying grip on sanity and a Freudian Excuse that the creators deliberately made very weak in the final version of the script.
Originally, his Parental Abandonment issues were going to extend much further, with his albino coloring and sickly stature causing his parents to neglect him and leave him solely in the care of the Soothsayer. Shen gets the leather pants treatment because a lot of fans still treat this as canon, despite it not being mentioned in the final film.
The original Once-ler has gotten hit with this too. Fanon often has him as near-identical to the young movie Once-ler, but wearing flamboyant green clothing. He's more greedy than the movie version even within fandom, but it's toned down a lot.
There are genuinely a minority of people who romanticize Hal from Megamind as a Woobie who just needed a chance, and likewise interpret Roxanne as a superficial and shallow bitch. Granted, the moment when he invites her to his "party" is awkward to watch, but this is more Hal's fault than Roxanne's. It was bad enough that he hired a DJ and a bouncy house for a party that was just meant for the two of them, in the vague hope that she would attend, but the wedding photographer took it to a whole other level. Not to mention his unsubtly rude behavior around Bernard/Megamind, and of course his actions later on speak for themselves. It's also noteworthy that Roxanne, while clearly (and rightly) creeped out by Hal's actions and attentions, nevertheless consistently makes a clear effort to be nice to him (or at least let him down gently), and that Hal's rant that she never took the time to get to know to him is yet another example of how deluded and entitled he is.
Randall got it worse after pictures of him from the prequel film came out, which showed him as a shy, nervous nerd. But it subsided after he ended up being a minor character with not that much of a backstory. It also helped that in the movie proper, it was made clear that even as a shy, nervous nerd he was pretty clearly self-serving and selfish.
Oogie Boogie of The Nightmare Before Christmas tends to get this a lot, often making Jack into a bully to do so. Also, Jack is probably one of the rare, if not the only, heroes who get this. Fans bash the military for shooting Jack down, even though they were justified in doing so.
Thrax gets this treatment in a lot of Osmosis Jones fanfics, even though he is ruthless and has absolutely no problem with killing people, and does it For the Evulz. There is even a series of fics where he marries a human (after being given human size, granted) and, to add insult to injury, is also a vampire.
Pitch is also really ineffectual in any fight scene. He may be brandishing a bassass SinisterScythe, but every fight ends with him getting kicked around by either Sandman or Jack. It's easy to feel a bit sorry for him when you combine this with the earlier (somewhat) sympathetic goal.
There are a rare few who give Lotso from Toy Story 3 this treatment due to his tragic backstory. In "The Art of Toy Story 3" book, the movie's creative staff note that members of an early test audience reacted this way, wanting Lotso to pull a Heel-Face Turn and become good. In response, they went back and amped up his cruelty by adding a plotline between him and Big Baby, in which he lies to Big Baby about their owner not loving him anymore, and when the lie comes out later on and brings Big Baby to tears, Lotso responds by smashing his locket and then striking him with his cane. As the film director put it, the audience had to realize that Lotso was way too far gone now and deserved what he got in the end.
Charles Muntz from Up, while not as extreme as the above examples (well, not very often anyway), is often painted as a young-at-heart adventurer who was simply doing what he enjoyed and pursuing a life's dream, and Carl and Russell were trouble-makers who had no business sticking their noses in, never mind the fact that he tries to kill them and is implied to have killed people who come within 100 miles of his prize.
Film - Live Action
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie has Stayne, the Knave of Hearts. He's the right hand of the Red Queen and, besides condoning and facilitating her actions, he lies to Bayard about releasing his family, tries to get our heroine killed, and generally acts like a despicable creep. Suavest of the suave, right? Yet fandom is already repainting him as a dark, noble and romantically tragic figure.
Colonel Mathieu in The Battle of Algiers. He's frequently cited by viewers as the movie's most sympathetic character (thanks in large part to Jean Martin's charismatic performance), to the extent that many viewers consider him at worst an Anti-Hero. While shown as something of a Worthy Opponent who respects the Algerian rebels, Mathieu also employs torture and mass arrests of civilians, not as a last resort but as basic policy. Word of God from writer Franco Solinas indicates that Mathieu was intended to be Wicked Cultured rather than a sympathetic figure.
Dean in Blue Valentine gets a lot of this, but unusually it's more straight males who are more likely to over identify with him and characterize him as a good husband and father who is unfairly treated, instead of a pushy, needy, manipulative drunk who rarely takes Cindy's feelings into consideration.
