"Why do the Decepticons always get the good shit?!"
There is a reason actors fight for the chance to play the bad guy. The lines are great,
the costumes are awesome
, the songs are spectacular
, the villains often look much sexier
than the heroes, and they don't have to spend the whole shoot pretending they are nicer than anyone they've ever met.
Plus, there are all those wonderful toys
Why is all that true? Why does the bad guy get all the cool stuff? The more interesting the bad guy, the more interesting the story. It really is that simple. You don't have a story unless you have conflict. The bad guy in most cases is
Plus, there are all those marvelous toys
... Wait, we already said that.
Compare Good Is Boring
. Contrast This Is Your Brain on Evil
and Being Evil Sucks
. See also Balance Between Good and Evil
. Ignore Good Feels Good
, those traitors
don't know what they're talking about. Those wonderful
... Ahhh, forget it. The reason Love to Hate
exists. Dark Is Not Evil
, Noble Demons
, and some types of Anti Heroes
are able to harness the coolness of evil without the actual evil
. Compare the subtrope Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster
when criminals are consciously portrayed as cool by the work itself. See also Draco in Leather Pants
for when this trope is a fandom reaction.
open/close all folders
- The Canadian Sleeman Breweries recently launched a new ad campaign playing up the bootlegging activities of the company's founder John Sleeman. It also plays up George Sleeman, whose business was threatened by prohibitionists who'd managed to get anti-liquor laws passed in his hometown, after which he ran for mayor himself and repealed the prohibition laws.
- Jaguar's ad featuring Jag-driving Evil Brits.
Anime & Manga
- JesuOtaku presents Top 20 Most Deliciously Evil Anime Villains.
- The Principality of Zeon in Mobile Suit Gundam. They have the fancy uniforms and scary Cyber Cyclops, and gained huge legions of fans in Japan and everywhere.
- Ali al-Saachez is incredibly popular with the fans. Why? Well, for the girls, there's his rugged good looks, and for the guys? Put simply, Ali is horribly evil...and he's made of awesome.
- Gundam SEED has two examples of this. While Patrick Zala is too close to a real dictator to be cool, the other two...
- Muruta Azrael is the leader of a terrorist organization and enjoys nuking whole cities based on nothing but racial hatred...yet, like Ali, Azrael still manages to be awesome, with his stylish suit, wonderfully dark sense of humor, and the fact that he's named after the angel of death. While he nukes the shit out of a ZAFT base, his reaction is such that you expect him to pull out a bag of popcorn and a soda to enjoy the show with.
- Rau Le Creuset is the show's masked man, so the Genre Savvy know he's going to be cool from the start, but toward the end of the show, when he gets to show his True Colors, he reveals himself not only to be an Ace Pilot and total Bad Ass, but to also be an impossible-seeming combination of Char Aznable, Hannibal Lecter, and Shinobu Sensui.
- Played straight in X1999, where the main villain turns from rather dorky to very cool.
- Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Movie, where Kaiba (the Anti-Hero) says to Yami (The Hero) during their duel "You're pathetic! No one cares about you! I'm the only reason people watch Yu-Gi-Oh!. Me, Seto Kaiba! I have all the cool gadgets, I have all the best outfits, and I have the most powerful monsters. Nobody would be watching this movie right now if it weren't for me. So just this once I deserve to win."
- Inverted in Pokémon: Jessie, James, and Meowth can't do anything evil right, but are highly useful when they're working with Ash.
- Played straight in "Training Daze", in the Japanese version, at least, where it is shown that Jessie and James were actually pretty cool.
- And as of the Unova saga, they now have new black costumes, gliders, jet packs, a bunch of spy gadgets, and effectively kick ass.
- Some of the villains in the movies also qualify - especially the ones from Takeshi Shudo's earlier movies, which tend to be both Badass and justifiably sympathetic and relatable. Examples include Mewtwo (especially in the Japanese version due to much of its character being Lost in Translation) and Entei.
- Light Yagami from Death Note clearly fits.
- As do most of the other villains, especially Mello and Ryuk.
- The author himself was shocked that so many people seemed to love evil characters such as Light. He probably decided to have Light lose and die at the end simply because so many people wanted a character he purposely made more evil to win.
- That outcome was almost certainly 'planned from the start'. However, they probably made Light's epic crash and burn ending even harsher than originally conceived to drive home what they really thought of their "hero".
- Examples in Code Geass.
- Lelouch/Zero. Although not truly evil like, say, his father (see below), his methods are definitely questionable.
- Charles zi Britannia, who's voiced by none other than Norio Wakamoto.
- Britannia as a whole. A ton of fans tend not to see all the nazism and casual mass murder because of all the pretty uniforms and badass mecha!
- In the Bad Future of Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi's students capture Takane D. Goodman and her posse, and (painlessly) Mind Probe them to know where Negi is imprisoned. This leads to the following exchange:
Asuna: Don't we look like the bad-guys here?
Haruna: Bad-guys are cool!
- Black Lagoon runs largely on this.
- Sir Crocodile of One Piece pulls this off almost too well. A list of atrocities can fill a book. However, he commits his evil acts while dressed like a blinged-out mafia don, complete with a ring on almost every finger and a pimpin' green fur coat. Not only that, but he controls an organization made up of Crazy Awesome Badasses, owns a casino, trots around with a scantily-clad hot chick as his #2, keeps incredibly dangerous predators as pets, and is also made of and can control sand, and he has a hook for a hand. That's just darn cool. But he's such a bastard...
- You can't one up a bastard-8 foot plus tall-knight-marine-Godfather-insanely choking-likely rapist-pirate who kills people by touching them named Crocodile...unless you are a silent-8 foot plus tall-gangster-pirate-superstrong-hetero-ninja who is also a sword named DAZ BONES. He's like Raven from Tekken, only bigger, stronger, a pirate, has no need for weapons, and has the greatest name ever hands down. His loss, or, actually, both of their losses, lost the strawhats fans.
- All of the villains are incredibly awesome in their own singular ways. Though the best way to put it is...
Y: Ruler of Time
: on One Piece's villains
How is it possible that these guys are so awesome I want to root against
the Straw Hats?!
- Negishi from Detroit Metal City is hated for his music, and generally considered to be a spineless douche by virtually anyone...until he becomes Krauser II in Detroit Metal City, a Death Metal band. And once there, he embodies this trope.
- It says something about Bleach that the bad guys tend to be more popular than the good guys. Just look at how Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez and Ulquiorra Cifer scored higher on the popularity polls than Ichigo Kurosaki's Five-Man Band and their allies. However, the inverse is also true: for the longest time, Kaname Tosen was the least-liked of the thirteen captains, due to a vast majority of the fandom perceiving him as an insufferable, justice-spouting hypocrite, a view that was actually disproven by this time (he's more along the lines of a Well-Intentioned Extremist), but he remains as the second most maligned of the thirteen captains. Furthermore, Sosuke Aizen is, by far and large, the most hated of all Bleach villains, due to being a combination of the Generic Doomsday Villain, Villain Sue, absurd Spotlight-Stealing Squad, and the embodiment of Gambit Roulette all at once.
- Also inverted with the Xcution /Full-Bringers, who are insufferable sneaks who are much weaker than the previous enemies and have overall less interesting powers.
- Played straight with the Vandenreich Quincies who have pretty much dominated all of Soul Society with their powers, while looking awesome in their Quincy outfits. Especially their leader who has managed to kill Yamamoto that makes the latter look like an amateur.
- The Akatsuki. Every member of it falls under this trope.
- A surprising number of people have become fans of Sasuke after he stabbed through Karin to kill Danzo. This trope is probably the reason.
- Two words: Madara. Uchiha.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Dio Brando. The World Is Just Awesome.
- Played with in 20th Century Boys.
"I always found those justice-defending heroes in manga and on tv to be so stupid... the villains were always so much cooler."
- Izaya of Durarara!!.
- Fullmetal Alchemist has two crowning examples of this:
- Fuhrer King Bradley, who's supposed to be the living incarnation of Wrath, but is more like the living incarnation of Bad Ass, complete with Eye Patch Of Power, Implausible Fencing Powers, and a really cool name.
- Solf J. Kimblee: Mad Bomber meets Breaking Speech and The Philosopher, all wrapped up in the height of 1920s fashion. That's without mentioning his appearance, Nice Hat, Badassery, and epic sendoff.
- Envy got a lot of love here, early on, before Arakawa started messing with him. His true form did not help.
- All of the major Dragon Ball villains fall into this with Freeza and Cell being the kings of it. Vegeta also qualifies as per being one of the most popular characters. Also an in-universe example when he makes a Face-Heel Turn to get his badassery back.
- Among the movie villains, Broly. Turles and Cooler have their share of fans as well.
- Medusa from Soul Eater, anyone?
- Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index, before his Heel-Face Turn.
- Cobra, Midnight, Jellal, and Erza Knightwalker from Fairy Tail
- Lyrical Nanoha both uses and averts this. Fate, the Wolkenritter, and most of the Numbers were cool, but Precia and Quattro were... bitches, and Jail is something of a Base Breaker.
- The Hückebein is Force are an aversion. They power they have looks like it would push them into this trope, but fans thought they were TOO powerful and didn't have any traits to make them interesting.Funilly enough,they're actually one of the few characters in the franchise that are traditionally, well, evil.
- Lordgenome from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. On the one hand, he is a ruthless tyrant and Anti-Villain who doesn't care if his daughters live or die...on the other hand, he has rugged good looks and a cool-looking and powerful Humongous Mecha, and he can fight Mini-Mecha with zero weaponry whatsoever; by which we mean his bare hands, and almost tank a Big Bang-level attack with a scaled-up version of his mech.
- The Laughing Man from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. He has tons of copycat supporters, and in one episode, Motoko visits a chat room devoted to discussing how cool and rebellious the participants think he is.
- Femto a.k.a. Griffith in demon mode from Berserk. He is, considered by most of the fanbase, the most despised villain for what he has done over the course of the story (and particularly for doing one very heinous deed to a lovable character). Surely, his actions are unforgivable!... But DAMMIT! Why does he have to look so friggin' awesome in that quasi- evil costume (since he's technically naked)?! And dude - he has the power to bend reality at his will! How awesome can you get??
- Kotomine Kirei from Fate/Zero Badass Normal priest, with bullet-proof vestments, extreme skill in Baji quan and insanely accurate and deadly knife skills. Also Gilgamesh, King of Heroes, with a largest sense of entitlement/ego. And they team up.
- Berg Katse from Gatchaman has hir fans. The messed-up childhood and cool new toy nearly every episode probably have something to do with it, even with the silly ears.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica gives us Kyoko Sakura, a Badass Ax-Crazy Blood Knight Fiery Redhead whose callous and selfish personality contrasts sharply with the four other main girls introduced up to that point. In short, while the series' main villains are mostly a somewhat passive manipulative cat-rabbit thing and some mindless Eldritch Abominations, Kyoko is the first weapon-wielding Magical Girl to show an evil streak. To elaborate: when she first introduces herself to the two protagonists (at the time), she uses her very cool chain-spear-whip weapon to utterly trounce one of them around in, as the English dub calls it, "a bona fide fight to the death, for reals", all while giving a big "The Reason You Suck" Speech to them and munching on a taiyaki. Then we find out about her Dark and Troubled Past that shows her depth as a character, and she gets better. Much, much better.
- Just about everyone in Hellsing, but Alucard and Alexander Anderson particularly stand out the most out of the lot.
- YuYu Hakusho, Younger Toguro. Compare with villains before, he's only power being Hulking Out might seem lame at a glance, but he gets so much power from sheer brute strength that he can render flashy techniques utterly useless (and the fights with him are still damn cool to watch), and has force extremely powerful youkai into working for him without even fighting at full strength.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Alexander the Great is an Evil Brit, has a cool design, and gives the heroes quite a fight. It helps that, like fan favorite Yami Bakura, he's someone's Superpowered Evil Side. He also gets to perform Grand Theft Me on his descendent, Alex Brisbane.
- The Joker, in most incarnations. It doesn't matter whether he's a giggling, goofy clown prince of crime (e.g. the 60's Batman television series), a mass-murdering sociopathic Monster Clown (e.g. The Dark Knight), or a seemingly impossible mixture of the two (e.g. Batman: The Animated Series), he will inevitably overshadow every other character, have all the best lines, and, while Batman will always have the best toys (he's the goddamn Batman, after all), the Joker will find the most creative and spectacular ways to use the tools at his disposal. No matter what he does or who he does it to, he will make you laugh, because of the simple fact that he's just that good.
- Discussed in an issue of Batman: Black and White, a short-story anthology. In this story, Batman and the Joker are actors playing their comic book roles as if they were roles in a movie. The Joker brings up the fact that Batman always gets to make a big, dramatic, splash-panel entrances, complaining that he never gets to look that good. Batman then points out that the Joker always gets the best lines, while he just has generic crime-fighting hero lines.
- Batman in general is a magnet for this. When your main character is a traumatized billionaire dressed as a bat and you have villains drawing your attention far away from that, it really says something.
: I have a confession to make: I only like the Batman because he has the best villains!
- In the Marvel Universe, Doctor Doom practically owns this trope. He's a science genius who wears a cloak and a suit of armor, rules his own country, and lives in a castle. And refers to himself in the third person! DOOM insists on it!
- Archangel from the X-Men. He's the Super-Powered Evil Side of Angel, whose power is... flight and decent (not great) healing. Archangel has metal retractable wings which are dipped in poison and can be launched. Said wings are also razor sharp. Also, Archangel just looks cool. Needless to say, a lot of fans prefer Archangel.
- Monsieur Choc, the main villain in the Tif et Tondu Belgian comic book series. He is considered so cool that he is the reason the series became popular in the first place, and the recent re-releases deliberately put him as the focus on the covers of the stories chosen.
- The titular character of Lucifer is a horrible, destructive person, but (likely in reference to Paradise Lost below) is incredibly awesome all the same.
- Daredevil villain Bullseye; even if he's a Psycho for Hire, he still has enough style that it's gained him many fans.
- Played with in Sin City. The pure evil characters are usually pretty ugly and often cowardly, or just plain creepy. Some of the good guys, however, are at the extreme end of anti-herodom. The most popular tend to be Marv, Dwight, and Miho, who would normally be considered bad guys in any other work. They are also damn cool.
- Superman's Arch-Enemy Lex Luthor, up there with The Joker as one of comics' most iconic villains. He is bar none, the smartest human in the DC Universe, and one of the most magnificent of bastards. He also gets a lot of Rooting for the Empire because he, a Villain with Good Publicity who worked hard to get to his station, goes up against Superman, a hero with better publicity than he who is loved by all just because of his alien heritage.
- One arc in The Sandman features a convention of Serial Killers who think of themselves as this (they pick impressive-sounding names for themselves and think of themselves as Übermensch), but as the reader sees more of them their combination of petty delusions of grandeur, personal insecurities, copying of their predecessors and occasional stark-raving-madness becomes more obvious. This is ultimately confirmed when the eponymous Morpheus gives them all a blistering "The Reason You Suck" Speech, tells them that "Until now, you have all sustained fantasies in which you are the maltreated heroes of your own stories. Comforting daydreams in which, ultimately, you are shown to be in the right" and then uses his power as lord of dreams (and thus fantasies as well,) to strip them of their self-deception so that "you shall know, at all times, and forever, exactly what you are. And you shall know just how LITTLE that means."
- Bronies seem to really like the idea of Rarity going evil in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) given all the fanart Nightmare Moon II has gotten.
- Darkseid. He's a Badass that can go to head to head with Superman, and on occasions has beaten him. But he's also a Chessmaster that rules over an entire planet and can come up with schemes that leave the universe trembling before he even bothers to get off his throne.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard: Old!Loki, evil dick though he may be, is definitely considered cool. The fact that in his first full outing he successfully manipulated history itself and got away with it might be a factor.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: While they are a group of truly evil monsters who given half the chance would (and could) murder the entire cast, the Decepticon Justice Division count. And their leader Tarn in particular.
- Almost any villain in The Lion King Adventures would have to qualify. Hago, Scar, Death, Interceptor, Shocker, Nyoka, Virusi, and many more...
- Princess Jody's Legion of Doom-type organization "Injustice Unit Patrol Squad" in Super Milestone Wars.
- In The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth, this gets deconstructed with the subject "Evil Is as Evil Does 101", taught by Sauron himself, to teach that Evil is more than calling yourself evil because it's cool and dark and edgy. Like causing a river of blood, at least.
- Child Of The Storm has Lucius Malfoy. The guy's as evil as they come, but he's also A Man Of Wealth And Taste, an even bigger Magnificent Bastard than Nick Fury himself, he's pragmatic, ruthless and proves that, despite the fact that he actually needs his Pimp Cane to walk after Nick Fury destroyed his knee the night after the attack on Godric's Hollow, he is personally very dangerous by killing Baron Von Strucker. And it's recently been revealed that he's been manipulating everyone, good guys and bad. At the start, he managed to weld together an impromptu alliance of some Death Eaters and HYDRA, along with Gravemoss. Now, he's the undisputed Master of HYDRA with vast financial resources after inheriting or being granted control over a significant number of Death Eaters accounts, much of which is being invested by the Goblins on the London Stock Exchange, and he has command of the Winter Soldier. He's evil, but he's got style.
Films — Animation
- Almost every Disney villain imaginable turns out to be cooler and much more lovable and funny than the protagonist. Having really awesome Villain Songs probably helps.
- Hades from Hercules. Roger Ebert even said Hades brought, "something of the same verbal inventiveness that Robin Williams brought to Aladdin." In addition, he's such a fast talker he got The Fates, Megara, and Hercules himself to obey his whims, all while being a Card-Carrying Villain in the whole process.