John Bender of The Breakfast Club gets an almost disturbing amount of this from fangirls. They ignore the 95% of the film where he is a Jerkass bully who verbally taunts the others and reduces Claire to tears after she talks about her parents getting divorced. Instead they focus on the 5% of the film where he admits he has an abusive father and apparently he's some tragic Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
Helps that he's pretty harmless. Considering some of the examples on this page, falling for someone who just has a bad attitude seems like good judgement.
Andrew from Chronicle has quite a bit of followers who feel sorry for him. He was merely a scrawny kids with a violent, alcoholic father, a crippled and dying mother, is bullied by everyone in school, and has a neglectful cousin, all of whom are no help to him whatsoever. However once he gets telempathy, he goes out for vengeance, even against those who have never met him and vice versa.
Alex from A Clockwork Orange. True, he's the main character, his society and the adults in his life don't give a crap about him, and Malcolm McDowell's performance is very compelling. He's still a sociopathic teenage psycho and Mary Sue fics where the author tries to redeem him with True Love miss the point.
Bullseye in Daredevil. Probably made even worse in that Colin Farrell actually wore leather pants for much of the movie.
The Joker and the Scarecrow/Jonathan Crane seem to get this a lot in Batman fanfiction. Leave it to crazed fangirls to pick two of the most evil characters in a series that actually has several sympathetic (or in the case of the ordinary mobsters, at least normal) villains to crush on. This is made even more bizarre by their neglect of Ra's al Ghul and Two-Face, the latter of whom is actually a sympathetic villain.
Pig, Cillian Murphy's character in Disco Pigs, is a nasty, controlling, antisocial jerk who terrifies his own mother, abuses his little brother, terrorizes random people, and who eventually murders a guy for dancing with his crush. He has hordes of fangirls who feel sorry for him (even though he brings every misfortune on his own head), say he's "sweet" and "sensitive", and think he is the best thing since sliced bread. Anyone sensing a pattern with Cillian Murphy-played villains here?
Elysium: It's rare for a nigh-inhumane bastard to receive this treatment. However, Sharlto Copley's superlative performance as the Ax-Crazy Kruger makes this villain the runaway favorite for most viewers.
Just like the Nightmare series below, Friday the 13th has a pretty weird fan base that for some reason thinks Jason Voorhees is not a Sympathetic Murderer, but also sexy enough for their Mary Sue to be attracted to. Jason is badly deformed with serious mental deficiencies. But those are things that make him pitiable, not attractive. Later on he becomes undead to an increasing degree. And he's not going to return your sexy feelings anyway. Even taking everything else into account, he's very clearly a psychopathic manchild who exists to kill anybody who trespasses on his territory, once stated to have been posessed by a demon, and he hates sex.
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket was a substandard drill instructor who failed to notice the obviously deteriorating mental state of Private Pyle and ultimately his negligence caused both Private Pyle's death and his own. He still has legions of fans due to his hilarious one-liners.
It probably helps that R. Lee Ermey is actually quite nice (if still very intimidating) and it is a well known fact he was a real drill instructor for the Marines before retiring to a Hollywood career.
The title character of the Godzilla films. He's a city destroying Kaiju beast, but the fans tend to think he's just a misunderstood good guy. Most of the time he's an Anti-Hero or Anti-Villain, but this treatment is still baffling. This is most Egregious in Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!, where he was flat-out stated to be pure evil. The fans still liked him. This is a bit of an averted case however, as GMK was the only movie he was stated to actually be evil and there are several movies, such as Godzilla Vs Mecha Godzilla where Godzilla is a benign soul. Even in movies he was an Anti-Hero or Anti-Villain, he usually was the lesser of two evils, fighting the greater threat, and thus could be rooted for. By the time GMK rolled around, backing Godzilla in a fight between him and another kaiju is almost instinct.
Additionally, the monster Titanosaurus from Terror Of Mechagodzilla is seen as this. Despite being a giant monster who has murdered several people, including children out of the command of his Mad Scientist Master and his Cyborg Daughter, it is stated multiple times in film and in publishings that this all out being Brainwashed and Crazy by his master(s) and that in reality, he's just a gentleand tragic monster.
The mass-murdering Michael Myers from the ''Halloween series. All of the fanfics have Michael abducting and falling for a girl, or a "childhood friend".