- Honest John and his sidekick, Gideon, from Pinocchio have one of the coolest songs in Disney history: Hi Diddle Dee Dee
- Who was your favorite character from Fantasia? If you responded anything but Chernabog, the towering demon on the mountain from the end of the movie, your pants are now on fire.
- Jafar from Aladdin and Iago before his Heel-Face Turn, one of the funniest characters in both the films and the tv series.
- Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove is arguably the most entertaining character (with the possible exception of Kronk) in the movie in her own right, completely setting aside the issue of the protagonist being less than likable. And if her initial Villain Song, "Snuff Out The Light" had ended up in the film, she would've been bumped up even further. In-universe, this trope itself was lampshaded by Kronk's Shoulder Devil, who promised to lead Kronk "down the path that rocks!"
- Scar from The Lion King. He's a regicidal, fratricidal bastard, and yet none of us can shake off just how much we love Jeremy Irons. Aside from that, he has to be among the Disney villain whose plans reach fruition the fastest (halfway through). For most villains, even in general, they have to wait till the third act to get their dark rewards. He keeps them longest, too, leaving aside folks like Maleficent, who wasn't looking to gain anything as such. Plus, he has one of the best Villain Songs ever.
- And, if you consider them to be truly evil, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed take this trope Up to Eleven.
- Zira continues his legacy in The Lion King II, with her relatively more intense Villain Song.
- Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
- Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. No one overshadows-their-respective-protagonist like Gaston!
- And what about Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty? Probably the most obvious Disney Villain example! Why because she can summon lightning and a valley of thorns when angry, yet is subtle enough to hypnotize Aurora into touching a spindle of her own creation, captures the prince before he can save the girl and oh can turn into a dragon that causes everyone to go "Oh Crap".
- The villain of The Princess and the Frog breathes this trope. Dr. Facilier (voiced by Keith David) is a nasty piece of work: powerful, scheming, persuasive, stylish, charismatic, and he has an awesome Villain Song. Now this is following tradition!
- Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame fits, too, and he has not one, but TWO heroes to overshadow. It helps that he has probably the most audacious and amazing villain song ever, and that neither hero is really interesting enough to stand up to a character with as many layers as Frollo. And then there's Tony Jay's voice. Frollo seems like an attempt to subvert this trope, though. Instead of being a Card-Carrying Villain, he is a self-righteous, genocidal Knight Templar. Instead of being some wisecracking Evil Sorcerer (like a LOT of their villains are) or some macho hunter (like Gaston and McLeach are), he is a skinny, old, prudish, religious judge. One cannot help but wonder if they saw people root for Scar, thought "wow, they rooted for some power-hungry dictator who murdered his own brother? Let's give them a villain they couldn't POSSIBLY root for!", and created Frollo...but upon witnessing the Misaimed Fandom, gave up and created Hades.
- Appropriately enough, considering his contribution on the quotes page, Vincent Price as Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective. They even wrote a Villain Song just for him, and he said it was some of the most fun he ever had making a movie.
- In The Jungle Book, there's the suavely spoken, Affably Evil, Badass tiger Shere Khan.
- The Black Cauldron may have not been a smash hit, but the Horned King is by far the most redeemable part of the movie, being subtle, yet terrifying and can get scarier when excited.
- Home on the Range may not be Disney's most well-received film, but Alameda Slim is a popular character due to his hilarious and catchy Villain Song.
- The sexy, singing smog cloud that was Hexxus in FernGully (voiced by Tim Curry, no less)
- Really, any villain played or voiced by Tim Curry will shine so much that it can be almost dangerous in how awesome they turn out. Screw the protagonists, let's throw them in a death trap so we can hear the bad guy do that evil laugh again!
- Sharptooth from The Land Before Time. Despite killing Littlefoot's mother, there is no doubt he is this, and probably the coolest Tyranosaurus ever to appear in an animated film.
- In Rango, this is pretty much the reason behind Rattlesnake Jake's popularity. The Rule of Cool runs very high for him; he's a black hat rattlesnake western outlaw modeled after Angel Eyes, he weaves words of hellfire and damnation into his speech (which is provided by Bill Nighy), and has a Gatling gun grafted onto his tail. He's Creepy Awesome and Crazy Awesome all rolled into one!
- Tai Lung of Kung Fu Panda, all the way. He's also one of the most sympathetic characters in the film.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Wars
- Frank from Once Upon a Time in the West fits very well to the trope. Its combination of Bad Ass, Professional Killer, Deadpan Snarker and his suit practically makes him a cool villain.
- Arguably the point of mob films like The Godfather, Scarface (1983) and GoodFellas.
- The Matrix has an obvious example of this trope: Agent Smith. Hugo Weaving in general apparently loves playing awesome bad guys. Take a look at V and Red Skull Even more so, Megatron (see below).
- Cesare. There's a reason that so many other characters - usually nicer ones - look like him.
- Clu from TRON: Legacy. He has really nice vehicles, some great headgear, pretty badass Elite Mooks, and a faceless Dual Wielding dragon that happens to be a Brainwashed and Crazy Tron, and not just a random grunt. All covered in orange or red Tron Lines.
- Clu's aforementioned Dragon, Rinzler. He has a cool outfit and mad fighting skills, and his being Tron himself not only makes him cooler, but also makes his Heel-Face Turn and subsequent Heroic Sacrifice that much more poignant.
- Legend thrives on this. People may complain that Tom Cruise isn't wearing pants and there's glitter on everything, but those horrifically cheesy lines the Lord of Darkness provides? Priceless.
- Subverted in a way in Spider-Man 3: when he's possessed by the symbiote, Peter Parker becomes this, but he is still noticeably our favorite geeky and clueless hero— he's just now arrogant and out of control. Though eventually he realizes that the symboiote is corrupting him and gets rid of the symbiote suit before more harm can be done. Furthermore, the symbiote eventually merges with Eddie Brock, who is noticeably slimy, unctuous, and creepy.
- Played perfectly straight by Spider-Man 2, though. Doctor Octopus is made of win.
- Even before he became Venom, Eddie Brock manages to still be a interesting creep. Who else would go to a church and pray for God to kill your most hated rival?
- Norman Osborn fits this well trope. He was at coolest while talking to himself and wigging out. Being played by Willem Dafoe also helps out.
- His son Harry also gets this treatment in the 3rd film. Calmly rubbing a break up in your best friend's face is so wrong, but boy did Harry make it look cool. Especially while he is enjoying a pie. Plus this guy went through some of the worse beatings in the film and STILL survived most of them.
- Darryl Revok of Scanners. Bad, bad dude. Pow. Michael Ironside always invokes this trope, even when playing a nominally good guy.
- Applies to various evil monsters in the Godzilla movies, especially the Godzilla Final Wars version of Gigan that gets chainsaw hands for the final battle. Also applies to Godzilla himself in the films where he is evil.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Queen Jadis in her bright attire out-cools almost all of her opponents on the battlefield, possible because actress Tilda Swinton is inherently cool in all her roles. In Prince Caspian, nasty uncle Miraz has some of the best lines (although it's hard to beat Edmund), the best beard (not counting Aslan's), and probably the genuinely best set of armour. Miraz was less cool in the book, but the all-dialogue scene in the Howe with the hag and the werewolf was one of its most memorable bits, mostly due to the werewolf's creepy bragging. It ranks up there with Aslan growing delicious grapes for everyone and the duel.
- Blood Feast is a great example of this. Fuad Ramses is the only good character in the whole movie.
- The 1985 film Fright Night has Jerry Dandridge.
- The independent horror/comedy film Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon has the coolest new killer who looks up to Jason and Freddy, who lets a crew document his future reign of terror. Leslie Vernon is not only charming, witty, and genuinely friendly; before beginning his legacy, while in a library, he says, "Paradise Lost? Found it!" while grabbing John Milton's Paradise Lost. And he keeps turtles as pets and then tells the young woman interviewing him that he only kept pets that he could eat. His mask is amazing as well.
- Avatar. Colonel. Miles. Motherfucking. Quaritch. Works out to stay strong on a planet with weaker gravity, commands a platoon of tough ex-armed forces mercenaries, rocks a customized mecha with a freakin' dragon painted on the gun barrel and a huge-ass combat knife, holds his breath, kicks down a door and steps into toxic air simply to pursue a traitor with his assault rifle, sports scary scars on one side of his face, and rides to battle in the Dragon Gunship while sipping fine Arabica Roast coffee. That he possesses the courage and determination to keep fighting no matter the odds merely adds to his Colonel Badass bona fides.
- The Lord of the Rings films bring a perfect examples of this.
- While the men of Gondor are just a bunch of unshaven men wearing plate mail, Sauron has not just his orcs and trolls, but the soldiers of Rhűn, spearmen with remotely creative looking armor and warchants that sound like the Haka, and the Haradim, who ride Műmakil, which are essentially the ninety foot tall war elephants that Hannibal had wet dreams about. Their impact onto the frontlines of a charge from the Riders of Rohan (which had routed an orc army of dramatically superior size) was a moment where even the orchestra abandoned the forces of order as the Haradim rampaged through the helpless Riders until driven off by the Strong as They Need to Be protagonists.
- Plus, Sauron's armour is ridiculously cool looking. Spikes everywhere, a huge, crownlike helmet that looks like a horse's skull, and the whole thing has a faint and delicate poison ivy motif etched into it.
- Also, just as applicable, Saruman. It helps being played and voiced by Christopher Lee.
- For a giant eyeball, Sauron is quite cool-looking himself. And then there's the Nazgűl.
- Even though he was a minor bad guy, the Uruk-hai captain that popped up at the end of the first flick was also cool. He's one of the few characters that gets to smack Aragorn around a little, does a really cool Captain America-like shield throw, and has the audacity to shove Aragorn's sword into his gut the rest of the way with utter contempt and defiance.
- The Balrog, who is probably the Boba Fett of the movies series: he's a One-Scene Wonder that takes out a major hero for the remainder of a movie and is one of the more memorable characters.
- Smaug, ALL THE WAY, in the second Hobbit film. He's brought down kingdoms single-handedly, and he's voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch
- Keyser Soze of The Usual Suspects is clearly a monstrously evil man if even half of the things said about him are true, but his coolness in doing them is indisputable, particularly given the famous twist ending has made him a by-word for the Diabolical Mastermind.
- Hannibal Lecter—is there a character more evil, or more cool?
- Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds. Despite being a Nazi officer, his intelligence, smooth and confident demeanor, and being a polyglot serve to make him probably the biggest Ensemble Darkhorse in the movie.
- Col. Koobus from District 9. He's undeniably a Colonel Badass in every respect (though also a mass-murderer, which hasn't stopped a Misaimed Fandom bordering on Draco In Leather Pantsing).
- The Skeksis from The Dark Crystal are perhaps the most entertaining characters in the film due to their ruthlessness, especially skekSil the Chamberlain. He holds off the terrifying Garthim sicced on the protagonists through his own will, and singlehandedly topples an enormous stone arch with one hand.
- The Dark Knight Saga:
- Scarecrow from Batman Begins, who has an awesome answer to every problem that comes his way. Mob boss knows too much about his secret identity? Scarecrow pumps him with so much fear-gas that it drives him insane. The Batman shows up in his hideout? Scarecrow lights him on fire and kicks him out the window!
- The Joker from The Dark Knight is both incredibly evil and highly admired by audiences. His skill in committing crimes, his witty commentary on a variety of subjects, his clever assessments of how people are going to react, his darkly comedic approach, his willingness to laugh at everything, including being beaten up by vigilantes (who he would rather see kill him if it means proving that the potential for brutality is within them), and his overall highly unconventional approach to villainy probably has something to do with this.
- Rounding out the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises introduces Bane. His appearance would suggest your typical dumb brute, but he's actually a Genius Bruiser Manipulative Bastard with a sympathetic backstory. He opens the movie by cutting a plane in half mid-flight and only proceeds to get more awesome from there. The first time he fights Batman is almost hilariously one-sided, he has a Cool Mask that makes his voice omniously low, and he completely takes over Gotham with minimal effort. He breaks Batman's spine (sort of) and sends him to a nigh-unescapable prison for several months.
- Subverted with Roman and Minnie Castevet in Rosemary's Baby - the tackiest Satanists ever.
- Gabriel from Constantine. Also, the Devil and Balthazar.
- The Decepticons of the Transformers, as they usually are in most Transformers series. Case in point: the Autobots are limited by their desire to make Earth their second home, and must take on friendly appearances and altmodes to blend in with civilians. The Decepticons, on the other hand, have no such limitation. Therefore, they take on the forms of tanks, F-22s, and satellites, or, in the case of Megatron and Shockwave, simply reject reformatting their original forms. Additionally, they have access to numerous weapons, ranging from Transformer-sized fighter jets to a giant mechanical worm that serves as a war beast. Even the humans are aware of this, as Epps, at one point, asks to no one in particular "How come the Decepticons get all the good shit!?"
- Megatron (as mentioned above) is possibly the best example of this among the 'Cons themselves, especially in the first movie where he's at his most Ax-Crazy and Badass, and is easily the most interesting and entertaining of the robots in the movie, despite getting less screen time than the humans or Autobots. Oh, and he's voiced by Hugo Weaving (see above).
- While Cats & Dogs gets flak from cat lovers for making all felines villainous, it does redeem itself a bit with this trope, with Mr Tinkles and his henchmen often claiming more amusing personalities and gags than the heroic dogs.
- Star Trek Into Darkness:
- Man of Steel: Zod and his minions sport some pretty badass ships, armor and weapons, that's for damn sure.
- Vincent from Collateral dresses himself in some badass threads, is dangerously efficient as his job (case in point), has a fairly extensive knowledge of jazz, and is pretty friggin' handsome.
- Terminator runs on this with the titular machines, so much so that the one played by Arnold Schwarzenegger got promoted to be a good guy in the second movie.
- Predator, the titular villain proved to be far more remembered than the movie's heroes thanks to it be a Badass that can Curb-Stomp Battle Arnold Schwarzenegger in a fist fight in addition to its cool weapons.
- The Hellfire Club from X-Men: First Class. What else did you expect with villains that seem to have just stepped out of a Bond movie?
- In-universe for Ra One: video-game designer Shekar creates a game with an unstoppable cool, evil, and undefeatable villain for his villain-fanboy son. It turns out the kid should have been careful what he wished for...
- This has notoriously been the biggest problem with John Milton's Paradise Lost. Satan is, in fact, so much more interesting to read about than God or Christ (except when the latter gets into His chariot) that William Blake thought Milton was "of the Devil's party without knowing it." The immense Misaimed Fandom hasn't helped. Even though what looked like was going to be an awesome battle scene over Earth turned into Satan running away after realizing that he's not cool anymore, which the sneering angels already knew, and the rest of the story after that shows him being humiliated worse until he wins with Eve and the narrative loses interest in him, for the most part. He's still falling the whole time. But who gets past the first couple of books, anyway?
- Claudius the God is the story of Emperor Claudius, portrayed as a decent and honorable man thrust unwillingly into a position of ultimate power. I, Claudius chronicles the reigns of Augustus (and his wife Livia), Tiberius, and Caligula. Guess which one is the most fun read? In case you need a hint: one chapter of Claudius the God is devoted to the protagonist's visit to the doctor.
- Averted in Protector of the Small, quite deliberately. Kel is disappointed that Blayce is not some grand wizard, and instead, just a short and ugly wimp. His muscle isn't too impressive either.
- Subverted in The Screwtape Letters. Devils are bureaucratic, cranky, selfish killjoys who actively try and reduce the pleasure sinning gives people.
- C. S. Lewis appears to have been very well aware of what happened to Milton and to have deliberately gone out of his way to avoid it; in much of his fiction, the good guys are far cooler than the evil ones, who are almost universally shallow and petty. In Perelandra, for example, Satan is depicted as being perfectly willing to sit around saying Ransom's name over and over again until he finally asks what Satan wants, and then saying "Nothing." For days on end.
- Haroun and the Sea of Stories averts and references this. The villains are the enemies of all stories - therefore, they despise anything that looks interesting or impressive. The Big Bad, Katham-Shud, even turns into a dramatic Eldritch Abomination One-Winged Angel form for all of a second just to contrast this trope to his weaselly, unimpressive self.
- Stephen King reportedly hates this idea, and his later works try to send the message that "evil is pathetic". This is probably why the villains from his The Dark Tower series suffered severe Villain Decay in the last book.
- The (extremely fangirled) White Haired And Black Hearted Pollution in Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's book Good Omens is VERY MUCH Evil Is Cool. And hot.
- And Crowley
- All of the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse fall under this trope, as the parts featuring one or all of them are easily the coolest and most awesome parts of the book.
- Although you wouldn't know it from reading the actual book, where he is hideous, disgusting, and creepy, Dracula is essentially responsible for the entire western world's vampire obsession.
- Lord Voldemort He's one of the most powerful and cunning characters in the series and has a kickass army of Dark wizards and various sinister creatures at his disposal.
- Dante's The Divine Comedy is split up into three poems, detailing the narrator's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Guess which one is the best known. Similarly, while everyone knows about the Seven Deadly Sins, not too many people are familiar with the Seven Cardinal Virtues (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Meekness, Temperance, Brotherly Love, and Diligence).
- In the Inheritance Cycle, Murtagh does a Face-Heel Turn and get his strength boosted to many times his original level by being taught "secret magic" by Galbatorix. He is considered an Ensemble Dark Horse by many, especially in comparison to Eragon.