Hard Candy has Haley, played by a pre-Juno Ellen Page. She has hordes of fangirls cheering her on and calling her a righteous angel. They ignore the fact that she's clearly a mentally disturbed and sociopathic girl who ties up a man and tortures him for hours on end, eventually making him believe she's castrated him and forcing him to commit suicide. Because said man is a child molester, Haley is held as a paragon of feminism and her fans ignore the obvious fact that she's using the child molester as an excuse to further her own twisted desires.
Part of this is likely due to the fact that she's presented very ambiguously. She's obviously sociopathic, but she gives out no true details about her life or past, making the viewer wonder why she's doing it and therefore invent a possibly sympathetic backstory.
It is also possible that the nature of the child molester's crimes contributes to this: Fans tend to ignore or excuse all sorts of horrible fates that are doled out to characters that are portrayed as having crossedsome sort of line.
JD from Heathers gets a lot of this, mainly because despite his psychopathic and cynical tendencies, he's played by a 1980s Christian Slater.
Kirill from The Bourne Supremacy gets a lot of this. He's a cold blooded, FSB-trained, killing machine for hire, but he's also played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban.
"You've got Pinhead, who hasn't done a single decent thing in eight movies, and still gets mail from women who want to have his children."
Col. Landa from Inglourious Basterds already seems to be developing this sort of following. Obviously intended to be a Magnificent Bastard, too many are admiring his politeness and cunning, ignoring the fact that he is a sadistic and sociopathic SS officer shown to even possibly have misogynistic tendencies and is extremely self-serving rather than simply doing what he does out of a manner of duty.
This has been augmented by actual neo-nazis and right-wing revisionists who fiercedly welcomed a non-negative portrayal of an SS officer (despite the fact that Landa is still far from a 'non-negative' portrayal of an SS officer) and exaggerated his virtues while overlooking his flaws, claiming the whole SS to have been like him. It makes even less sense if you remember that the one heroic thing Landa ever does (and it was just to guarantee he'd be a Karma Houdini) was blowing up Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, and Boorman - in other words, apparently neo-Nazis admire him forbeing anti-Nazi.
The idea that Landa is a Magnificent Bastard actually has shades of this trope; he is more of a Smug Snake because his "plan" has so many flaws in it, and the most obvious one is the one that actually happens namely, trusting a group of sociopaths who call themselves the Basterds. That, and while his plan to sell out the German leadershipdid sort-of work, he failed to identify Shoshanna as the Jewish girl whose family he slaughtered, so even if he did turn the Basterds in they all still would have died, maybe himself included, and mostly due to his incompetence, not his scheming.
Given the dramatic pause he gave before ordering milk (she had been hiding on a dairy farm) it's likely that he did recognize Shoshanna but was being cruel again by drawing out their encounter and scaring her with hints that he did recognize her.
Everybody in Inglourious BasterdsFan Fic gets this treatment, but Donny (the Bear Jew), Landa, and Stiglitz get the worst of it by far. And there was that one Mary Sue fic that made Donny speak fluent Finnish to communicate with the Mary Sue.
Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 has a sympathetic background, but a surprising amount of people considered him justified in going after Tony after learning said background, with some suggesting that Tony was the real villain. This is despite Tony having nothing to do with what happened to Vanko's father. on top of that Vanko kills at least half a dozen people over the course of the movie, including at least one prison guard and several civilians at the Monaco Grand Prix, as well as unleashing a small army of heavily-armed Hammer drones on the densely-crowded Stark Expo and then subsequently blew them all up in massive detonations when he lost as a final act of spite.
Red-Mist from Kick-Ass has a lot of fanart. Granted, most of it is from the movie rather than the comics.
Hordes of David Bowie fans change the antagonist of Labyrinth, Jareth the Goblin King, from a baby-napping, tantrum-throwing, drugged-peach-wielding creeper interested in a teen girl into a misunderstood romantic whose one true love is Sarah.
Tavington in The Patriot has no shortage of swoony fans. Must have something to do with being played by Jason Isaacs.
In the 1970s Swan, the evil record producer from Phantom of the Paradise, gained a surprising amount of Canadian fangirls, so much so that when his actor Paul Williams played a show in Winnipeg he was chased down the street by a group of teenagers, who he later thanked for "making him feel like a Beatle."
While Captain Jack Sparrow has his noble moments, the movies make it clear that he has done many unsavory things in his life, as well as tending to throw other people over to save his own skin. His snarkiness, attractiveness, and the fact that he is played by Johnny Depp means that there are fan girls aplenty who insist that he's the sweetest guy ever, that Will, Elizabeth, and the British Royal Navy are a bunch of assholes for getting pissed at his double-crossing, and that he'd surely be a faithful lover to the various Mary Sues in fanfictions. Keep in mind that even in On Stranger Tides, when Jack is given an official love interest, the movie still ends with him leaving her stranded an island, looking vaguely horrified when she tries to trick him into staying by lying that she's pregnant with his child.