- Among the Redwall fandom, the Always Chaotic Evil vermin tend to be more well-liked than the Always Lawful Good woodlanders.
- Although determining who is "evil" in A Song of Ice and Fire can get quite difficult, there are some characters who simply exude cool. Tywin Lannister, especially when he puts on his golden lion battle armour, his son Jaime, the Faceless Men, the White Walkers, both Cleganes, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Varys "the Spider", Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Olenna "Queen of Thorns" Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, Roose Bolton, and Euron "Crow's Eye" Greyjoy.
- Smaug from The Hobbit. It helps that he's a badass dragon.
- Discworld has some examples, including Lady Lilith, Mr. Teatime, and the entire Assassins' Guild. Subverted in that the coolest characters are generally considered to be Vimes, Granny Weatherwax and Lord Vetinari. The first two are Good Is Not Nice and the last is at worst an Anti-Villain.
- Alias: Julian Sark is the epitome of this trope. He's young and attractive, he frequently wears expensive, elegant suits, and his dry sense of humour produces numerous amusing quips. Sark even sports stylish sunglasses to enhance his villainous awesomeness.
- In Family Matters, Extraverted Nerd Steve Urkel's formula based off the "cool gene" transformed him into Stefan Urkél, who was suave but amoral. However, this was subverted in Stefan's next appearance, where Steve revealed that he'd accidentally involved the "evil gene" in the formula; from then on, Stefan was both cool and nice.
- For some reason, evil, batshit insane, brain-stealing villain Sylar from Heroes is a lot cooler than sane, geeky Sylar. Apparently, evil wears contacts. Ditching the specs (and also acquiring stubble) seems to be mandatory for characters taking a walk on the dark side.
- The ruthless Adam Monroe scores much higher on the coolness factor than either Hiro Nakamura or Peter Petrelli, the two heroes that he interacts with.
- Spike, who, before he was turned into a vampire, was laughed at and wrote "poncy poetry", whereas when he was sired, he became all bad ass. (His actor, James Marsters, has since made this his specialty, as the rest of this page shows.)
- Evil Angel is about seven times cooler than Good Angel. It probably has to do with the lack of brooding. Evil Angel is funny. He also gets several times smarter when he goes evil, which was lampshaded in the episode Awakening.
- In an alternate universe, Xander and Willow got rid of their geeky sides after vampirization, instead opting for black leather and a smooth demeanour.
- Faith thought this for a while, until she saw what she had become and attempts suicide by Angel, then Buffy.
- Consider Wesley from Angel: glasses on — the scholar and gentleman of the group. His attempts to be baddass are laughable. Glasses off — beds Lilah, keeps a woman tied up in his closet, breaks rogue Slayers out of jail, and tortures junkies for information.
- Doctor Who:
- The Daleks, especially in the revived series. They might look goofy at a glance, but they are a Higher-Tech Species and a single one them can take own dozens of armed humans with ease, and that's without bringing in their bigger weapons.
- Contrast Patrick Troughton as the playful and impish Second Doctor, and as the frilly-shirted, pleather-covered, exotic and sleazy Diabolical Mastermind Salamander in "Enemy of the World". Similarly, contrast Tom Baker as the childish and manic Fourth Doctor, and as the dominating, darkly charismatic and sadomasochistic Evil Twin Meglos. Both of the Doctor roles are Adorkable. Both of the villain roles ooze a staggering of coolness that you would not see in the Doctor performances.
- The Master, in all his incarnations.
- Also Davros.
- All three of the villain characters played by Peter Miles - Dr Lawrence, Professor Whitaker, and especially Nyder. And all in different ways - Dr Lawrence is Evil Is Hammy, Nyder is Creepy Monotone, and Whitaker is pretty much exactly between the two.
- Brother Lassar. He's played by Anthony Head. Nothing more needs to be said.
- Captain John Hart of Torchwood. Kills someone and then says, totally bored, "Thirsty now". Casually admits he killed someone, apologises for the mess, clears a bar of all he considers ugly, and orders one shot of every drink in the bar. Then drinks what appears to be a bottle of Vodka. In one go. With no noticeable side effects. Comes out with regular quips. The only person who really gets the better of him is Gwen Cooper. It helps the same actor played Spike in Buffy, and there is a definite similarity between the two.
- Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It, possibly the only political satire character ever to have been likened to Darth Vader.
- Ba'al from Stargate SG-1. He's the one System Lord who wasn't handed an Idiot Ball, and, as a result, causes all sorts of unexpected trouble for SG-1. True, he also usually wears some really nice clothes that seem to be specially tailored. He's also one of the more fun, hammy Goa'uld, partly due to his pride and being a bit of a Deadpan Snarker with a really good plan.
- The villains in Batman were always more colorful than Batman and Robin. No wonder so many established actors were willing to play them!
- Mark Sheppard plays delightfully evil characters in Firefly, Supernatural, Leverage and White Collar, among others, that seem to come out on top and have lots of fun while doing so. From his shiny shoes to his amazingly charismatic voice, he effortlessly manages to outshine and out-cool the regulars on the show.
- "Chaos", a rival computer hacker on Leverage seems to genuinely believe this and adopts it as his personal philosophy.
- Supernatural: Castiel seems to get more bad ass and confident as he turns to the dark side in Season 6.
- Also, lots and lots of the smarter villains. Including a season-seven appearance by an aging James Marsters, playing an apparently immortal witch capable of treating our god-killing heroes like gnats. Many of the coolest ones get Enemy Mine situations (like Crowley) or turn out to be fairly decent, or at least relatable, like Patrick the Gambler.
- Scorpius from Farscape is this, right down to the leather clothes.
- This is why Tubbs and Edward and Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen are the most remembered characters: they're easily the most fucked up.
- Just in general, on many reality TV shows, the villains are much more memorable and recognizable than the heroes are.
- True Blood:
- Russell motherf*cking Edgington. Especially aided by Denis O'Hare's performance.
- His husband Talbot could count as well, although he's not quite as evil.
- Maryann kind of broke the base on whether she was this trope, or just plain tedious.
- Lilith. Even in-universe.
- Generally averted in Criminal Minds, where the various killers usually come across as rather pathetic as soon as they're not in a position of power, (they are usually trying to fulfil some fantasy or make themselves feel better about some perceived deficiency in themselves,) and the whole focus of the show is on The Profiler team proving themselves intellectually superior to the killers by outsmarting and catching them. The only exceptions to this tend to be killers like the Boston Reaper, who gives off this vibe due to his extremely high level of competence and his apparent lack of any fantasy-fulfilment (he just kills because he's an evil sadist who enjoys tormenting his victims and being notorious).
- Once Upon a Time: Brings us Rumplestiltskin, Regina and Captain Hook.
- Averted with most of the other villains though. Cora was too relentlessly monstrous, Greg and Tamara were just boring (and clearly pawns), and Peter Pan was just a selfish dick.
- Mike, Gus, and Walt from Breaking Bad are undeniably villains, but they're so brilliant and Badass that it's hard not to admire them.
- For an even clearer example, Walt is far cooler when he adopts his Heisenberg persona than he is when he's being himself.
- Any good Super Sentai villain should embody this. Prime example is Shinkenger's Big Bad Dokokou. He's taken on the titular heroes more than once and flattened them. He manages to reduce an apparent Dragon-in-Chief Akomaru to Big Bad Wanabee when he appears.
- This is a key part of the appeal of Gangsta Rappers such as Eazy-E, The Notorious BIG, Kool G Rap, Ice-T and NWA.
- No mere mortal can resist.. the evil of.. The Thriller!
- Jace Everett's Bad Things. There's a reason it was used as the theme song for True Blood.
- In the same vein as John Milton, "Please allow me to introduce myself/I'm a man of wealth and taste..."
- The majority of all black and Death Metal rejoices in evil, be it Satanism, genocidal misanthropy, National Socialism, the violent kind of Odin-worship, or any other flavour of evil.
- Often subverted in the lyrical content, however. A lot of black metal is individualistic in the Nietzsche Wannabe tradition, while death metal tends towards either nihilism or more traditional "punk ethics". In these cases, the Evil Is Cool aesthetics are intended to be provocative and anti-social, rather than to be taken at face value. It's much less a rejoicing in actual evil as it is simply an embracing of this trope at an aesthetic level. Lyricists are aware that people, and they themselves, find villains, darkness, and horror to be interesting. As bands like Cannibal Corpse have said, very few extreme metal bands take their own lyrics seriously, and those who do are usually rather unstable. As Black Sabbath also stated, they're intended to be viewed much in the same light as horror films. A lot of bands simply use their music as a Villain-Based Franchise.
- Without a doubt, the coolest song in The Decemberists' Rock Opera The Hazards of Love is The Rake's Song, which happens to be a man casually telling the story of how he nonchalantly murdered all his children.
- Powerman 5000's "Super Villain" song. That is all.
- Dr. Steel. Many fans like him not for the music, but for the incredibly cool Steampunk Villain getup.
- There's this line from Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young":
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun
- As Joel himself points out, however, this is a subversion, as neither this nor the rest of what the singer says seems to be very convincing to Virginia.
- Theory Of A Deadman has the song "Villain":
Everybody wants to be like me
- It was this concept that led WCW to temporarily take the crown as the #1 wrestling promotion in the world with the New World Order. Although the nWo was comprised of heels, the charisma of its top members like Hogan and the Outsiders, combined with some innovative marketing (this announcement has been paid for by the New World Order), attracted many fans to their side.
- Many professional wrestlers profess to enjoying playing a heel far more than playing a face. For some of them, this can bleed through into their performances, such that a wrestler who undergoes a Heel-Face Turn actually loses popularity due to his lackluster performances afterwards. There's a reason a lot of professional wrestlers and wrestling fans tend to think Good Is Boring. Faces tend to fall into being good role-models or, because Good Is Dumb, lose any Genre Savvy skills they had as a heel and end up with no real personality. Heel Face Turns often result in promos that don't consist of anything more than saying, "I respect my opponents," "I want to prove that I'm the best," etc., as opposed to being able to take advantage of their creative mic skills. This is probably why many of the most popular wrestlers of the last twenty years have been tweeners or even heels, as opposed to faces.
- A good heel turn can also save someone's career and end up making them a star after a disastrous or boring face run. See The Rock, Randy Orton, John Cena, and Santino Marella for prime examples of this in the past decade.
- An interesting phenomena is when, through excellence in performance, an interesting persona, and good mic skills, a supposed Heel wins over the crowd and becomes a fan-favorite Heel.
- When Kurt Angle first joined the WWE, he was considered to be a yet another "real" fighter who had not yet paid his dues as a Jobber. However, his ring skills were incredibly impressive, and his two gold medals (1996, Atlanta Olympics, and 1995, World Championships) weren't fake. Even more impressively, he won one of them while having a broken neck. And then, something miraculous happened. During a Monday Night Raw episode, the crowd started chanting "You Suck, You Suck" along with Angle's wrestling music. His reaction not only clarified his persona, but it also created the most loved heel in the history of wrestling.
- The Rock had little or choice in the matter. The level of his creative and imaginative speeches won over the crowd almost against his will. One example of many, many, many classic Rock moments here.
- CM Punk doesn't like you but everyone likes him due to his rebellious and frank attitude about WWE. He often gets cheered even when he expressly disparages against the audience because no one disagrees with his claim that he's the "Best in the World".
- While putting heels against each other in matches often leads to disaster (Big E Langston vs Jack Swagger wrestled a good match and still got shat on by the crowd, for example compared to their more positively received bouts with not even that popular of a baby face Alberto Del Rio) The Wyatt Family vs The Shield was a match everyone wanted to see, even as the Shield continued to get booed after beating faces, though they eventually became baby faces themselves as it went on.
- Bullet Club with Machine Gun Karl Anderson at the helm and the Young Bucks in the back. Especially after AJ Styles became a member of the group.
- Chaos epitomizes this trope in Warhammer 40,000. Then again, so does the Imperium...
- Also, Kharn the Betrayer. Seriously, what a great guy!
- From the spinoff Dawn of War computer games: Eliphas the Inheritor is universally considered one of the top five characters, as is Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter. Mainly because Eliphas is almost painfully badass and Gorgutz is awesomely insane.
- Magic: The Gathering reintroduced the Phyrexians, who want to corrupt and assimilate the entire multiverse. Naturally, half the fan base takes their side. 51%, at last count, in fact.
- They eventually won the popularity contest and took over the world which they were fighting for.
- Exalted: Infernals are widely considered to be way more awesome than Solars. The Solar charmset is generally viewed as kind of bland (the overriding theme is "I am really good at this" with a few paragraphs for each Charm describing what they are good at and how that is expressed), while Infernals do things like turning a glass of water into a tentacle or undergoing mitosis. Solars have an ascension path of "Solars with higher Essence", while Infernals can forge themselves into new Primordials. Abyssals, the other equivalent of Solars, on the other hand, are much less popular due to flaws in their Charmset and limited support for character paths other than "angsty penitent" or "kill the world and piss on the ashes".
- The Ebon Dragon is seen as this as a portion of the fandom, even the point of his character is the opposite.
- For Iron Kingdoms players, much of the appeal of the evil factions is how cool their models look.
- The Imperium in Strike Legion has this going for it by being an Expy of the Imperium of Man, but they go MANY extra miles, possessing armies that include Godzilla type monsters, MANY forms of super soldiers even deadlier than its Space Marines, and MonsterClowns that include lightsaber wielding Expys of The Joker.
- The Shakespearean characters every actor wants to play are his most notorious villains, Iago of Othello, and the eponymous Magnificent Bastard of Richard III. Similarly, every actress wants to be Lady Macbeth, his greatest villainess. The roguish buffoon Falstaff was so popular that Shakespeare gave him his own spin-off comedy in which he is the protagonist. (By royal command, no less - Queen Elizabeth turned out to be one of Falstaff's admirers.)
- Similarly, the really cool characters in opera are not the tenor good guys, but the jealous/mad/pervert baritones and the creepy basses who sing low notes of Doom. Who would ever prefer the nice, boring tenor Don Ottavio to the Magnificent Bastard Don Giovanni? Or, in Der Freischütz, prefer the utterly bland Max to the ribaldly malevolent Kaspar?
- And one of the greatest soprano roles in the entire repertoire is the evil Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, despite having only two solo arias — they're both complete show-stoppers, especially "Der Hölle Rache köcht in meinem Herzen" ("Hell's vengeance boils in my heart").
- Despite the fact that The Phantom of the Opera is an obsessive, controlling, homicidal, textbook 'bad boyfriend', he is inevitably the one the audience roots for. You'll have to scour through hundreds of Phantom/Christine Shipping Fan Fics to find one Raoul/Christine, and it's better than even money that actors would rather play the Phantom. Why? Raoul is a largely ineffective ponce; Erik drops chandeliers on people. Plus, in the case of the musical, he gets all of the cool songs and a stylish black cape.
- Cats has Macavity.
- Christopher Marlowe was good at writing this type of character; the best-known example is Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus, but Tamburlaine of the play of the same name and Barnabas of The Jew of Malta also qualify. Oh, and the evil ghost Machiavelli.
- Mr Doolittle of My Fair Lady is an amoral drunkard, but for all his faults, "With a little bit of luck" is so charming, we can't help but think this guy cool.
- The entire point of the Villains Tonight! stage show on the Disney Cruise Line, featuring Hades, Maleficent, Ursula, Jafar, Yzma, Captain Hook, Cruella DeVil, and Dr. Facilier all together in one show!
- In Pokémon Live!, Giovanni, Team Rocket, and even the Rocket Grunts completely steal the show.
- Arguably the point of games like Grand Theft Auto, Scarface: The World is Yours, and Evil Genius.
- Jean Descole from the Professor Layton series was most likely created with this trope in mind. He is a Malevolent Masked Man who combines almost all the over the top clothing tropes and actually pulls it off. And his coolness goes Up to Eleven in the movie Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva.
- Used quite a bit the Devil May Cry series. Dante's enemies (primarily his Evil Counterpart, his brother Vergil) are pretty darn cool, but Dante still generally mops the floor with them with style.
- Saints Row: every chapter ends in an Eviler Than Thou Coup de Grâce. Almost everyone kisses the Protagonist's ass by complimenting his/her murderous psychosis. Arguably the coolest character in the series so far is unrepentant mass murderer Johnny Gat.
- Also the point of Dungeon Keeper, where you are the Dark Lord who builds his eldritch underground kingdom and throws adventuring heroes in torture chambers. Remember: Evil is Good.
- It is primarily for this reason that Knights of the Old Republic and similar games have an evil option. KOTOR is further helped in this regard, since Star Wars villains are generally among the most Badass characters in all of fiction.
- This is acknowledged in the second game, where the opening screen shows one of the various Sith Lords of the game. Go bad enough, and your character will replace them after you complete the game.
- The King of KOTOR Kool himself - the psychotic, homicidal HK-47 assassin droid. "Definition: 'Love' is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope." He is far and away the single most beloved character by the meatbags playing the games, even though he's regarded as among the least useful in gameplay.
- Both KOTOR games actually provide especially good foundations for this. In the first game, you're playing an amnesic Sith Lord, and if you decide to reclaim your former glory, characters will acknowledge you as such. And KOTOR II just takes it Up to Eleven. This time, you aren't technically on a mission to be the hero, so it's not even expected of you. In this game, you get to wear a black Badass Longcoat, teach your companions the way of the Dark Side, cut your way through small armies like a knife through butter, take out entire ambush teams of mercenaries with a single Force Storm, curbstomp Jedi Masters in a duel, steal their techniques, then suck up their power for yourself...and that's all before you get Force Crush, against which there is no defense! The Light Side path may have more plot exposition, but the Dark Side one is definitely the cooler one.