Amazingly, Davy Jones can get this. Yes he has a tragic backstory, but it's also made clear that he has become heartless in every sense of the word. Yet there are fangirls who have him deciding that Tia Dalma/Calypso is a bitch that he doesn't care about and falling into the arms of the nearest Mary Sue. Maybe it's because he's played by Bill Nighy...
In Davy Jones's defense, the movie does make it pretty clear that Tia Dalma/Calypso wronged him in the past, promising to visit him and then never doing so, because she's as fickle as the sea, and abandoning men is in my nature. She doesn't come across as sympathetic at all and makes it clear that although it doesn't absolve him of future crimes, he was originally the wronged party.
Tajōmaru in Rashomon; though it's true that he's less of a straight-out brute in the movie than in the story, still he gets an added increment of sympathy from being played by a sexy charismatic actor.
Red Eye fanfic likes to apply this to Jackson Rippner, a murderous sociopath with no serious objection to killing children. He threatens to torture the heroine to death in front of her father. There is a certain amount of sexual tension between him and Rachel McAdams' character, but it's less Will They or Won't They? than fear that he's going to... do things to her. And yet there is Shipping in which he is presented as just misunderstood. It may have something to do with the seraphic countenance of Cillian Murphy.
Similar to what happens in mainstream Batman Begins fic. Androgynous sexiness must equal goodness, too. Cillian's portrayal of Jonathan Crane and Red Eye's Rippner would get along famously if it weren't for Crane's utter insanity. Some of the fans get around it with heavy medication. Some just ignore the portions of the film where Crane acts typically villainous and psychotic - most of his screen time, in fact - and make him a surly, slightly manipulative but otherwise well Deadpan Snarker.
And people have begun giving The Dark Knight Saga-verse Joker this treatment. No, you did not just misread that.
Bane gets this treatment now, too, though his sympathetic backstory makes this more understandable.
The Repo! The Genetic Opera fandom is terribly prone to this, but that may be because every single male character under the age of fifty is both played by someone incredibly sexy and seriously messed up in the head. Pavi, Luigi, and Graverobber seem to have the biggest followings, despite the fact that being involved with any of them would be seriously detrimental to their partner's health.
From The Chronicles of Riddick we have Richard B. Riddick. Central character, yes. Hero, no. Even as he's deepened and made more sympathetic, humanised even, as it becomes clear he admires honesty, bravery and honor, he's bent on his own survival. And none of that takes away from the fact that he is a murderer with serious mental issues, and he's only given more. He has a third film planned. Apparently it involves revenge. Seriously girls, he's not your type.
Riddick only makes things worse. He gets an alien dog companion. Still just as terrible as ever, but now even in his own movie he appears to be a DILP.
It's not ridiculously far-fetched. Just because Samara was evil doesn't make the heart-wrenching things she was put through good. Besides, the firm establishment of Samara as being really, truly evil rather than indeed being driven insane with misery until her powers went beyond her control even after she died only happens in the last five minutes of the movie... up until then even the main character thought that explanation was correct. It doesn't forgive people completely ignoring said last five minutes, but it does make it easier to understand where it comes from.
Neville Sinclair in The Rocketeer. There are many who thought Jenny Blake should've ended up with him in the end, even though Jenny is obviously turned off by the truth that he's a creep and a Nazi spy.
Dr. Frank N Furter, oh, where do we start? Let's see... he brutally murders Eddie out of sheer jealousy, manipulates Brad and Janet into sleeping with him for no other reason than because he wants to, creates Rocky for the sole purpose of being a sex slave, and forces Brad, Janet, Rocky, and Columbia to do a floorshow/orgy with him after he has them turned to stone. Not to mention the fact that he's completely and utterly insane. And, yet, the fans practically throw themselves at his feet. Must have something to do with his charms and good looks.
Likewise, Riff Raff has quite the fanbase as well. Never mind the fact that he killed Columbia, Frank, and Rocky out of pure spite. Fans tend to make him far more sympathetic than he really is.
Tim Curry in general inspires this in fans — even when he played Darkness (read: Satan) in Legend, in spite of Hollywood makeup and latex's every attempt to make him look bestial and demonic...
Deliberately played with in William Castle's Mr. Sardonicus. The title character is quite similar to a Phantom of the Opera before becoming Progressively Prettier (driven insane by a disfigurement, searching for love, etc.). Reportedly, two endings were filmed: a Good Ending where Sardonicus is cured and redeemed, and a Bad Ending where he dies. This being a William Castle movie, audiences were allowed to vote on whether they thought the character deserved mercy. Every time, they killed him, and it looks like the mercy ending is lost forever — if it ever existed, and it likely didn't. Sounds harsh? It turns out that a guy who looks like this◊ is easier to forgive than a guy who looks like this.
Depraved Kids' Show Host Fegan Floop from the Spy Kids films, as portrayed by Alan Cumming, has a somewhat disturbing following amongst the Periphery Demographic. Granted, he's not exactly evil, and it's eventually revealed that his "diabolical scheme" extended simply to making his show better, but the lengths he goes to achieve that are... rather extreme, involving kidnapping and Body Horror aplenty.
John Harrison/Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek Into Darkness. While he does genuinely care about his crew and has a rather sympathetic backstory ( he's been frozen for 250 years, then turned into a killing machine by the Federation, then tried saving his crew only for Admiral Marcus to take them away from him once again), some fans often overlook his more evil and indiscriminately destructive actions and the fact that he was an Evil Overlord back in the day. The fact that he's played by Benedict Cumberbatch also has a lot to do with it.
Also Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Boba Fett never really did anything in the original trilogy to showcase any kind of softer side. He was a mercenary who worked for gangsters and one of the most oppressive empires in history. And had to be reminded not to disintegrate the targets, and sounded disappointed about such a restriction. And his father, while showcasing some tenderness towards Boba, was still an assassin who tried to kill Amidala because his employer was peeved she had the nerve not to let him try and conquer her planet with little justification, and killed his subordinate to keep her from spilling the beans. And let himself serve as a template for an army of clones, basically his brothers (or, given his relationship with Boba, his children), to serve as cannon fodder for a war that his contact helped start in the first place.
Boba Fett having a more sympathetic characterization is quite possibly a result of the Expanded Universe where he often wavers somewhere between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain. Even when he's presented as an out-and-out antagonist, those works tend to portray him as an almost elemental force rather than someone doing something villainous out of greed or immorality.
The title character in the film version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Granted, he does have a very sympathetic backstory. A judge lusted after Sweeney's wife Lucy. The judge fabricated a crime that resulted in Barker being exiled to Australia and then proceeded to drive Lucy to suicide, and then took in Lucy and Sweeney's daughter Johanna as his ward. However, the sympathy factor starts to wane when Todd loses sight of his original goal of avenging his wife and daughter. Instead, he slaughters tons of innocent people, including, by mistake, his own wife Lucy, who had become an insane beggar from the poison instead of dying. He is so deranged at this point that he cuts her down just because the judge is coming over and he might see this crazy lady running around the barber shop. He doesn't realize exactly what he's done until later. Still, fangirls swoon over how hot he is and ignore everything he does because his life is so sad. To be fair, this may mostly come from the fact that Johnny Depp plays him.
Same with Mrs Lovett. Interpertations of her range from anti-villain to woobie, despite the fact that she knows what she's doing and that it's wrong, but doesn't care.
People who worship Sarah Connor as a paragon of feminist virtue tend to be the ones who ignore the fact she is a cruel, violent, emotionally unstable bad-mother who is actually deconstructing militant feminism rather than celebrating it. Point in fact, according to Audio-Commentary of the 3-DVD Definitive Edition Director's Cut, Linda Hamilton (the actress who portrayed her) and James Cameron (Hamilton's then husband and the creator of the Sarah Connor characters) repeatedly stressed on multiple occasions that she is a messed up horror-of-a-human being rather than someone who is meant to be admired.
Mostly people consider her a good feminist -character- though because she is complex, flawed and non-stereotypical (and cool) and goes through a compelling arc over the course of the two movies. Few would consider her to be an admirable person in the story itself. Feminists instead argue "People should write more female characters like Sarah Connor because she's interesting and not just a cookie-cutter love interest." Good character /= good person.
Surprisingly, the T-1000 gets this in fan fiction and on Youtube. You know, the murderous, borderline-sadistic killing machine who stabs people through the eye and occasionally kills them seemingly just for the hell of it. Rule 34 indeed.
Loki from Thor is getting quite a lot of leather pants treatment from Fandom. It helps that he was depicted quite sympathetically with a decent Freudian Excuse and was played by the good-looking yet melancholy Tom Hiddleston. And he does wear leather pants.