- Spiritual Successor Star Wars: The Old Republic also has a Dark Side path for this reason, even for the Republic side. Yes, you can pretty much do a Renegade Shepherd run as a Republic Trooper, be an underworld thug as a Smuggler, and go full Anakin Skywalker Expy Knight Templar on the Jedi paths. If you do a dark side Imperial run, you're even more of a puppy-kicking, manipulative, brutal monster...but wow, you can certainly look cool doing it.
- Also from Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront II has you playing as the 501st Legion in the "Rise of the Empire" story mode. Needless to say, after the Evil Empire rises and the 501st becomes evil, they're still awesome.
- Another Star Wars example: TIE Fighter. Darth Vader is your wingman. That is all. note .
- The Command & Conquer series always has fiendishly enjoyable Evil campaigns. Especially in Red Alert, the evil is served with a generous side of Large Ham. Starting in Tiberian Sun, Nod had much cooler outfits than GDI, and in Tiberium Wars, they had cooler looking vehicles. This is somewhat offset by the fact that Nod has a tendency to favor looks over practicality. GDI's ground vehicles tend to be better, and their soldiers actually look like soldiers, while Nod's look like a bunch of, abeit cool looking, KKK rejects.
- Yuri's faction Red Alert 2, while its overpowered status has its usage in multiplayer frowned on, fans agree that its gimmicks make it fun to play as and many fans were disappointed that it didn't get its own campaign, so many of the mods to the game, in addition to balancing the faction, focus on giving it one.
- Pick a Final Fantasy game, go ahead, pick one. To recount some of the more famous examples:
- Golbez: a Black Knight Evil Sorcerer with a Badass Cape and an Ominous Pipe Organ for his theme, which often plays in cutscenes when he casually swats your party members aside. Oh, and he's a Badass Baritone to boot. Even in sequels and spin-offs which deal with him after he is freed from his mind control, he remains very badass, keeping his magical powers and occasionally swapping out his black armor to be a Barbarian Hero with a BFS.
- Kefka Palazzo, the Laughably Evil Fountain of Memes Monster Clown who became a god, caused The End of the World as We Know It turned into a Nietzsche Wannabe, and decided to destroy all existence, Laughing Madly all the while. He's been called the Final Fantasy incarnation of The Joker, and this is in no way a bad thing.
- Sephiroth: A Fallen Hero with a completely unflappable and stylish demeanor, silver hair, a Badass Longcoat, a cool BFS, the ability to spam Sword Beams, and his theme, which is full of Ominous Latin Chanting. He became a God too (almost), but even if he didn't quite make it, he gets to keep a lone black wing as a reminder.
- All the bad guys in Dissidia, including the three above. There's Jecht, who's a Memetic Sex God, Garland, who is an Adaptational Badass, The Emperor, who proves Authority Equals Asskicking, and Exdeath, who is just Exdeath.
- Do you see the cool, black, spiky barrier jacket of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's Chrono? That's an artifact from his days as a villain in the original Nanoha mini-scenario included in the Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever fanbox.
- The Helghast of Killzone, with their Jin-Roh inspired battle armor (the Custom Uniforms of which are extra-awesome◊), sympathetic back story, and a leader that gloriously feasts on ham. Every time a sequel is announced, the fanbase hopes they'll finally be able to play as them in single-player mode...and then they get stuck playing the painfully generic loud-mouthed American soldier guys of the ISA again, killing legions of people much cooler-looking than you.
- Gig from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. He comes off as a threatening Badass even though he's a Sealed Evil in a Can most of the game, along with having by far the funniest moments in it, though in an odd case of this trope he's on the hero's side.
- Kotomine in Fate/stay night...well, he's cool enough that the fact he has a mullet ceases to matter. Possibly helped along by every scene contrasting him to Shirou. The other Big Bad, Zouken, is not cool. Or likable. Or, well, tolerable. You just kind of want him to hurry up and die already. Helped by the fact that Kotomine really knows how to talk; it's hard to be bored of his often long speeches. Most of his speeches have very little to do with him being evil or evil in general.
- Looking back at Guilty Gear, many people were turned off by Ky Kiske because he's too much of a goody two shoes. Then, in BlazBlue, he's given an Expy in form of Jin Kisaragi, a twisted, erratic Jerk Ass whose unwholesome personality was nonetheless well-met by many fans.
- There is the matter of Hazama, a.k.a. Yuuki Terumi, who's taken the role of the Big Bad of the series. He's an arrogant Troll who's even more abrasive and mean-spirited than Jin and has more or less fucked up the lives of everyone in the series, most of all, Noel, when he transforms her into Mu-12. Fans love him because he's funny, handsome, and a cool dresser.
- Although over time, people somehow got sick of Terumi being constantly pushed to attention and looking too invincible nearing Boring Invincible Villain status. On the other hand, this title now goes into his partner Relius Clover, who's not as pushed to attention, but remains a Large Ham, composed, a cool dresser, rugged, and just as depraved as Hazama (or even more)
- Id from Xenogears. Oh, what's that? You want a reason why? Ok, here's ONE.◊
- Bowser, despite his Villain Decay and penchant for competitive sports over the years, is still a giant, spiky, fire-breathing turtle-dragon, and winning a one-on-one fight with him as a pudgy plumber will always be satisfying - and yet, he's still a powerful menace when he needs to be, especially in the main Mario platformers. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story seems to play to this, where the big bad spiky dude is the main character (even if he ultimately has to save the Mushroom Kingdom) and, rather than being merely a comedic Butt Monkey, he's shown as a Hot-Blooded Badass when he needs to be, and still gets plenty of hilarious scenes. Also played straight in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where he's not only the Big Bad, but also The Man Behind the Man behind the RPG villain-of-the-week.
- This was more-or-less acknowledged in the E3 trailer for Mario Party 10, which featres a "Bowser Party" mode where one player controls Bowser and gets to wreak havoc on other players.
- Fawful. Dimentio. Pretty much every villain in the franchise to be honest. Cool technology and weapons? Check. Best lines in the series (especially Fawful)? Check. Look awesome? Also check. There's a reason many of the other bad guys end up being the Ensemble Darkhorse.
- Nightmare in the Soul Series. His armor is damn cool, he caries a BFS as big as he is.
- The reason Dr. Eggman is so popular is because of this trope. Seriously, he can make damn near whatever type of machine he wants for any situation and his various evil lairs tend to be among the best levels in the series, in addition to his various boss fights. His Affably Evil Large Ham tendencies also play a large role, in that despite being a villain, he is such a jovial and over the top guy that you can't help but love his antics. You can only imagine how elated fans were when Sega finally stopped shafting him in favor of whatever Monster of the Week he had unleashed and finally let him shine as a villain.
- This trope may be partially the reason why Shadow started off as such an Ensemble Darkhorse as he has had nowhere near the good reception ever since his transition to Anti-Hero.
- Also, the Deception games.
- Admit it: even after you find out that his cluelessness and uselessness was a disguise, you can't help but love Adachi Tohru from Persona 4.
- If this video is of any guideline, Baal from Diablo 2 counts.
- Robopon has this with the Big Bad, Dr. Zero. Just look at him◊.
- And then there's Albert Wesker. He just became cooler and crueler throughout the series.
- Name one original Kingdom Hearts villain that isn't awesome. Especially the various incarnations of Xehanort. Especially Xemnas. It helps when you're Norio Wakamoto dual-wielding red
lightsabers ethereal blades.
- Riku also qualified when he appeared in the first game.
- Tyranitar and Hydreigon, a Godzilla/Tyrannosaurus rex and a King Ghidorah/Hydra Pokémon respectively. Both of them are extremely savage and destructive, are Dark-types who use actual darkness powers as compared to most other Dark types, and their BST of 600 makes them comparable to some legendaries in terms of power. (Unsurprisingly, they're both in the OU tier.)
- Additionally, there's Gyarados, Salamence, Garchomp, and Metagross. While not Dark-types, they're just as savage and deadly as Hydreigon.
- Houndoom is a Dark-type literal Hell Hound and one of the more popular Pokémon.
- And of course, there's of the best-known and most powerful "evil" Pokémon, Mewtwo.
- By far the most popular "shiny" Pokémon coloration belongs to Charizard, already an enormous Ensemble Dark Horse. In its shiny form, it gets an evil-looking black color scheme with blood-red wings and sinister red eyes (this form was actually depicted as a Darkness-type in the TCG in one card, and the card is one of the most sought-after and ridiculously overpriced cards today).
- A lot of the evil organizations such as Team Rocket can be this with their stylish uniforms, cool hideouts, and intimidating Pokémon teams.
- From the new games, there's Big Bad Psychopathic Manchild, N (something of an Anti-Villain with serious daddy issues), and, by extension, his Reshiram (in White) and Zekrom (in Black). (The opposite dragon is yours to use and therefore "heroic" in its respective game, however.)
- Unlike Reshiram and Zekrom, Kyurem is shaping up to be a truly evil (or at least corrupt) Pokémon by nature that eats humans. And it's a giant ice dragon that can absorb Reshiram or Zekrom to switch forms and become more powerful.
- Yveltal, the gigantic bird-like Destruction Pokémon, screams this trope.
- Kratos from God of War is an excellent example, as his very anti-heroic tendencies make him a more interesting character. He's a complete Badass. though in a subversion, some fans fond his progressively worse actions in the sequels made him hard to root for.
- Ares, to a certain extent, though he is not so cool as Kratos due to being such a despicable character. He has cool hair, that seem to be made of fire. And his armor?? Man, best armor in the franchise!
- Zeus in the sequels, probably the only one of the villains besides Ares to get much of following since A, the major antagonists besides him and Ares don't have much personality, or even screen time, and B, he's the king of the gods and shows why since he fights barehanded in a series where nearly everyone else uses some sort of weapon, and defeats a titan while human sized.
- Arthas from Warcraft, after his Face-Heel Turn into a Death Knight. Sadly, with Wrath of the Lich King, he suffered a HUGE deal of Villain Decay.
- Jack of Blades from Fable may murder your mother and blind your sister among other things. However, being one of the few well-voiced characters in the game, the first Big Bad in the series, and just generally an all around badass Humanoid Abomination/Eldritch Abomination, he earns this status. He easily ranks as the best villain in the series.
- As evil as they are, you have to admit the Reapers from Mass Effect are pretty cool. They're unfathomably advanced squid-shaped spaceships with apparently no desire beyond killing everyone every few thousand years because, hey, why not?
- Despite being slavers, pirates, murderers and generally scum, the Eclipse and Blue Suns mercenary gangs do have great taste in armour.
- Saren is definetely an evil Four-Star Badass. So is Dark Action Girl Tela Vasir.
- Harbinger. Especially its voice, its ability to turn a mook into a fireball throwing monster with a barrier around it, and the fact that it is very Dangerously Genre Savvy.
- Party members aren't above this: Morinth and Zaeed.
- The heretic geth.
- The Shadow Broker. He can kick some serious ass, and he has a BFG and a shield.
- Cerberus has some◊ very◊ very◊ cool◊ (and smart) Mooks
- The Illusive Man gets a special mention. Not only is he a The Chessmaster, leader of a Pro-Human terrorist organization, he's also voiced by Martin Sheen, and brought Shepard back from the dead.
- Averted with the Illusive Man's right hand man Kai Leng, who clearly intended to come as off as Badass Evil Counterpart to Shepard, most fans outright hated him since the bulk of his success in fights comes Cutscene Incompetence on the heroes part, his lack of personality out side of being a colossal Jerkass (even for a villain), and being an outright pathetic boss fight where the enemies that come to help pose more of a threat than he does, and the only thing keeping the player from killing him early a lot of the time is Joker Immunity.
- Renegade Shepard. The dialogue options, the actions, the red eyes and scars. The interrupt prompts that lead to some cool moments, including shoving a person through a window. That said, Paragon Shepard is no slouch themselves.
- The homely Sligs from Oddworld. Perhaps it's the combination of slick cybernetics, glowing red visors and standard issue rifles. If Evil Makes Them Sexy (and each to their own), the fact that they shoot at you on sight is just gravy.
- Through not exactly a villain at the moment(but perhaps will be a antagonist an X-Pack), the Knight Templar Angel Imperius from Diablo III seems to be heading in this direction given his badass armor design and the short but badass fight between him and Diablo at the beginning of Act IV.
- Ganondorf, in all four games he appears in.
- Ridley from the Metroid series, a highly intelligent and bloodthirsty Space Dragon and menace to the Galaxy. While his Space Pirate lackeys are merely just darkly comedic buffoons, he still manages to assert himself as one of the most dangerous adversaries Samus has ever known. And then there's his incredibly catchy theme music.
- Among Suikoden fans, their favorite villain is typically Luca Blight from the second game. First signs of it, he's unit in the war sections is by far the best in the game. When it finally comes around time to kill him, despite him not having a major rune or some source magic like other major villains in the series, he still proves to be an incredibly difficult fight where he takes on three different parties in quick succession, takes hundreds to the chest, and finally The Hero finishing him off in a duel after he's half dead. His whole Dying Moment of Awesome cemented he's spot in this trope.
- Disgaea characters believe in this trope, but it ends being subverted when an actual villain appears as they also turn out to be too much of a Jerkass to apply to this trope.
- South Park: The Stick of Truth provides a hilarious inversion. Fan-favorite Kenny McCormick turns out to be the Final Boss and one of the main villains (by way of an Ass Pull), but what kind of character is he playing? An Evil Overlord? A roguish Anti-Hero Black Knight (which should come to mind when you think of Mysterion)? Nope, a pretty princess.
- Go into any forum currently discussing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and you'll find at least person who loves the Thalmor, elven supremacists with impeccable fashion sense.
- Ito, the God of Trust and Betrayal from A Moment Of Peace, steals dreams and crushes hopes for a living, and has prosthetic hands forged from moments of despair by crows that grew hands to strangle people.
- The Sins. Soul destroying Anthropomorphic Personifications of The Seven Deadly Sins they may be, but they are also cool (ok, not New Envy) and way more fun than their opponents, The Virtues. It doesn't hurt that Lust is pretty hot!
- Richard from Looking for Group is an over-the-top chaotic evil necromancer working with an ostensibly good group, and he's easily the most interesting and coolest character in the series.
- Black Mage from 8-Bit Theater subverts this trope. Every single other character in the series utterly confirms it.
- As does Thief, the resident Magnificent Bastard.
- Black Mage also plays this trope straight, as he is, at the same time, one of the most loved characters and the most psychotic.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Xykon's second rule of thumb is "Whatever you want to do, look cool doing it". His first one is "Also, don't bother with pesky morals, they just make you lose". Some of his worst moments are also listed as the best of the comic.
- Also, Evil!Vaarsuvius, for the short time we seem him/her, pulls off some pretty awesome and ridiculously immoral actions. Like a FAMILICIDE !
- Subverted Trope for General Tarquin, who earned himself fandom adoration for his affability and for being Dangerously Genre Savvy. He actually comments that "Audiences always think the villain is cooler than the hero is, anyway.". He starts loosing his cool after the death of Malack, however, making increasingly bad decisions that make him look more and more like a deranged psychopath and less like an Affably Evil villain.
- Belkar, the Sexy Shoeless God of War, who defines Heroic Comedic Sociopath and is beloved by the fans.
- Lampshaded in this◊ Little Dee strip.
- Bob from Bob and George easily fits here, not only taking on all the other characters in the series (often at the same time), but trying to eliminate the author of the comic so he can take over.
- XKCD : Black Hat is one of the only defined characters, and provide most of the Crossed The Line Twice humor.
- Casey and Andy has Satan, as shown in the example image. Yes, that Satan.
- Oasis from Sluggy Freelance. It helps that she's also hot, and in her first appearance, she was naked.
- In Sinfest,
- Rhea in To Prevent World Peace is a Dangerously Genre Savvy fashion designer who specializes in corrupting magical girls through "villain fashions" (which are designed to look cooler).
- On a more or less literal example, sites like Something Awful and Encyclopedia Dramatica took off on and later propagated the idea that e-baggery is hip and whoever feels empathy for others is not a true nerd.
- Evil Flippy from Happy Tree Friends.
- Mecha Sonic from Super Mario Bros. Z is incredibly evil, yet incredibly Bad Ass. Every time he appears in the story, he hands someone's ass over to them (Yoshi's brutal defeat in episode 3 and the utter massacre that was episode 6 come to mind). The series is already 8 episodes long and the most heroes managed to do was temporarily inconvenience him.
- While calling him evil is a bit of a stretch, Strong Bad of Homestar Runner was originally intended to be a bumbling bad guy who always lost. He quickly became the most popular character on the website. His old introduction video actually said "you don't know it yet, but I'm the real reason you're here." From the first Strong Bad Email: "Do you use [your powers] for good, or for awesome?"
- Arc villains in Atop the Fourth Wall, assuming they aren't set up to humorous, play this trope straight.
- Mechakara is Badass and outright menacing, nearly killing Linkara in both fights and proving unlike early villains, he's no joke.
- Lord Vyce's badassery (with Linkara stating fighting him head on was impossible) and Badass Baritone earned him a lot of fans even if number of them agree that his story was longer than it needed to be.
- Part of the love Team Four Star gets with their Abridged Series work is that any characters they work are just as awesome as canon incarnations. Special mention goes to Dragon Ball Z Abridged's Freeza, who despite being a lot funnier in their series, is still the Hero Killer he was in canon, and some of the humorous moments done actually make him an Adapational Badass as it has him laughing off a Bolt of Divine Retribution after daring God to strike him down.
Ooh, look, toys!