Continued recently in The Avengers to the point that fangirls are promising to cry when he is defeated by the actual heroes.
It's not just the fandom- Tom Hiddleston himself frequently speaks in interviews about how he believes Loki needs a hug and some self-esteem, and that he's doing everything he does in The Avengers because he needs someone to fix him with love.
Averted a little in the Avengers film, actually. After it premiered, some fangirls jumped off from the Loki worship because of his... actions. Namely, the fact that he kills Agent Coulson, the film-original character who's been present since Iron Man, appeared in all but two of the films previously. and got a bit more fleshing out in this film. And for the fact that he brainwashes multiple SHIELD personnel and Hawkeye, then has them fight their own comrades. Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige decided that for the threat against SHIELD to be big enough for them to form the Avengers, it was necessary that Loki Took a Level in Badass. Also, they needed something "to avenge" and had him Kick the Dog (and a very well liked one at that). Tom Hiddleston himself still believes Loki can be redeemed, as do many others.
Loki's actions couldn't be -too- evil for much of Thor since his over-arching goal was to lead Asgard in repelling the invasion of the frost giants that no one besides Heimdall knew he was responsible for. Most of Loki's actions in the movie come from a desire to be as favored as his brother and vexation for not being 'good enough,' a perfect storm for DILPing.
Tumblr would disagree with any suggestion that the trope has been averted. The Loki love still seems pretty high. His getting the tar smacked out of him by the Hulk, while one of the funniest and awesomest parts of the film, probably enacted the Florence Nightingale Effect on many viewers.
Loki's leather-pantsing fans have gotten... weird since The Avengers. Many still try to excuse his actions because of his bad childhood, but now, a lot of fans are seriously trying to tell everyone that he was brainwashed and mind-controlled during The Avengers and wasn't responsible for any of his actions. Or that he only did it because he was threatened, as if that excuses murdering thousands of people.
Come Thor: The Dark World, it seems to have gone back 'round the bend and no one really needs to make excuses anymore. He's clearly upset by his mother's death, giving him back any sympathy he lost from The Avengers, and he seemingly dies heroically saving Thor. His gleeful prodding of Thor during their escape from Asgard brings back his lighthearted side from the original movie and he still proves he's a cunning master with his not-death and quiet usurping of the throne by the end of the film. Basically all the traits he had revoked by his actions in The Avengers were undone by this movie.
Odd heroic variation: while most fans love Tony Stark's arrogance and obnoxiousness but are still aware that it's a personality flaw that the characters are justified in being annoyed at, there is a contingent who will insist that nothing Tony does should ever be regarded as dickish or deserving of disapproval and constantly bash all the other characters for every single perceived slight against Tony. This actually comes across as more insulting to Tony than to any of the other characters, as they seem to assume he's so fragile that being mildly insulted will send him into a spiral of suicidal depression.
In the film version of Watchmen, the Comedian played by the talented Jeffrey Dean Morgan has gotten himself some disturbingly devoted fanbase who seem to forget stuff like trying to violate his teammate while laughing all the time, and gunning down a woman pregnant with his child in Vietnam. And many of them are women who think he's sexy (maybe it's the Porn Stache).
This has resulted from the story itself (both comic and movie) giving the Comedian this treatment. In the scene where he kills the aforementioned pregnant woman both he and the story place the blame on Doctor Manhattan for not intervening, the woman whom he tried to violate speaks of him fondly (and had at least one consensual encounter with him afterward), Nite Owl refers to him in reverent terms even in a flashback in which he's firing on unarmed protestersnote movie only; in the comic, he was using tear gas, and his killing by Ozymandias is treated as a combination Heroic Sacrifice and Redemption Equals Death. Of course, this being Watchmen it's entirely probable this was intentional as part of the deconstruction and was simply overwhelmed by Misaimed Fandom. Word of God for the movie said that it was indeed intentional, the goal being to create a character who is despicable but still in a way sympathetic.
Rorschach before the film: he had a Misaimed Fandom that viewed him as a total badass, but never found him sexy. Then the movie came, along with a legion of fangirls who want to "make him better".
Angel is actually an aversion of this trope. She has some of the attributes down, such as good looks, sympathetic motives and leathery attire (seriously, it's almost like the film-makers were trying to deliberately evoke this trope). But she's not very well liked by the fandom though the fact that she joined Shaw and stayed with him even after he killed Darwin could account for that.
Played completely straight with Magneto himself. He's just more charismatic than Xavier.